From the minute Episode 1 starts, “Loki” is making something very clear: This will be an in-depth dive into what makes the God of Mischief tick. This is the version of the character who was apprehended just after the events of “The Avengers,” after all, so he hasn’t had the huge redemption arc through “Thor: The Dark World,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and “Avengers: Infinity War” that audiences have witnessed so far.
So, when the TVA picks Loki up in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, he’s not exactly cooperative. Which makes it pretty fun when one of the Hunters (Wunmi Mosaku) knocks him out in slow-motion, before carting him off to the TVA’s headquarters and resetting the timeline with a device called a reset charge. When Loki arrives at the TVA’s offices, he’s constantly trying to fight them off and escape. His selfish, manipulative nature bleeds through every single conversation he has, no matter who he’s speaking to. And later, when Judge Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is sentencing Loki for his crimes against the timeline, he’s still trying to worm his way out of the situation and pass the blame on to someone else. It’s classic Loki.
But the TVA constantly refers to our hero as “Variant L1130,” because it’s important to remember that the series isn’t following the main version of Loki, the one who died at Thanos’ hands in Avengers: Infinity War. When the Hunters used their reset charge in Mongolia, they closed the new timeline branch Loki created when he escaped with the Tesseract. However, it’s not entirely clear just how far the effects of reset charge go. As Judge Ravonna tells Loki during his “trial,” the Avengers were supposed to go back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones — meaning their disruptions of the timeline are Timekeeper-approved. Just how far back did this particular repair of the timeline go?
Regardless of the overall effects of the reset charge, thanks to the intervention of Agent Mobius, this mischievous Loki variant is allowed to live … for now, at least.