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The Dangers and Blessings of Free Will in Loki Ep 1

Each week, as new episodes of Loki release on Disney+, LTN writers will reflect on each episode. You can find what we think about the Sacred Timeline here.

Loki follows the eponymous God of Mischief from the moment of his escape during Avengers: Endgame into a fascinating new realm the Marvel Cinematic Universe has never seen before. Loki is apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA for short), who oversees the maintenance and protection of the Sacred Timeline—one continuous string of events that is supposed to happen. Time travel and alternate possibilities have long been a staple in many comic book stories, but this is the first time since Endgame’s release where we see a direct focus on it.

Loki, seeing himself as a god and above such notions as having one’s fate predetermined for him in a planned series of events, scoffs at his current predicament. He sneers at Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius that his capture by the TVA is but a momentary detour on his ascent to the throne. This is where we get what I think was the meatiest part of this episode, the back and forth between Loki’s view on how everything in life works, and Mobius’ reactions and counterarguments.

This plays out by showing Loki all of his significant life choices (at least the ones the audience may remember seeing on the big screen), many of which include killing and inflicting pain on others. Mobius questions him if he enjoys hurting other people to get what he wants, but Loki dances around the question until the very end of the episode where he becomes much more vulnerable. He admits that he doesn’t like hurting others, but feels as though he’s always had to in order to survive.

Loki claims in this episode that freedom is life’s greatest illusion and that without it we wouldn’t suffer any pain from our mistakes and the wrong turns that we make. It turns out that he knows this better than most, as it becomes clear that deep down, he does want to be loved for who he is, despite all the mistakes he’s made in his life. Loki’s character development throughout the MCU has been fascinating, and I have no doubt that this series will continue to find new and interesting ways to explore his story.

Free will and making choices are a part of what makes the human experience the way that it is. We get to choose what to have for breakfast, where to go for college, who we spend our time with, and so many others that the idea of making a choice sounds so mundane. When we, or someone, make the ‘wrong’ choice and end up hurting someone, we sometimes ponder if having the opportunities to make our own choices is even worth all of this pain and its consequences.

Mobius shows Loki that his actions helped create the Avengers, bringing out the best in a lost group of people so that they could save others. Even Loki gradually had the best brought out, through his relationship with Thor over the films, which culminated in Loki’s sacrifice to try to save Thor and his people from Thanos’ grasp. The Loki in this series may not have been able to experience all of that for himself, but it’s apparent that the desire for redemption still exists in him, and he may just yet have a chance to receive that himself. We may have a chance for redemption too, no matter what we’ve done or who we’ve hurt. Our choices may have brought out the best in others even if they were ‘wrong,’ but they can lead us to redemption and blessings as well.

The Loki in this series may not have been able to experience all of that for himself, but it’s apparent that the desire for redemption still exists in him, and he may just yet have a chance to receive that himself.

Andrea is a dyslexia teacher who enjoys gaming, reading, playing with her pugs, and always learning something new about the world around her. Follower her on Twitter @AndreaR56 to get new insights on games, films, among other things.

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