How would you describe a typical production from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? If we asked all of you that question, I’m sure the answer would be something along the lines of, “It’s action-packed and visually-entertaining, but it’s shallow and follows a familiar script.” There are exceptions to this rule (Infinity War is a great example), but that description is generally spot on. Superficially stimulating? Sure. Profoundly satisfying? Hardly.
Enter season 1 of Loki, Marvel’s recent 6-part TV series on Disney+ following the God of Mischief’s latest exploits. After stealing the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) finds himself as a prisoner of the Time Variance Authority (TVA), an outside-of-time organization whose job is to bring order to the universe by preventing “time variants” (such as Loki) from disrupting the “Sacred Timeline.” Under the watchful eye of Agent Mobius (played by Owen Wilson), Loki must help the TVA capture another variant who has been wreaking havoc on the Sacred Timeline.
It’s a fascinating plot, and it’s execution is extraordinary. The show is hilarious, weird, thrilling, surprising, sad, contemplative, moving. Those are just a few qualities that come to mind, and any given episode could span the full range of these qualities. On more than one occasion, the show moved me from full-on laughter to deep contemplation to heartfelt emotion in a matter of minutes. As you can imagine, the show centers around Loki’s development, which we’ll discuss in a little more detail.
“The Lord God said: It is not good for the man to be alone.” – Genesis 2:18
From the beginning of time, the Lord declared His design—we’re not meant to be alone. Throughout his appearances in the MCU, Loki constantly rejects this truth. As the adopted son of the King and Queen of Asgard and Thor’s adopted brother, he’s always thought of himself as the “forgotten son.” In fact, his previous villainous actions frequently stem from his belief that he’ll always be alone.
At the series’ beginning, it’s the same ol’ Loki—he uses lies and deception to achieve his selfish goals, bringing himself into further isolation. Surprisingly, though, we see Loki’s heart begin to soften, particularly through his friendship with Mobius and his developing relationship with Sylvie (played by Sophia Di Martino).
In a revealing scene toward the conclusion of the series, we see Loki and Sylvie (who has some issues with loneliness herself) sharing a few moments together before they’re about to embark upon their ensuing mission. They’re discussing what they’re going to do after the mission is over. Neither one seems to know. The following dialogue ensues:
LOKI: “Maybe…we could figure it out…together.”
SYLVIE: (Brief pause) “Maybe.”
Here we see the lie clearly melting from Loki’s (and Sylvie’s) heart. Loki is beginning to accept the truth: “It is not good to be alone, and in fact, I’m not meant to be alone.”
In the season’s climactic sequence, Loki’s interior battle comes to a head. Loki essentially declares his love to Sylvie and his desire to be with her, but in a shocking moment, she rejects him. Before Loki can react, Sylvie uses a special device to send him away, into a different period of time and space.
But here’s the transformative moment for Loki. After this scene, Loki is sitting by himself in a room where Sylvie has transported him. He’s sitting there silently, clearly in pain from Sylvie’s rejection. One would expect Loki to revert back to isolation and go back to his old ways here. You can almost hear his interior voice pierce the silence: “I tried to reject isolation, and look what happened. I’m alone again. I’m meant to be alone.”
But that’s not what he does. He suddenly gets up and returns to the mission at hand. You can see the determination return to his face. Loki, in the decisive moment, finally rejects the lie of isolation. We see that he now realizes that for which he’s made: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Although, at face value, it’s not the typical “happy ending,” it’s a powerful conclusion to the season. Despite what you might be experiencing today—isolation due to COVID, broken relationships, etc.—you’re not meant to be alone. From the beginning, God made it so. Good news, if I’ve ever heard any!
Sure, season 1 of Loki is not perfect. But you heard it here first—it’s the MCU’s best-ever production.