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Recap and Review of Loki, S1E2: The Variant

After last week’s major set-up, are we ready to jump into the adventures of Loki and Mobius across the various timelines that endanger or foretell the end of the world?

Recap of Loki, S1E2: “The Variant”

The timeline is disrupted in 1985 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the most noble of events: some kind of Renaissance Fair. When the team arrives, they are quickly ambushed but uniquely: we see the green colored eyes that mean Loki has taken possession of someone. And using the possessed body of one Time Variance Authority agent, we watch a battle over the classic 1980s tune “I Need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler from the Footloose soundtrack. (More on this song later.)

At this fight’s conclusion in a dark tent, we watch Loki pick up the time grenades, a datapad, and one of the TVA agents as hostage.

Oshkosh is near what would have then been a nerdy iconic location: Lake Geneva, the home of Dungeons and Dragons.

And nothing brought me more joy in this episode than Loki having to watch and learn from what were essentially TVA compliance videos led by the animated Miss Minutes. There is just something universally soul crushing about watching videos like that that made me throughly enjoy Loki trying to determine if he really needs to pay attention.

Thankfully Mobius shows up and gives Loki his new uniform, a sweet windbreaker that has a TVA logo on the front and a very large “VARIANT” stamped across the back. Mobius and crew are preparing and it is interesting to watch them review the various Loki’s that they have caught, which discussing it over the Loki that has been constrained to help them. (My favorite captured Loki variant was the Tour-de-France Loki.)

Mobius encourages Loki to stay on task by allowing him to think that an audience with the Time Keepers is a possibility if they catch the variant that they are hunting.

They discover that agent C-20 was captured and they are nearing the red line. Loki then gives a little soliloquy, including the Asgardian saying that being aware when a wolf’s ears are near, so are the wolf’s teeth. But the red line comes and the TVA team has to use the hand grenades of time to re-set it. But Mobius was on to Loki and they have to go back to the TVA offices, as we see the variant timestream disappear alongside of the items that grenades remove.

Back at the base, we see Mobius in a discussion with the judge in her office. Last episode she okayed this meeting and we get to know a bit more about her. Ravonna Renslayer and Mobius clearly seem to have some kind of relationship beyond just agent and judge. But in the midst of their banter, she also reveals that the Time Keepers are paying very close attention to this case and Mobius’ use of this Loki variant.

Loki has excuses for what happened out in the field while Mobius reminds him that Loki is just there to help him capture the better and smarter variant Loki. Loki seems to see right through it and confesses he is playing a longer game. Which is amusing when Mobius outlines Loki’s plan to charm his way in front of the Time Keepers, seize control and rule the TVA.

But he offers a last chance and sets up Loki with the files on all the things the variant has done to see if they can discover a pattern or clue that they can use.

In the midst of the research, Loki asks for more files from the TVA librarian. She gives him just what he is allowed to see, despite his request for information about the creation of the TVA, the beginning of time, and the end of time. His file winds up being about himself and the various variants. He is most moved when he comes to the report on the destruction of Asgard, which is ruled to have not been a time variant issue, but the right meaningful destruction.

That report births an idea: the Variant Loki is hiding in the various apocalypses as they happen. So that meant that the Variant Loki could do whatever the Variant Loki wants because it won’t disrupt the apocalypse that will remove the evidence. So, thinking it may be a possible theory, Mobius and Loki head to Pompei, to test the theory as the volcano explodes.

While there, Loki does a bunch of things, including giving a speech about the incoming doom and…sure enough, it doesn’t disrupt the timeline. So with this new clue, Mobius and Loki re-visit the evidence left from last episode’s medieval chapel visit: the candy from the future. By cross checking when the candy was available and various natural disasters, they think the Variant Loki is hiding in Alabama in 2050 as a hurricane comes in.

So with the theory that Variant Loki is returning back to the same store, a RoxxCart, at the edge of this disaster and hiding there. In the briefing, we learn that Haven Hills is a level 10 event, meaning everyone will be wiped out. The team is going in to look for the variant Loki and wipe him out if they seem him.

Upon arrival, the group works into teams to search the various parts of the store. While Mobius gets an up close look at the people hiding who will soon be wiped out, Loki and his partner encounter the Variant Loki, who possesses the body of several people, including Loki’s partner. The two Loki’s then have a discussion over who is smarter, how they could or could not work well together.

Mobius’s team finds the Oshkosh kidnapped TVA member who is incoherently rambling but does manage to let them know that she gave away the location of the Time Keepers, and how to find them.

The two Lokis then engage, as the Variant jumps from body to body as they fight. In the midst of the discussion, we see the store is rigged to blow with all the various time charge devices that have been stolen from teams. The fight then involves a variety of household items. including a vacuum. But as the fight appears over, the Variant Loki reveals her true self: Lady Loki.

As the time grenades go off, little doors and junctures open. But as Mobius and his team arrive, they are there just long enough for TVA Loki to give one look back and follow Lady Loki into time door she has open, as the TVA watches many, many incidents occur on the Sacred Timeline.

Thoughts on Loki, S1E2: “The Variant”

Let’s start with the Bonnie Tyler song. I almost feel like she must have some dirt on all of Hollywood because they seem to revitalize that song every little bit. While it started on the Footloose soundtrack, calling a city slicker kid who just wanted to dance a hero, it has expanded since. A whole generation knows it from the Shrek movies and, well, it is an odd choice there. To see it now in this show, though time period appropriate, it is just a bit weird.

I am sticking with my Wizard(s) of Oz theory here when it comes to the Time Keepers. Learning that Mobius has never met them makes me even more piqued in that regard, even if it does seem the judge has some more connection with them. Want my craziest theory? The Time Keepers are all just Loki Variants that banned together to make sure the timeline has just enough chaos to keep it all interesting.

Lady Loki is a bit of a twist that will catch some folks off-guard. Marvel had recently been a little too boisterous about how Loki could shapes and genders, which made me suspect that something like this was happening. If I was going to make a prediction, we will see Kid Loki as well sometime soon, as that character has proven to be popular in the comics recently and there have been a couple hints about “a scared kid in the cold.”

I hope we get to see a chase scene with Mobius opening it wide on a jet ski before the end of the season now.

Any thought on the Franklin D. Roosevelt High School pen that the judge had and Mobius remarked on? I feel like it should be a clue to who another TVA agent is but I am drawing a blank on who it could be.

And watching as the bombs set off all across the Sacred Timeline made all those red lines, it sure does seem like Lady Loki may be deeply involved in setting up this multiverse Dr. Strange movie.