More Info



Transfiguring Adoption awarded this movie 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

Movie Info:

  • Rating: TV-14
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action-Adventure 
  • Runtime: 54 minutes
  • Studio: Marvel Studios

From the Cover of LOKI by Marvel Studios:

In Marvel Studios’ “Loki,” the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes places after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer.

S1:E2: Mobius puts Loki to work, but not everyone at TVA is thrilled about the God of Mischief’s presence.

Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:

I will continue saying this for all time, always. Loki is the most winsome depiction of a trauma-behavior-redemption character that there is in popular entertainment today! The Loki series is continuing to reinforce that reputation, even if only taken at face value. However, as fans look deeper we can count on each episode to be just as intricate as the lives of foster/adoptive families with this second installment providing subject matter like the perception of right versus wrong, self-discovery, and some good ol’ “foster kid side effects.” Foster kid side effects is a term of endearment that this writer has come to apply to the concomitants of having experienced the foster care system such as social/emotional hindrances, (mal)adaptive behaviors, behavioral addictions, heightened stress response, trauma triggers, psychological disorders, and other predispositions or peculiarities. While it may sound counterintuitive to rejoice in these unsought attributes and afflictions, Loki demonstrates that they are enchantingly beneficial gifts, skills, and abilities if you can find it within yourself to transform your pain into motivation. Though this assessment will remain openly fluid throughout the duration of the season, Loki appears best suited for viewing by those 13 and older. The content of S1:E2 will encourage viewers to dust off their problem solving hats and buckle up as Marvel Studios shifts up a gear in this roguish adventure! Caregivers should be wary of blatant triggers such as violence, apocalyptic scenes of natural disasters, and loss as well as some subtle triggers described herein. 

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

Loki is magical. And not just in the sense that he practices seidr (Norse magic) but also in the parallels that can be drawn between his character and foster/adoptive youth. Intended by writers or not, Loki is a fully fledged member of the foster care and adoption communities (though he was kidnapped, I’d claim twice now, but that’s a topic for another time). Ever since Loki’s induction into the MCU, he has held a special place of relatability for our youth, particularly our teens. He serves as a role model who sends the message that regardless of how you have behaved, each of us are inherently worthy of redemption that is not contingent upon reaching a level of atonement equivalent to the depth of your mistakes. All that is required to effect change is making the choice to take the proper path. If Loki can do it, so can every child who has ever had to live with the shame of their own trauma influenced choices. There are many similarities in Loki’s personality, behaviors, and shared experiences which can be unpacked and discussed with our children for the promotion of healing. Some themes that can be derived from S1:E2 are universally common conversations to have with teens such as consent, motivation, and earning trust. Other themes, particularly lineage and if/how it affects your life purpose, can be especially applicable to foster/adoptive youth.

Discussion Points:

  • Personal Belongings
    To Loki’s dismay he is stripped of his “fine Asgardian leather” suit in Ep. 1 as he begins his intake process with the TVA and on into Ep. 2 he is visibly disappointed when B-15 reconfiscates his daggers just after Mobius returns them to him. This is disheartening to observe through the perspective of a child who has been relieved of their belongings in baneful manners. I remember as a teenager the repetitive quip that “Hefty is the luggage brand of choice” among foster children. Moves were nearly always made posthaste with miscellaneous personal effects being thrown into a singular trash bag regardless of need, functionality, fragility, or significance. Items were frequently damaged, destroyed, seized, lost, or refused to the child entirely by disgruntled or disapproving adults. Not much has changed over the years and even now as the foster parent our family welcomes children into our home with torn trash bags of incongruous artifacts, the vast majority of which may seem to be rubbish. But don’t be deceived by appearances! That shred of dirty shoelace your new child insists upon sleeping with under their pillow could be a magical relic simply because it was found in the hallway of their previous school, moments prior to being apprehended by the child welfare system and escorted through a time door to the foster care universe. That piece of string is imbued with a magical link to their homeland and it’s civilization, this concept holds true to the most curious of objects and those that are an obvious nexus between a child and their past, such as family photographs. Disregarding object attachment can lead to tragic repercussions for a child’s emotional well-being, not to mention cause compelling behavioral effects. As foster parents we see this manifest as the child who compulsively acquires/organizes objects to alleviate anxiety, the teen who wears hoodies year round as a source of comfort and safety, the child who hoards in order to govern fears of loss or abandonment, etc. Seeing Loki’s attachment to his personal belongings may inspire conversation with the youth in your care about items that hold importance to them.

  • Consent
    As Ep. 1 came to a close the audience was left with a cliffhanger that implied the progression of Loki’s status as a detainee of the TVA to that of a consultant for them. As we pick up in Ep. 2 , Loki is well into this new station and completing what is basically employee orientation training. Although this may seem like a positive turn of events, we should give pause to assess the implications of this transition. Loki came into the TVA wanting his freedom, instead he is manipulated into conceding his cooperation. Talking to our children about consent needs to go a step beyond instilling the concept of “my body, my choice,” modeling how to respect and set boundaries, and empowering them to say “no” or speak up when they are feeling uncomfortable. Particularly for traumatized youth, the ability to recognize and exit (or seek help with) a situation when their consent is being coerced can be quite challenging. When talking to your child(ren), it can be fairly straightforward to help them identify the ways Loki is being manipulated into consent as he is under threat of being put to death or “reset,” concerned for the safety of his loved ones (as he believes in Ep.1 that the TVA is holding his adoptive mother, Frigga, somewhere), and intimidated by the amount of power the TVA posses in the universe with Infinity Stones being as mundane as paperweights to them. However, things can get tricky when framing conversations about consent around, say, a child’s own unsafe habits online that could lead them to a wolf in sheep’s clothing who preys on vulnerable youth sharing their personal information or who have a need for validation from even a stranger. Understanding that consent applies not only to sexual relationships but also to their care/dignity/treatment, foster care service plans and goals, interactions with the law, medical procedures, privacy, and/or use of personal information is empowering knowledge for foster youth who have commonly lived by the dictations of a bureaucracy that holds a significant power differential. Encouraging critical thinking while coming from a place of objectivity can be effective in helping children understand that an act is not consensual when “consent” is given by means of pressure, persuasion, or threat. Consent is only valid when it is informed, voluntary, enthusiastic, and ongoing.

  • Importance of Play
    Play is a basic form of learning, can strengthen relationships, and help negate anxiety to say the least. Sadly, play is often attributed to children and as we grow older it is discouraged in favor of responsibility but what we fail to understand is that the two are not mutually exclusive. This episode is filled with examples of ways that play can enhance your life beginning with a Renaissance Fair when one cosplayer asserts, “Some of us need this, you know.” And we do! Even as adults we NEED healthy coping strategies, outlets for selfcare, and opportunities to informally socialize. As foster parents we NEED to model play for our children as many have yet to feel the lightheartedness in the world, reach that stage of development, or witness joys that give us hope to endure! Fun is essential! Even Mobius who exists in the confines of order at the TVA has a sense of this, the same as our foster kids. Just because he has never ridden a jet ski and anticipates that he never will, doesn’t mean he that he wouldn’t love to nor does it prevent him from owning a magazine on the subject because it “…helps remind me of what we’re fighting for.” Encourage your kids to play and allow yourself the same courtesy. In doing so you will not only facilitate their healing, growth, and happiness but your family’s as well.

  • Passions
    Through play we discover our passions! I’d like to believe that Frigga certainly played with Loki as a child using her magic which influenced his interest and it’s safe to say that Loki is passionate about magic. We know that he has studied sedir for the majority of his life, is well versed on the topic, and prides himself on his skill level. Though like most foster kids, when Loki has a moment of enthusiastic rambling about the differences between illusion projection and duplication casting to the authority figures in his life, he is quickly deflated as they are unimpressed and already aware. It is easy as an adult to forget the delight of acquiring newfound knowledge that we now take for granted and hold common with our experience and lack of curiosity. It is also easy to accidentally put off our children from exploring their passions and discovering their strengths when we don’t revel in their interests with them to at least some degree. Finding ways to playfully inspire the disheartened is key to connection and motivation.

  • Motivations
    In Ep. 1 Mobius is concentrated on gaining Loki’s cooperation, by Ep. 2 he’s moved on to assessing his motivations to ensure productivity. Throughout this episode I was strongly reminded of our school’s motivational assessment tool that they use with children who struggle to find passion in education. We see a lot of boyish charm as Loki becomes bored of assignments, is frequently distracted, and appears to find difficulty with initiating or completing tasks. Mobius touches on all five positive enforcement motivators (adult approval, competitive approval, peer approval, independent rewards, and consumable rewards) in some way or another, with adult approval and competitive play being the most advantageous when they make a gentleman’s bet for pride over who can be first to make a breakthrough in the case. Mobius cleverly deduces that playful competition infused with a passion and then reinforced with his validation (words of affirmation) are the ingredients to motivating Loki’s achievement. Encouraging any youth to achieve a goal that they don’t see value in can be challenging but it seems like Mobius may have found us the formula for success! Play + Passion = Motivation & Motivation x Positive Reinforcement = Achievement.

  • Lineage/Patronage
    Thus far, Ep. 1 leaned heavily on Loki’s relationship with Frigga and how it not only opens him up to vulnerability but also shapes and fortifies him. By contrast, Ep. 2 focuses more on his paternal connections when conversing with Mobius during a break from analyzing files. In a momentary role reversal of sorts, the discussion they have provides more character depth for Mobius with Loki having a more omniscient presence as the postulation that one’s origins are related to one’s purpose is presented by Mobius who feels “lucky that the chaos I emerged into gave me all of this… My own glorious purpose.” Loki sagaciously provides that he knows “…no one bad is ever truly bad. And no one good is ever truly good,” thus challenging what Mobius “believes to be real” and sets us up perfectly to have the discussion that your identity and purpose is not dependent upon your lineage through biology, adoption, or fictive kinship. We get to define ourselves in life and are not bound to repeat the cycles from whence we emerged. Mobius appears to be a good man and, if you didn’t figure out from the very first trailer, the TVA is a dystopian bureaucracy that’s up to no good but that doesn’t change a thing about the person that Mobius is at his core.

  • Earning Trust
    There are numerous examples of various characters putting their trust in one another or taking the steps to earn it throughout this episode, three of which tugged at my heartstrings. Firstly, I momentarily forgot how to breathe as I was captivated not only by the adorableness of sleeping Loki but also by the meaningfulness that the imagery conveyed when we see Loki asleep at the work table with Mobius. Loki has enough faith in Mobius that he feels safe to sleep in his presence! The depth of that will not be lost on foster youth. Next, Mobius believes in Loki and because of that he is able to take a huge risk as he sneaks off with him to Pompeii just before its destruction to test Loki’s theory that the Variant is able to hide out in doomsday events. Lastly, Loki is able to have a moment of accepting responsibility as he states that he understands trust needs to be earned and partners off with B-15 to search Roxxcart for the Variant. During their search Loki initiates conversation to engage in relationship repair as he offers that they got off on the wrong foot, but what makes this  amazing is that he does so even having been the one slighted in this relationship, he is able to be the bigger person and take that first step toward cooperation. While having faith, taking risks, and repairing damage may not be the mechanics of building healthy trust, they are certainly the components of earning the ability to do so with foster youth.

Cautionary Points:

  • Loss of Homeland
    As Loki reviews files he comes across a document that details the destruction of Asgard. I don’t possess adequate expressive language skills to coherently describe how ungrounding the experience is of losing your home. It is surreal and disorienting and, for foster youth, very raw. Seeing Loki’s eyes well up with tears as he becomes aware of this loss will be distressing on some level and could lead to a strong emotional outburst depending on where your child is in the grief process.

  • Placement Instability & “Last Chance”
    While Loki is out here continuing to overlap the lives of foster children, we see this repeated pattern of him bouncing around from one place to the next while having to adhere to the demands of various authorities. Some background information for caregivers who are not familiar, Loki starts life off with Laufey (biological father) who abandons him as a baby leading to his abduction by Odin (“adoptive” father), who denounces him as a son when he harshly declares that his “birthright was to die.” He then finds himself with Thanos (comparable situation to gang involvement) who abuses and tortures him before landing on a planet with the Grandmaster (comparable situation to human trafficking) who he must win the favor of to survive. Mobius is the first authority figure to offer Loki any hope for stability in the eyes of fanatic foster youth knowledgeable about his journey and relating it to their own. The triggering piece about this hope among all of the instability is that it is habitually dangled over the edge of despair with conditions to their relationship and now the threat that after testing a boundary Loki is on his “last chance.” These words are uttered at an alarming rate towards foster youth and causes them to also question “…what does my desperate last chance require?” This type of open-ended ultimatum only perpetuates fear, anxiety, and stress that leads to trauma behaviors and more placement disruptions.

  • Name Calling
    While it’s empowering to see Loki exhibit some self assurance as he is seemingly unbothered by many insults hurled his way, other barbs appear to cut deep and he is visibly pained by them. This can be a hurtful reminder to our children of their own insecurities and trauma experiences as they witness various characters steadily insult the God of Mischief during the course of this episode.

  • Empty Promises
    Once again Mobius waves an incentive in front of Loki to elicit his cooperation that the audience later finds out he has no intention or capability to follow through with. This is excessively frustrating for children who have been let down time and time again after entrusting their faith and goodwill to an authority figure who ultimately hoodwinked them to meet their own need or deadline.

  • Scenes of Natural Disasters
    As Loki and Mobius work out how to find the Variant hiding in apocalypses, the viewer is taken to destinations that can be frightening scenarios to consider. While the scene at Pompeii is less intense and infused with comic relief, the one in Alabama can be much more triggering as we see the weather worsen, hear the cries of a baby in the background, and witness the coldness of a TVA agent towards the town’s fearful inhabitants.

  • Violence and Death
    Youth in care have already been exposed to a significant amount of violence by either witnessing it as an element of their environment or by being on the receiving end of it themselves. This series is no different than the majority of television shows of this viewer rating as it depicts physical violence, weapon violence, and violent acts against others up to and inclusive of murder. Though there is no gore and deaths are largely presented in a passive manner caution is advised. It is specifically noteworthy to S1:E2 that death by sword can be seen, bodies are dissolved in a whimsically dignified manner as a timeline is reset, and Loki is tossed around like a ragdoll by those enchanted by the Variant.

Discussion Guide:

  1. Loki loves to live “la vida Loki,” as one series preview put it. What wild and crazy adventure would you like to have with the God of Mischief if he lived here on Midgard (Earth)?  Caregiver Note: Sometimes we forget that we could be far more successful and focused is we gave in to the playful inclinations that fuel us and our families. However, if one thing is for certain, being a foster or an adoptive parent is busy! We have to do the best we can with the what time we have in a day which means being creative. Playfulness doesn’t have to be scheduled or even structured all of the time, spontaneously declaring you’re an Avenger at toy clean up and using your superpowers to get the job done is just as beneficial as the time spent sitting on the floor playing with those action figures. Play can be indulged passively as well! You can check those independent living skills off of your to-do list and fold the laundry, rake the yard, or cook dinner together while you entertain the imagination with the above suggested question!

  2. How do you think Loki felt when the TVA took his belongings? Although the Tesseract is “useless” at the TVA, it’s still special to Loki, where do you think he stored it away for safe keeping? What do you think the gift of the VARIANT jacket from Mobius means to Loki? Caregiver Note: Object attachment is a multifaceted topic that can contribute to an array of emotional and behavioral disturbances while simultaneously influencing self-identity and social bonding. We see this with the jacket that Loki receives from Mobius, he appears delighted by the gift and searches for approval as he tries it on. Even after being teased by B-15 about the label of “VARIANT” plastered across the back, Loki continues to wear it proudly through the humiliation. When he is not wearing his jacket, it is within arms reach and brought along for every transition indicating that it is meaningful to Loki. This meaning could represent developing feelings of belonging as he assimilates into his new environment and builds what appears to be a reciprocal (albeit unhealthy) relationship with Mobius or could provide feelings of safety as the attire visually solidifies his status with the TVA, preventing his death. Asking these questions can be insightful for caregivers and provide valuable information about what your child(ren) holds dear and how to help them protect those notions, belongings, or relationships.

  3. Does Loki truly want to work with the TVA? Why do you think he is doing so? What other choices does Loki have, if any? Caregiver Note: By design of the child welfare system, children are inadvertently forced into blind obedience. This is problematic considering the fact that most traumatized youth are already more susceptible to grooming, peer pressure, and increased fear of rejection. This means that foster youth are conditioned by both trauma and the child welfare system to be subservient which makes them more vulnerable to child predators, more likely to give into the demands of their peers, and more easily taken advantage of by authority figures throughout the course of their lifetime. Take this opportunity to teach youth how to recognize unhealthy/unsafe situations, how to find their own voice, and how to respectfully question authority.

  4. How do you think Loki felt has he read about Ragnarok and the destruction of Asgard? Caregiver Note: Ragnarok is the apocalyptical event that destroyed Asgard (Loki’s home realm). Loki becomes tearful as he reads over the sterilized details associated with the loss listed in a document before developing a theory about the Variant. He then shares a somber moment with Mobius before brushing the matter aside and pushing forward to explain his theory. This is so reflective of our foster youth who repress trauma.

  5. What do you think Loki’s ideal foster family would be like? 
    Caregiver Note: Loki has a nomadic lifestyle that leads him to cohabitating with a variety of inharmonious personality types. These arrangements typically show Loki in a position of subservience while fawning for partiality that will ensure his needs are met. Sound familiar? Due to lack of available foster homes out there, youth are often placed with the physically safest option based on trauma history and presenting behaviors. This strategy excludes interests and personality leading to challenges when having to adjust to to a new environment. Incompatibility can increase the likelihood of placement disruption as youth create an illusion of themselves that they feel will please the caregiver. However, once the magic fades and families come face to face with the true child,  conflict arises. Openly discussing a common vision of what your family dynamic will look like with the child(ren) in your care can help mitigate unmet expectations and preserve placement stability.

  6.  How do you think Loki felt to be called an “ice runt” or a “cosmic mistake”? Why do you think being called those things seemed to hurt worse than being called “history’s most reliable liar” or “a scared little boy”?
    Caregiver Note: It’s interesting to observe which insults hit home for Loki and which ones he takes with a grain of salt while responding condescendingly with “lovely” or “very nice” to those trying to tear him down. The things that hurt the most can be the things that we have no control over and have diminished our self worth. Loki was discarded at birth, “too small and weak” for a frost giant and has been made to feel as if his whole life was a mistake due to the actions of Odin, making those insults harder to digest. On the other hand, insults we know not to be true of ourselves or that are within our power to change can be an easier pill to swallow.

  7. How do you think Mobius will react if it turns out that the TVA isn’t what it seems?
    Caregiver Note: Thanks to free will we get to choose our own paths in life but that doesn’t exclude us from the perceptions of the world around us, the labels it adheres, or expectations it places on us. Ultimately how the world engages with us will influence what we believe of ourselves. This is particularly true of the environment in which we were raised. Mobius ties his identity and purpose to that of the TVA and their propaganda so when his beliefs are compromised he will have a lot to reconcile, much like foster youth who come into care and realize that the world world the emerged from is not what it seemed.

  8. What risks would you like adults in your life to take on you as you become more independent?
    Caregiver Note: Building trust anew with each child we serve can get complicated. As a foster parent, I have been guilty of holding current youth in our home accountable for the behaviors of previous placements through rules, expectations, and restrictions set in place due to the actions of others. However, like Mobius is able to treat Loki as his own individual when most of the TVA sees his as simply another variant, we as caregivers should afford each child the same curtesy. It gets heavy trying to carry an ever growing list of potential behavior concerns and the preventative measures put in place to ensure everyone’s safety based on past experience. Doing so also isn’t conducive to earning the ability to trust from our child(ren). It’s important to reset. Assess what privileges and freedoms are important to each child and take a risk on implementing them in the safest way possible.

  9. At the end of the episode after Loki meet’s The Variant, he follows her through a portal into the unknown rather than returning to Mobius who is calling after him. Why do you think he made this choice? Do you think being told that this mission was his ‘last chance’ affected his decision?
    Caregiver Note: There are a few things going on here. Firstly, this variant is supposedly another version of Loki, which has him inherently curious about her. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in another version of themselves running around out there? Loki has also consistently shown that he has poor impulse control. So even if on some level he knows jumping into a portal might be a bad idea, he doesn’t stop to consider those consequences before diving in head first, something our youth who have experienced trauma often do! Finally, Loki has been repeatedly told throughout this episode that this mission is his ‘last chance’ and should he fail to complete his assignment he’s going to be reset. Because of this Loki might be more willing to engage in risky behavior because he knows there’s no point anyway, since he has already ruined his last chance and no longer feels safe with the TVA. This can mirror the way some foster youth feel- after being told repeatedly that this is their last chance before being separated from siblings, moved to a group home, or other similar consequences they often feel like running away might be a better option.

  10. Activity: Imagine Your Own Variant
    All throughout episode one we’re teased that there is a ‘Loki’ variant somewhere from another timeline causing havoc and at the end of this episode we finally see the Loki we know come face-to-face with The Variant- supposedly Loki from another timeline. Encourage youth to think about what a variant version of themselves might be like- this can be physically manifested with a drawing, collage or even Pinterest mood board depending on what medium your child(ren) prefers. Where in their ‘timeline’ (aka life) would the variant have veered off? How would they be similar or different? What questions would they ask their alternate self if they could have a conversation. Sharing these thoughts could offer a lot of insight into what they wished might have happened differently in their life, or even get them thinking more deeply about how every choice they make affects themselves and the trajectory of their own timeline.

About the Author: Felecia Neil

Felecia Neil is a foster care alumni who has 12 years of experience working within residential settings and has served as a foster parent for over 6 years. She is currently a much needed asset to the Transfiguring Adoption team where she reviews books and helps to assure the organization considers the perspective of foster youth.

**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

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