In the “Loki” recap for episode 2, Loki teams up with the TVA and comes face-to-face with the variant version of himself wreaking havoc in the sacred timeline…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It turns out that there really was a variant version of Loki wreaking havoc on the sacred timeline after all!
In the debut episode of “Loki,” the Time Variance Authority informed the God of Mischief that he had a double running amok in the timeline, which has forced agents to work overtime to stop and undo whatever this variant version is doing.
Loki gets pulled into the TVA after his quick escape from “The Avengers” timeline in 2012 but rather than just resetting his timeline or deleting him all together, a curious agent named Mobius decides to recruit him for help bringing in this rogue variant.
Who better to capture a Loki variant than Loki himself?
While there wasn’t nearly as much information dished out in the latest episode compared to the premiere where we were all more or less spoon fed details about the mystical Time-Keepers, the so called sacred timeline and the duties of the TVA to keep fate on the right path.
Of course there were still plenty of little Easter eggs and hints at what could be coming in the future to make this another interesting episode of “Loki,” especially with that character reveal at the end, which will be explained later.
With that said, let’s get to our recap for “Loki” episode 2 titled “The Variant”…
The episode opens in a Renaissance Faire in 1985 where the Variant Loki has descended upon this time to ambush yet another group of Minute Men dispatched to stop the time anomaly. Of course, the Variant Loki get the drop on the hapless security guards while actually using the power of persuasion magic, which allows them to mind control one of the agents named C-20 while taking out the others.
In the end, the Variant Loki takes C-20 along with all of the reset grenades that were brought along with the Minute Men who were supposed to stop this time anomaly but instead they got killed instead.
Back at the TVA, Loki is going through training videos as part of his new responsibilities with the team and he’s only half paying attention to the lessons being taught to him by Miss Minute. He does answer one question correctly that undoubtedly plays a part in this series — what happens when a Nexus event goes beyond the red line?
Basically that means when there’s a time anomaly so drastic or so severe that the TVA is unable to repair the timeline and that new reality splinters off on its own.
When Mobius arrives, he grabs Loki and everybody prepares to head into the field to find out what they can about this latest encounter with the Variant, who has managed to wipe out another group of Minute Men.
As they prepare to embark on this mission, Mobius lays out past instances where the TV has run into different Loki variants including one who was a soccer player and another who looked like his Frost Giant father. Mobius also gives a rundown of Loki’s powers, which forces the present day Loki to issue a correction.
He explains the differences between illusion projection and duplication — one is creating a holographic image outside of ones self while duplication involves making an exact replica of yourself that looks identical to the naked eye. Loki pulled off that trick in the first “Avengers” movie when he tricked Thor to come into his holding cell, which allowed him to slip free and eventually kill Agent Phil Coulson.
The fact that Loki is explaining these powers in such detail means that we’re going to see that pop up again at some point during these six episodes.
Once the team arrives in Wisconsin, they begin looking around for any evidence that the Variant Loki left behind. There’s only so much time they can stay in this location, however, before the reset grenades will no longer work so the team is on the clock.
That’s when Loki begins theorizing about what this Variant Loki really wants — he believes this variant wants to team up with him so they can bring down the Time-Keepers together. He continues to spout off vague threats and potential terror that could befall the TVA if this Variant Loki continues to slip free but eventually his plan to fool them falls apart when Mobius sees right through it and tells the rest of the team that he’s lying to them.
After returning to the TVA, Mobius is called into a meeting with Ravonna Renslayer and she’s not so sure that his decision to work with Loki is going to pay off. He’s more concerned about the new treasures displayed in her office that he didn’t personally deliver from his various missions across the sacred timeline. She informs him that he’s not her only agent, which leads me to believe that there will be another agent introduced at some point and these artifacts kept from different times throughout history will reveal more than just serving as trinkets in an office.
That said, Ravonna can’t help but wonder if perhaps Mobius made the wrong call working with Loki but he convinces her to give them another chance. Mobius truly believes Loki will help them track down the Varient version of himself, who thus far has proven to be the superior Loki — and our Loki would never event think about allowing that to happen.
Mobius leaves her office and informs Loki that he’s now operating on a very short leash as he apologizes for the trick he attempted to pull back in 1985. Loki continues to battle on about his true intentions but Mobius sees through all of it again while telling him the exact plan he was trying to enact with his various trickery.
Loki wanted to gain an audience with the Time-Keepers so he could trick them or otherwise remove them from power so he could personally take over the TVA.
Of course, Loki isn’t accustomed to his tricks being uncovered quite so quickly but Mobius promises him that the TVA will always stay one step ahead of him so he’s better off just playing along and helping them or risk his total disintegration. Mobius then leads Loki to the library where he instructs his new partner to read through all of the variant case files involving different versions of himself to see if he can pick up any clues that might lead them to the culprit who is killing agents and stealing reset grenades.
Once again, Loki attempts to pull a fast one to uncover more information on the Time-Keepers, who are seemingly acting as gods over the sacred timeline, forcing their will upon the entire universe and that fact seems like it will play a major part in this series before it’s all said and done. But once again, Loki is rebuffed and handed the files that deal only with his own variants.
That’s when he begins reading about the “Ragnarok” event that eventually led to the destruction of Asgard and the death of so many of the Asgardian people. Loki is nearly brought to tears looking at the statistics of how many people died and that’s without even realizing how many more were wiped out thanks to Thanos at the start of “Avengers: Infinity War.”
But as he looks at the statistics pulled by the TVA, he can’t help but notice one glaring absence — there’s not a single recorded time-related variance happening during the destruction of Asgard.
Loki then interrupts Mobius at lunch and provides him a visual display of his theory using a salad, some salt and pepper along with some apple juice. Long story short, Loki believes that because what happened with Ragnarok was ultimately a doomsday scenario where everybody was getting wiped out, a variant could travel to that time and create as many anomalies as they wanted and it wouldn’t matter because the entire place was going to get wiped off the map in a matter of hours.
In other words, the variant would not be creating an alternate timeline because everything gets naturally reset with the apocalyptic event that wipes out anything and everything.
Loki believes his Variant Loki has been using that information as a perfect hiding spot away from the TVA because the agents are tracking by variant energy that causes these ripples in the timeline. If Variant Loki just constantly travels to places and times where an apocalyptic event is about to happen, then the TVA would never be alerted.
To test this theory, Loki and Mobius travel back to Pompeii just before the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius wiped out everything. While Mobius suggests a subtle change, Loki prefers big gestures so he frees some goats and then proceeds to tell all of the townspeople in Pompeii that they are about to die — seconds later the volcano explodes and the destruction begins but Mobius detects no variance energy whatsoever.
Despite the unplanned changes Loki enacted, the doomsday event wiped out everything thus preventing a new timeline from being created.
Back at the TVA, Mobius and Loki begin researching these apocalyptic level events that were not manmade that would have wiped out everything and everybody in its path in order to narrow down the areas where this Variant Loki could be hiding.
In the middle of the search, the new best buddies decided to take a break and that’s when Loki begins asking Mobius questions about his purpose with the TVA where the Time-Keepers are supposedly this all seeing, all knowing group of omnipotent beings who control fate for every creature in the universe. Those Time-Keepers are supposedly responsible for every action and every reaction that happens, which means everybody’s fate is pre-determined no matter how much anyone believes in free will.
While Mobius hasn’t really questioned the logic or the morals behind the Time-Keepers, it doesn’t take much for Loki to see that there’s more to this story than just some cosmic beings keeping watch over a sacred timeline. In fact, Mobius has never even met the Time-Keepers, which begs and even bigger question about their existence as well as the true nature of these beings supposedly keeping order on the timeline rather than allowing for chaos to happen.
As much as Mobius wants to believe the Time-Keepers are altruistic while playing god over the universe, Loki reminds him that it’s never quite that simple.
“That no one bad is ever truly bad and no one good is ever truly good.”
With that, Mobius gets an idea that could lead them to the variant after he remembers a previous encounter from the first episode. When Mobius traveled back to reset a timeline interrupted by the Variant Loki, he discovered that a small child was given a pack of bubble gum. Obviously that bubble gum was out of place but no one at the TVA could figure out how that tied back to the variant until now.
Cross referencing when that bubble gum was popular with apocalyptic level events leads Mobius and Loki to discover a hurricane that hits Alabama in the year 2050, which wipes out an entire town and kills everybody in the storm’s path. Given that the bubble gum would have been a popular option at that time and place, Loki and Mobius figure that has to be where the variant has been hiding after each of these trips.
Ravonna reluctantly approves the mission despite warning Mobius that he can’t trust Loki and this is a very dangerous plan.
Mobius then assembles his team, headed up by Hunter B-15, who already doesn’t like Loki very much after she was put in a time collar and transported all over the TVA during his escape attempt. She warns the team about what they’re up against as they arrive at a giant superstore, which is serving as a shelter for people trying to survive the hurricane.
After arriving, the teams split apart with B-15 taking Loki and Mobius leading his group through the evacuation shelter as they search for the variant. It doesn’t take long before Loki encounters his variant but not in its true form but rather a series of people who are being enchanted by the variant — almost like the alternate Loki is passing from body to body.
This time, however, the Variant Loki jumps into B-15 and she begins a conversation with Loki about him working with the TVA and how he’s just going to stay a step behind this plan.
While Loki attempts to convince the variant that he’s working with them in order to take over the TVA, the other Loki laughs that off as if controlling the Time Variance Authority was ever going to be the strategy.
Instead, Loki begins looking around the store and he sees all of the various reset grenades stolen and set up along shelves, wired to each other as if something bad is about to really happen. That’s when the Variant Loki attacks, and the current Loki is forced to defend himself from the host bodies being enchanted by his double.
Eventually after the last enchanted person falls, Loki comes face to face with his true variant — and once the hood is removed it’s revealed as Lady Loki!
Now for those who aren’t comic book readers, Lady Loki was an alternate version of the character created during a similar Ragnarok event where Asgard was virtually wiped out and all of the gods on that plane of existence were forced to begin again on Earth. In the midst of this, Loki took over the form of a body that was originally meant for Lady Sif (a character who has previously appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). That version began wreaking havoc as a different gender than the previous male body that Loki inhabited.
In the “Loki” series, a previous peak at the TVA file on Loki lists him as gender fluid, which means he could technically transform into any form he wanted — including a woman.
Obviously more will be revealed in the coming weeks about the origins behind this Lady Loki but once she reveals herself to the present day Loki, she enacts her grand scheme by igniting all of the reset grenades set to a timer inside the store.
As this is happening, Mobius and his team find C-20 alone in a room after she was taken prisoner by Lady Loki and while she’s incoherently babbling, one thing is finally revealed — she told Lady Loki how to find the Time-Keepers.
That’s going to be bad news for these cosmic space daddies but first things first, Mobius sees the reset charges all go off before being dumped into those time portals that could take them anywhere throughout the history of the universe.
As each reset grenade travels into a different time and explodes, a Nexus level event takes place, which means there are a ton of splinters ripping away from the so called sacred timeline. In fact there’s so many that it’s going to be nearly impossible for the TVA to travel to each one and reset the timeline back to normal again.
This seems to be part of the grand design that Lady Loki has with her quest to get to the Time-Keepers and eliminate the sacred timeline once and for all. It’s also easy to see how this massive Nexus event splintering the timeline into a hundred different directions that this could be the beginning of the Marvel multiverse, which we know is coming but until now it wasn’t clear how.
Now we know that Lady Loki has created dozens upon dozens of alternate timelines throughout history, which means now there are hundreds of alternate realities being created.
Lady Loki then bids her duplicate goodbye as she steps through a time portal of her own but rather than wait around to see what Mobius and the Minute Men can do, the present day Loki decides to follow his variant to whatever world she’s going to next.
Mobius is distraught as he watches Loki betray him by leaving with his variant but he’s going to have even bigger problems to face now that the sacred timeline has been fractured with Nexus level events all over history. In other words, the multiverse has arrived and there may be nothing Mobius, the TVA or the Time-Keepers can do about it!
“Loki” returns for another brand new episode next Wednesday on Disney+.