Episode 1 - Glorious Purpose
Welcome fellow myth nerds! Lyra and I have decided that every week we’ll be breaking down our favourite parts of the newest episode of Marvel’s Loki! Each conversation will be broken down into three parts: The Episode, Marvel Lore, and Mythology.
Naturally, this whole conversation is FULL OF SPOILERS so make sure you watch first!
Feel free to chime in on social media and give us your take!
Cat: What an episode. There’s so much to say, but I think the key here is how it systematically strips Loki of his own aggrandized self-worth and sets him up to be open to new ideas. Moment after moment we witness him doing things he would never tolerate if he had the chance to stop it, which breaks down his entire sense of self. My favourite was the moment where Loki questions whether or not he was actually a robot the whole time.
Lyra: I love how it opens with him running to STAND ON A ROCK to introduce himself (you can’t get any more self-aggrandized than that), and then we immediately witness his fall with the entrance of the TVA. He literally, and figuratively, gets hit in the face with reality.
I really found his reactions fascinating, as you mentioned, when he is forced to do things (like get a ticket, the shame!) he would NEVER do. He is no longer in control, and he is not a fan, because this is the start of him having to face the truth of who he is. I also loved him questioning if he was a robot or not as well! At first, I thought, “why would he not know this?” and then it struck me...he’s been lied to his whole life about his identity, hasn’t he? So of course he would question this.
It actually makes the joke quite a bit darker.
Cat: The deeper I think about the robot scene, the more unsettling the conversation becomes 🤣
That's part of where the show shines as well. The psychology. This conversation between Mobius and Loki ticks so many of my boxes because it’s breaking down the walls that Loki has put up over a lifetime of experience. Life has taught him to protect himself and, correct or not, he thinks no one will value him as much as he longs to be valued, so he's constantly trying to make himself seem greater than he feels.
Lyra: Yes! Mobius remains so calm throughout even as Loki huffs and puffs, which allows him the chance to ask Loki the hard questions that shatters that exterior Loki has built. The patience Mobius has is what Loki needs, and I think the only other character we see where there is such patience and deep understanding of Loki’s character is his mother, Frigga. That makes this scene all the more hitting.
Cat: I think that's important, the patience aspect. We're talking about a character who believes he was never given the time of day by the people who were supposed to love him most, and that can shatter a person. It's easy to imagine a Loki that's powered by desperation to do great evils. Sure, he could have just been an evil guy doing evil things, but we see over and over that by nature and nurture, most of our choices and habits have a cause, even if they aren’t directly related to the thing we’re doing. That’s why I love villains and the exploration of the evils of humanity through villains. Because hurt people hurt people.
Lyra: Hurt people hurt people. Exactly. I really appreciate this series letting us delve into Loki’s complex psyche to understand what caused him to take that fork in the road towards being, as he called himself, the “villain.” I also love how Mobius encourages him and tells him it’s not how he sees him. He gave Loki hope, a truth, which is something he’s not had much of as the god of lies believing the lies he’s been fed by his father.
Cat: It's powerful, I think. The show takes this person who by all rights shouldn't be given a chance to speak for all the evil he's literally just done, and gives him a chance to sort himself out. He doesn’t necessarily deserve it, but in seeing his humanity, Mobius gives him a chance to change for the better. This episode does a wonderful job of positioning Loki in a similar trajectory for character growth to Sacred Timeline Loki, but in a way where he may be able to minimize the damage he does going forward
Lyra: YES! You can already see that arc to redemption, and I am really curious what is waiting for him at the end. What are Mobius’ true motives? Is the TVA more malevolent than it appears?
Cat: And not to change gears too quickly but this scene (and many others) feature some of the greatest facial expressions I’ve ever seen anyone pull off. My god.
Lyra: HIS FACES! I could not handle all his faces. Tom is such an amazing actor, and I’ve seen him in practically everything, but wow. He pulled out some new-to-me-expressions and I was here for all of them. I think these got me the most. I’m used to angry, sad, angsty, and determined Loki. I’m not used to seeing Loki afraid and confused and being just done. I need more.
D. B. Cooper….How did Loki lose a bet to Thor? This is honestly what makes me ask the most questions.
The Marvel Lore
Cat: I’ll admit that I’m not at all familiar with the TVA story arc in any of the comics. What does stand out for me in this episode is how we all just spent the last 10 years watching Marvel bring us to the end of the infinity wars, only for Loki to find an entire drawer full of infinity stones that made the last 10 years feel like a futile waste of energy. That moment weighed heavily on me, and made me think of the weight of duty in our own lives versus the crippling knowledge that we’re all just specks in an infinite timeline.
Lyra: That was so infuriating and perfect and it really breaks down all the knowledge that you think you know. I loved how that was the moment that broke Loki in a way. He thought he knew everything, and seeing those stones as paperweights...oh, that destroyed him. And me, but this isn’t about me. LOL.
Also...Loki’s original goal, his “glorious purpose” was to be a liberator of freedom. However, we learn we’ve never actually been free...We’ve basically been living, Loki included, with no choice. I found that interesting. He is in the world he wanted. Maybe he will still be a liberator, but this time, actually liberating us INTO freedom.
I could be thinking too deeply about this. I love metaphor because I am a nerd.
Cat: Oh no, this didn’t even occur to me. Now I feel like I need to watch it for the fourth time just to see him struggling with his will being taken away, which I understood, but not against the backdrop of him using free will as his entire political platform.
The Norse Lore