Mobius sees Loki as a chance to escape from the TVA. They are watched. Mobius knows what a fish is. Mobius wasn‘t born into the system, he’s probably a variant too who would be reset if they tried to return to their timeline. Mobius tries to find out how the other Loki variant manages to escape the minutemen without leaving traces, because he‘ll need that knowledge for his own escape. Is Mobius Mephisto?
Do people not understand that the reel Mobius is showing Loki is specifically designed to break him down?
To feed him the narrative that he is bad and causes pain to others and nothing else?
To show him the deaths of his family members (I'm sure he thinks Thor is dead too, because of the explosion), to emphasize the point that everything is hopeless. He won't have any reconciliation with them because they'll die soon.
Furthermore, it preys on Loki's emotional bonds with his family. We see Loki smiling while watching the less brutal parts of it. Narratively speaking, we're in his perspective, so we see it through his eyes. We see his love for his family while he watches and mourns them. We see his anger too, especially in Frigga's case. Then his self hatred as Mobius berates him.
The narrative is neither condemning Loki's family nor uplifting them. It's simply depicting his perspective, which also can be flawed, because we're more willing to forgive family for their wrongs than other people. Most of the time, we're not objective or logical when it comes to family. I think that's happening to Loki here, and I understand it on a personal level.
Here, he doesn't know what Odin tells on his trial. He doesn't see Frigga defending Odin's actions. He doesn't experience Thor readily ignoring him for over a year. He hasn't lived the events of TDW or Ragnarok, so he doesn't see how his family has failed him in these events. It's not shown to him.
So he comes to the conclusion that's being fed to him by not just Mobius but also his own mind. It wouldn't have worked if it was only Mobius. Loki has deep rooted self hate and inferiority issues. Mobius knew that, and he framed the reel to magnify them further to break him down.
Because in Mobius' perspective he's deradicalising Loki and trying to make him cooperate.
@thelightofthingshopedfor - What’s really great, too, is the opportunity to explore agency as in, Loki’s agency in his own life, which arguably he’s had very little of and that’s a big part of his breakdown in Thor 1. His whole life, he’s been a prince, which already gives him less agency because he has a role to fulfill. Then, he finds out the circumstances of his birth and adoption—and what little agency he thought he’d had in his life gets stripped away. He’s never been in control of his own life, and Odin never intended to make him heir, because, well, he’s the monster parents tell their children about at night. And then, Thanos, Mind Stone, TVA—Loki is not in control of anything, and my head canon has always been that this is the thing that Loki despises and fears most of all.
So there’s that, but there’s also the wider predeterminism vs free will debate: the idea that there is One True Timeline, that our paths are all predetermined, and that if we deviate from this predetermined path, it mucks everything up. That ties into the idea of Loki’s identity. Is he destined to be the monster? The villain? Or can he choose to be someone else? And that, UGH, that will get me every single time.
so I watched this bit, right? and was thinking “what does this remind me of? where have I seen this before?” and then I had it:
like...that, right there, the idea that Loki is and always will be, inevitably, Designated Villain At Birth - and what’s more, that the reason for that is to serve as a counter, a shadow, for others - is one of the things that is very much at the core of Agent of Asgard as a series. and specifically, an argument against that.
which is why I think I keep circling back to these lines (among others) when I think about what I’m excited about when it comes to the Loki series - because this feels like a thematic core of what the show is going to be working with.
Yknow what, anything else aside, this episode had some great Loki reaction facial expressions. In-character or not, the look on his face when the camera pans back to him after the Miss Minutes video plays and just before he laughs? That raised-eyebrows-slightly-opened-mouth, "what in the fuck did I just experience?" expression? SUCH A MOOD for SO MANY THINGS.
ok but you know what really earns the Loki series so many plus points in my book already? It's the fact that they've clearly put ample thought into all of it!! Like, yeah, the earlier scenes feel a bit too uncomfortably out of character but even then I can go on making meta post after meta post for the whole week because there's actually layers of good content to analyse in there!!! I may have just been starving for decent Loki content but have you ever seen a single detailed meta post about Thor: Ragnarok that wasnt about how inexpressibly bad the movie was??? As a Loki fic writer I've forced myself to sit through Thor: Ragnarok dozens of times and not once have I said "hey that's a cool character detail hidden there" and trust me trying to write a semi serious plot-focused fic about Thor: Ragnarok is a NIGHTMARE because there's literally nothing there except cheap gags!!! Meanwhile I've watched the episode TWICE and the interrogation scenes specifically once more and my analytical mind has been going absolutely wild for the past three days because there's so much to pick apart!!! Because barring some stupid things like loki's stash of all the words he's ever said being tiny they've clearly put thought into his character and his actions and his sorroundings! not the exact same thought as I would have put into them but it still feel less like an actual canon episode and more of a fic on ao3 and I mean this in the most complimentary of manners!!! like i'm currently doing a detailed analysis of the whole interrogation and hhhhhhhhh fodder for meta go brrr
The TVA is formidable: a look at Loki's slow realisation.
The first two times I've seen the episode, I've divided Loki's attitude towards TVA in two blocks: pre-infinity stones reveal (TVA are clowns) and post (the strongest power in the universe). But the reality is more nuanced than that.
Thing is, by the time Loki is sentenced to be reset and meets Mobius, he's already realised that TVA is physically much stronger than him. He has no magic, he cannot overpower them and he cannot reason with them - he'd tried all 3 and failed. Which is why he actually follows all of Mobius orders from the get go. He mouths off, yes, but he follows him without being manhandled into a place that, in his own words, looks like a place of execution, he sits and he participates in the conversation. This is, considering that Loki is an Asgardian prince fresh off an invasion, a huge amount of subservience. Even while saying that collaboration is not his forte, he's actually collaborating to the utmost of his ability. The only thing that he's guarding from Mobius is his mind.
Too bad that his mind is exactly the thing Mobius wants. As soon as Loki realises this, he digs his heels in, because that's just completely off the table. But he knows that he's defenceless against the TVA, and the depth of the interrogation is upsetting to him, so he gets agitated and eventually loses the control of his body language, fidgeting and standing up.
Then comes something worse: it's not Loki's self-image that is under attack, it's his basic understanding of the world. Mobius's not only saying "you're evil, you're your mother's killer, you're nothing" (bad enough), he's further saying that it wasn't even Loki's choice to be, or not to be, any of these things.
This is a game changer: powerful beings, Loki can deal with. An institution that pleasantly explains to him that they have abolished the free will of the universe, he cannot. At this point Loki just flips out for a bit (being told that his mother will inevitably die does not help) and then quickly gets his shit together and hightails the fuck out of the situation.
Except then he finds the infinity stones and comes to the realisation that yes, the TVA has indeed abolished the free will of the universe and yes, his life has indeed been written for him by a superior power. At which point he circles back to the start, adopts a subservient attitude again and agrees to offer his mind to Mobius.
Loki's final answers to Mobius about himself are truthful, yes, but they are not some kind of cathartic self-actualisation. He had always known these things and he had always jealously guarded them close to his heart. They are a (temporary) capitulation and a peace offering to the "formidable TVA" in a bid to stay in its good graces.
The agony of Loki admitting "no, no, I don't like hurting people, I don't enjoy it, it's a means to an end I know I won't get" RIGHT after being told he's not the main character of his own goddamn show and never was and that he never had agency in his entire life like it's been one episode and we are nearly right about to break the fourth wall with Marvel admitting Loki was never supposed to have been relevant outside of pushing other character arcs
With the caveat that I haven't watched Loki or Wandavision, so I don't know exactly how they talk about timelines/realities, how can there be only one "true" timeline if Dr. Strange is doing the whole multiverse thing?? And why wouldn't the time police have gone after Wanda for messing with reality? Or Thanos for hopping to the future in Endgame and to break the universe? Was Wanda's breakdown and Thanos time-traveling ALSO part of the one "true" timeline??
Sorry for repeatedly bothering you with MCU meta, but this is just maddening.
The answer to all of this is: it's a goddamn mess.
To get you quickly caught up, in ‘Loki’ we learn that a long time ago there used to be an infinite number of branching timelines known as the multiverse. This led to a multiversal war so some god-like beings called the Time Keepers got rid of all of the other timelines and created the single Sacred Timeline (literally what they call it), which the TVA heavily polices to keep other alternate timelines from popping up. Any time something happens that deviates from what the Time Keepers dictate is supposed to happen in the Sacred Timeline, the perpetrator is apprehended and the timeline is reset back to its original course. So long story short, everything that’s happened so far in the MCU, with the exception of Loki escaping, is apparently part of the one true Sacred Timeline and was supposed to happen (as far as we know anyway).
The events of Endgame are even explicitly addressed in the first episode of 'Loki'. While on trial for his time crimes, Loki correctly points out that the Avengers should be the ones on trial because if they hadn't time traveled in the first place, he wouldn't have gotten the tesseract so they're technically the ones at fault. But the judge straight up tells him that everything the Avengers did was supposed to happen and is Totally Cool and doesn't disrupt the Sacred Timeline, and Loki’s escape is the only issue.
Now this could've made some sense, I guess, if everything else about the Avengers time heist had not affected any of the events of the other movies and they were able to pull everything off in the background undetected... except we know for a fact that's not true. I mean, what about Steve's infamous "Hail Hydra" in the elevator? And Endgame!Steve fighting Avengers!Steve and telling him that Bucky was still alive?? Kinda seems like those things might've changed the events of CATWS just bit, doesn't it???? Not to mention the fact that if everything but Loki’s escape was supposed to happen (in which case the timeline would’ve been reset to right before that moment), the Avengers would’ve gotten their hands on the tesseract in 2012 as they originally planned and they wouldn’t have had to travel to 1970 at all. Like I said, it’s a mess.
As for how the whole Multiverse of Madness is going to work when supposedly there is no multiverse at the moment, the best explanation is that we're not there yet but it’s coming. It seems pretty clear that by the end of this series something will happen to either create the multiverse or set the stage for its creation in Dr Strange. The only other real possibility that I can see is that the TVA is lying and the multiverse does still exist but its existence is being covered up for some reason. Honestly, I could see it going either way.
“Don't worry, that devil's afraid of us.“
[Mobius M. Mobius, Variant Loki (?) | Loki s1ep01 “Glorious Purpose”]
> The shots with Mobius in the church were amazing
> The cloaked figure in the swamp dropping the latern and burning the Minutemen alive gave me serious chills ...
Just put this together and I know I've made like 800 posts just about episode one but I've been thinking about this for the past two days and it FINALLY makes sense
I have been puzzling over the oddly intense reaction Loki had to finding the collection of Infinity Stones in the drawer. I couldn't figure out why he was so affected by it--I mean, he seems gutted. Crushed. Because of how striking it was, that response screamed "this is an important moment," and I finally have an answer as to what makes it so.
When Mobius leaves the interrogation room, Loki takes the opportunity to escape. This is after Mobius has been psychologically attacking him and both Loki's verbal and physical outbursts have done nothing. He's tried reasoning and questioning, he's tried intimidating, he's tried attacking his environment and his captor, and has even tried other methods of escape--none of these have worked. To his massive credit, Loki keeps his wits about him enough to steal the only tool he knows can get him out of there, and uses it. But though he's escaped the room, he's still in the TVA. He needs something more powerful to get him out entirely.
That's the first, and more obvious, reason that Loki responds as he does when the Tesseract is just sitting in a drawer, lumped in with a bunch of other Infinity Stones. If something that powerful is useless in the TVA, then Loki really can't get out on his own. His last method of defense--escape--is gone, and nothing else he's done has worked. He is, effectively, helpless. I understand why that would cause a pretty dramatic response.
But then he stands, shaken to his core, and says, "Is this the greatest power in the universe?" He looks almost on the verge of tears. And I just...did not get it. Why that question, and why such a strong reaction? But then I remembered: this is 2012's Loki.
Thanos brutally tortured, manipulated, and abused Loki, for who knows how long, all so that Loki could be sent to Earth to get the Tesseract. One Infinity Stone. And the TVA uses that exact stone as a paperweight. If Thanos went to such lengths, and if Loki went through so much, to try to get something that is so inconsequential to the TVA, how powerful must they be? And, the more pressing question--what must they be capable of? They have hardly been hospitable to Loki; he's been being attacked, controlled, or manipulated since the moment he arrived. And Thanos, the last person who'd controlled him, was much less powerful than they were. If Loki went through so much at his hands, what horrors would his new captors be willing to inflict?
Additionally, Loki had just been on Earth, under Thanos' influence and threat, desperately trying to get the Tesseract, that very day. This isn't something he's had time to distance himself from; this is what he's been told mere hours before that if he did not deliver it to Thanos, he would "long for something as sweet as pain". And now it's sitting in a drawer. It can't even help Loki get out of the prison he's trapped in, having gone from one form of captivity to another; it is utterly useless. It's easy to imagine what Loki must have been thinking: it wasn't worth it. How could it have been? All that suffering, all that fear, all the death and destruction and pain he had had to cause, and for this?
The moment he realized that was another huge blow to Loki's mental state. At a loss, and unable to really go anywhere else, Loki returns to the room he'd escaped from, and goes to watch the life he'd escaped from the same. In that raw state, he cries over the family he won't get to see again. Maybe that releases some of the stress he's been feeling, maybe he feels a little safer. Maybe that means something.
And then he watches himself die at Thanos' hand.
For a paperweight.
"Glorious purpose" indeed.
This is the point at which Loki recognizes that he can't go back to his original timeline (despite having said previously that he'd "like to go home"); it's the first thing he says to Mobius when he returns. It breaks him, in a way--even if he were to escape, he wouldn't have anywhere to go. Fittingly, the TVA have left him only one way forward. So, out of options, and exhausted in every way from the sheer amount he's endured over the past 24 hours, Loki presents himself as open to work with the TVA. And while I think he will still be looking for an out, he's stopped actively fighting for his freedom, because--at least for the moment--he no longer believes he could win.
I know just wrote a whole thing about the TVA and A Clockwork Orange, which I ended by saying that I'm still not convinced the TVA is an "evil" organization.
A few things on that. (Lots of things today, haha.)
1. The TVA is absolutely doing a thing that seems to be inherently wrong, trying to control people and time, the most uncontrollable things of all the things. ("Enough with the things, Mary!") It's an inherently oppressive concept that our human brains want to kick straight in the proverbial balls.
2. We see how they treat Loki, which is a methodically dehumanizing experience.
These things are not good.
However. There's no narrative indication, at this point, that they don't have a legit moral right to behave the way they do. Generally speaking, I mean. Not specifically to Loki's situation. I'm just talking about the way the TVA operates.
And when I say narrative indication, I mean there are no actual red flags, which is what we'll have to see if there's eventually going to be a big reveal that OMG IT WAS AGATHA THE TVA ALL ALONG! As of right now, there's nothing you'd be able to look back on and say, "Oh yeah, I knew something was fishy about that!"
There's no underbelly except that we're just distrustful of the authority of this kind. The concept of controlling people is bad, but the people who work there don't seem to be. At all. They're being presented to us as having hearts and souls, and this is the crux of my judgement of them. They work hard. They mourn their dead. They play with children. They have a sense of humor. They respect one another. These are all narrative indications of being good people.
Yes. Even Mobius. Especially Mobius. Look, I love Mobius, you guys. I'll get into why eventually.
So yeah, the TVA is doing things we don't like, but the big question is, do bad things cease to be bad when they serve an ultimate good? Generally, yes. Theft isn't wrong to feed a starving person, killing isn't wrong in self-defense. And doing what the TVA does might be more important to serve good, even though it makes us extremely uncomfortable at times.
Ok, I was discussing the first episode with @nemobookaholic , and she pointed out that Mobius was the only "old" character in the TVA , and everyone else working there seems to be like mid thirties.
So here the thing
I have a theory about that ( or at least, and idea of how they could use that in the story, since we where promised a lot of whump!Loki apparently ^^
You know how TVA agent are all supposed to be clones ( in the comics) right? And, well 'time passes differently here on the TVA' ok, so, so is aging I suppose since everybody looks kind of young. But maybe because mobius passes a lot of time 'on field' , so he ages there right? That's why he look older than the real "buraucrats" ..? Anyhow. Because Owen Wilson is way younger than his character, and have natural blond hair that are not grey and all that jazz, I thought about something.
Maybe, at one point, in the story, Mobius will realise that the 'space lizards', and juge renslayer, and every body at the tva are the actual bad guys, and team up with Loki to help him escape or whatever. And because of his betrayal, he will be 'pruned' or killed or reseted with their stick thingy I dont know. And because in canon they are clones, TVA will just pop up a brand new 'young' version of agent mobius, who have not yet studied loki's whole life, who doesn't know him, who hasn't befriended him yet. And just like that, Loki will lose the only ally/friend he had had. And now mobius is on the side of the tva once more !! ^^ Ok it reaaly is unlikely but I really like the idea, maybe someone talented could write that in a fan fiction or something xD idk ;)
Ok that's it, I wanted to share it on a post as well ;)
It's almost painfully obvious that everything coming out of Loki's mouth is a reflection on what basis he was judged, of what he was told he was, of how people interacted him up until now almost exclusively in terms of power - he's voicing his deepest desires, of wanting to be free to make choices and have achievements that are seen as such, and as his...and he doesn't even seem to realise he's sharing that
* not sure where it will go so maybe Moebius will just manipulate him a different way...so not automatically good, but so far has personality growth potential for Loki
(sorry for bad quality, recorded with phone. Mute recommended)
Loki and Mobius walking in a corridor when Loki stops to look out into the TVA city.
Loki: I thought there was not magic here.
Mobious: There isn't.
This seemed odd to me. Come on, Loki... you've been living in a space disk that has been around for thousands of years, on a culture based on interplanetary travel thanks to a big and powerful machine that is the Bifrost, plus you have floating buildings. You must know what technology is capable of!
And then I remembered an old post (sorry I don't know who said it) saying that, for the advanced society that is the asgardians, their warrior culture was... archaic?
They fight with swords and spears (they only use the energy cannons as defense), they don't have/show big spaceships for travel/trade (only the Bifrost and little skiffs), they believe in greatness through battle...
What if the asgardians are not as advanced as we thought? What if they've improved their magic system and left technology development behind?
Didn't Thor said in the first movie
Where I come from, technology and magic are the same thing.
I stand by the fact that Loki's reveling in chaos in the Avengers wasn't in hurting people, or hurting the guy for his eyeball. He wasn't smiling at hurting the guy, he was smiling at seeing the people running around in the chaotic atmosphere. And the movie made it very clear that Loki never hit any civilians with his skiff, he only hit cars. Obviously it was to keep it PG-13, but in Civil War, they said the death count was 150-250? That could not have been all Loki. I don't buy what TVA and Mobius is selling.
Omg. I just realized that Miss Minutes is literally a Clockwork Orange.
I'm pretty sure.
Okay. Hear me out.
Okay. Hear me out.
The more I think about it, the more it's smacking me in the brain that A Clockwork Orange, written by Anthony Burgess, and the Kubrick film starring Malcolm McDowell, is a major source of inspiration for Loki. I wish I could put it more eloquently than that, but I can't right now, probably because of the way my brain is being smacked by the concept. I have a lot of thoughts and I'm going to do my best to distill them into...something.
TW. If you're not familiar with ACO, it's a messed up trip down to messed up town. I'm not necessarily recommending it, because there's a lot of triggery stuff, but it is a work of art.
It's is a dark, DARK satirical commentary on the freedom of man. At one extreme, you have chaos and destruction when man is left to his own devices. At the other extreme, you have governing forces that step in and attempt to control, forcing man to be good. It asks whether we can prevent bad things from happening under any circumstances at all.
And all of this plays out as they attempt to control the most chaotic man on earth by bringing him into custody and reconditioning him. (In ACO, his name is Alex DeLarge.)
Already, I think you see where I'm going with this.
Right, so the TVA is a bureaucratic organization making sure things go the way they're supposed to go. Its focus is on the common good in the sense that they are keeping existence itself in motion. So they claim, anyway. At this point, this is really all we know about them.
Now, the TVA is in no way on the same level as the controlling powers of ACO and the show is not going to go that dark, but Loki has found himself in a situation where he's being asked the same thematic questions: Is he good or bad? What makes him tick?
Or, as ACO asks, How do you make a clockwork orange? "If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.” --Anthony Burgess
Now, there a lot of other similarities between Loki and ACO. The general aesthetic is similar. The music is similar. Both involve a man in custody watching videos.
As of right now, let me restate, I do not think the TVA are necessarily evil and I'm reserving judgment—though I dub Mobius to be a good guy. Like a legit good guy in the sense that he's a good person. But this isn't about Mobius, it's about ACO and the thematic similarities.
TVA might be bad.
But we've got a chaotic guy in custody, we have a controlling organization forcing the common good, and we have questions about whether or not moral good can be anything except freely chosen.
This story is complicated. Not, like, as a plot, not particularly, but philosophically and thematically. It's got that great play of hero against villain that I love about the Loki story in general and that makes it all so divisive and messy. And I love it even more than I did on first watch.
The first time I watched the desert landing scene, I was like, "Wait? What happened to Allspeak?" because the people who live there don't seem to understand him. But on the second watch, I realized it could be a lack of context, rather than a break in translation. These people probably have an even chance of knowing nothing about Norse myth. Like, what if an alien came up to you and said "I am Boogle of Bofgar, I carry a burden"? You would still have questions like "What the hell is a boogle and why are you carrying your shit here?" So the basic dynamic of Allspeak is probably still functioning, and Loki probably understood their questions, but he was still trying to figure out how to answer when he got distracted by the TVA people.
It could even be an innate psychic ability rather than a magical one, as he seems to understand everyone in the TVA, including the man who can't be fluent in all languages like the field agents because he has never heard of a fish and the seemingly nonverbal robot. (Which of course makes me want Loki talking with Dum-E and the other shop bots! But I digress.)
Okay. I want to start talking about the next-level manipulation shit the TVA are pulling on Loki here. Time, as they say, moves differently in the TVA, and one might even assume that they can avoid having to deal with more variants at once than they can handle. And yet we see them dealing with exactly two other troublemakers during Loki's onboarding.
The first, I'm going to call little echo man.
Little echo man is incredibly annoying to Loki, because he does and says everything Loki might find himself inclined to do and say if he wanted to be difficult. Little echo man does these things in little annoying undignified ways, making them look silly and petulant. Little echo man protests and questions and pushes back, in his business suit and his long dark hair and pale skin, and clearly thinks everyone should treat him as important even though every indication is that he is an annoyance and an afterthought.
Perhaps he's a plant, and perhaps he's just a variant of an annoying but predictable regular they see who they lined up at the same time on purpose. But he is on purpose. Everything he does screams directly at Loki, "Don't do this."
We'll get to the second convenient intersection later.
The most obvious layer of manipulation is simply the beraucracy. They put him up against a series of obstacles which he needs to deal with to get anywhere else, and nothing he does can get him past those obstacles except compliance. All of these obstacles have personality, but they are not personable. They treat Loki like a bag of trash they have been tasked with taking to the curb. Annoying, distasteful, but ultimately routine. His silver tongue isn't going to get him anywhere because these people simply don't care.
I think a lot of these he just goes along with to see where it gets him, since at this point he still believes he has his magic in reserve. But the fact that he steps through the robot fryer even though he thinks he might be a robot without knowing (as others have pointed out, he spent thousands of years as a frost giant without knowing it, and he's recently spent time in the control of the being who shaped Nebula) is a testament to how deep they've already got their hooks in him.
They treat the robot fryer like it's routine, but come the next obstacle, they kill little echo man like it's routine, too. Because he didn't comply.
Loki is slowly being ironed flat to thread into their compliance mill.
And then - I love this, because it reminds me of one of my favorites among the multiplicity of Lokis, GoS!Loki - they put this line in as punctuation between the impersonal, compliance, don't phase of their manipulation and everything that comes after it.
When he's set before the judge, someone actually paying some attention to him, this is his chance to use his silver tongue on someone who will listen. But, although the judge listens, she treats him the same as all the other obstacles have - like listening is a distasteful chore she would like to be done with.
So it seems like the perfect moment for a dramatic escape. Except his magic is gone.
"It's not your story," the judge says. "It never was."
That hammers in all the worst things Loki has ever believed about himself - that he stands in the shadows of others, that he will never have the central place he was raised to desire, that he is, and always will be, a villain to be vanquished rather than a person with choices and agency.
Mobius is a big echo.
He draws all the attention in a room. He is everything that Loki wishes to be - he is powerful, informed, prepared, in control. Capable of charming the judge. And most importantly, he is actively interested in Loki.
At this point in Loki's journey - both in the show and in his life - that has to be irresistible.
So Mobius is in a perfect position to wrap Loki right around his pinky finger.
He listens to Loki without shutting him down, the way all the obstacles have. When Loki tells Mobius he's going to burn down the TVA, Mobius suggests a couple of places he might want to start. One concrete, small, mischievous. One an indication that he's open to Loki doing larger, more significant things here in the future.
He shows Loki his own past and future - but carefully edited, to paint a particular picture.
So many echoes, so many reflections - Loki is in a house of mirrors. Lost, disoriented. Distorted one way, then the other. Magnified and examined.
Loki snarks, and Mobius comments, "Makes you sound smart." Affirms Loki for that little mischievous bit of personality.
Mobius shows Loki some of the most terrible things he's done, and questions them. Pushes Loki away from them. Then changes direction before he can get too heavy-handed, to basically fangirl over the DB Cooper adventure. That's mischief. That's good. I like that.
Punishes him for a small infraction, just to remind him who is in control and that even looking threatening could be seen as a problem.
I think it was at about this point that I got hard reminded of the dynamics of the show White Collar. It's a buddy cop show on a basic level and sometimes the relationship can be very sweet, but sometimes Peter spends one too many times reminding Neal that he can send him back to prison any time he wants and the power dynamic shows its messed up edges.
Mobius is part of the machine, and the machine is doing terrible things to Loki, but I have at least a sliver of hope that the relationship could gain more balance - more genuine balance, not based on the faux freedom that Loki has gained by the end of the episode. There's something to be said for making changes to a system from within that system, but for that to be meaningful change, Mobius would have to change as a person.
Anyway, this current nastily powerful Mobius pushes Loki as hard as he can, and then is conveniently interrupted by the actions of another variant, leaving Loki alone with his remote.
It could easily have been on purpose. The only thing Loki learns by escaping that room is that the TVA is more powerful than any force in the universe, in his experience.
Let's talk about the other Loki variant for a minute. It took me until the second viewing to realize the symbolism of leaving a small child the only survivor in a place of worship, then giving her something to turn her blue.
Odin said he found Loki in a temple, in the aftermath of a battle.
It's actually frighteningly easy to imagine how a distraught Loki could get to a place where he feels the need to genuinely burn down the TVA, and kill every agent in it. Because the TVA put certain clips in his little future show, focusing on the death of his mother, the way his own actions affected it, and the futility and brutality of his own death at the hands of Thanos.
They don't show him the destruction of Asgard, his own role in helping save the evacuees, and the way Thanos decimated the population of that transport before it could even reach Earth. They don't show him the devastation of his home or his capacity to do good.
A Loki who knows that the power of the TVA exists and that he has the capacity to be Asgard's heroic savior would do anything to get that power and save his people.
But we haven't met that Loki yet. I'm sure we will, and it's going to be exhilarating.
This Loki is being taught the importance of control over little things, and so when he gets his collar off and onto that guard, he toys with her, just to see that he can. They have been toying with him and it's oh so satisfying to turn the tables. But it's still compliance in its own way, the petty little mischief that Mobius has been steering him towards.
Loki has been given just enough freedom, just enough choices, that it seems like his own choice to watch the rest of the slide show and come to the obvious conclusion - there's no "out" to go to. His life has gone on without him, and ended. And there's really no point in his trying to fix it. No putting things back the way they were.
So he admits to Mobius - the person who has listened hardest, probably, besides his mother - he admits that he is small and scared and lashing out. That he doesn't know what to do.
Of course, this is when Mobius introduces the task the TVA has for Loki - to take down his other self.
Oh, I can't wait for the next episode! I want to know where this is going.
(I've popped in some panels from Loki: Agent of Asgard because it's my favorite and the show is giving me feelings about it.)
[please blacklist spoiler tags: #loki tv series spoilers, #loki series spoilers, #loki spoilers]
I know I have missed a lot of people’s takes and reactions, there’s just - there’s so many. So I’m sorry if I’m inadvertantly repeating anyone or whatnot when I proceed to make my own posts.
Cut for length and spoilers.
Which is a segue into - I feel legitimately concerned, based on how many people are reading the TVA as being the moral authority and/or being on Loki’s side, and Mobius Dick’s interrogation being therapeutic for Loki (and how gross that is), along with an emphasis on ooc-ness for Loki and just overall cracks and fractures in the (what I thought was a) more or less solid episode -
I feel legitimately concerned that I may have wildly misinterpreted, like, everything, up to and including Loki’s characterization. And it’s actually kind of hilarious bc like -
Me: All opinions and interpretations are valid! No worries! Also I’m open-minded! Also I have no issue admitting I’m wrong!
Also me: *feels physically ill at the idea that my interpretation is so very wrong*
I’m not even lying, guys, my stomach is in knots. And I guess it’s because, like - I thought that it was pretty straightforward that the TVA are the antagonists here?? That Mobius isn’t Loki’s friend - he’s Loki’s interrogator and handler bc he needs Loki for his own purposes. That the “single sacred timeline” is not only nonsensical but also kinda fucked up (as Loki rightfully points out).
Like I’m watching these scenes and it doesn’t even occur to me to take the TVA’s word as the correct one here. Why would I? I’m taking Loki’s word as the correct one - Loki, the one who’s calling out everything that is stupid and ridiculous about the concept of the Timekeepers and the TVA, the one who is being scape-goated and is aware of it.
To touch on the ooc-ness of Loki - I mean, the first half of the episode was cringey and ooc, yeah; Loki was too over-the-top and the “comedic” tone didn’t quite land (I’m honestly wondering if Tom’s just not good at comedy? I mean, Betrayal was a genuinely funny play (and heartwrenching) but besides that, I can’t think of anything really comedic that he’s done.) but I’m willing to overlook that because when we got into the second half of the episode, he began to feel much more like the Loki I love.
Historically, Loki has consistently been the one to see the truth for what it really is and either saying or doing something about it. He actively tries to delay Thor’s coronation because he recognizes, when no one else does, that Thor is not ready to be king. He knows that Odin isn’t as righteous and wise as he pretends to be (and, in fact, he knows that Odin is guilty of more than Loki could ever be, and he calls that out too). He sees SHIELD as the farce it is (and possibly knows Hydra has infiltrated it; I headcanon that he knew but just didn’t care bc why would he?), and he sees Earth and the humans in a much more accurate light than Thor could hope to. You lie and kill in the service of liars and killers; the humans slaughter each other in droves while you idly fret. Etc. Here, it’s the clowns are playing their parts to perfection (that’s the only quote I can remember right now).
And I mean, yeah, the narrative has never acknowledged that Loki is right about everything. It’s a huge source of frustration for me bc the narrative continues to be so black-and-white about heroes and villains and, being villain-coded, Loki doesn’t get to be validated no matter how right he is.
But I don’t think that’s the case here. I think, as the protagonist, his word holds a bit more weight. It should, at least, and I personally didn’t see anything that made me think that we shouldn’t consider Loki the authoritative voice in all of this. Loki, not the TVA.
Mobius’s interrogation? Was very clearly cruel and fucked up, to me. The sham of a fake ass trial that Loki had to endure, with the implication being that no one who stands trial is actually getting a fair trial bc the TVA has no intention of judging anyone not guilty? Fucked up, with horrifying implications. The process of deleting people from existence being literally as detached and soulless as a trip to the DMV (complete with tickets!)? Very disturbing. Like, none of these things are the traits that I would look at and say, hmm, yeah, these guys seem legit and totally correct about everything, too bad for Loki.
And Loki’s reactions to Mobius - his frustration, his defiance, and his eventual emotional breakdown (which we only saw when Loki was completely alone) all felt accurate to me. Again, there were a lot of over the top aspects of Tom’s performance here but I think what makes me more willing to overlook them is that, in general, we’re getting a more animated Loki than we’ve gotten to see him before, in a way that feels true to him as opposed to whatever was going on with him in Ragnarok.
He’s not in the middle of a mental breakdown/identity crisis. He’s not being mind-controlled anymore (or influenced). He’s not being villain-coded while Thor is propped up as the hero and the ideal which, to me, means that we are actually getting to see Loki’s personality when all of that is taken away and the only thing he’s got left is himself. It’s a really shitty situation and I hate that he’s in it, but after the initial exaggerated reactions, his response to it worked for me.
So - yeah. And now I’m like, biting my nails and my stomach is in knots bc I thought I knew Loki and I had a comfortable idea of Loki, and I thought I was more or less decent at interpreting things - but, so, clearly there were things happening and being picked up on that just whooshed right over my head bc it never occurred to me to be on the lookout for them in the first place. Does that make sense? I don’t even know what I’m saying.
Just - I am really, really doubting my own perception of what this series is attempting to do with Loki and it does not feel good at all. So I guess ultimately I am not capable of putting my money where my mouth is and treating all interpretations as valid, when it comes to myself. (I didn’t realize I was that far up my own ass so as to speak confidently about validity while telling myself that my idea is pretty correct.) Soo there we are.
Idk if I even want to post this but it’s time for me to clock out now so, for better or for worse, *hits post button*