Loki is the latest offering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mabatha-Raw and Eugene Cordero.
It introduces us to the Time Variance Authority (TVA), which is an organisation formed by the 3 Timekeepers to ensure the right flow of time. This right flow of time is referred to as The Sacred Timeline. Any discrepancy to the Sacred Timeline is called a Nexus which then creates a branch in the Sacred Timeline. This can lead to the existence of a Multiverse which is dangerous due to the many timelines present. The people who create these branches are called Variants. The TVA also punishes Variants, the people whose actions set off a new timeline. And Loki is one such Variant, because he has stolen the Tesseract during Avengers Endgame (for all of us), but it is still 2012 for Loki.
The whole concept of the TVA is explained in a video that looks like those cutesy YouTube tutorial videos. The TVA is really a fun place. No magic whatsoever works over there, you have objects that look cute but perform menacing actions, they collect your temporal aura, you gotta sign on papers that contain all that you have ever said, you have Time Twisters and equipment that can slow down time to parts of a second and inflict pain. There is even a department called Nightmares.
One thing I understand now is that the Back to the Future movies have given us a primitive understanding of the concept of time travel. Because when a person goes to the past to change the present, the past becomes the present and the previous present no longer exists. Whew, writing it down itself seems like a mental exercise. Let me try and explain myself better.
MCU works differently in time travel. When there is an aberration in the actual timeline, you branch off into a new timeline creating another such timeline. A collection of these multiple timelines gives rise to a Multiverse which is well, madness. The concept of the Multiverse is derived from Quantum Physics which states that the existence of Parallel Universes that operate during the same time.
The events of Loki Season 1 happen after the Endgame where Loki gets hold of the Tesseract due to a goof up of plans by AntMan and Iron Man. In the original 2012 Avengers, Loki is caught and then taken back to Asgard by Thor. But due to the events in Endgame, he creates a Nexus, creates a new branch in the timeline and ends up in TVA.
The Avengers are not considered to be Variants though as after the entire Time Heist, at the end of Endgame, Captain America goes back and replaces all the Infinity Stones in their original timelines. So, The Sacred Timeline is restored.
Coming back to the episode, Agent Mobius (Wilson) enlists Loki's help to catch another Variant who is terrorizing the people and muddling up the timelines. This Variant is ....... Loki. This foreshadowing is in Agent Mobius' introductory scene. The kid points to the wall painting of a Demon with horns when Mobius asks him who murdered the people in the church. Catching this Variant is not the Glorious Purpose Loki envisaged of, but it is still a purpose nevertheless.
Loki catching different Variants of Loki is going to be the main plot of the show. How did these Variants come about? How it will it affect the other timelines? Will Loki be able to catch his own Variants before the new timelines reach the Red Mark? These are the questions that Loki will aim to answer.
Tom Hiddleston is in usual smashing form. His expressions when he finds an item he has coveted his entire life are pure gold. The series in my opinion will play out in a buddy comedy style between Loki and Mobius, with Judge Renslayer (Mabatha-Raw) playing spoilsport. Oh and there is a hat tip to Schrodinger's cat too.
The show has lots of promise. Let's see how it pans out.