Loki Episode 2 Review

If twitter reaction is any indication, I think it is safe to say that Loki's premiere was a resounding success. Fans seemed to love the dynamic between Mobius and Loki as the two journeyed through the Asgardian's past, present, and future while examining his purpose.


The God of Mischief's encore performance was an even stronger follow-up that builds on the odd couple relationship between its stars while leaving on a massive cliffhanger that is sure to have huge ramifications throughout the MCU.


And like all good things, it started at the renaissance faire.




"The Variant" fittingly opens with the hooded villain, referred to as only the Variant, springing a trap on a group of TVA Minute Men in 1985 at the Oshkosh- that is Wisconsin, not B'Gosh- renaissance faire. Set to the musical stylings of Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero," the Variant possesses one of the agents, attacking the group before they escape with the enchanted agent in tow.


Luckily for us, we don't have to hold out too long for our heroes. The dynamic duo of Mobius and Loki are assigned the case, accompanying a group of Minute Men to investigate the crime. For Loki, it will be the first opportunity to use all the knowledge gained from his TVA training under the tutelage of Miss Minute.


Well, some of the knowledge. Loki only watched a few of the training videos. Then again, does anyone really pay attention during orientation?



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"The Variant" really allowed Tom Hiddleston to dig into Detective Loki as he examined crime scenes and poured over files looking for clues to unlock the case. I'm amazed that after ten years, the actor is still finding new, exciting layers of Loki to explore. He seems to be having a lot of fun with the character, tapping into his serious side while simultaneously hamming it up whenever possible, including putting on the detective fedora.


As the team investigates the renaissance faire, Loki does his best Dick Tracy impression, putting all the clues together like pieces of a puzzle. All he was missing was a cigarette in his hand and a voiceover explaining how he doesn't play by the rules. Of course, Loki is really only trying to play the situation to his benefit, stalling to guarantee an audience with the TimeKeepers. Well, you can't bull shit a bull shitter, and Mobius calls his bluff.


To this point, the relationship between Loki and Mobius has been the most compelling piece of storytelling the show has produced. It's an odd alliance. They find themselves in an endless game of cat and mouse, with both using the other for their own gain. Mobius continually leans on Loki's insecurities to secure his corporation. Loki is willing to play by the TVA's rules to get close to the Timekeepers to overthrow them. Making matters weirder, the two are refreshingly honest about their intentions with the other.





Despite a lack of trust, there is a lot of respect between the two that lends itself to some genuine comradery. Wilson and Hiddleston seem to be having a blast in the dynamic, which shines through in their performances. Truthfully, Mobius and Loki have more in common than they would like to admit- both can be brash, and neither is afraid to bend the rules, at least to an extent for Mobius. It is only their fundamental beliefs about the universe that continues to divide them.


After two episodes, it is clear that Loki's showrunner Micahel Waldron is content with tackling the easy questions surrounding life's existence, such as an individual's purpose and their ability to change over time. You know, the kind of stuff philosophers haven't spent centuries painstakingly mulling over without ever coming to adequate conclusions.


I say all of this ingest, of course, but Waldron is clearly framing Loki's and Mobius's journey through time with these central themes in mind. It is a choice that works well, even if their philosophical debates are a tad bit heavy on the exposition. "The Variant" featured another fun scene of this ongoing debate this week, this time expanding on Mobius's belief in the grand plan set forth by the Timekeepers.


The more I watch Mobius and Loki interact, the more I am reminded of Jack and Locke from Lost. The debate over faith and science in Lost perfectly mirrors Loki, with Mobius assuming Locke's position as the man of faith. For Locke, his unyielding belief in the Island didn't necessarily end well for him. I fear Mobius's rigidity towards the TVA will lead to a similar fate.


I mean, the guy won't even take a joy ride on a jet ski- the perfect union of form and function- out of fear of becoming a variant. That is as firm of a line as I have ever seen.


At the very least, Waldron is positioning Mobius to experience a crisis of faith at some point. Perhaps I am reading too much into it all, but it feels like the TVA has some skeletons in the closet, and I get bad vibes every time Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Renslayer shows up on the screen.


I know, what a shock. Yet another governing agency with nefarious intentions.


For those unfamiliar with Renslayer in the comics, the character has a dark past, including connections to confirmed Phase Four villain Kang the Conquerer. Now, the MCU has a history of pulling out the old switcheroo on audiences, so don't take her villainous comic history to mean she follows a similar path in the MCU. But, her actions have me questioning whether or not she is to be trusted.


The all-mighty judge has an itchy trigger finger and is desperate to get rid of Loki as quickly as possible. Yes, he is a potential liability, but he has also been invaluable in finding the Variant. And it is a little odd that Renslayer is one of, if not the only, individual with access to the Timekeepers. Even Mobius has never met them. Now, none of this adds up to anything more than someone doing their job, but it's a telltale sign when the show points out these oddities. And if Renslayer is up to no good, I wonder if she is playing any role in the Variant's plan, wittingly or not.


While we didn't learn all of the Variant's intentions this week, their plan took a big step forward. As the episode ended, the Variant bombed the sacred timeline by setting off the stolen reset charges at various points in time. The TVA is sent into a tailspin as they race off to stop the timeline from branching before the Variant makes her escape, Loki quickly following suit.


The Variant's action promises to have major implications on the TVA and MCU as a whole. There is no conceivable way the TVA can prune all the new branches created. The multiverse is sure to be in a chaotic state. I wonder how that will impact upcoming Marvel properties that might dabble in the multiverse, including one about a certain Doctor that happens to be written by none other than Loki showrunner himself, Michael Waldron.




Now, I would be remiss if I didn't bring up the episode's other big reveal. The Variant the TVA has been searching for is a Loki, but it is a female version of the God of Mischief. At least, we think it is. The credits refer to Sophia Di Martino's character as simply the Variant, shedding some doubt on her playing Lady Loki.

Still, it is an intriguing twist on the character. And with the direction it feels like the show is going with the TVA, I wouldn't be surprised if the Variant is more of an anti-hero ally type, and not the ultimate villain. Perhaps we are in for some form of Loki team-up similar to the route Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse took.


Or maybe, just maybe, the big baddie will just be Agatha all along....again.



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