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Loki Had The TVA Figured Out Just Minutes Into Season 1

It's easy to dismiss Loki (Tom Hiddleston) as a simple god of mischief. However, Season 1 of his self-titled series on Disney+ proves that breaking the rules and questioning authority is a virtue. In "Avengers: Endgame" — during events that canonically take place in the first "Avengers" installment — Loki uses the Tesseract to escape the clutches of SHIELD. Unfortunately, as Episode 1 of "Loki" reveals, his quest for freedom is short-lived as he encounters agents of the Time Variance Authority, who inform him that he's a variant who's committed crimes against the Sacred Timeline. But not everything is as it seems — and Loki appears to know this from the get-go.

Throughout "Loki" Season 1, we're led to believe that the TVA is an organization that's led by powerful beings known as the Time-Keepers to maintain order. Its purpose is to regulate all timelines for the greater good of the universe, and that means zapping variants who stray from their predetermined paths.

That said, Loki believes that the TVA is one big lie that stands in the way of free will, and he isn't wrong. Episode 1 seemingly telegraphs the truths that come to light in the Season 1 finale, proving that we should trust the mischievous Norse god's judgment whenever he's suspicious of the universe's most powerful institutions.

Loki's prescient assessment of the TVA

Twenty-nine minutes into the premiere episode, as he's in the interrogation room with TVA agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), Loki says, "I know what this place is," and despite having only been held by the TVA a relatively short time at this point, Loki manages an impressive summation of his captors.

"What is it?" Mobius says in response.

"It's an illusion; it's a cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear," Loki answers, gesturing toward Mobius. "A desperate attempt at control. You all parade about as if you're the divine arbiters of power in the universe."

"We are," Mobius says with confidence.

"You're not," Loki rebuts. "My choices are my own."

"Your choices are your own, good, let's go with that," Mobius replies, just before pulling up footage of Loki in Stuttgart, Germany, from the first "Avengers" film. "I think this one's going to fire you up," Mobius concludes, thereby derailing Loki's epiphany.

Loki does respond, but he continues down the well-trod path of ego. In the eyes of this Loki variant, this footage is super relevant — and recent — and speaking down to the people of Stuttgart about the illusion of freedom is part of the ascent he still thinks is his destiny.

If only he had the wisdom of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) from "Doctor Strange," the same wisdom she imparts to that film's title character: "It's not about you." Had Loki kept his thoughts focused on the TVA, he might have figured out even more about the mysterious organization currently holding him secure.

Loki's description of the TVA is accurate

Mobius showing Loki footage of his non-variant future, including being taken to an Asgardian prison cell in shackles and the death of his adoptive mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) — events that take place in "Thor: The Dark World" — drives all concern about the nature of the TVA from the god of mischief's head. Who could blame him? He's just seen what he's being told was supposed to be his future, events he's told do actually take place in a reality that is supposed to exist, including the death of one of the only people he actually loves.

As it is, Loki does manage a practical description of the TVA before Mobius goes all "Inception" on him. While he doesn't know the full backstory — because, how could he? — calling it an illusion is accurate, as is saying it's a "desperate attempt at control." What Loki gets wrong is the motivation — the TVA is not a "cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear"; instead, it's a cruel, elaborate trick conjured by the all-powerful to create order.

He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), whom viewers meet in the "Loki" Season 1 finale, uses the TVA as a method of staving off his multiversal selves, pulling the strings behind the scenes in order to keep the peace, in his eyes. He Who Remains, a variant of 31st-century scientist Nathaniel Richards, has pulled the wool over the eyes of reality itself in order to keep all of his fellow variants at bay, those like Kang the Conqueror in "Ant-Man: Quantumania."

We can consider the TVA part of a stalemate or pyrrhic victory for He Who Remains, but without the benefit of the inciting events, Loki does recognize what it is on its face: a means to an end.