Things are moving along quickly for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the TVA! There’s some investigative work going on, some travel through time (of course), and a major tête-à-tête that sets off a big ol’ disaster that will keep things busy for Loki’s next four episodes.
Even though the second episode moves quickly, the element that makes it more than a wacky time travel show (so many timelines, so many variants) is Loki himself. That’s why this Disney+ series is such a compelling show — Loki is a character piece, the MCU’s introspective look at arguably the supervillain (hero?) most in need of professional therapy.
Read on for our spoiler-filled recap of episode 2, including speculation on what may happen next.
That Big Bad Loki Variant is Still Out There, Taking Over Minds Like It’s Going Out of Style
Episode 2 starts off with the Big Bad Loki Variant ambushing another crew of Minutemen at a 1980s Ren Faire. This time, however, the Variant kidnaps one of the Minutemen and also reveals to us that one of their superpowers is mind control.
Mobius (Owen Wilson) brings Loki to the scene of the crime before they have to reset the timeline. Our Loki hems and haws, and Mobius realizes that his variant is — to use the medical term — full of shit. It also reveals to us that Loki hasn’t really become a TVA man. He wants out of the temporal bureaucracy — though where, when, or what he wants to go or do remains unclear.
Does he want to take over the TVA, for example? Probably — he clearly wants a face-to-face with the Time Keepers, and this could be a reason why. He could also want to save his mother. Or both! Or neither! Or other things as well! Even if his heart-to-heart last episode with Mobius was sincere, it’s hard for anyone to flip a switch on what’s driven them for centuries, after all. Loki clearly wants to be something greater than a cog in the TVA machine.
Loki and Mobius: Intertemporal Super Sleuths
Currently, however, Loki is a mere cog. So he plays by the rules for now, at least as much as the god of mischief can.
This brings us to the investigative part of the episode. Mobius drops Loki off at the TVA library (after an elevator ride that Dragon Con goers will instantly recognize) and tells him to look through his life to figure out more about the other Variant and where they may be hiding.
It’s here where Mobius’ bet pays off. Where the first episode of Loki established the rules of the TVA, the second one blows it all up. While reading about the destruction of Asgard, our Loki realizes that apocalyptic events have zero variance energy. All apocalypses do — whatever happens before a cataclysmic event doesn’t affect The Sacred Timeline, because everyone and everything is destroyed before a branch develops.
Loki thinks he’s figured out a TVA loophole. He convinces Mobius to take him to 79 AD Pompeii, right before the volcano blows up, to prove it. In one of the funniest scenes of the episode, Loki does everything he can to cause a time variance in Pompeii. It doesn’t move the needle, however, and he proves his theory correct.
Loki Gets Around, and so Does The TVA
That brings us to this week’s installment of “places in history where Loki and/or the TVA go.” With the Ren Faire and Pompeii trips, Loki’s adventures span thousands of years. It’s the last place and time they visit, however, where things really heat up.
After their Pompeii trip, Mobius and Loki head to the research stacks. There, they try to find the apocalypse where/when the Big Bad Variant is hiding. After chugging some Josta soda (the TVA’s drink of choice), the two use the bubble gum the Variant gave the kid in 1500s France to triangulate that the other Loki is hiding out in 2050 Alabama, where a hurricane about to hit a Walmart-like convenience store.
Loki v. Loki
Loki, Mobius, B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), and a bunch of Minutemen head to 2050 to confront the Variant. Things go bad pretty much right away, and our Loki finds himself talking to his counterpart through different humans (and B-15) that Big Bad Loki has mind-controlled.
Their back-and-forth tells us much and very little at the same time. It tells us that our Loki is working against the TVA. (Or is he? Maybe he’s just telling the Variant that?) It also tells us that the Big Bad Loki has a very low opinion of our Loki.
And then the two meet in person, and we find out that…the Loki variant looking to bring down the TVA is a woman! And Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino) has glorious purpose.
Our Loki also has grand ambitions. But he’s also clearly enamored with his female self, not only because she’s incredibly clever but also because she’s basically him, and there’s no one Loki is more enamored with than himself.
Things Are Branching Off Into Madness! Madness, I Tell You!
It turns out that Lady Loki doesn’t want to take over the TVA — she wants to destroy it and bring down the entire Sacred Timeline. The last few minutes of the episode have her sending out multiple time lanterns to different places/times, causing several branches to start up. Too many, she likely hopes, for the TVA to handle.
She then escapes to somewhere unknown, and our Loki also makes a choice. He goes after her. The last scene of the episode has Mobius running after him, too late to stop his Variant from jumping through the time/space portal to whereabouts unknown.
Where do Loki and Lady Loki go, and will they get entangled with each other further? Will the TVA be able to handle all those branches? What is time, really? And what does Josta soda taste like?
I have lots of questions. I also can’t wait to see Loki and Lady Loki butt heads next week (they’ve got to, right?).
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