Monday, June 28, 2021

Does Loki Have Free Will?

To those stateside, happy Independence Day this coming weekend! To all of you keeping up with Disney Plus, we’re half done with Loki. And I have some questions.


Full disclosure: the first episode didn’t sell me on Loki. I was so confused as to why the all-powerful Time Keepers would arrest Loki for making an escape (inadvertently creating a new timeline) but Captain America going back to the 1950s to be with Peggy (intentionally creating a new timeline) was kosher. 

By the end of the second episode I was in though and here’s why: the Time Keepers might be all-knowing and all-powerful over the Sacred Timeline (and they might not be), but do they have the right to enforce it?

If someone can create a new timeline by accident, why should the Time Keepers be allowed to erase that person? It basically negates free will. 

We could delve into this with any time travel story I suppose. Did Barry have the right to change the timeline when he created Flashpoint? Did Marty have the right to change the course of Biff's story? And then there's the Doctor who is constantly having timey-wimey adventures.

The more I thought about Loki and free will, the more it reminded me of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1. So if you haven’t watched Legends of Tomorrow… Well, you probably don’t care about these spoilers anyway!  

On Legends, there’s a group of people called the Time Masters who guard the timeline from attack. Sound familiar? When it’s people who intentionally try to derail the timeline, this makes sense. For example, the Legends are not and have never been very inconspicuous across the timeline. So having the Time Masters there to guard the timeline makes sense. However, as the season concluded, we discovered that the Time Masters were manipulating time into the timeline they wanted. In the end, the Legends defeated the Time Masters and made it possible for free will to flourish (which had its consequences, but that’s just a day in the life with the Legends).

So regardless of whether the Time Keepers are the Loki big bad or not, I think we’re going to come back to free will and why it’s important.

Free will is a God-given gift. Men and women have fought for it since forever. If that's taken away, what's life? In my opinion, you take away free will, you take away what makes life beautiful. Sure we make mistakes and life gets messy, but like the Legends we can mess things up for the better. It's because of our free will that we can change and make better choices next time. Without free will, there's no learning. Without free will, we stagnate. 

Bottom line, when you're celebrating Fourth of July this weekend, be grateful there are any Time Masters or Time Keepers micromanaging your free will... At least as far as we know...

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