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Loki and "The Variant" - Review/Recap of Episode 2

Full spoilers ahead, so beware!

I know, I know- we are all so obsessed with our comics on Wednesdays or stuck in mid-week life duties. But guess what? It’s LOKI DAY peeps! Yes yes, we are back on our Marvel TV show weekly b.s.!

Episode 2 of Loki is here and let’s just say... The plot thickens even as Mobius’ patience thins.

This episode really focused on Loki and Mobius’ partnership, Loki’s Characterization, and the overall plot. Rather than recap every minute of the episode, I thought I’d take the time to break down these key takeaways from this episode. It only seems fair we talk about all the world-building that they took the time to put into this episode!

Loki and Mobius’ Partnership

At the start of the episode, Loki is helping Mobius and the TVA try to catch this other Loki variant. Well, at least acting like it. Seeing Loki work with Mobius and be almost forced to “behave” but instead acting like his normal self no matter what reminded me of Lucifer and Detective Chloe Decker on the TV show Lucifer. It seems that there’s a trend in making villains, or so-called “bad guys”, play nice with the “good guys”. Do we, as viewers, all really enjoy this? I’d say so. Granted, to me, it felt really on the nose here, but at least the writers know they are being so direct about it:

“No one bad is every truly bad and no one good is every truly good”

Mobius gets more unraveled throughout the episode and significantly more impatient with Loki. Loki lies at the “crime scene” and doesn’t actually care that his life is on the line enough to fall IN line… it’s all Mobius can take. At least, it would be, if Mobius didn’t have such a soft spot for wanting to fix people. He’s a fixer, the loveable guy. What do you expect from him? Well, nothing, other than to be completely betrayed by Loki of course, right?

And that’s exactly what happens here. Despite all the time Mobius and Loki spend together this episode chatting, going through the timeline together, desperately trying to find this Loki variant… Loki still seemingly betrays Mobius in the end. Bare minimum, Loki leaves him in the dust, even as Mobius begs him to stop.

"Jason, no!" "Sorry Da- I mean, Bruce! I gotta!"

I’m sure some people were disappointed in Loki here, and rightfully so, but hear me out: this is exactly what needed to happen. Allow me to explain:

When Loki and Mobius are chatting at numerous points throughout this episode, most of the dialogue consists of Loki berating Mobius and asking him questions about his blind loyalty to the TVA. How can Mobius believe in all this? How can he just believe there’s no end to the timeline yet and, if there ever is one, that all will be at “peace” at the end? Here, Mobius has a stoic, neutral approach- he knows it’s real because he believes it’s real. He knows only his belief makes it real and he is okay with that. He HAS to be.

“If you think too hard about where any of us come from, it doesn’t make sense. Existence is chaos”

Mobius is completely right when he says this; however, this doesn’t bode well for The Timekeepers, The TVA, and the validity in what they do. Mobius can’t even offer a logical explanation here; no science, not even a magical explanation (which, to Loki, is equivalent to science). It just IS. When all is said and done, Loki does NOT like this answer. Loki does NOT like that there’s no actual reason for blindly believing in this, and this is the main factor that should clue all viewers in: no matter how much Loki seems like he is growing currently, no matter how many emotions we see on his face, and no matter how much Loki states that he is not doing what he has done before- as long as he does not have a reason to believe in the TVA, then he will never believe in the TVA, and he will always work for himself. The only caveat to this is if he can find something or someone else to believe in, other than himself. Oddly enough, it seems Mobius is trying to do be this person to Loki and it’s very possible that by the end of the series, Loki will still not believe in the TVA, but he will believe in Mobius as a friend, and Mobius will no longer believe in the TVA but believe he did what was right and he helped “fix” someone. In the grand scheme of things, these two characters are going to balance each other out more than they intended to.

But, if Loki is still in his ol’ trickster ways, is there REALLY hope? Could this really happen?

Loki’s Characterization

YES and YES! After the first episode, I became slightly concerned that they were just going to automatically make Loki a “good guy”. For me, I’m okay with villains becoming anti-heroes or some grey area where they aren’t amazing people suddenly, but they aren’t AS bad as they used to be. Loki is one of those characters that can’t ever stop being a trickster. He will never want to stop his chaos forever and that’s what makes him Loki. I don’t want Marvel to make him a hero just so he’s a more “sellable” character, so when I watched this episode, I was pleased to see they aren’t rushing any growth for Loki’s character. Loki is and always will be a grey character, but I do understand how he does have to grow if he’s getting his own show. And he’ll get there, but it’s only the second episode; he’s got time. It was nice to see some traits of Loki’s character, that have been squandered in the MCU films, shine in this episode, particularly the fact that Loki is INCREDIBLY smart. He has come up with plenty of successful schemes and achieved things most could never. However, we don’t see that in the MCU films, we only see his failures and Thor and the Avengers squashing him (or throwing him around like a ragdoll, nice Hulk). So, while I did mention earlier that the whole “villain being a detective with the good guys” approach is a little on the nose for me, it’s so wonderful to see Loki’s intelligence be appreciated here. It works and I will take it! When you don’t know what to do with a villain, give them some detective work to do! Batman, why aren’t you in Arkham giving your villains detective work? This is the way!

"Son, we never talk about why our ties are too short, just look really grim and no one asks"

The Overall Plot

That all said, if you’re worried about being as smart as Loki is, don’t be! This episode spends plenty of time spelling out what is happening plot-wise for you and educating all of us viewers.

In this episode, we learn:

-Nexus Events are what the TVA repairs; they are things that happen that shouldn’t. They detect them through variances. There is a certain amount of time they can stay in an area to repair a Nexus Event; if they get too close to the “red line”- very very bad things happen to the timeline.

-The Loki Variant the TVA is chasing is hiding in apocalypses, aka disaster events, throughout history. They are able to do this because when an apocalyptic event happens it ALWAYS ends in “the end”. It always ends the timeline, so no matter WHAT you do, you cannot stop it, therefore, the TVA cannot detect any variances. There is an entertaining scene where Loki proves this point to Mobius at Pompeii. (If you know, you know)

-An apocalypse, that The Loki Variant can hide in, has to be sudden, natural, and have no survivors. That is the only way the timeline always ends.

-When Loki tracks down the Loki Variant, it’s not who you think it is, and what they want is definitely not what Loki wants. Particularly because LOKI DID NOT WANT TO BOMB THE TIMELINE LIKE THE LOKI VARIANT DID!

I mean, how could Lady Loki do that??

...Oops? Well, you read that right peeps, Lady Loki IS here, and in the second episode nonetheless! Let’s gooooo!!

I think that was just the right twist to put on the end of this episode. With so much of this episode being focused on relationship building, world-building, and plot development, this was the perfect twist. Not too unexpected or sudden, but not too predictable either, and with plenty of questions that still need answering.

Overall Consensus

I am HERE for it! This episode was slower, in some ways than the other episode, and it definitely hasn't completely found its own footing yet, but I like it quite a bit! I’m glad they are taking the time to build this world because the impact this could have on the entire MCU (Films and TV) is astronomical! I hope this world sticks around for a while and I hope we continue to see Loki battle with himself and be a grey character. I’ll allow some growth, but he can’t become Thor (nor would he want to be, can you blame the man?). I’m enjoying this series and hope it continues to provide good content.

And that’s what you missed, on LOKI!

(If you get the reference, I’m so sorry.)

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives this:

3.5 out of 5 finger guns

(because I’m bi)

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