Following the great popularity of both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios had a lot to live up to with Loki. Fortunately, the Kate Herron-directed time-traveling crime thriller successfully delivered on everything it promised, changing the course of the MCU forever.
Unlike the studio's past episodic ventures, Loki has already been renewed for a second season, meaning the story is far from over. But for now, fans have been left with six episodes of adrenaline-pumping magical action, timeline-hopping escapades, and some of the MCU's best character work yet.
While every episode certainly has its own merits, some stand out among the pack as the best of the best. With Loki's first season now concluded, The Direct ranks the six episodes from the worst to the best.
After two energetically fast-paced opening episodes, Loki slows things down a little for a more character-driven chapter with “Lamentis.” Pulling Loki away from the TVA for an episode to hang out with Sylvie on an alien planet nearing its apocalyptic destruction allows the Variants to bond in a way that is critical to the series' remaining episodes.
Taking inspiration from icons of the sci-fi genre such as Doctor Who, the overall storyline is a simple one — the two Lokis are stranded on another planet and need to find a way to escape in a limited timeframe.
“Lamentis” features what could be considered one of the series' most memorable sequences as the Variants sneak onto a train in a bid to escape the planet on an evacuation vessel. Seeing a drunk God of Mischief singing Asgardian songs along with a bar full of people before taking on a group of armed guards is about as Loki as it gets.
Beyond that, the heavy emphasis on dialogue leads to some interesting revelations including Sylvie's backstory, the Variant nature of the TVA's agents, and even Loki's bisexuality finally being acknowledged. The major step towards LGBTQIA+ representation in the MCU became a big talking point among fans for some time.
It's moments that the characters share that make this episode solid, but unfortunately, the great moments are too padded with mediocre ones for it to shine above the rest.
Just as the engine should be revving going into the penultimate episode, the series takes some time for a fun and light-hearted story with lots of Lokis, but it simply comes at the wrong time.
Generally, the concept of Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief awakening in a mysterious reality surrounded by a whole spectrum of Loki Variants is a solid one. Taken as a standalone story, “Journey Into Mystery” is one of the series' most fun episodes.
The Loki-centric episode thrives in its deep exploration of each of the many Asgardian Variants that appear throughout the story — with the Classic, Alligator, and President Lokis quickly turning into viral fan-favorites.
Unfortunately, as a piece of a larger puzzle, the story lacks the adrenaline and significance needed to serve as a fitting predecessor to the series' conclusion. Despite feeling like meandering filler at times, it ultimately sets the stage for a grand and ambitious finale in the final minutes, making it a crucial chapter in the overall story.
The Glorious Purpose of Loki's series premiere is to establish its key characters, build the world of the TVA, and set the stage for the plot to come. Fortunately, all three of these elements are balanced just right to create the perfect opening to the MCU's time-traveling crime thriller.
Tom Hiddleston's titular anti-hero is given more character development and exploration within this premiere episode alone than his last ten years in the MCU, perfectly demonstrating the potential of Disney+. The bond built between the Asgardian God and Owen Wilson's Mobius within this episode alone leads to a heartwarming dynamic, reflecting the genius casting behind the series.
Following up on Loki's escape in Avengers: Endgame, writer Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron cleverly plot the God of Mischief on a new course in the MCU. After Phase 4's reveal left many fans questioning the need for Loki to exist, the creative team behind the project did an excellent job of proving the haters wrong right from the get-go.
Loki was initially pitched to fans as a time-traveling crime thriller set in the MCU, starring a pre-redemption version of Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief. "The Variant" excellently delivers on the crime-centric element of the series better than any other installment as Loki and Mobius go on the hunt for a Variant on a murderous rampage.
The buddy-cop friendship dynamic between the Asgardian and the TVA analyst is played better than ever within the second installment as they bond over many hours of hard work, and tough problems.
Additionally, "The Variant" continues to iterate on the world-building of the series premiere by offering viewers a look at the average operation of the TVA investigating a case, but with Loki right in the center of it all.
Having gone through an episode full of investigating, the moment when Loki inevitably solves the case in a callback to Thor: Ragnarok is an exciting and satisfying one. The confrontation of the murderous Asgardian Variant, later named Sylvie, made for a sinister sequence that was concluded with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.
While Loki's premiere introduced viewers to its characters and the world of the TVA, the second installment makes the audience fall in love with everything that the Disney+ series is.
Ever since the first trailer for Loki, Marvel fans had been closely analyzing every inch of the Disney+ series in search of clues for who was truly behind the TVA. Speculation ranged from safe picks like an evil Loki Variant to the debut of Johnathon Majors' Kang the Conqueror.
Given the intense discussion that led to the reveal, delivering on the anticipation seemed like an impossible task, and yet the team behind Loki somehow pulled it off. The introduction of Kang, or at least a version of him, elevates the finale massively due to Majors' award-worthy performance that ought to raise every viewer's anticipation for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
If the episode has one drawback, it's the over-reliance on exposition, since most of the finale's story is told from across two sides of a desk at the end of time. At times, these moments may grow somewhat tiresome to casual viewers, but hardcore fans and comic readers will be left drooling from all the doors Loki has just opened to the MCU.
Despite being fairly light on action, Marvel Studios delivered an adrenaline-pumping finale with “For All Time. Always” that answers the series' deepest questions satisfyingly. With a second season on the way, the climactic episode raises just as many new questions as it answers in an ending that will leave every viewer anxiously awaiting the next batch of stories with the God of Mischief.
Amongst six glorious episodes of television, “The Nexus Event” stands out as the best episodic release from Marvel yet. From the minute the story begins, fans are treated to a series of shocking twists and turns all the way to the end, played out perfectly by the top-tier acting talent of the show.
As Tom Hiddleston promised before the series even began, Episode 4 is really where Loki shoots into a totally unexpected direction, yet it accomplishes this in a way that still feels natural and earned.
With the truth finally out about the sinister evil behind the TVA, Owen Wilson and Wunmi Mosaku play their parts to perfection as they react to the shocking betrayal. Meanwhile, Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Judge Renslayer seamlessly transitions from the hard-nosed TVA boss to an outright villain that viewers will love to hate.
Additionally, “The Nexus Event” delivered one of the most jaw-dropping endings of the entire MCU as the Time-Keepers were revealed as fake and the series' main characters, Loki and Mobius, were pruned from the timeline
Everything about Loki's fourth episode ought to leave viewers excited for what's to come across the final two episodes as the series builds towards its dramatic conclusion.
IS LOKI MARVEL'S BEST DISNEY+ SHOW YET?
Despite being six pieces of one cohesive puzzle, every episode of Loki stands out with its own unique flavor, something which kept the series feeling fresh the whole way through.
From its memorable cast of characters to the reality-altering events, Loki is truly one of Marvel's most ingenious creations yet, and one that is sure to be remembered for years to come.
Arguably, the crime thriller is Marvel's most consistently brilliant Disney+ venture yet, as even the worst episodes are still glorious. Beyond that, some may go as far as to rank it above many of the blockbuster films that have come before it to be amongst the best the MCU has to offer.
All six episodes of Loki are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.