here’s a thing: the days feel like they’re melting away because we’re not actually witnessing them. we’re too consumed by technology to even step out of our spaces and be like, hey. the sun looks nice today. i like the feeling of it pricking my skin and washing me with love. i think I’ll stay here a little longer. so like let’s just ditch social media and actually live our life because nothing is promised and we don’t know how long we have left to experience these beautiful things and i think we all just need to do what’s best for us.
I would literally give my left arm to know if Riordan actually had an original end goal in mind for “Percy’s big choice” in hoo that was more consistent with the darker build up he wrote or if it was always this desultory “noooo Percy you can’t fight Gaea because for some reason this has been about you needing to learn when to take a step back” resolution because I reread hoo and its just... all of these moments where Percy’s perspective is just full of betrayal and anger towards the gods and this deep seeded resentment is starting to take hold (which I would argue is the natural progression of his characterization if he found out everything he fought for and everyone they lost in the previous war was apparently for nothing). Gaea is dropping these ominous lines left and right that Percy is going to be a big part of her final plan, and the gods keep interacting with the rest of seven with cryptic statements about Percy that pretty much boil down to “Percy’s dangerous and powerful so pretty please make sure he doesn't do anything bad (to us).” Then Percy has, to put it kindly, a pretty rough go of it in tartarus that I just feel that the ultimate conclusion to this arc in canon is so underwhelming to what was being set up. It doesn't feel like the end was the natural conclusion to what was being written, it felt like the threads of Percy’s story were abruptly knotted and cut halfway through the design.
I really enjoy just existing in hotels. The long identical hallways. The soulless abstract art. The weird noises the air-conditioner makes. Strange city lights in the window. Six stories off the ground. Strangers chatting in the hall. Nothing in the dresser. No past, but an infinite present.
Just put this together and I know I've made like 800 posts just about episode one but I've been thinking about this for the past two days and it FINALLY makes sense
I have been puzzling over the oddly intense reaction Loki had to finding the collection of Infinity Stones in the drawer. I couldn't figure out why he was so affected by it--I mean, he seems gutted. Crushed. Because of how striking it was, that response screamed "this is an important moment," and I finally have an answer as to what makes it so.
When Mobius leaves the interrogation room, Loki takes the opportunity to escape. This is after Mobius has been psychologically attacking him and both Loki's verbal and physical outbursts have done nothing. He's tried reasoning and questioning, he's tried intimidating, he's tried attacking his environment and his captor, and has even tried other methods of escape--none of these have worked. To his massive credit, Loki keeps his wits about him enough to steal the only tool he knows can get him out of there, and uses it. But though he's escaped the room, he's still in the TVA. He needs something more powerful to get him out entirely.
That's the first, and more obvious, reason that Loki responds as he does when the Tesseract is just sitting in a drawer, lumped in with a bunch of other Infinity Stones. If something that powerful is useless in the TVA, then Loki really can't get out on his own. His last method of defense--escape--is gone, and nothing else he's done has worked. He is, effectively, helpless. I understand why that would cause a pretty dramatic response.
But then he stands, shaken to his core, and says, "Is this the greatest power in the universe?" He looks almost on the verge of tears. And I just...did not get it. Why that question, and why such a strong reaction? But then I remembered: this is 2012's Loki.
Thanos brutally tortured, manipulated, and abused Loki, for who knows how long, all so that Loki could be sent to Earth to get the Tesseract. One Infinity Stone. And the TVA uses that exact stone as a paperweight. If Thanos went to such lengths, and if Loki went through so much, to try to get something that is so inconsequential to the TVA, how powerful must they be? And, the more pressing question--what must they be capable of? They have hardly been hospitable to Loki; he's been being attacked, controlled, or manipulated since the moment he arrived. And Thanos, the last person who'd controlled him, was much less powerful than they were. If Loki went through so much at his hands, what horrors would his new captors be willing to inflict?
Additionally, Loki had just been on Earth, under Thanos' influence and threat, desperately trying to get the Tesseract, that very day. This isn't something he's had time to distance himself from; this is what he's been told mere hours before that if he did not deliver it to Thanos, he would "long for something as sweet as pain". And now it's sitting in a drawer. It can't even help Loki get out of the prison he's trapped in, having gone from one form of captivity to another; it is utterly useless. It's easy to imagine what Loki must have been thinking: it wasn't worth it. How could it have been? All that suffering, all that fear, all the death and destruction and pain he had had to cause, and for this?
The moment he realized that was another huge blow to Loki's mental state. At a loss, and unable to really go anywhere else, Loki returns to the room he'd escaped from, and goes to watch the life he'd escaped from the same. In that raw state, he cries over the family he won't get to see again. Maybe that releases some of the stress he's been feeling, maybe he feels a little safer. Maybe that means something.
And then he watches himself die at Thanos' hand.
For a paperweight.
"Glorious purpose" indeed.
This is the point at which Loki recognizes that he can't go back to his original timeline (despite having said previously that he'd "like to go home"); it's the first thing he says to Mobius when he returns. It breaks him, in a way--even if he were to escape, he wouldn't have anywhere to go. Fittingly, the TVA have left him only one way forward. So, out of options, and exhausted in every way from the sheer amount he's endured over the past 24 hours, Loki presents himself as open to work with the TVA. And while I think he will still be looking for an out, he's stopped actively fighting for his freedom, because--at least for the moment--he no longer believes he could win.