WARNING: This is a discussion about Loki season 1 and will contain SPOILERS for both the tv show and the MCU as a whole.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe making the jump into television series just might be the best thing that has happened to me as a comic book fan. What I care about most in tv is always character, and tv shows offer enough screen time for the character moments to really shine.
Starting with WandaVision (one of my favorite shows of all time), going straight into Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which was a great intro to Sam Wilson’s Captain America, and now Marvel Studios Loki – every new entry has been fantastic and really delved into each character.
One of my favorite things about the MCU was that it kind of felt like a tv show – every trip to the movie theater was a new episode, all leading up to the explosive events of Avengers: Endgame. And I think every fan was wondering where the MCU could possibly go from there.
What Makes a Loki a Loki?
The God of Mischief is a fan favorite character in the Marvel universe, and one of my personal favorites. His journey from 2011’s Thor, all the way up to his demise in Avengers: Infinity War was one of the best character arcs of the series. Honestly, I was a bit trepidatious when they announced the new show. Did I really want to see a new Loki that didn’t go through that journey? Were they asking me to fall in love with a completely new character?
I am glad to say that my fears were completely unfounded. Loki is not a normal superhero (or antihero? Villain?) tv show. Loki delves deep into the titular character’s psyche, explores identity, and asks the question – what does it mean to be a Loki? This question was posed multiple times in the series, and got a few different answers.
Every episode of Loki made the normally mundane Wednesday morning a celebration. I’d never before been excited to go to sleep on a Tuesday night. And in honor of that, I am breaking down and ranking my favorite characters from season 1 of Loki.
(I’m so glad I can say “season 1” now that season 2 has been confirmed! Best end credits ever.)
13. Ravonna Renslayer
I have a complicated relationship with Ravonna Renslayer. I love any in-charge female character, a description that I don’t think anyone would begrudge her. But she remained a TVA bureaucrat through and through, even after finding out that the Time-Keepers weren’t real. What will she do when she finds a Kang variant? Did she always know the entire TVA was composed of variants that were stolen from their lives? Isn’t she at all curious about her own real life? Is there a redemption arc in the works for her? I hope so.
12. Kid Loki
Kid Loki. The version of Loki that considered the Void to be his home, and was anointed the leige among other Loki’s. Honestly, he kind of broke my heart – he knew that Loki’s were sent to the void when they tried to be anything but a villain.
I’d love to see more Kid Loki – and with Billy and Tommy from WandaVision, the upcoming Ms. Marvel and Ironheart, and Cassie Lang… I think we’re getting the Young Avengers. Which means MORE Kid Loki!
11. Boastful Loki
Boastful Loki was fantastic and kind of what I wanted to see in a variant Loki. He embodied what we expect from a Loki – I want to see if there’s more to him. There’s ALWAYS more to a Loki.
10. President Loki
I love a redeemed villain, and Tom Hiddleston plays a soft Loki perfectly, but sometimes we all need to villain-out, and President Loki gave that to us. Unabashedly evil and pretty hilarious. Tom Hiddleston obviously had a lot of fun playing this character – and I had a lot of fun watching him.
9. Miss Minutes
Played by voice-acting legend Tara Strong, Miss Minutes was a lot of fun and had a lot of heart.
But really, was anyone not suspicious of this little clock lady? She was clearly up to something shady the moment she appeared on screen, and then she jump-scared everyone in the final episode.
“Welcome to the citadel at the end of time” will never not give me nightmares.
8. Alligator Loki
Do I need to say more? A legend if there ever was one. Possibly the best Loki variant?
WHY THE HELL IS THERE AN ALLIGATOR IN HERE?!
Casey is emblematic of the entire problem with the TVA – we see how dismissive the Minute Men are of him, and no one even cared when he was almost pruned, or when Loki threatened him. An off-hand line that was a bit heartbreaking was “I’ve spent my entire life behind a desk.” The TVA literally kidnapped these people and left them to work in a dangerous environment every moment of their lives, with seemingly no life or compensation outside of work, and then lied to them about it, while filling their heads with dogma.
I really wanted to see more of Casey, and I hope he returns in season 2. Will he play a part in taking down the TVA? He was clearly tired of their shenanigans.
6. Classic Loki
Classic Loki gave me the biggest cry of the season. Now that I’m doing more entertainment articles, you all will learn about me: I cry over tv A LOT. Like a lot. And when Classic Loki conjured an illusion of Asgard… When he sacrificed himself as his own “glorious purpose”… Classic Loki. For all time. Always.
5. Hunter B-15
Hunter B-15 went on a JOURNEY. She went from pruning any Loki on sight to teaming up with Sylvie, Loki, and Mobius to take down the TVA. When she looked into her past memories and said “I seemed happy.” Oh my god. I need to stop before I cry again. A wonderful performance by Wunmi Mosaku. Hunter B-15 is a badass of the first degree, and I will hear nothing against her.
Mobius M. Mobius works as a character due in large part to the charm and likability of Owen Wilson. Not everyone can make a bureaucrat loyal to the TVA and mystical Time-Keeper gods into a sympathetic character, but it’s impossible not to love Agent Mobius from the first moment he’s on screen. The TVA seems downright cultish at first, with all their talk of “the sacred timeline” but Mobius sells it.
His relationships with Ravonna and Loki demonstrate just how heartfelt he is – yes, he is loyal to the TVA and the Time-Keepers, but he doesn’t believe in pruning unless its absolutely necessary, and he cares deeply for his friends. He is a loyal person, but his loyalty lies with people, not organizations. His morals out-weighed any kind of TVA propaganda, and the moment he learned the truth, he was ready to fight back. He’s very perceptive, has a great intuition, and his friendship with Loki was one of the highlights of the show.
And honestly, is there any person that doesn’t want Agent Mobius to find his real life that was stolen from him? To see him on his jet ski? Is there any one among us who didn’t cry when he got pruned, and cheer when he returned? I think not.
I never expected the MCU could pull off another Thanos-level villain. Honestly, I never expected them to even attempt it. But I’m here to say that Kang the Conqueror is already my favorite Marvel baddie. He is scary in a way that Thanos NEVER was, and Jonathan Majors blew me away with his performance. I can’t wait for more of him – will he be in Ant Man?! Doctor Strange?! Jonathan Majors as Kang could show up anywhere and I’d be here for it.
Is there anything I can say about Tom Hiddleston’s Loki that hasn’t already been said? Can I possibly put into words how his character journey from 2011’s Thor up until the end of this series has been some of the best?
I think a lot of people, including myself, were rightfully cautious when this was announced. Loki died in Infinity War, and this show was about a variant that escaped immediately about the Battle of New York. A tv show with a Loki who didn’t experience losing his mother? Losing his father? All of Ragnarok? After watching Loki turn to his brother and say “The sun will shine on us again”, I simply wasn’t interested in going backwards.
And that is why I never doubt Marvel. By the end of the first episode, Loki was in tears as he watched the events of his life, and how it ends. His goals in the first few episodes seem in line with the Loki of earlier MCU movies; power, authority, respect. Stripping people of their choice and deferring all power to him.
But by the final episode, he puts into words what we’ve all known from the beginning: he never wanted those things. A throne was never truly what Loki wanted – if the Avengers weren’t there and he took over New York, that would not have been Loki’s happy ending.
No, what Loki has always wanted, from the very first Thor movie, is love.
Loki and Sylvie
Loki in the Loki series gave us something that the MCU has been desperately lacking: a romance. The MCU has some love stories, but they are never the focus, and they never drive the story (Wanda and Vision had a background love story, and it only came to the forefront after his death.)
Loki is ABOUT the relationship between Loki and Sylvie. She is the reason why he went from rampaging about overthrowing the Time-Keepers, to his final admission: “I just want you to be okay.” And even without the romance, what did Loki say in episode 5? “I think we’re stronger than we realize.” Falling in love with a variant of himself is a thinly-veiled metaphor for self-love. For believing in and learning to love himself, while still selflessly caring for someone else.
Sylvie is the superior Loki variant, and I could just end this right there cause we all agree, but I’m gonna get into it.
Taken (literally kidnapped) by the TVA from her home as an actual little child, and she immediately stole a tempad and ran off. Learned how to enchant completely by herself. Learned that she can hide in apocalypses without being detected. She lived her entire life at the end of the world – surrounded by death and chaos. Just imagine living like that for a moment – everyone she meets is destined to die within the day, and if they don’t, she sets off a nexus event by saving them. Of course she doesn’t trust! Of course she is scared of feeling anything for Loki!
In the midst of all this, she formed her own identity. She took on the name Sylvie and chooses not to be “a Loki” because she is not just Loki, or the trickster, or the Goddess of Mischief – she is her own person. She won’t be beholden to the “Sacred Timeline” or it’s idea of what a Loki needs to be.
What makes Sylvie a Loki?
The show consistently asks the same question: What makes a Loki a Loki? We got a few different answers. “Independence, authority, and style”, “survival”, and the most heartbreaking answer to that question was Sylvie’s: “Do you think what makes a Loki a Loki is the fact that we’re destined to lose?”
Every time a Loki attempts to improve themselves, or has a moment of happiness, the TVA arrests them. Loki and Sylvie had one moment of connection and it caused a nexus event. But Sylvie takes her life and destiny into her own hands.
Kang offered them everything they wanted. A place on the Sacred Timeline together. And Sylvie denied it because she decides who she is, and she won’t be beholden to someone else. Sylvie is the best Loki variant because she doesn’t come up with a Loki definition and try to fit into it – she just is who is she is.
For all time. Always.