When we last left our (anti)hero LAST WEEK, Loki found out the big bad Mobius needed help catching? Another Loki!
Let’s see where this episode took us!
We pick up at a Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin in 1985. TVA agents hit the scene hot on the heels of the Loki Variant. The masked figure seen at the end of last week’s episode overtakes one of the TVA agents and we get an 80’s style murder montage set to “Holding Out for a Hero.” The agents are quickly dispatched by the masked variant and the mind controlled agent. The Loki Variant takes the TVA agent and one of their time bombs through a TVA portal.
We first see the MCU Loki bickering his way through a TVA training lesson with Miss Minutes, the animated clock seen last week. Mobius takes Loki away from his studies and points out the TVA has had to “prune” more Loki variants than almost any other. We get a glimpse of myriad Loki variants, from a sporty Loki to a roided out monster Loki, among others.
Mobius takes MCU Loki to the scene of the Renaissance Fair, where this Loki tries to talk his way into a meeting with the Time-Keepers. Mobius sees through MCU Loki’s play and they go back to the TVA headquarters empty handed.
Back at the headquarters, Loki researches all known Loki variants to find where they may be hiding next. Meanwhile, Mobius is talking to Ravonna Renslayer, the judge from last week, about whether he really trusts this Loki. While not fully trusting MCU Loki, Mobius points out “understanding this Loki helps us get closer to the other one.”
Here we get another glimpse of the hero Loki could become when he reads of the destruction of Asgard as seen in Thor: Ragnorak, with a single tear welling up in his eyes.
Loki puts together a theory that the Variant Loki is hiding in apocalypse style events because if everyone dies anyway, there’d be no way to start a branch in the timeline. They test this theory with a trip to Pompei in 79 AD. Loki gives a villainous speech on how everyone is about to die and he is from the future as Mobius monitors the timeline. Seeing nothing changes because Pompei is momentarily wiped out by volcano, Mobius realizes Loki’s plan is plausible so they go about finding apocalypse-worthy events where Variant Loki may be hiding.
This all leads back to the blue candy the child was eating in episode 1, with them narrowing down that candy’s production meeting an apocalypse event to Alabama in the year 2050.
Here we get a meeting of the Variants as Mobius ends up finding the kidnapped TVA agent from earlier in the episode and MCU Loki has a series of confrontations with Variant Loki taking over a TVA agent, shopper, store worker, and finally a big dude in succession similar to the 1998 Denzel Washington movie Fallen.
The episode ends with the Variant Loki turning down MCU Loki’s plan to overthrow the TVA because “this isn’t about you.” Variant Loki, a woman, has the time bombs placed all around the store they’re in. When they go off, they are each transported to different points in time and space, causing the Sacred Timeline to go into chaos. Both the Variant Loki and MCU Loki jump through a TVA portal as Mobius yells out for MCU Loki to wait.
What I Liked
The show continues to do a good job with staying ahead of complaints that could easily pop up with time travel tropes. This week? MCU Loki asked early on why they can’t just jump right before a time variance occurs and prevent it. Mobius points out that whenever a variance occurs, the timeline gets scattered and harder to control so the best they can do is come in in real time after the problem just happens.
Another beat I enjoyed was a conversation between Loki and Mobius about the absurdity of it all. Loki, in questioning Mobius about the timelines and powers and controls the TVA has, is answered by Mobius with a paraphrase of “and this is coming from you, god of Mischief, son of Odin, from mystical Asgard.” Basically ending with him believing what the TVA does is real and necessary because he believes it is real and necessary. As real as the mythology surrounding Asgard.
I enjoyed the Loki/Mobius discussion about free will as well with Loki pointing out “No one bad is ever truly bad, no one good is ever truly good.”
What I Didn’t Like
Overall, I thought this was somewhat of a filler episode. It didn’t meander per se, but multiple scenes of Loki reading through files, multiple exposition-heavy Mobius and Loki talking scenes gave it a sense of a bottle episode of sorts, saving production money here by limiting sets and wow factors.
I wasn’t digging MCU Loki here either this week. Sure, in TVA land, he’s pretty defanged, but he took to bookish researcher way too fast for me. While this was partly ruse as MCU Loki stated he wanted to take over the TVA, there are plenty of beats built in that have shown the hero Loki is in there and his “I’m suckering them to take over” is a cover for him really wanting to help.
Not that story block episodes can’t be good and at times are necessary, but in a 6-episode limited series, I’d want a little more urgency at times.
Final thing I didn’t like? No DB Cooper-level historical drop in! Narratively it would have been tough to pull off realistically but would have been fun if they dabbled into sillier LEGENDS OF TOMORROW style time travel hijinx.
A step back. They’re definitely getting pieces in place but between some of the slower exposition heavy scenes and Loki’s extended research scenes, I was hoping for more! I liked the cliffhanger though and look forward to where MCU Loki and Lady Loki together leads to next week.