Follow TV Tropes


Series / Loki (2021)

Go To

Spoilers for all Marvel Cinematic Universe works preceding it will be left unmarked.
Loki’s time has come.note 

"You ridiculous bureaucrats will not dictate how my story ends!"

Loki is a superhero Science Fantasy thriller / Fantastic Noir series spinoff of the Thor film franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The series is the 26th overall entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 3rd installment of the MCU's Phase 4, and the 3rd live-action series to be developed by Marvel Studios for Disney+. Michael Waldron serves as showrunner, while Kate Herron (Sex Education) directed the entire first season with Tom Hiddleston himself serving as an executive producer.

Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the series follows the Alternate Universe Loki (Tom Hiddleston) note , who escaped with the Tesseract/Space Stone after the Battle of New York. He gets arrested, then forcibly recruited, by the Time Variance Authority, an organization that exists outside of the flow of time and is dedicated to preserving the Sacred Timeline, to help them stop another version of himself that's been antagonizing and massacring their agents, who could potentially threaten reality itself if left unchecked. If that sounds a little confusing, don't worry: Loki's just as confused. But he's determined to turn this to his advantage.

At least until he manages to track down his evil variant. Then things get even more complicated.

Other cast members include Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius, Gugu Mbatha Raw as Judge Renslayer, Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie Laufeydottir/The Variant, Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Tara Strong as the voice of Miss Minutes, Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20, Eugene Cordero as Casey, Rafael Casal as Hunter X-05/Brad Wolfe, Kate Dickie as General Dox, Nelly Ellice as Hunter D-90 and Ke Huy Quan as Ouroboros "O.B.". Richard E. Grant and Jonathan Majors guest star.

The first season made its debut on Disney+ on June 9, 2021, airing for six episodes through July 14. Additionally, the first season is being treated as the second part of a spiritual tetralogy with WandaVision, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with the events of the season finale helping to set up the events of the latter two. It also links directly to What If…? and sets up plotlines of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

A second season was announced at the end of the first season finale, and premiered on October 5, 2023, making it the first live-action Marvel Studios series for Disney+ to have a multi-season run.note  Kate Herron did not return as director for the second season, having only been committed to the first season; Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Dan DeLeeuw and Kasra Farahani took over directing duties. Upon its completion, the second season was revealed to be the last for the show by writer Eric Martin, who stated that the show was always planned to be a two-season story. However, the TVA's story will continue in 2024's Deadpool & Wolverine.

Previews: Teaser. Season 1 Trailer Season 2 Trailer

Loki contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes A-F 
  • The '70s:
    • For whatever reason, the dominant aesthetic of the TVA is based on styles from the 1970s, from its decor to its tech.
    • This show also reveals that Loki was the one behind the D.B. Cooper incident in 1971, having taken the alias and pulled off the heist after losing an unspecified bet with Thor.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • At the end of the second episode, Sylvie manages to bomb the Sacred Timeline with hundreds of Reset Bombs, causing a panic in the TVA as the timeline branches frantically. By the time we catch up with the TVA again in the fourth episode, everything is back to normal. Justified, though: the point of the bombs was to create a panic and get all the TVA agents and hunters out pruning branches, leaving the Time-Keepers vulnerable. It works perfectly, but Loki gets in the way and stops the assassination attempt. The TVA is functionally infinite, after all: they can handle a little crisis.
    • Downplayed with the season one finale's massive cliffhanger, as season two's opening episode manages to resolve the whole debacle in regards to Loki not being remembered by the TVA staff — not only was Loki sent back to the past, but he ends up "timeslipping" between the past, present and even future for the first episode's runtime. He is then cured of it by the end, effectively resolving the most notable plot thread from the cliffhanger (while introducing the concept of timeslipping, which may or may not be reused later on) However, because of Loki timeslipping into the future, it manages to set up a plot point for the rest of the season, as the TVA showcased there has been ruined to bits, and Sylvie is also apparently there, trying to stop the person responsible for it's destruction.
  • Absurdism: In the beginning, Loki is apprehended by a massive bureaucratic organization, the TVA. The Kafkaesque processing he then goes through is initially Played for Laughs, with him having to take a ticket for a waiting queue in an empty room, to interact with a robot that nullifies his clothes and a scanner that captures an image of his "soul" and to sign a printout of everything he's ever said. Loki keeps calling out the absurdity of what's going on. He is then sentenced by a Kangaroo Court for something that can barely be considered a crime, and forced to watch his past and future via a Chronoscope. From here on, the series delves into Existential Horror and stays there until the end, with occasional detours like Pompeii where the meaninglessness of existence is again celebrated rather than Played for Drama.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Sylvie's ability to "enchant" people is something that she learned to do entirely on her lonesome, and is something that Loki doesn't know how to do yet despite being taught magic by his mother since he was a child.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The plot elements of Loki exploring the redemption of his character, his past and future, a sympathetic antagonist that is another version of him, all at the behest of a trinity of authority figures that want to enforce his destiny as a villain intended to fail for the happy ending are all congruent to Loki: Agent of Asgard.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: The TVA enforces the continuity of the timeline with no regard to intent or scale. Loki making off with the Tesseract is treated with the same seriousness as whatever some trust fund kid did. Miss Minutes' presentation even states it doesn't matter what the variation is, whether it be causing a war or just being late to work.
  • The Alleged Expert: The TVA is supposed to be the ultimate authority on time travel and the Sacred Timeline but its agents are on strict need-to-know so even senior agents like Mobius do not really understand how Nexus events truly work. They rely on their supposedly advanced technology to give them information without fully understanding what the information actually means. Loki quickly figures basic Loophole Abuse that Mobius thought was impossible. There's also the fact that most of the TVA's agents and employees are variants themselves, without any of them aware of this due to their memories being suppressed. Furthermore the "all-knowing" Time Keepers are just robots and not the omniscient god-like beings TVA propaganda portrays them as. Obviously, season two begins with the TVA staff having existential crises about all this.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The show deconstructs this with both Loki and He Who Remains, as it shows that certain aspects of one's personality make collaborating with yourself quite difficult. In particular...
    • Episode 5 shows a group of Lokis lead by a President in the Void, who all predictably end up backstabbing each other due to their narcissistic need to be the one in control of everything.
    • When He Who Remains first discovered the multiverse, he and several of his Variants formed one of these. Unfortunately, more malevolent versions of himself appeared and the alliance devolved as each Variant prioritized protecting their own timeline.
    • However this trope is reconstructed with Classic, Kid and Alligator Loki, who are genuinely good people who regret their mistakes and decide to help Loki.
  • Alternate Self:
    • The series opens on the Avengers: Endgame scene where the Avengers inadvertently set the Alternate Universe Loki free when looking for the Space Stone at the time of the Battle of New York, with him using said Infinity Stone to escape. It then shows that Loki landed in the Gobi desert, where he is apprehended by the Time Variance Authority. They label him Variant L1130.
    • Another iteration of Loki is the Big Bad of the first few episodes of Season 1, ambushing TVA squads and stealing their Reset Charges, which they use to bomb the Sacred Timeline. This Variant turns out to be a female version of the God of Mischief who calls herself Sylvie. And also not the true Big Bad, as she's totally justified in rebelling against the TVA. Oh, and she may just so happen to be the MCU's version of The Enchantress.
    • Apparently alternate Loki Variants are, if not the single most common Variant the TVA encounters, it's pretty close. Mobius shows images of one that has blue skin like a Frost Giant, one that looks like the Hulk, and one that won the Tour de France.
    • In The Stinger of the fourth episode, Loki ends up encountering some of the pruned Variants of himself, after he too was pruned. One of them is much older and wearing a classic comics outfit, one of them is black and wields a hammer, one of them is a kid, who's also carrying a version that is an alligator wearing a horned helmet. The following episode shows a small army of Lokis, led by one who resembles the character's appearance during Vote Loki.
    • The Season 1 finale reveals that the TVA was founded by a single Earth scientist from the 31st century (possibly known as Nathaniel Richards at some point), who decided to take matters into his own hands after a war of multiversal destruction was launched between his own alternate universe counterparts. Upon his death at the hands of Sylvie, the Multiverse is unleashed once more, and with it, the many, many, many Variants of himself.
  • Alternative-Self Name-Change: To distinguish the rogue Variant of Loki that the TVA has been hunting for from all the other Loki Variants (including the main character of the show), this rogue Variant is simply referred to as "The Variant". They later would reject being called "Loki" and instead ask to be called "Randy" after seeing a nametag from a person they possessed, although that doesn't stick. She would later ask to be called "Sylvie".
  • Alternate Species Counterpart: One of Loki's Variants is an alligator. Not an anthropomorphic alligator, not a talking alligator, just an ordinary alligator wearing Loki's distinctive horned hat. Several of the other Lokis (including the show's protagonist) are completely baffled by its existence.
  • Alternate Universe: The TVA's purpose is to prevent this, "pruning" any event which could branch into a new timeline that deviates from the Sacred Timeline. In the season one finale, the timeline branches uncontrollably after Sylvie kills He Who Remains — although interestingly, the timeline had already begun to branch some time before that, after, as He Who Remains said, "the threshold" was crossed.
  • Ambiguously Human: The TVA's staff look human with no alien characteristics to them, but their civilization is beyond the universe's timeline, and they have access to science and power that nullifies magic and renders Infinity Stones useless (to the point where they use them as paperweights). One of their minute men is capable of fighting Loki hand to hand (who, as a Jotunn, is stronger than non-enhanced humans) and one of their desk jockeys doesn't know what a fish is, having spent his whole life behind a desk. It's less ambiguous once Sylvie reveals they're all Variants.
  • And Starring:
  • Anthropic Principle: It's revealed in the second episode that Nexus events must be dealt with in "real time" from the TVA's perspective, because branching timelines are inherently chaotic and unpredictable. Of course, if it were possible for the TVA to erase these branch timelines before they even manifested, there wouldn't be a story in the first place.
  • Arc Words: For Loki, "(Burdened with) glorious purpose"; for agents of the TVA, "For all time, always".
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Loki's D.B. Cooper stunt is shown to have occurred on a clear day in this show's first episode. In Real Life, while Cooper did board the plane in the afternoon, much of the actual hijacking took place in the middle of the night. Loki also speaks with his natural English accent during the event, whereas the real Cooper spoke in a Midwestern American accent.
    • In this show, the eruption of Vesuvius kills everyone in Pompeii within a minute of starting. In Real Life, the eruption lasted two days and didn't become inescapable until late at night at the end of the first day.
    • In Real Life, the three men who escaped from Alcatraz in 1962 were never seen again, and it is widely believed that they died attempting to cross the bay.
    • Season 2 reveals that Frank Lee Morris, one of the above-mentioned escapees from Alcatraz is actually the original version of Casey before he was brainwashed by the TVA to become one of its employees. The real Frank was a white man, while the actor who plays Casey is of Filipino descent.
  • Art Shift: The video hosted by Miss Minutes is done entirely in retro-style 2D animation, similar to the title sequence of the second episode of WandaVision.
  • Ascended Extra: After appearing briefly in Season 1, Casey becomes a supporting character in Season 2.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In the Season 2 finale, having mastered time-slipping and resigning himself to the eternal duty of maintaining the new multiverse, Loki effectively became the God of Time who exists outside of any physical universe.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The series is mainly presented in cinematic widescreen. In "Glorious Purpose", Miss Minutes' informational film is presented in 4:3 fullscreen while Loki's leap from N467US as D.B. Cooper is presented in 1.85:1 to show more of the sky.
  • Background Halo: In the first poster for the show, a golden clock frames Loki's head like a halo, while glowing hour and minute bars and multiple clock hands act as rays. Loki is a Norse god, but not a benevolent one, so he also sports a Kubrick Stare and a smirk. All characters later get similar posters, even Alligator Loki.
  • Badass Boast: Loki makes one while fixing Mobius's tie:
    Loki: It is adorable that you think you could possibly manipulate me. I'm ten steps ahead of you.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Loki wears one of the TVA's brown government suits, complete with the word "VARIANT" written on the back in big orange letters.
    • Loki sports a business suit, complete with Sinister Shades, when he's playing the role of D.B. Cooper. He did this after losing a bet with Thor.
    • His variant's "Vote Loki"-inspired outfit in episode 5 also qualifies.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: A theme in season 2.
    • In "Ouroboros" and "Breaking Brad," B-15 convinces Judge Gamble to stop all pruning of new branches because it's inhumane and ultimately (she hopes) unnecessary for the preservation of reality as a whole. Unfortunately, the new timelines being allowed to grow puts stress on the Temporal Loom it was never designed to handle, leading to a temporal meltdown, which "Science/Fiction" shows would cause everything to spaghettify one by one. General Dox goes rogue and Reset Charge-s the multiverse out of existence, leaving only the Sacred Timeline. Despite being Played for Horror, and rightly so (Dox's body count is canonically in the quintillions to the infinities); her genocide wound up saving everyone because it delayed the Loom's inevitable temporal meltdown, allowing the rest of the season to have a setting in which to take place.
    • In "Heart of the TVA," B-15 and Judge Gamble are the "good guys" who can either prune Dox and her followers and thus prove that the new TVA is not much better than the old one or "forgive and forget" and thus leave murderers on a multiversal scale without punishment. Ravonna handily solves their dilemma by killing Dox and her crew herself after they refuse to help her.
    • In the grand finale, Mobius reveals that when he was unable to kill a 8-year-old variant to prevent 5000 deaths in the future, the Sacred Timeline started to branch and the TVA agents started to die, Ravonna Made The Choice For Him and pruned the boy. In her Motive Rant in "1893," she implies that she's been doing something similar again and again and it wore upon her:
      Ravonna: After all those years of doing your dirty work, cleaning up your messes, making the hard decisions you never had the nerve to make. After all the times I put the TVA above myself, even at the cost of my own happiness, my humanity. Who are you to lecture me about losing my way?
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • At the end of the first season, He Who Remains may have been killed by Sylvie, but this ends up being in his favor, and he contently states that he will see them soon..."he" possibly alluding to a past version of himself, or even worse, another Variant of Kang the Conqueror (be it the prime, "exiled" Variant from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania or otherwise).
    • In the last episode of the second season, it was revealed that He Who Remains engineered a Xanatos Gambit - If he dies, the Temporal Loom will destroy the TVA and every branch in the multiverse except for the Sacred Timeline. Otherwise, Loki will have to kill Sylvie and the Sacred Timeline continues to be the only branch that's not being pruned. Loki Took a Third Option by destroying the Temporal Loom and personally takes over the entire task of preserving all the branches in the multiverse, and so He Who Remains... remains dead, narrowly averting this trope. Even then, He Who Remains has been living a Fate Worse than Death for eons and would be happy for Loki to take his place.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Sylvie's plan to bomb the Sacred Timeline is this both in and out-of-universe. It's easy to conclude, following Episode 2's Cliffhanger, that the bombing will result in multiple new timelines, and that her plan is to achieve just that... but in fact the TVA manage to fix the damage in a matter of minutes. Sylvie's actual goal is to kill the Time-Keepers, and the bombing was merely a distraction to keep the TVA busy while she infiltrated their headquarters in search of them.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout his history in the MCU, Loki has sought godlike power. In the end, he becomes in effect the God of Time — by binding himself to the role, spending eternity at the end of time preserving the universe. Having always jokingly claimed to be "Burdened with Glorious Purpose", he realises what that means.
  • Because Destiny Says So:
    • According to the members of the Time Variance Authority, the wise Time Keepers dictate the proper flow of time, and thus the fate of all living beings. Loki with his Screw Destiny attitude calls it absurd. In fact, it's entirely possible for people to deviate from the proper timeline, without even realizing they've done so, but the TVA is quick to stamp such variants out so the timeline continues along its predetermined path.
    • The TVA didn't interfere with the Avengers' time heist for this reason.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Loki likes to present himself as a "mischievous scamp" but if you start falling for this, he will use it against you. On the other hand, Loki's comedic level of arrogance is the main reason why he tends to fail in his schemes.
    • When we are shown other Loki Variants, we quickly learn that the more silly ones are the more dangerous ones. Kid Loki actually managed to kill Thor. Alligator Loki will bite your hand off if you are not careful. Classic Loki's silly costume and depressed attitude hide a magic user of enormous power.
    • Averted with Sylvie, a Loki Variant who is always serious and thus more effective and dangerous than the other Lokis.
    • He Who Remains acts quite eccentric, playful and hedonistic but he's the creator of the Sacred Timeline and TVA and successfully manipulated Loki and Sylvie into following the path he set out for them, knowing that it would end in him either retiring or being killed and unleashing his more dangerous Variants and beginning a new Multiversal War.
  • Bewildering Punishment: What the TVA's reaction to "crimes against sacred timeline" amounts to, given no one has any means of knowing when they're committing one or that such a crime exists in the first place. The people being processed often have no idea what they even did.
  • BFG: There's a Determined Homesteader-type woman on Lamentis who's defending her house with one. Presumably it's jerry-rigged from mining equipment since it lets out nonlethal but pretty painful concussive blasts.
  • Big Bad: The leader of the TVA, He Who Remains, a Variant of Kang the Conqueror. He has created an oppressive system that brainwashes or kills Variants, and restricts free will, even if he acted in the name of greater good.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Loki's Latin speech deviates from the English subtitles. Instead of simply saying "volcano" he actually does some lengthy explaining that the mountain has been accumulating fire for a while and is now going to spill it on his listeners.
    • Loki's "Asgardian" song in episode 3, "Jeg saler min ganger" or "Very Full," is actually Norwegian. A full translation is on the Quotes page. The part he sings while looking at Sylvie is about longing for home and a fair maiden there. He's almost certainly singing about Frigga.
    • Sylvie's sword has the Faroese proverb "tíðin rennur sum streymur í á" written on it in runes, which translates to "time flows like currents in a river" and is the equivalent to "time flies".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series in general ends with Loki dissolving the Temporal Loom, saving the branched timelines from the failsafe destruction. But by doing so, he sacrifices his own happiness and is now alone at the end of time, protecting and sustaining the branches. The TVA, however, has changed for the better as they prepare to fight the variants of He Who Remains; although they seem to leave Kang the Conqueror alone as they assume he's been dealt with...although he could very well still be alive.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Mobius says that what the Time-Keepers allow in the timeline isn't based on moral approval or disapproval but does not elaborate further. Possibly due to the fact that there were no Time-Keepers to begin with.
  • Bookends:
    • One of the first things Loki hears in the series is "Who are you?," said to him by Mongolians in the Gobi desert. The last line in the Season 1 finale is "Who are you?", said to Loki by Mobius. Who Loki truly is is the driving question of the series.
    • The titles of the first episode of the series and the final episode of Season 2 are the same: "Glorious Purpose".
    • Loki's final line in the original Thor (not counting The Stinger) and Loki's final line in this show are the same: "For you. For all of us."
  • Boxed Crook: Mobius M. Mobius recruits Loki to stop an alternate version of himself that's been killing TVA agents across time.
  • The Cameo:
    • This series marks Stan Lee's first posthumous cameo in the MCU. He's shown on a mural in the TVA's courtroom.
    • Chris Hemsworth has an uncredited cameo in Episode 5 as the voice of Throg.
    • Jonathan Majors also has an uncredited cameo, as the voices of the Time-Keepers.
  • Canon Character All Along: Season 2 has an instance where a fictional character turns out to be a real person, TVA receptionist Casey was revealed in the second season to be real-life Alcatraz escapee Frank Morris.
    • The same episode contains an Easter Egg, revealing that Hunter B-15's real name was Verity Wills.
  • Casting a Shadow: In the Season 2 trailer, Loki uses two shadows of himself wearing horns to restrain a man.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Canon: In-Universe. He Who Remains through the Time-Keepers dictates the narrative of the Sacred Timeline, and the TVA enforce it.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The TVA is a combination of agents, hunters, and office workers who protect the Sacred Timeline. Those who deviate from the Sacred Timeline, "Variants", are brought before them and have to undergo a long bureaucratic process before they can receive judgment and either be "reset" (with their memories erased) or "pruned" (sent to the Void to die).
  • Central Theme: Multiple facets of determinism versus free will are explored over the series.
    • While it is established that Earth-616 operates on a Multiple-Choice Future system, spontaneously generating alternate timelines, the TVA's job is to enforce a Hard-Deterministic single general timeline by "resetting" Alternate Timelines and arresting whoever is responsible for spawning them, or "variants".
    • Loki himself finds the TVA's show of force and the alleged Time Keeper's omnipotent authority to be inherently offensive, believing that he alone is the master of his own destiny, a sentiment that his alternate counterpart shares with him with her acts of temporal terrorism. Leaders of the TVA believe that free will either should be restricted as Necessarily Evil to combat the violent nature of certain individuals, or does not exist at all unless the person is in charge.
    • The TVA justifies its existence and The Evils of Free Will due to a war that crossed the entire multiverse, and nearly wiped out all nearby realities and timelines. The founder of the TVA ultimately pitches this to Loki and Sylvie — they can either kill him and free the multiverse to propagate on infinite branching timelines that will go to war again, or they can replace him and maintain order.
    • The first couple of episodes revolve around the question of whether Loki is capable of growing beyond his seemingly inherent Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and learn to truly trust and be trusted.
    • Loki and the fugitive variant Sylvie are forced together at first, work together later, and eventually come to blows because the fugitive has come to embody Loki's biggest trust issues, and Loki was pulled out of the timeline at a point where he betrayed literally everyone who ever cared about him. Loki even lampshades this while appealing to the hope they can break from their given character archetypes.
      Loki: Because you can't trust and I can't be trusted.
    • In the later half of Season 1 once the truth about the TVA and its members starts coming out, Mobius and Renslayer take up opposing positions over whether they should continue as they have for the past untold eons, or find new paths for themselves.
    • The TVA selectively enforce the "Humans Are Bastards" worldview by assigning the role of a villain to some characters on the Sacred Timeline, Loki being one of them, in order to maintain the overall narrative and ensure Character Development for the rest. Mobius, Ravonna and other Loki variants in the Void tell Loki that he is by nature bound to Chronic Villainy. And then Loki does change for the better, proving that "you can be whoever, whatever you want to be, even someone good" if you only choose to. In the end, Loki meets He Who Remains, who believes that the evil and power-hungry nature of his Variants can't be helped, and they will inevitably start a multiversal war and doom the universe if left unchecked. He has founded the TVA to restrict free will and prevent said war from happening. Their conflict boils down to the centuries-old philosophical dispute with the protagonist implicitly siding with Rousseau and the antagonist siding with Hobbes, without any clear winner...well, aside from He Who Remains, who dies with the implication of knowing how everything will play out afterwards.
  • Changed My Jumper: Whenever someone from the TVA goes to the past, they don't change into period-appropriate clothes but just keep wearing their regular outfits and uniforms. Justified, since the timelines where they visit are usually meant to be reset anyway.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: In episode 5, the variant Lokis from the Void decline to take part in Loki and Sylvie's plan to confront Alioth, saying they'd rather go on surviving. They leave, and Loki and Sylvie start their attempt. Just as it looks like it's about to fail, one of the other Lokis — the one whose defining characteristic is that he always chose running away and surviving — returns and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to help them succeed.
  • Character Title: The series following the character Loki is also named Loki.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pen shown in Ravonna's office in episode 2 is a clue to her true identity. In episode 6, it is revealed that she was a school principal, with the name of the school written on that pen.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • Loki's history of constant betrayals gets lampshaded in the second episode.
      Loki: I'd never stab anyone in the back. That's such a boring form of betrayal.
      Mobius: Loki, I've studied almost every moment of your entire life. You've literally stabbed people in the back like fifty times!
      Loki: Well, I'd never do it again, because it got old!
    • Brought to its logical conclusion in the fifth episode, "Journey into Mystery", when Boastful Loki betrays Kid Loki, Alligator Loki, and Classic Loki, only for him to be betrayed by President Loki, who in turn is betrayed by his army of Lokis, all in an attempt to claim rulership of the Void. Our protagonist Loki, who has undergone Character Development and moved past it, is left to watch in helpless embarrassment.
    • Discussed between Loki and Sylvie in the season 1 finale. They both find themselves on opposite sides of a choice they are forced to make, because Sylvie is incapable of trusting anyone, and Loki is inherently untrustworthy. They end up splitting ways over it.
  • Chronoscope: The TVA has a device that projects an image of a person's timeline, past and future, which Mobius uses to show Loki glimpses of his prime self's future. Loki then uses it to see further, up to witnessing his own death at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Upon seeing a grand view of the sheer scale of the TVA's home dimension, Loki confusedly states that he thought there was no magic here. Mobius just smiles and states "There isn't." Loki is disbelieving that the TVA could build and maintain everything that they have without any magic.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 1 ends with Loki returning to the TVA, only to find it changed, with Mobius no longer remembering him and the effigies of the Time Keepers replaced with those of Kang.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The TVA's employees all wear brown government suits to make it easier to identify them. Meanwhile the inside of their headquarters is illuminated with bright orange and gold colors.
  • Composite Character: Sylvie is a reimagined version of Enchantress (her name being in reference to Sylvie Lushton, the second Enchantress), combined with aspects of Loki's "Lady Loki" incarnation.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The shot of Loki twirling his daggers is similar to a shot of him doing it which appeared in the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok but was cut from the film itself.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, the Ancient One warns Professor Hulk that making any dramatic changes to alternate timelines will cause reality to branch off down a new path, which is potentially a darker path (e.g.: without the Time Stone, Doctor Strange wouldn't be able to convince Dormammu to leave Earth alone). This series establishes that the TVA exist to prevent precisely this from happening, and Loki is one of those branches that they show up to cut off.
    • When Mobius acknowledges that Loki doesn't trust very many people, the latter retorts "Trust is for children," much like Natasha Romanoff responded to Loki's quip that she was in love with Clint Barton in The Avengers. Since this was less than a day ago from his perspective, he may even be quoting her.
    • Loki receives glimpses of future events from Mobius detailing what becomes of him in Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War via the TVA's Chronoscope. The moment when he realizes that him leading Malekith and Kurse to where the Aether is would lead to Frigga's death, he isn't pleased with the end result in the slightest. At the same time, however, he's also touched by Thor's and Odin's comments of him in Ragnarok, even smiling in the process. He's also terrified that he's really destined to die at Thanos' hands.
    • In the TVA, they have a drawer full of Infinity Stones and reveal people there use them as paperweights. This is similar to the comic version of the Infinity Gems which only function in their own universe.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: The beginning of the series revolves around a rogue Loki Variant killing TVA Hunters and Minutemen. Agent Mobius recruits Loki to help find the killer.
  • Crapsack World:
    • Lamentis-1 is an alien moon on the brink of complete destruction in 2077, where the poorer citizens of the world are left to die an agonizing death while the wealthier ones get to go a place called the Ark to live the rest of their days. The Ark itself is destined to be destroyed and kill everyone on it anyways, which Loki and Sylvie witness firsthand.
    • The place beyond time where pruned individuals go to isn't much better. Imagine Sakaar from Thor: Ragnarok, but with a giant cloud of death replacing the Grandmaster's gladiator games and palace, and you've basically described the place in full. It's also swarming with Loki variants who are all trying to backstab each other to gain control of what little there is to rule, with the exceptions of Classic, Kid and Alligator Loki.
  • Create Your Own Hero: He Who Remains spends eons manipulating events so that Loki and Sylvie find him at the end of time, in order to persuade Loki to join him, take his place or both. In doing so, he forces Loki to go through the degradation of being captured by the T.V.A.; the realization that everyone in the T.V.A. are variants that were kidnapped and memory wiped and purposely exposes Loki to powerful radiation from the Temporal Loom that allows Loki to time travel at will to every and any point in time assuming that seeing the futility of trying to change things would make Loki agree that He Who Remains way is the only way to prevent a Multiversal War that would kill everyone and everything. Instead, Loki chooses a third option and destroys the Temporal Loom, instead of He Who Remains, sacrificing his freedom to allow everyone else on every timeline to have the choices he never did, by taking the Loom's place and using his own body, power and sheer will to sustain every timeline and help them grow. Had He Who Remains not manipulated events Loki would have never had the ability or, more importantly, the empathy to do what he does.
  • Creative Closing Credits:
    • The show's end credits show different things within the TVA, such as their propaganda, equipment and case files. When each text of credits appear, they are briefly shown out of order and sometimes have its letters flipped or enlarged, before reasserting itself back to normal. The TVA logo is also included alongside it, often as an outline. Certain changes can be seen in the end credits sequence between episodes; specifically, the productivity posters in a locker during the "Costume Design" credit, and the mugshots for the "Casting" credit.
    • The credits for Episode 3-5 doesn't have the distorted text effects; they fade in and out normally.
    • Like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier the section showing the show's starring cast only shows the names of the actors whose characters appeared in that episode and like in the latter, the names only show in the respective sections (i.e. Sophia Di Martino's credit being shown in the section with the water cooler in from the second episode onwards).
  • Credits Jukebox: The ending credits theme always changes with each episode. Episode 1 ends with the show's opening theme, Episode 2 ends with a track that plays in the episode (specifically, the one that accompanies the Haven Hills/Roxxcart scenes), Episode 3 ends with Bonnie Guitar's cover of "Dark Moon", and Episode 4 ends with Brenda Lee's "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)". Episodes 5 and 6 return to using original soundtracks; the latter in particular uses a Dark Reprise of the show's opening theme.
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: Invoked by The Variant, who, as our main Loki deduces, is able to avoid attracting TVA attention by hiding at apocalyptic moments in time — you can't alter the timestream enough to make a difference if everyone you're affecting is already about to die regardless. Loki and Mobius test this by visiting Pompeii just as Mount Vesuvius erupts. It's later shown the TVA itself invokes this by sending everything from the errant timelines they "prune" to an apocalyptic event at the "end of Time", where they are devoured by Alioth.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: The logo for the series is presented using various typefaces for each letter rather than a single one as a nod to either Loki's abilities or to the show's concept of Variants. This also applies to the title logo at the end of the trailers and within the show's episodes; in the trailers, each letter cycles through different typefaces and colourations at random intervals before they settle on the "official" forms, while in the episodes themselves, the letters cycle through various typefaces and letter-like symbols simultaneously, and only in the opening version do they settle on the official letters (albeit in stylized forms). Of particular note is that, in the official logo, the "O" and "I" come from the same typeface and that the latter is actually a lower-case "L" in that specific typeface (though in the episodes themselves it is modified to look like a capital "I").
  • Darker and Edgier: Loki starts off with a decidedly quirky and weird vibe, but as the series ramps up and the stakes increase it slowly settles into a much more unsettling, downbeat, and bleak tone compared to most of the MCU. By the end of the first season, its elements of cosmic horror firmly establishes Loki as the darkest entry in the MCU yet, even when compared to the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and WandaVision — albeit still often absurdist.
  • Dark Reprise: The show's main theme, "TVA", receives an intense and ominous arrangement for the end credits of the final episode of Season 1, which is a reflection on the dark, ruthless state of the TVA as a whole after the death of He Who Remains.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Pruning", which obviously alludes to the TVA's practice of trimming off variant timelines like they were pruning a tree, but can extend to anything from disintegrating people to bombs that "reset" the timeline and presumably wipe realities. It turns out that "pruned" people and things wind up in another dimension... but this location is plagued by a being called Alioth who does permanently wipe whatever it eats from existence.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: In episode 5, Alliance of Alternates is deconstructed when it shows Loki’s alternate selves difficulty with working together, especially with their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. When Boastful Loki betrays Kid Loki by turning to President Loki and his army to remove Kid Loki from his throne, this in return leads to the President betraying him so he can take the throne for himself, which in return leads to President Loki’s army betraying him as they want the throne themselves, ultimately leading to free-for-all between the Lokis. But it is also reconstructed at the end of episode with Classic Loki helping Loki and Sylvie by distracting Alioth long enough for them to find He who Remains’ base, at the cost of his life.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Sylvie, the Loki Variant that our Loki is brought in to help hunt, is set up as the Big Bad of Season 1. However, it turns out that she's fully justified in rebelling against the TVA, which proves to be a fascistic organization that brainwashes its own agents — primarily operated by Ravonna Renslayer, and whoever is actually pulling the "Time-Keepers" strings.
  • Doing in the Scientist: Loki openly refers to his powers as magical in this series, a subject the MCU has danced around in the past.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Episode 3 of the first season ends as Loki and Sylvie attempt to escape planet Lamentis via a space-shuttle before the planet's inevitable destruction. They fail anyway because the shuttle is blown up by a meteor strike, dooming them both on the planet as it inches closer to destruction, ending the episode on a near-impossible cliffhanger.
    • The Bad Guy Wins at the end of the first season. Sylvie, desperate for revenge, kills He Who Remains despite his warnings that other, more malevolent Variants of himself will emerge from alternate timelines and cause another Multiversal War. Loki finds himself in a version of the TVA where nobody remembers him and the final shot of the season is Loki staring in horror at a statue of He Who Remains, aka Kang the Conqueror. Roll credits.
    • In Episode 4 of Season 2, the efforts of the TVA's attempt to stop the Temporal Loom from overloading are rendered completely useless, as Victor Timely gets spaghettified the moment he sets out to stop the device from overloading. Thus, the Temporal Loom overloads from the Multiverse's expansion, and nukes the entire TVA as a result. The episode ends there, with the fate of literally everyone in the TVA, let alone the rest of the Multiverse, being left up in the air for now...
    • Season 2 as a whole gets a Bittersweet Ending for most of the universe, with multiple timelines permitted to exist and the TVA still existing while dedicated to maintenance rather than destruction. However, the final view of the title character is of him bound to his new task at the end of time for all eternity.
  • The Dreaded: Loki finds the idea of countless variants of Kang so terrifying that it borders on PTSD. After meeting with He Who Remains and discovering that he manipulated the entirety of season 1, and that he didn’t care if he lived or died. Loki genuinely considered his offer of keeping the sacred timeline intact while sacrificing the others. As He Who Remains explained it, his variants are actually much worse than he is, and that He Who Remains did what he did out of necessity not maliciousness. Loki considered this omnicidal maniac the safest option. And when Loki even thinks about him or his variants he is genuinely panicking and reduced to a blubbering mess. Loki showing vulnerability in the first episode of season 2 to everyone, when he NEVER showed it to anyone in his entire lifetime, just hammers home how much Kang scares him.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: In the Season 2 trailer, when Mobius notices a crack on the visor of his space suit-like outfit, OB simply applies duct tape on it and assures Mobius that everything is fine now.
  • Dutch Angle:
    • In Episode 5, an establishing shot of the TVA is tilted to the side, with the camera slowly rotating. This helps establish it as alien and uncanny.
    • In Episode 6, the same effect is used for the establishing shot of the interior of the Citadel at the End of Time.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Justified. For their motto of protecting "All Time. Always.", the TVA seems disproportionally interested in what is happening on Earth, and the only alien planets showing up on their screens are the ones who have interacted with Earth in recent history. This however makes sense because the true purpose of the TVA is to stop Variants of Kang from emerging. Since he was born on 31st century Earth, only the Nexus events that either happen on or otherwise affect his planet could have any effect on his personal timeline.
  • The Earth-Prime Theory: Played With. The movies and shows prior to Loki are a part of the "Sacred Timeline", with which all alternate timelines and universes spawn from. The "Sacred Timeline" is not a natural consequence of the multiverse, but instead enforced by the Time Variance Authority by pruning anyone and anything that does something that they weren't supposed to, whether it's be late for work or run away with the Tessaract as the protagonist did. The Time Keepers enforce the Sacred Timeline to prevent a Multiversal War from occurring. After Sylvie, a variant of Loki, kills the head of the TVA, the agency is unable to stop the multiverse from branching out, rendering the concept of a "Sacred Timeline" moot.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The 5th episode: "Journey into Mystery" is just rife with these that also double as either Continuity Nods, Mythology Gags, Shout Outs or even Historical InJokes.
      • The large three-masted wooden shipwreck shown could be Christopher Columbus' flagship: Santa Maria, which had reportedly sank down into the bottom of the ocean and was the target of modern shipwreck-hunting but it's still unrecovered.
      • While the Loki variants are leading L1130 to their hideout, they pass by a wreck of the infamous Thanos Copter.
      • During an aerial shot, one can catch a glimpse of a giant ruined Yellowjacket helmet lying around in the Void.
      • One of the buildings in the Void is the destroyed remains of the Sanctum Sanctorum.
      • The number plate of the pizza delivery car that Mobius drives is "GRN•W1D", which is a reference to Mark Gruenwald, a Marvel artist and the person Mobius was based on.
      • Speaking of the vehicle, a battered pizza-delivery vehicle is also a very frequent Easter Egg in films from Pixar.
      • Buried underneath the ground is not only a small Mjolnir but Throg stuck in a jar and trying to reach for it.
      • The bowling alley hideout used by Kid Loki and his fellow variants has a Polybius arcade machine, which can be seen a few shots. Notably behind Classic Loki while he's sitting and speaking.
      • The juice box Kid Loki drinks from during a toast is none other than the Hi-C Ecto-Cooler juice drink.
      • Speaking of drinks, the Loki's are drinking Roxxiwine, presumably coming from Roxxmart.
      • While Kid, Alligator and Classic Loki lead L1130 and Sylvie to Alioth, Ronan's broken ship (the Dark Aster) and a wrecked Helicarrier are seen in the distance.
      • Red Skull's plane can also be see in the Void
      • There is also a large statue head of the Living Tribunal shown when Loki and Sylvie face off against Alioth.
      • An alternate timeline versions of the pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx appear in the Void, with the latter having its nose still intact.
    • As confirmed by the VFX supervisor, the ship that can be briefly seen in the opening scene of episode 6 belongs to the Collector. It was previously seen in Avengers: Infinity War on Knowhere. The fate of the Collector after Thanos found him was unclear when the show was released.
  • End of an Era: In a subtle way, the first season of the series ends up being the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe entry that goes beyond the established timeline shown in The Infinity Saga (aka The Sacred Timeline) by unleashing the grand Multiverse of the MCU (and beyond), kick-starting The Multiverse Saga's main storyline for reals.
  • Existential Horror: In the story where everybody's role and fate was preordained by a Deity of Human Origin, and the TVA workers were brainwashed and robbed of their memories and former lives for a purpose unknown to them, all characters are faced with the fact that their life goals are meaningless and absurd and react to it with varying degrees of angst, ranging from emotional breakdowns (Loki has a Cry Laughing Mad breakdown, Hunter C-20 enters a catatonic state, endlessly repeating "it was real," Hunter B-15 cries in the rain when shown her past and says in a tiny voice that she looked happy) to quiet acceptance (Mobius) to vehement denial (Sylvie refuses to believe He Who Remains and kills him; when she realizes that he did tell her the truth, she is reduced to sitting on the floor and sobbing all alone; Ravonna decides that her life's work couldn't have been for nothing and the masquerade must be upheld at any cost).
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: The TVA, in order to maintain a single timeline, regularly "reset" any newly created branching timelines from existence. The individuals who are deemed responsible for the alternate timeline are branded as "Variants" and are treated as time criminals. They are arrested and put through an humiliating processing before being put before a judge to be declared guilty and get sentenced, if they're not already vaporized, a.k.a. "pruned" before that point for not cooperating. The pruned Variants, along with whatever objects and people that were in the now-reset branched timelines, are transported into the Void at the end of time and left to die, although some Variants end up being mind-wiped and being recruited as TVA agents instead.
  • Fade to White: In "The Heart of TVA", the episode ends with the screen briefly going completely white when time overruns the temporal loom.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Despite the TVA having 31st century tech and trophies from other epochs and timelines, nobody has a firearm. The only time where guns show up is in the episode taking place on Lamentis 1 with a sequence where Loki and Sylvie get blasted with a Ray Gun from a homesteader and the presence of rifle-toting guards who never use them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Loki's ultimate fate in the Season 2 finale. Loki had a final talk with Mobius, with the latter reminding him that most purpose are more burden than glorious. Having realized what he must do, Loki destroyed the Loom and saved the multiverse by taking the place of He Who Remains, thus resigning himself to live with his fear of being alone - for all eternity.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Miss Minutes presents herself as a charming Southern Belle, but she is eventually shown to have a Slasher Smile on her face as a group of Minutemen are crushed to death.
  • Finger Wag: During the end credits, Miss Minutes is seen on a Tempad, waving her finger back and forth with a disapproving look on her face.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Loki is recruited to stop another version of himself antagonizing the TVA.
  • Flaming Sword: In the fifth and sixth episodes, Loki is armed with a flaming short sword, a gift from the Kid Loki variant, which is a version of his sword from the Norse mythos, Lævateinn.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In Season 2, the entire multiverse is at risk due to the TVA's Temporal Loom being overloaded with unpruned branches, causing it to explode and taking those universes with it. Due to the multiverse, well... existing in many installments in the MCU that take place after that, we know that they'll find some way to fix it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Loki is being processed, one of the machines is said to disintegrate anyone who's a robot. "The Nexus Event" reveals that the Time Keepers are robots.
    • In "The Variant", Mobius reveals that he loves jet skis, though he's never ridden one. Loki is also seen reading one of Mobius' magazines on jet skis. "Lamentis" reveals that all the TVA employees are brainwashed Variants, hinting that Mobius's jet ski dreams are likely to be memories from his pre-TVA life, which Mobius himself speculates about in "The Nexus Event". This is ultimately confirmed in "Science/Fiction", which reveals that Mobius is a Variant of Don, a salesman with an affinity for jet skis, to the point of owning two — one for himself and one for his wife.
    • In "Lamentis", Loki says that getting rid of the TVA will only create a vacuum of power and implies that nothing good will come of it. This is precisely what happens in the Season 1 finale when Sylvie kills the true leader of the TVA, He Who Remains, and allows his more evil variant(s) to start his multiversal conquering. In the show, this also proves to be part of HWR's Batman Gambit, which he puts in place to ensure his own survival.
    • In "Ouroboros", Mobius determines that Loki needs to get his time-slipping under control, stating that the TVA needs a "Loki Who Remains". In "Glorious Purpose (Season 2)", that's exactly what Loki ends up becoming, replacing He Who Remains and the Loom to personally oversee every branch of the Multiverse.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Besides his magic being dampened when at the TVA headquarters, throughout the show Loki seems to forget that he has Super-Strength close to that of Thor. It is unclear whether the employees of the TVA also possess Super-Strength or whether his own strength is suppressed along with the rest of his powers. However, even when his magic returns outside the TVA, his strength does not (which has the unfortunate collateral of making Captain America, who fought him in the beginning of The Avengers, looking physically weaker than guards on Lamentis). Justified, though: people on Lamentis-1 are Kree who are known to have superhuman strength in comparison to Earth humans.
  • The Four Loves: The titular character learns all four in order, climbing a moral ladder of sorts. In the first episode, he expresses love for his family ("storge") when he watches the film with Frigga, Odin and Thor. The second episode shows his growing friendship ("philia") with Mobius. He meets Sylvie in the third episode, and by the fifth episode, they've developed romantic feelings for each other ("eros"). In the Season 1 finale, he drops his weapon and stands in Sylvie's way defenseless to prevent her from making a wrong choice. He tells her that the only thing he wants is for her to be ok, which is an expression of selfless love ("agape").
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In one of the scenes briefly shown in the teaser, letters "LXXIX" are written on the wall behind Loki. This means "79", the year when Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii.
    • In "1893", Ravonna and Victor board a boat named the S.S. Herron, which is a shout-out to Season 1's Director, Kate Herron.
  • Freedom from Choice: A major theme of Season 2.
    • Sylvie tries to kill a Kang Variant because of what he might do, much like what the TVA tried to do to her. She reluctantly stops when Loki talks her down.
    • Mobius says he doesn't want to know what his life on the timeline was like because he's content with his life in the TVA and knowing about an alternative might take that away.
    • All the TVA agents have their memories erased and are returned to their lives on the timeline. Loki points out that they should get to choose between the TVA and normal lives. Sylvie says they're better off because knowing they have a choice might lead them to regret whichever choice they make.
  • Funny Background Event: "For All Time, Always" has The Big Damn Kiss, complete with orbiting camera... which gradually reveals He Who Remains in the background watching in a Palm on Cheek Pose.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: One of the anachronistic objects that the TVA agents confiscated is a pack of "Kablooie" brand chewing gum, sold around 2047-2051. The packaging promotes that it has an artificial "blooberrie" flavor.
  • The Future Is Noir: The TVA locations, such as the courtroom, the time theater or the endless corridors, are all submerged in half-shadow.

    Tropes G-O 
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: In Season 2, Mobius (The Good Cop) and Loki (The Bad Cop) used this tactic on Hunter X-05 to get him to reveal Sylvie's location. Loki "locked" Mobius out of the room and slowly shrank the TVA cube surrounding X-05 while interrogating the prisoner in a threatening manner. This frightened X-05 enough to spill the information Mobius and Loki needs.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted in the Season 2 Episode, "The Heart of the TVA". Despite having a Scream Discretion Shot earlier in the episode, the audience get a disturbing shot of Victor being ripped apart, after being exposed to the Temporal Loom's energy.
  • Grand Finale: As the Word of God puts it, Loki is always planned to be a two-season story. In the final episode of the second season, Loki bid his friends at the TVA goodbye and became the God of Time, saving the multiverse at the cost of his own happiness for eternity. Under the supervision of Hunter B-15, the TVA's new job is to maintain the multiverse instead of pruning branches. Victor Timely gets a chance to live his own life without any ties to the other Kang variants. Sylvie went on to have adventures of her own, while Mobius left the TVA to explore what kind of life he could have if the TVA haven't recruited him.
  • Great Offscreen War: Miss Minutes' instructional video informs that the TVA was created in order to reorganize the multiverse into a single timeline after an all-out war between universes broke out. In the final episode of Season 1, He Who Remains, who founded the TVA, confirms that this is indeed the case, each universe being spearheaded by variants of himself during the multiversal war.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: As Loki puts it, "No one bad is ever truly bad, and no one good is ever truly good." Fitting for this setting with anti-heroes, anti-villains, Necessary Evil and Well-Intentioned Extremist characters all in play. He Who Remains agrees, or at least says as much for himself, Loki and Sylvie, remarking that they're all villains with lengthy rap sheets.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In the fourth episode, Loki is trapped in a memory of his past where Sif is reprimanding him for cutting off her hair. He initially doesn't think much of it, as he later has a bath and drinks some wine, but he realizes that the situation loops.
  • Hand Blast: Loki shooting a blast of green energy in combat. He hasn't used this ability in any of his previous appearances.
  • Heroic BSoD: For...a certain definition of 'heroic' that might fit Loki at least. Finding out that the TVA casually neutralized Infinity Stones to the point of many rank-and-file clerks using them as paper weights hits Loki hard. It's when he realizes just how powerful and significant the TVA is and how little power he has there.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In Episode 5, Classic Loki buys time for Sylvie and Loki to prepare an enchantment by raising an illusion of Asgard and faces his death with a smile on his face after finally doing something selfless.
    • A non-fatal example in the Season 2 finale. Loki resigned himself to the eternal and lonesome burden of overseeing the multiverse so that his friends have a chance at life, whichever universe they may reside in.
  • Hidden Villain: The Big Bad of the series is not revealed until the final episode of Season 1.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • In the first episode, it is revealed that Loki was D.B. Cooper, or at least Earth-199999's version of him, the infamous mystery man who hijacked a plane, got two hundred thousand dollars in ransom money, and parachuted off the plane, with only a few stray burned bills ever found. As he jumped out, Loki was picked up by the Bifrost, at which point some of the bills in his bag were scattered and singed by its heat.
    • The penultimate episode of Season 2 reveals that Casey, the harmless desk worker we've gotten to know over the course of the show, was actually Frank Lee Morris, one of the three Alcatraz inmates who escaped the island in 1962, before abruptly vanishing. Within the show itself, it's implied the reason Morris escaped was because the TVA arrested and brought him in at some point before wiping his memory.
  • Homage Shot:
    • In "Lamentis", Sylvie is shot in the chest and sent flying out of a trailer home. The framing of the shots references Bud doing the same to the Bride in Kill Bill Volume 2.
    • "For All Time. Always" opens with an epic universal pullback accompanied by various voiceovers and songs from significant events across the MCU, very similar to the opening shot of Contact.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Ravonna throws these out at Mobius in an attempt to divert him from thinking too much about the Loki/Sylvie situation, but he sees right through them.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: The things Loki claims to have deduced about the TVA in the first episode turn out to be, by his own admission, things he knows to be true about himself. However, by the end of the season, it's clear that he nonetheless wasn't entirely wrong about them.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: In episode 1, despite his claims of wanting to rule the Nine Realms, Loki breaks into Tears of Joy after seeing his future in Thor: Ragnarok where both his father Odin and brother Thor acknowledge him and tell him they love him.
  • In the Hood: At the end of the first episode an eerie figure in a dark cloak with the hood drops a lantern at night and starts a fire, killing another TVA team. The identity of the figure remains concealed by their hood, but is implied to be a Loki Variant. In the second episode, she takes her hood off, revealing her to be a female variant of Loki.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Loki discovers that this trope can be used to avoid detection by the TVA. You can change events in the timeline as long as these changes do not propagate and affect key events in the Sacred Timeline. The easiest way to achieve this is to interact with people and places that will soon be destroyed in some form of natural disaster.
    • Sylvie was born as a female Loki but that in itself did not cause a Nexus Event despite seemingly being a major deviation from the Sacred Timeline. It took many years before she did something that finally changed events enough for her to be noticed by the TVA. The kicker is that, when she's arrested by the TVA and questioned by Renslayer, Sylvie demands to know what, exactly, said nail was- and Renslayer claims it's been so long that not even she can remember anymore.
    • Similarly, Classic Loki managed to escape from his fated death at the hands of Thanos and lived in self-imposed exile for thousands of years without creating a Nexus Event. Only when he finally gave into loneliness and attempted to leave the planet to see Thor did he attract the TVA's attention.
  • Insult Backfire: In the first episode, Loki ends up being more offended by Mobius's amusement at his insult of the TVA than Mobius is of the insult in the first place.
    Loki: The Time-Keepers have built quite the circus. And I see the clowns are playing their parts to perfection.
    Mobius: Big metaphor guy. I love it. Makes you sound super smart.
    Loki: I am smart.
    Mobius: I know.
    Loki: Okay.
    Mobius: Okay.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Whenever the TVA operatives disintegrates a target with their batons or resets a timeline with their Reset Charges, they always refer to this as process as "pruning"—not the straightforward "killed"/"deleted". The reason for this becomes more apparent when, at The Stinger of "The Nexus Event", the freshly pruned Loki wakes up in another dimension confronted by more Variants of himself, who were also pruned by the TVA before him.
    • Loki consistently refers to the Timekeepers as "lizards".
  • Interface Spoiler: The thumbnail for the third episode prominently features Loki alongside Sylvie, whose identity was the big reveal at the end of the second episode. Then again, if you hadn't seen episode two, you'd have no clue who the person beside Loki was.
  • Internal Deconstruction: As part of Episode 1's interrogation, Mobius analyzes all of Loki's lifetime and points out that Loki is not "the God of Mischief" because all he does is lose, and little of what he does is mischievous. Far from being burdened with "glorious purpose", he is destined for nothing more than unintentionally inspiring his enemies to be great. This comes back in the Grand Finale, where Mobius (and Loki, internally) ultimately determines that "glorious purpose" is ultimately a burden which offers little comfort outside of providing for The Needs of the Many.
  • Instructional Film: Episode 1 has a short, retro, cartoonish film in Deliberate VHS Quality where Miss Minutes explains what happens when someone (a Variant) deviates from the path created by the Time Keepers, how the TVA staff fixes this error, and what happens to these Variants after the TVA catches them.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In episode 1, after seeing that only after abandoning his Anti-Villain ways did he get anything he ever really wanted, and even then he's "destined" to get killed in front of his brother Thor, Loki ruefully repeats his Motive Rant line from The Avengers about being burdened with "glorious purpose".
    • These are also the last words of Classic Loki, who sacrifices himself by distracting Alioth so that L1130 and Sylvie can successfully enchant him.
      Classic Loki: Glorious purpose!
      • Earlier, he bitterly derides his fellow Loki variants' Chronic Backstabbing Disorder by saying: "We lie and we cheat, we cut the throat of every person who trusts us, and for what? Power. Glorious power. Glorious purpose! We cannot change. We're broken, every version of us. Forever."
  • Irony:
    • The employees at the TVA who look at Variants with disdain are all Variants themselves.
    • In Episode 4, Loki is stabbed in the back similar to how he himself stabbed Coulson in The Avengers.
    • In Episode 5, Sylvie actively mocks Loki when she hears his half-baked plan to kill Alioth, preferring to instead enchant it to accomplish their goals. In the Season 1 Finale Sylvie goes in to kill He Who Remains to complete her vengeance, refusing to listen to any opposition from Loki or even consider enchanting He Who Remains as her magic still worked in the space and he was no longer omniscient and was vulnerable.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: The Time Variance Agency's purpose of preventing all changes to the Sacred Timeline includes hunting any divergence, not matter how small, as long as it has important consequences. Their Instructional Film gives the example of how arriving late for work can be enough to cause a branch in the Sacred Timeline, and mark the person responsible as a Variant to be pruned.
  • Join or Die: In episode 1, Mobius offers Loki to hire him to help the TVA catch a Variant of himself, which means that Loki escapes a conviction.
  • Kangaroo Court: Judge Renslayer's trial. Sure, you could plead not guilty... but the fact that the TVA has apprehended you, when they know how the timeline is meant to go and how you didn't align yourself with that, means they've already made up their minds.
  • Laughing Mad: Upon witnessing his movie timeline in the first episode, Loki breaks into uncontrollable laughter (while also appearing to be on the verge of tears).
  • Lawman Baton: TVA officers carry batons which they can use to immobilize targets by altering their flow of time or disintegrate them.
  • Logo Joke:
    • The usual Marvel Studios logo at the beginning of each episode is tinted green and gold on a black background instead of the usual silver on red background, a nod to Loki's colour motifs.
    • This trope is taken up to eleven in Season One's finale episode, where everyone that appears on screen (be it the characters fading in during the first half, or during the fly-by of the scenes playing within the Marvel Studios logo in the second half) get to say something in relation to their character/most iconic moment, while a snippet of the song "It's Been a Long, Long Time" (the song that played at the end of Avengers: Endgame) plays throughout the logo sequence. This segues into the Cold Open where you start to hear literally everything — be it quotes from historic figures or real-life songs that were used throughout the MCU's history, due to Loki ending up at The End of Time itself.
    • Season 2's first episode features a "remix" of the Marvel Studios fanfare done in the style of the show's OST. However, while its in the same key as the fanfare, the remix is extremely subdued and minimalistic to match the tone of the series itself, and ends with a snippet of Loki's leitmotif.
      • The third episode of said season has another remix of the fanfare, only this time, it's done in an old-fashioned, honkey-tonk, rag-time style as it's performed on a tack piano. Naturally, said remix is associated with the episode that features Victor Timely (the Industrial era Variant of Kang).
  • Medium Blending: Miss Minutes is a CGI-character. In episode 1, she appears in her own little hand-drawn 2D cartoon to explain the existence of the TVA and the Time-Keepers; in this appearance, she has a cel-shaded look to blend in with the 2D animation). In the second episode, Miss Minutes actually appears as a holographic projection that actively communicates and interacts with Loki as he's studying up on the TVA's work terms, before jumping into a computer of sorts to avoid being hit by Loki's magazine.
  • Meta Fiction: The show features the concept of a "Sacred Timeline" with its canon being overseen and controlled by He Who Remains. Characters in the show discuss tropes and narrative conventions, for instance, the villain always loses in the end and is needed to advance the Character Development of the heroes (episode 1), or The Hero's Journey is needed for said Character Development (episode 6). They also sometimes Break the Fourth Wall — the line "this is fiction" in the Season 1 finale has a double meaning. In the end, the characters rebel against He Who Remains and one of them, Sylvie, kills him, allowing endless timelines to branch off freely.
  • Meta Twist: MCU is famous for its antagonists being dark copies of its protagonists with similar abilities, so one would expect the Hidden Villain to be an evil Loki Variant. The actual villain turns out to be He Who Remains, a Non-Action Big Bad completely unrelated to Loki. They never fight each other and oppose each other on a more philosophical level instead. Loki and his variants prove that people can change, while He Who Remains believes that his variants are evil by nature and that can't be helped. Given how He Who Remains traces back to a certain, time-conquering villain, he has every right to state his opinion. Plus, a variant of Loki, Sylvie, is teased as the Big Bad before she reveals the truth about the TVA and allies with Loki.
  • Mood Whiplash: Unlike most MCU films and series that are prone to undercutting heartwarming moments with comedy, this series often juxtaposes heartwarming moments with heartbreaking ones.
  • The Multiverse: As alluded in the series and further confirmed by Word of God, the multiverse always existed, but the events in it were restricted to just one loose narrative ("The Sacred Timeline") in which there are no Kang variants. In the Season 1 finale, Sylvie kills He Who Remains and thus allows for the timelines to branch freely, for better or for worse.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • The TVA has an assortment of Infinity Stones from different timelines, which have no power in their realm. They sometimes use them as paperweights.
    • In another scene, Loki uses his powers to dry his clothes after walking in the rain.
    • He also conjures a blanket to keep himself warm in episode 5.
  • Musical Nod:
    • When Mobius escorts Loki to the Time Theatre in episode 1, Franz Schubert's String Quartet No. 13 in A minor is playing in the elevator, which was also played in The Avengers during the scene where Loki attacks a gala in Stuttgart.
    • The show’s main theme, “TVA”, bears a strong resemblance to Henry Purcell’s Funeral March for Queen Mary, which most viewers are likely to recognize mainly from A Clockwork Orange. Fitting, since the TVA uses brainwashing and memory-wiping of variants to create its staff and maintain order, much like the central question of A Clockwork Orange is whether or not brainwashing criminals- which the TVA considers variants to be, even if their "crime" was only acting out of keeping with what the TVA expects them to be- to make them law-abiding members of society is ever justifiable.
  • Mythology Gag: See here.
  • Narnia Time: Mobius M. Mobius explains that time works differently in the TVA compared to other dimensions. Since their goal is to keep the flow of time, it makes sense. It's also revealed in season two that no one within the TVA are able to age, with some of the staff having worked there for over 400 years.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: There are many Loki variants in the series, and they share little in common apart from snark, love for green and affinity to magic, proving that while nature leaves its footprint, life circumstances play an equally if not more important part in making the person who they are.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The D.B. Cooper bit and Loki's accompanying line "Brother, Heimdall, you better be ready", one of the last scenes of the initial teaser trailer, don't really feature at all in the actual series. Not only doesn't Loki being D.B. Cooper have anything to do with the story nor is it brought up again after the flashback is shown in Episode 1, but neither Thor nor Heimdall appear at all in the rest of the series (except for footage from previous MCU entries).
    • The trailers imply Loki's recruitment is to fix the damage he caused by stealing the Tesseract and creating a new timeline. In fact, that aberration is fixed within two minutes of the TVA catching him, and the actual threat is another version of him that is maliciously causing aberrations in the timeline and has thus far proven beyond their ability to track.
    • The trailers imply that President Loki is just our Loki in a different outfit. Come Episode 5, and he turns out to be a completely separate Variant.
    • The mid-season trailer has Mobius seemingly berating Loki by saying, "I believed, stupidly, you could be whatever you wanna be, even someone good." This was actually spliced from two different dialogues; the "I believed, stupidly" phrase is taken from Episode 2, when Mobius scolds Loki after a botched mission; while the latter half of the sentence is actually Mobius giving Loki encouragement in Episode 4, after the former learns the truth about the TVA and plans to help Loki out.
    • The trailers had shots of Loki back in the Stark Tower, holding the scepter, and back in Asgard, standing before its throne as its king. These shots coupled with an early poster where "king Loki" is depicted below the protagonist made many viewers believe that in the finale Loki will face his evil Variant. In fact, these scenes are nowhere to be found in the series, and the true Big Bad is a Variant of Kang the Conqueror.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Over the course of season 2, Loki develops the ability to control time, first manifested as random jumping across time, timelines and locations. He then learns to control it to the point he can eventually jump whenever he wants inside and outside of his own timeline, and also becomes able to stop and restart time at will. He Who Remains hints he is somehow responsible for this new ability, but he did not predict Loki would then use it to replace the Temporal Loom and sustain the timelines for the whole multiverse.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The second episode has an extended scene in Alabama in 2050. The most futuristic things visible are holographic advertising and a Knightscope security robot. Curiously, the future nearly 30 years from now doesn't look much different from today, and could potentially even have taken place in the past decade or two.
  • No Body Left Behind: The Time Sticks cause their victims to slowly disintegrate into nothingness, or so it seems. In actuality, its victims are teleported to another dimension — once there however, if they are caught by Alioth then they truly are disintegrated into nothing, as it eats matter and energy.
  • Nominal Importance: Only a handful of higher level operatives at the TVA have names, the rest being a letter-number combo (like B-15 or C-20). Justified, since the TVA relies on depriving people of their humanity to function.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: If the Marvel multiverse wasn't important before because all individual universes loosely followed the same "canon" (the Sacred Timeline), after the season 1 finale it sure as hell is important now. It doesn't just open the doors for projects like What If…? (2021) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it just blows them wide open. Even on the smaller scale for Loki himself: Neither Mobius or B-15 even remember who he is while He Who Remains continues to rule the TVA.
  • The Nudifier: In the first episode, as he's being processed by the TVA, a huge creepily smiling robot tries to remove Loki's Asgardian garb. When he protests, it vaporizes the outfit right off him, leaving him completely naked and distraught.
  • Omniglot:
    • The TVA know every language throughout all of time, a most necessary skill when their job requires interacting with beings from every conceivable time and place in existence.
    • Loki is not this, but he is close. He can speak English, "Asgardian" (actually real-life Norwegian) and Latin, but not Mongolian. Perhaps he studied Latin when Thor was learning to speak Groot.
  • One-Word Title: The title of the series is just the given name of its main character: Loki.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The look Loki gives upon seeing a specific object, is one of absolute dread. A complete statue of Kang when it shouldn’t be there, in the middle of the TVA. Displays just how much the idea of Kang variants terrifies him.
  • Order Is Not Good: The TVA who represent order and maintain the proper flow of time turn to be an evil oppressive organization that orphans little girls, locks characters in a loop of Chronic Villainy, kidnaps and brainwashes variants into obedient functionalists.
  • Order Versus Chaos: One of the main conflicts of the series. The leaders of the TVA (He Who Remains and Ravonna) are rooting for order, Sylvie is hell-bent on destroying the organization and bringing chaos, and the rest, including the titular character, fall in-between. The final choice He Who Remains offers to Loki and Sylvie is between order and Necessary Evil or chaos, free will and an all-out war.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • "Our" Loki tends to have a poor time getting along with other Variants of himself, especially in episode 5 when he ends up in the Void and has to deal with a horde of Loki Variants.
      Loki: This is a nightmare.
    • That's the very reason why He Who Remains created the TVA in first place: the Multiversal War mentioned in the first episode was actually him trying to get rid of his beligerent, dangerous variations, heavily implied to be the MCU version(s) of Kang the Conqueror, disgusted by the chaos they caused; after he succeeded, he created the TVA to prevent the creation of timeline branches in order to avoid the resurfacing of such variants.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: The TVA use glowing portal doors for Instantaneous Time Travel. Their Tempads create these portals, and they can go anywhere in the past or future as well as anywhere in physical space as well. However, branching timelines disrupt their technology, forcing them to enter "the present" for that timeline.
  • Outside Man, Inside Man: Loki ("outside man") and Mobius's ("inside man") dynamic in the show follows this pattern. They work for the TVA and find the hiding spot of the Cop Killer together, Loki follows her through the portal while Mobius is left behind, Loki discovers that she was Good All Along and falls in love with her, both of them are captured, Mobius doesn't belive Loki and has him tortured, interrogated and left to be "pruned". Then Mobius finally discovers the truth and the two form an alliance only for both of them to get "pruned".

    Tropes P-Z 
  • Place Beyond Time:
    • The TVA exists outside the normal flow of time, allowing them to monitor the timeline as a whole and neutralize nexus events as they form, regardless of when in the timeline they take place.
    • At the end of the Sacred Timeline is the Void, where time simply ends and nothing matters. The TVA uses it as a dumping ground for the Variants and branching timelines they prune, which are then devoured by Alioth. Alioth itself guards another timeline beyond the Sacred Timeline, where the creator of the TVA resides.
  • Police Brutality: The Time Variance Authority's actions can come across as this, at least to those they handle. The people they arrest are subdued with little explanation or warning, they go through some humiliating processing, and are soon taken before a judge listing their crime. Oh, and if the arrestees don't cooperate with all this, the Hunters will just prune them (as they do the errant timelines). They're even willing to put children through the whole process, like the young Sylvie who was arrested while playing with her toys on Asgard and subjected to the whole terrifying ordeal before escaping.
  • Portal Door: The TVA can create portals through time and space that look like glowing doors. Anyone with a Tempad can do this as young Sylvie figured out.
  • Portal to the Past: The TVA's portals can go anywhere in time and space.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The French dub calls the TVA "Tribunal des Variations Anachroniques" (Tribunal of Anachronistic Variations) in order to keep the acronym intact while giving it a similar meaning to the original.
  • Previously on…: Each episode (aside from the season one opener) begins with a recap of the prior episode(s) (with a "PREVIOUSLY" card being sandwiched between the first clip and the rest of the recap), recalling certain scenes and plot points that will be continued/brought up in the current episode.
    • In addition, the first episode of the series has a streamlined version of the scene(s) from Avengers: Endgame where the alternate Loki variant from 2012 makes his escape with the Tesseract (Space Stone), which then segues into the series' plot proper.
    • Inverted at the end of the series, with the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue being preceded by an "AFTER." time-card (full stop included, for emphasis).
  • Pride Before a Fall: The titular character is introduced as a seemingly sadistic would-be God-Emperor who is captured by the TVA, stripped of his clothes, subjected to tedious processing, found guilty in a Kangaroo Court, and can barely catch a break from this point on to the end of Season 1, which is also a downer, but is humbled in the process.
  • Prime Timeline: At the beginning of the series, the "Sacred Timeline" is the only one, maintained by the Time Variance Authority at the behest of the all-knowing Time-Keepers by pruning all Alternate Timeline "branches". After game-changing reveals and choices made at the end of season 1, it starts to branch freely, but the original timeline keeps getting referred to as the Sacred one in season 2.
  • Production Foreshadowing:
    • The animated intro with Miss Minutes in the first episode talks about the madness of a multiversal war, which is a reference to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the film that was yet to be released when the show came out but shares the lead writer, Michael Waldron.
    • Two of the "pruned" Loki variants shown as a hologram by the TVA are a huge, hulking Loki and a Loki in Frost Giant form. One Loki sharing these traits would appear in the then-upcoming What If?
  • Product Placement: Season 2 features McDonald's in the plot and marketing. So much so that one of the moments was even used as a McDonalds commercial in real life.
  • Propaganda Piece: The TVA brainwash their workers, so most episodes feature dystopian posters hanging on the walls, training or explanatory videos, and even statues of the supposed founders of the organization.
  • Protagonist Title: LOKI. Note that there is more than one Loki in this show.
  • Psychological Projection: Many of Loki's criticisms towards humanity and others are revealed to be projections on how he feels about himself. One of those criticisms is how humans always make the wrong decision when given a choice, leading to shame and regret.
  • Putting on the Reich: The TVA's internal security guards guarding the Time Keeper's chambers wear notably fascist looking regalia, sporting all-black instead of the black and brown color scheme of the Minutemen. Their caps, coats, and belt-with-angled-crosspiece designs taken from 1930's Nazi parade uniforms.
  • Race Lift:
    • Season 2 subtly reveals that Hunter B-15 is Verity Willis. In the comics, Willis is portrayed as being Caucasian, where in Loki she is portrayed by British-Nigerian actress Wunmi Mosaku.
    • Season 2 also reveals that TVA desk worker Casey is actually Alcatraz escapee Frank Lee Morris. Eugene Cordero is Filipino-American, whereas the real Frank was Caucasian.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Time Variance Authority captures Loki after he escapes with the Space Stone in Avengers: Endgame, put him on trial for violating the sacred timeline, and then recruit him because they need his unique perspective in dealing with another version of himself killing their agents.
  • Regional Riff: Natalie Holt's score uses among others Nordic instruments, specifically a Nyckelharpa and a Hardanger fiddle, to reflect Loki's ties to Norse Mythology.
  • Reset Button: The TVA possesses this as an actual, physical device that resets a timeline to its "sacred" course after arresting the variant responsible for the divergence. The Loki Variant (a.k.a. Sylvie) has been stealing them from TVA squads and modifying them to bomb the whole Sacred Timeline.
  • Ret-Canon: The terms "Variant" and "Sacred Timeline" were first introduced in the series, and then used in the comics. Fantastic Four #35 that was released after the series has made them canon to Earth-616 (the Marvel Universe).
  • Retro Universe: The TVA's headquarters is a separate reality unmoored from time, with cutting-edge technology that allows agents to travel through time and space or watch someone's past or future like a movie in a theater. However, it looks like The '70s with their geometric patterns, brown and orange hues and dated-looking devices.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: While at his trial, Loki speculates that the Avengers went back in time in order to subvert his rule over Earth, assuming that he emerges victorious after the events of The Avengers. He's entirely correct that they've gone back in time to change their timeline, but it's primarily to undo Thanos's work than anything that's really related to Loki (since he's, y'know, dead).
  • Rubber-Band History: Invoked by the TVA, who constantly change alternate timelines such that they always lead back on the sacred timeline, usually through brute force.
  • San Dimas Time:
    • While the TVA can normally go to any point in the Sacred Timeline freely, variant branch timelines are unstable enough that they are limited to the "present" there.
    • Subverted in the final episode of Season 1. While Sylvie killed He Who Remains after pushing Loki through the portal, the ramifications take effect before Loki comes out the other side, since the timelines were already starting to branch once the threshold at the end of time was passed.
  • Scenery Censor: When the TVA robot removes Loki's clothes, Loki's groin region is covered by the robot's arm.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In the Season 2 episode, "The Heart of the TVA", features the offscreen deaths of Dox and her subordinates. The group dies from being crushed alive in an shrinking TVA cube, but scene only features their screams and the disgusted reaction from Brad.
  • Screw Yourself: In episode 4, Loki starts falling for Sylvie, an Alternate Self version of him, which is a powerful enough event to create a Nexus Event during an apocalypse. Such a thing of two versions of the same person becoming romantic is such utter chaos and that they not only cause a Nexus Event with a branch timeline that goes almost perpendicular to the Sacred Timeline (something never seen before), but also having the Nexus Event during an apocalypse(which are established as not causing Nexus Events because everything get wiped out regardless of what changes someone makes), which is supposed to be impossible.
  • Series Continuity Error: Sylvie's id in the TVA files Loki looks through is L0852. Sylvie's id in the script shown by He Who Remains is L1190. Either there were two Sylvies who killed TVA cops and stole their reset charges, or the production team made an error.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • For Season 2: Season 1 ends with Sylvie killing He Who Remains, which also leads to Loki being pushed to a different point in time (by Sylvie) where nobody at the Time Variance Authority knows Loki, directly setting up the events of season two.
    • For other MCU properties:
      • The Sacred Timeline starts to splinter, giving rise to the creation of numerous alternate timelines, which sets up the events of What If…? (2021), Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and every subsequent Multiverse Saga entry that revolves around the use of alternate timelines and/or universes.
      • He Who Remains warns Loki and Sylvie that the Multiverse flowing as it pleases will lead to the rise of hostile variants of himself, some of whom may be far more evil and dangerous than he ever was, and an inevitable Multiversal War between them. They take this risk when Sylvie kills He Who Remains, and Loki destroys the Temporal Loom and uses himself as a means to stabilize the Multiverse. This sets up Kang the Conqueror's role as the antagonist of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and fuels the Mulitverse Saga's main storyline.
      • Sylvie decides to go travelling to wherever she feels like going, which could allow for her to drop into Earth-616 for potential future storylines.
  • Shameful Strip: Having captured Loki, the TVA employs The Nudifier robot to remove all his clothes, save for the prisoner collar they've put on him. Loki is not happy about it, but before he has time to react, the floor under his feet collapses and he falls down into another room. Fortunately for him, a TVA prisoner jumpsuit appears on him when he stands back up.
  • Shoulders-Up Nudity: As part of their routine, the TVA vapourize Loki's clothes, leaving him completely naked, but only seen from the waist up.. In previous appearances, as a side character Loki has barely shown any skin, but as the main character in his series, he delivers the Manservice the franchise is famous for.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During prisoner-processing, Loki gets snippy about not wanting to discard his "finest Asgardian leather" outfit.
    • In episode 5, Loki witnesses an entire ship being pruned by the TVA. The name on the ship's side is USS Eldridge — the ship that inadvertently time-travels in The Philadelphia Experiment.
    • In Season 2, episode 2, X-5 flees the TVA and takes on the name Brad Wolfe.
    • In Season 2, episode 4, Ouroboros apologizes for "the shoddy and slapdash" quality of his Loom model, what with it not being to scale or painted. Another famous inventor who also dabbled in time travel is equally nitpicky about the quality of his models.
    • In the finale, upon timeslipping back to their first interrogation back in the very first episode in order to ask for his advice whilst facing a Sadistic Choice, Loki shakes Mobius's hand. The shot is framed to evoke the album cover of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here - a tableaux of two men in suits, one of them on fire, shaking hands; the main difference is that, rather than being on fire, Mobius is "spaghetti-fied".
  • Sinister Silhouettes: The teaser gives us a shot of a mysterious blonde woman (Sylvie) sitting on a rock, staring at a dark purple sky. The first official trailer gives us that same shot, but with Loki sitting next to her.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer:
    • Richard E. Grant's character is completely absent from both the teaser and the trailer and remains a mystery until the series release. He appears as a Loki variant in The Stinger of episode 4 and in episode 5 is credited as "Classic Loki".
    • Although not obeying this trope to the letter, Sophia Di Martino follows this trope in spirit, only appearing in one wide shot in the final trailer that barely gives any clues to her identity or role, to the point some fans didn't even think it was her at first.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: The show is all over the place, because the main conflict is between the characters who want to restrict (the TVA) and allow (the Lokis) the deviations from the Sacred Timeline, i.e. free will. Even worse, in the Season 1 finale He Who Remains effectively states that before the Threshold there was no free will at all because the entire narrative up to this point was scripted out, including the deviations like Loki's and Sylvie's stories. Which interpretation wins is unclear as of the end of season 1 with its massive Cliffhangers.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The show lands in the middle, but makes wide swings left and right. In the end, love simultaneously redeems and can not overcome, and the titular character, a former Anti-Villain who's changed his ways and is a shining example of the fact that Rousseau Was Right, earns a Downer Ending where he's stuck alone in a Crapsack World he's just helped to make worse.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: In episode 6, when Loki and Sylvie finally get to confront the creator of the TVA face to face, he's holding an apple which he proceeds to casually take bites out of while explaining why he doesn't consider them a threat.
  • So Last Season: The Infinity Stones were the running thread of the MCU for years, being the most powerful objects of any singular universe. This series, which segues into the wider multiverse, casually dismisses them when Loki finds that they're powerless in the TVA's realm, to the point that countless copies from deleted timelines are used as colorful paperweights.
  • Southern Belle: Miss Minutes definitely has the accent for a lady from the American deep South. Doubles as Write What You Know, as Waldron himself comes from the Southern States.
  • Spacetime Eater: Alioth is an enormous beast that consumes anything that is sent to the void at the end of time. He Who Remains originally used it to win the multiversal war by having it eat all of the other timelines.
  • Standard Office Setting: Half of the first season is spent inside the TVA headquarters which is a sprawling maze of office desks and archives filled with functionaries, with an open space for ordinary workers and fancy secluded offices for higher-ups. Cue in soul-crushing paperwork, training videos, motivational posters, funny coffee mugs, falling asleep at a desk, canteen talks, negotiations with Da Chief and Interservice Rivalry between Analysts and Hunters typically found in a Police Procedural. The TVA are indeed the time cops, so it figures.
  • Standard Snippet:
    • Classical music playing on a theremin are often heard in scenes set in Ravonna Renslayer's office; in "The Variant", Clara Rockmore's theremin cover of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 18 Morceaux, Op. 72: No. 2 "Berceuse"; while in "The Nexus Event", a theremin cover of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Le cygne" ("The Swan").
    • In Episode 5, a variation on Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries plays as Classic Loki conjures up an exact replica of Asgard to distract Alioth.
  • The Stinger:
    • The first episode has an audible stinger (without any visuals) right at the very end of the end credits. Miss Minutes thanks those visiting the TVA and asks them to not forget to share their feedback on the service.
    • The fourth episode sees Loki ending up in an unfamiliar place in time after being pruned, and encountering multiple other Variants of himself living there.
    • A scene after the credits in the final episode of the first season shows a TVA document of Loki, being stamped with a mark that says "Loki will return in Season 2."
    • The mid-credits scene of season two's first episode shows us what happened to Sylvie after the end of the first season- she ends up travelling to a branched-off timeline (more precisely, a McDonald's in Oklahoma during the early 1980s) and decides to start living a proper normal life from here on out. Sadly, since we see a future version of herself in the TVA during the episode's climax, this normal life of hers will not last for long.
    • In regards to the whole series, Loki as a whole does not end with a post-credits scene after the end of Season Two (which was it's last), making the series one of the very few mainline MCU entries to not end with a mid/post-credits scene (the others being The Incredible Hulk, Avengers: Endgame and Werewolf By Night).
  • Stock Footage:
    • The series opens on the Avengers: Endgame scene in which Loki escapes with the Tesseract during the bungled time heist. However, eagle-eyed viewers will notice that some parts of the scene actually use deleted takes, particularly with Loki's impersonation of Captain America and his wave towards an enraged Hulk.
    • During "Glorious Purpose", footage from Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War is used to illustrate Loki’s past and the correct order of the timeline to him.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries:
    • How and why did D.B. Cooper collect a ransom of $200,000 and just disappear shortly after? Turns out that Loki himself was Cooper, who collected that cash due to losing a bet with Thor and used the Bifrost to return to Asgard and pay up.
    • In the fifth episode, one of the alternate timeline objects that the TVA pruned is the USS Eldridge, a US Navy vessel that was said to be subjected to the Philadelphia Experiment, an alleged military experiment in which the ship was rendered completely invisible.
    • What happened to the three men who broke out of Alcatraz in 1962 and disappeared? Season 2 episode 5 shows that their leader, Frank Morris, was grabbed by the TVA and mindwiped into Casey.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Just how physically and magically strong is Loki? It seems to vary a lot, with him being slapped around by TVA agents and Sylvie's enchanted humans one moment, and him being able to give Sylvie herself (who can in turn go through TVA agents like tissue paper) a run for her money the next. Likewise, his magic seems to amount to "minor parlour tricks" sometimes and "lifting entire buildings with his mind" the next. There are possible explanations for a lot of it note  but it's never remarked on.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The TVA's orientation video begins in the style of an old Filmations superhero series, gradually morphing into something out of a 1950s educational cartoon.
    • When the Time-Keepers are finally revealed in Episode 4, they're badly CGI'd Muppet-like creatures who look very out of place with the amazing special effects usually seen in the show. This ends up being intentional as when Sylvie decapitates one, they're revealed to be nothing more than animatronics, making their shoddy appearance justified.
  • Temporal Mutability: As explained by Miss Minutes, deviating from a set course of events creates branching timelines, but the Time Variance Authority act as Time Police. They enforce time immutability and cut off the branches as soon as they emerge. However, time travel is allowed if it was supposed to happen — basically a Stable Time Loop isn't a problem, but actively changing things is. Ultimately the Time Keepers, heads of the TVA, decide what should happen and what should not.
  • That Liar Lies: When Loki says he doesn't like talking, Mobius retorts (while mimicking a mouth with his hand), "But you do like to lie, which you just did. 'Cause we both know you love to talk. Talky, talky.".
  • Theremin: Natalie Holt's score prominently features a theremin. Both her and director Kate Herron independently from each other decided that it should be included in the score because of its inherent sci-fi sound.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Said by Sylvie right before she and Loki attempt to hijack The Ark on Lamentis.
  • Tick Tock Tune: "TVA", used as the end credits theme of the first episode, incorporates the sound of clocks ticking, which ties in with the show's time-travel themes. A variant of the track arranged for the opening sequence of each episode has more subdued orchestral arrangement, and thus the ticking becomes more prominent.
  • Time Police: The TVA's (Time Variance Authority) job is to "protect the proper flow of time", and Loki escaping with the Space Stone was an aberration that the TVA has to fix. It's also explained that the Time Keepers founded the TVA to protect a single, unified timeline after a devastating multiversal war. Interestingly it's not time travel itself that is considered a crime — the Avengers' time travel shenanigans are considered to be perfectly fine — it's not following your predestined fate that is considered the crime, even though there's no way for a being not aware of the timeline to know they've deviated from it.
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: Prisoners of the TVA are fitted with Time Twisters, restraining collars that allow the one holding the remote to wind the prisoner backward or forward in their relative timestream, up to the present. This has the effect of teleporting the victim to whatever location they were at the selected moment, without affecting their memories or anything else they interacted with along the way. They primarily use it to yank back prisoners that attempt to run during processing.
  • Title-Only Opening: The opening title of Loki simply consists of the letters making up the name "Loki", constantly shifting between different typefaces before settling on one type for each letter.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The plot of season 1 revolves around Loki, an Ex-Big Bad of The Avengers, realizing the error of his ways and struggling to become a better person.
  • TV Head Robot: The robot that undresses Loki has a screen head with changing facial expressions.
  • Unflinching Walk: A variant. Loki keeps looking at Mobius, smiling, arms wide open, as a giant ash cloud from a volcanic eruption comes flying up behind him.
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Loki faces a huge robot that protrudes from a wall and reminds one of a bathysphere with four mechanical arms. It frowns at Loki for resisting, then aims something at him that makes Loki's clothes disappear, to which the robot smiles.
  • Unstuck in Time: In the Season 2 trailer, Loki experiences “timeslipping,” a phenomenon that randomly pulls him back and forth between the past and the present, completely out of Loki’s control.
  • Unusual Euphemism: TVA agents who go into the field call their work "pruning", both to refer to the act of clipping branching timelines and vaporizing variants.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: TVA workers reside in a place outside of time and were told that they were created by the benevolent Time Keepers to maintain the predetermined flow of events in the name of peace and order. But Loki declares that the TVA is "not real" as soon as he arrives. In "The Variant", Mobius argues that the TVA and its dogma are "real" because he believes it. By the end of season 1, it is revealed that He Who Remains kidnapped variants, erased their memories and brainwashed them into killing untold trillions to maintain his grasp over the "Sacred Timeline." As the story goes on, more and more characters start to call ordinary life on the timeline "real" instead: Hunter C-20 in "The Variant" and "The Nexus Event", Hunter X-05 in "Breaking Brad," Sylvie in the season 1 finale and "Science/Fiction".
  • Urban Legends: In episode 5, the Polybius machine, a fictitious arcade game claimed to cause Brown Note and Mind Manipulation effects to those who played it, can be seen in the Void Lokis' ramshackle lair.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The TVA is a very large organization. Its staff is watching the timelines, maintaining enormous archives and doing the much-needed paperwork, like printing out everything a person has ever said and making them sign it. When Loki finds a window, the organization's headquarters are shown to be so massive that one can't even see where it ends.
  • Villain Has a Point: He Who Remains was telling the truth in the finale of Season 1, without a dictator controlling and pruning the timeline a multiversal war is coming. Played with for Loki L1130. He starts off believing The Evils of Free Will apply to everyone but himself and seeks to be a God-King. He moves away from this belief after Character Development from being humbled, both for himself and the timeline as a whole. Loki joins Sylvie's fight to liberate the timeline and stop the TVA. But by the finale of Season 1 he considers that He Who Remains might have a point, and that getting rid of him or the TVA at the moment might not be the best idea.
  • Villain Protagonist: Loki is the main character and viewpoint character of this series, and this version of Loki comes from the immediate aftermath of The Avengers, where he is still a villain and has not experienced any of his later character development towards redemption. Also, considering that this series involves variants of Loki, this trope is played with. The TVA want this Loki's help in catching another Loki who is causing trouble for them. Then both Lokis join forces against the TVA, who is turning out to be villainous itself.
  • Villainous Rescue: "Villainous" in the sense that the TVA are antagonistic to Loki and Sylvie, but by the start of episode 4, the two variants are doomed to die in an inescapable apocalypse event. The two of them hold hands as they await the end, which causes enough of a paradox to draw the TVA's attention, and they are taken back into custody instead of being left to die.
  • Visual Pun: The title sequence consists of Loki's name spelled out in a set of different, rolling fonts; in other words: variants of "Loki".
  • Weapon Twirling: In episode 3, Loki is shown casually flipping his daggers.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Believed by the TVA regarding its mission to prevent any deviations in the timeline, and confirmed by its founder, He Who Remains. He is fully aware that the TVA's methods are brutal and oppressive, but also sincere in his belief that these methods are necessary to prevent the destruction of the multiverse.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Once again, Episode 4. Loki and Sylvie finally reach the Timekeepers and confront them... only to discover, upon beheading one of them, that they're actually just mindless androids being operated by whoever actually created the TVA. Furthermore, the final scene has Loki "pruned", which we've been led to believe means Cessation of Existence... only for him to wake up in another unknown location, being greeted by multiple other versions of himself.
    • The season one finale provides one not just for the show, but for the MCU as a whole as Sylvie kills He Who Remains, and allows the entire multiverse to branch freely. As a result, a different variant of He Who Remains goes on to become the leader of another timeline's TVA, and this Mobius doesn't remember any of the events within the show.
  • Wham Line: In the Season 1 finale, after Loki makes his way back to the TVA and tries to explain everything to Mobius:
  • Wham Shot:
    • An in-universe example: after Casey gives Loki the Tessaract upon threat of death, Loki's gaze wanders to the open desk drawer it was previously stashed in, only to freeze... because he sees dozens of Infinity Stones just laying there. Casey casually tells him that they get a lot of those, and some of the guys even use them as paperweights, indicating that the TVA is on an entirely different level note  and Loki is utterly stunned.
    • In Episode 4, Sylvie uses a thrown sword to decapitate one of the Timekeepers... only for it to start emitting sparks, followed by the other Timekeepers laughing and deactivating like animatronics being turned off.
    • At the end of the first season finale, Loki finds himself back in the TVA and immediately runs to find Mobius and B-15 to let them know what has happened. Then he discovers that not only do they not remember him, but the statues of the three Time Keepers have been replaced by a single statue of a variant of He Who Remains, implied to be Kang the Conqueror.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: What Loki finally accepts in the course of season 2. It is made explicit when Mobius tells him that being a god isn't about power, it's about responsibility.
  • World-Healing Wave: When we finally see a reset charge in action in episode 2, we see that they send out a wave of energy that restores the timeline.
    • In episode 5 we learn that this wave actually sends all the "incorrect" things to the void at the end of time to be devoured by Alioth. Things and people.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: In episode 2's climax, the Loki Variant uses repurposed reset charges to mass-bomb the Sacred Timeline, creating numerous branch timelines that the TVA is scrambling to try and fix.
  • Yandere: Miss Minutes is revealed to be this in Season 2, Episode 3. She's been lusting after her maker, He Who Remains, for eons. And she doesn't take it well that he never returned her affections.
  • You Are Number 6:
    • TVA's Hunters and analysts are only ever referred to by their designated letter-number code (Hunter B-15, Hunter C-20, Hunter D-90, Analyst 1182-E, and so on).
    • Loki is officially known as Variant L1130 in TVA records.
  • You Are What You Hate: Episode 3 reveals that all the TVA employees are Variants who have had their memories erased by the Time-Keepers, which is ironic because they hate Variants with a passion.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Loki realizes at the end of the first episode that he can't return to his own timeline. It's already been reset and another version of him is living it.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: Loki is quite dismayed to discover that his powers don't work in the TVA's dimension, and neither does the power of the Infinity Stones. Mobius implies that this holds true for all magic.
  • Zeerust: The TVA's aesthetic leans on it hard, and the shot of the greater complex would not have been out of place in a movie from the 70s. The production designer acknowledged that they were influenced by Terry Gilliam's Brazil, another movie using archaic, worn-down office furniture to visualize how bloated the bureaucracy is. The production designer also explained that the reason things at the TVA look not only anachronistic but worn down is sort of a parallel to all of the big bureaucratic architecture build in the aftermath of World War II: it was all built in one big burst with no budget limits due to the war, but wasn't regularly updated after that, so that by the 1970s a lot of it was breaking down. Similarly, the TVA was built in the aftermath of the Multi-dimensional War, all in one big burst, but hasn't been regularly upgraded since then.

"Thanks for visiting the TVA! Don't hesitate to let us know how we're doin'!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Loki


Time Variance Authority

Miss Minutes Explains the Time Variance Authority and their duty to protect the sacred timeline.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / TimePolice

Media sources: