The four confront Loki, who says Odin is in a coma (which is true) and then tells a series of lies -- that the queen is unavailable to speak to them, and that he is forced to leave Thor on Earth due to imminent war. The four friends do not believe this for one second, the trickster god again utterly failing to trick them in any way.
*whispers* "Is he actually crossing his fingers in front of us while he's talking?"
However, they pretend to believe him, which does trick Loki, because Loki lacks the ability to detect whether his tricks are working, which if you think about it is the second-most important skill a trickster god needs.
Loki then appears on Earth and tells Thor -- aka the only person gullible enough to believe anything he says -- that Odin is dead (he's not) and that he'd love to bring Thor back to Asgard, but is forbidden. These lies will solve his Thor problem only as long as absolutely no one else tells Thor what is really going on, which (spoiler) is what happens 17 minutes later in movie time. Which, sadly, makes it Loki's most successful deception.
Loki then secretly goes to the frost giants' planet and, hiding himself using stealth magic, cuts a deal with the king to kill Odin. This scheme is blown exactly 20 seconds later in movie time (we timed it), when he returns to Asgard to find Heimdall standing at the door. Heimdall sensibly points out that Loki sneaking out under an invisibility shroud only hides the specific details of the treachery, while making the fact of treachery itself so obvious that it's literally visible from another universe. Loki tries to cover this with a lie, and once again, Heimdall clearly doesn't buy it. But he tells Loki he does, and Loki believes him because holy shit he is hilariously bad at this. There are dogs that are better at deceiving their owners.
Heimdall of course then goes straight to Thor's friends and dispatches them to Earth to go tell Thor what's happening. Loki decides to tie up this loose end with another subtle attempt at fourth-dimensional chess: He sends a giant robot to kill Thor and his friends (it fails to kill any of them).
Wait, What Was His Plan Again?
Undeterred by his failure to cover up any his previous actions, Loki lets the frost giant king into the palace to murder Odin. He then unveils his double cross: He shall murder the assassin at the last moment, so that he will appear to be a hero in front of Odin and his mother! That was his plan all along, apparently -- not to have his father killed, but to earn his trust by thwarting this evildoer's attack! Genius!
This deception lasts for 28 seconds (go check! From 1:33:39 to 1:34:07!), because Thor then strides through the door -- a living, breathing object lesson in why you always need to get confirmation that outsourced projects have been completed as directed. But honestly, even if the giant robot had worked, how did Loki think he was going to keep covering up the deaths of fellow gods (including Heimdall and anyone he may have told, not to mention all of the people on Earth who know)? The only way this plan works is if everyone in Asgard is as gullible as Thor, and if that were the case, the whole kingdom would have fallen into ruin centuries ago when it was bankrupted by a timeshare scam.
And the thing is that Loki has all kinds of tools at his disposal to execute a truly subtle plan that doesn't involve frost giants at all! The basic fact he has the ability to make people think he is where he ain't should be enough to eliminate the need for multilayered deceptions that backfire every single goddamn time.
When you're trying to trick someone, a face like that is considered a "tell," and is usually accompanied by a swift and severe beating.
He Does Not Improve With Practice
We could go on, but Loki's seeming inability to even scam a tourist with a three-card Monte table continues in every film he appears in. His ratio of successful lies to unsuccessful lies to other people's lies which he stupidly believes genuinely makes us wonder if his Asgardian reputation as a mischievous trickster wasn't sarcastic.
In The Avengers, he reveals himself the inferior in cunning to pretty much any human or superhuman he encounters, from Black Widow squeezing him for intel via advanced mewling techniques to his failing to talk his way out of a hilariously brutal smackdown by the team's dumbest member. And you'd think that instead of bullying random pedestrians to bow to his greatness (and creating the perfect opportunity for some elderly dude to deploy Godwin's Law), the almighty deity of subterfuge might be able to been able to accomplish something similar via, we don't know, subterfuge?
To be fair, he did manage to usurp the Asgardian throne at the end of Thor: The Dark World by wriggling into an Anthony Hopkins skin suit. Then, about one minute into the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok we see that he's already been discovered, deposed, and chained up in a filthy room, because of course.
Maybe it's time to admit this simply isn't your thing.
We'll be back tomorrow with another edition of What Was Their Plan, Again?, examining why Darth Vader keeps forgetting he can use the Force.
Make sure to check out the rest of the series:
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