Last week’s introduction to the world of Loki ended on the revelation that the Variant the TVA is after was another version of Laufeyson. Episode 2 opens with another example of how how powerless these otherwise impressive figures seem when facing off against the Mischief Maker.
As the Variant – we’ll just call them that until further notice, shall we? – shows off their skills, our Loki struggles to get the hang of TVA history and jargon. It’s something the audience can relate to, and it puts us in the same boat as our hero. Good thing we have Miss Minutes and Mobius to help him study, as they both make exposition feel like a delight instead of a chore.
In That Scheme, I See Myself
Over in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the year 1985, a Renaissance faire is interrupted by Minutemen on the prowl. When they prepare to battle the variation, an epic rendition of “Holding Out For A Hero” plays, belying just how sinister the situation gets. After all, the agents are magicked to turn on each other, and in the end the Variant escapes with Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane) in their clutches.
Because nexus events destabilize the time flow, the TVA must show up in real time rather than try to prevent the calamity altogether. Makes you wonder how many times they tried to change the past before giving up, doesn’t it? Loki, too, makes a gamble here that has very little chance of paying off – when he tries to stall the TVA in order to find the Variant himself. The Trickster God always has a plan, after all.
Back at the central office, Renslayer and Mobius continue their friendly, flirtatious, yet professional dance. Sending Loki out into the field is a tough sell for Ravonna, but she’s willing to let her favorite analyst take responsibility for a project he deeply believes in. It’s a hypothesis quickly put to the test when Loki realizes the Variant must be hiding out in apocalypses, where actions have no consequences.
Loki and Mobius visit on of the most popular apocalypses around – after teasing Ragnarok for a bit, of course. It’s Pompeii in 79AD, and Loki proceeds to prove himself right by freeing goats and warning villagers about the volcano with no anomalies in sight. It’s pretty great to watch a show that outlines its rules upfront, because everyone has to b on the same page to enjoy the ride. In this case: sudden and naturally occurring disasters with no survivors are what will do the trick.
The Collapse of Humanity as We Know It
In between figuring out which world-ending event the Variant is hiding out in, our leads engage in some metaphysical debates about the role of Time Keepers and fate vs. free will. It’s all rather applicable to modern philosophy and religion, which means hearing it in an MCU context is both familiar and jarring.
But soon enough, they discover that the Variant is in Alabama in the year 2050, and it’s time for a showdown. Loki is not allowed a weapon, thanks to a still suspicious Hunter B-15. Those suspicions are unfortunately bound to increase with the Variant watching their every move and possessing employees around them. Just as Mobius uncovers a remorseful C-20 who admits she accidentally led the Variant to the TVA, B-15 herself is possessed and promptly knocked out, eventually leaving Loki to face off against… Well, another Loki. Oh, and a bomb’s gonna go off in the store.
Our Loki reveals the grand plan to take over the TVA, but that’s child’s play to the Variant, who isn’t about to be anyone’s lieutenant. It’s important to note that for all this time, the Variant’s “true face” has not been revealed. By the time the hood drops, it turns out to be a blonde woman with her own set of horns (Sophia Di Martino). This begs the question of what constitutes a true form, and whether Tom Hiddleston is even the “true form” of our Loki – after all, he is a frost giant as well.
But those ponderings are put off for next week, as the Variant makes off with yet another reset charge after telling Loki, “This isn’t about you.” But Loki won’t let her go so easily, jumping in through a portal after her and leaving Mobius concerned and angry in his wake. Not to mention leaving the audience with very little idea of where it’s going, but intrigued nevertheless.
- Miss Minutes warns that when a nexus event branches past red line, the TVA can no longer reset it. And that “would lead to the destruction of the timeline and the collapse of humanity as we know it.” There’s no way this isn’t foreshadowing, right?
- Loki teaches the TVA that duplication casting is different from illusion projection, with one being an exact facsimile while the other is a detailed image. This is surely another morsel of knowledge that will come into play.
- Mobius’ description of a Time Keepers duty is rather depressing, and one gets the sense that Loki will really end up helping the TVA grasp the concept of free will.
- Loki hilariously exclaims, “I would never treat me this way.” But is it true?
New episodes of Loki drop Wednesdays on Disney+.