LOKI S01E02 – The Variant Review and Recap

LOKI, Episode 2 – The Variant

Table of Contents

Loki Episode 2 Recap

Our Loki story begins in 1985 during a Renaissance Faire in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the Time Variance Authority (TVA) are once tracking down the Loki variant we learned about last episode. They’re ambushed and all are taken out except one of whom the variant ends up taking as a hostage. We then cut to the TVA where Loki, Mobius, and a team of other Minutemen are deciding their game plan to continue tracking the variant.

After a failed attempt to catch the variant and Loki’s own failed attempt to stall the TVA we return to headquarters – wherever that is – where Mobius and Judge Renslayer have a little chat about their new addition to the team. We learn that there might be another analyst working for Renslayer that Mobius doesn’t know about. Loki then is tasked with looking through files of data on sightings of the variant to see if he can find a hint at where she might be hiding.

First we get a wonderful emotional beat where Loki reads about Ragnarok and the fall of Asgard from Thor: Ragnarok and then it follows an incredible funny scene where Loki explains his hypothesis of what he’s found while tossing Mobius’ salad. Loki assumes the variant is hiding out in various apocalypse-level events where the course of events are natural and cannot be changed. The two venture to Pompeii to test this theory.

LOKI S01E02 – The Variant Review and Recap 1
We must protect her.

There’s a wonderful scene where Loki and Mobius discuss the concept of free will and existence. One of the highlights of the series so far. And then finally the TVA with Loki and Mobius in tow head to a proposed apocalypse-level event where they believe the variant could be hiding. Loki and the variant come face-to-face and we find out that it’s a woman! Lady Loki? Enchantress? We’ll find out next episode! Maybe! Oh and she bombs the sacred timeline-created branches galore that is quickly veering off into becoming their own sustainable universes!

Loki Episode 2 Review

What can I say? This was an incredible episode. We’re two episodes in and I feel like praising it is gonna start getting boring soon but this is the cross I bear and hopefully will continue to do so. Right off the bat the back-and-forth between Loki and Miss Minutes some wonderful entertainment. This is the first instance of a 3D character in the MCU interacting live with a 2.5D animation (it’s not quite 2D, it’s not really 3D, it’s sorta both).

The scene with Loki trying to stall the TVA from fixing the 1985 Oshkosh deviation caused by the variant feels a bit weak because Loki’s desperation is quite noticeable and the other characters are able to pick up on that. It’s a side of Loki we’re not really used to seeing which isn’t a bad thing but the delivery I feel could’ve been given more gravitas fit for the God of mischief.

All that being said Hiddleston continues to give a brilliant performance as Loki and he plays off of everyone he interacts with incredibly well. His more comedic scenes with Mobius like the scene with Pompeii or when he’s explaining his apocalypse-theory while destroying Mobius’ lunch are just brilliant and it’s the really nice, physical comedy gags that ups the bar with how well their delivered. It’s a new side of Loki that does actually work for the character and getting a more sort of straight man with Mobius or Hunter B-15creates a kinetic dynamic that lights up the screen.

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This was just a good scene, man.

In that same vain, however, when the show decides to go slow and get introspective it shines in a new way. The MCU is no stranger to questioning the meaning of things, we’ve gotten in all sorts of ways from Ultron’s unique viewpoints in Avengers: Age of Ultron to Thanos’ various monologues throughout Avengers: Infinity War, or even more recently between the two Visions in WandaVision. But the talk between Loki and Mobius, over Mobius’ acceptance that freewill doesn’t exist outside of the Timekeepers and Loki’s outlook that that’s boring feels very special.

It’s not a particularly deep conversation that us mortal peons couldn’t grasp what’s being said, and many, many shows and films have tackled these questions in much more in-depth ways, but just keeping this focused on the MCU it’s really nice to see this universe branching out into new topics that built a deeper mythos for itself and deeper viewing experience for its fans like me. This is the stuff I like and I am enjoying that something else I like is finally butting up against it.

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A very Blade Runner feeling shot. And that’s a good thing.

I’ll tell ya the moment where Loki reflects on the events of Ragnarok, knowing from the report that he was there but having to envision it as best he could because he personally wasn’t there, and the look of regret and sorrow for his people was a moment I genuinely didn’t realize I needed in this show until it happened.

One thing I’ve been vocal about at times outside of here is that in Thor: Ragnarok the destruction of Asgard is basically played off as a big joke and very little time is spent reeling from its loss. Sure, we as viewers haven’t spent a ton of time there but Thor, Loki, and all these Asgardians who lived there off-screen deserved to feel horrified in that moment.

I’m really glad Loki finally got to.

The final scene with the hurricane in Alabama in 2050 that eventually wipes a town off the map was beautifully put together and looked incredibly destructive in a way that sent chills down your spine. Kudos to the production and effects teams on that. I do enjoy the inclusion of Roxxcart, since it was first seen in Iron Man the shadowy conglomerate of Roxxon has loomed large in the MCU. Whole seasons of TV shows have been built around them being the bad guys.

And if you do take those shows in as canon you could argue that Roxxon has been a bigger threat than HYDRA within the MCU but still, they remain almost solidly a background player – even in those seasons where one of their departments is doing bad things. And I think that’s a good place to keep them.

Loki comes face-to-face with his variant counterpart who seems to best him in every way. When the reveal comes it ends up being what many of us imagined was the case. Lady Loki played by Sophie Di Martino. However, thanks to one of the credits line-ups after the episode we learn that her name is actually Sylvie, who in the comics is one of the two Enchantress’ of the Marvel universe. She was a secondary Enchantress created by Loki.

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Lady Loki / Enchantress / Sylvie / The Variant

I do wonder if this variant will be a mix of Lady Loki and both Enchantress’. Maybe she’s a child of Loki and the Enchantress named Sylvie from another timeline. Maybe another Loki created her. Maybe she is just a lady version of Loki that took on the name Sylvie. There’s literally an infinite amount of possibilities. I’m excited to see which is the answer, and Di Martino has already taken ownership of the role in a commanding and menacing way. She’s a great addition to the MCU.

Finally, Lady Loki/Enchantress/Sylvie/The Variant bombs the sacred timeline by sending a large collection of reset charges through various points in time causing an immense amount of branches to begin popping up immediately – some of which already seem to be heading quickly into the red line area. My hope is we’ll get to see several of these branches which will allow us to peer into many of the what-ifs that could’ve happened and maybe get several guest appearances while we do so.

That might be too much to ask even on an MCU Disney+ budget, but it’d be cooool. And a great way to lead in to the animated What-If…? tv show that’s still on the way.

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Overall Feelings

Very strong episode. Had it’s moments that could’ve been more cohesive but so much wonderful comedy, some great conversations, and that ending literally my mouth agape and my jaw on the floor. Which makes me one happy customer. I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here!

Observations of the Sacred Timeline

  • I hope Mobius gets his jet ski. The man loves jet skis but has never ridden one. He deserves it.
  • Speaking of Mobius, I’m curious about that other analyst. Is it an earlier version of him that he isn’t aware of? Is Mobius a variant?
  • I do hope Owen Wilson sticks around as the character past this show. He’s just so good in the role. I want more.
  • Many other sites have broken down the various locations and times where we see the variant send the reset charges. The best comment I can add to this is that I’m just thankful they went all over the universe. So many time travel shows only focus on Earth and while there’s been an abundance of Earth-centric stories here this move by the creators shows that Earth isn’t a monolith and other parts of this dark abyss are just as important.
  • I feel there is a disconnect between this version of 2012 Loki and the actual 2012 Loki just by the sheer amount of experience Hiddleston has had with the character since that film. He’s much more comfortable in the role but I’m still having a ton of fun. But I do feel this Loki acts just a tad older than the Loki we saw in both Thor and Avengers.

Want more Marvel Reviews?

1. LOKI S01E01 – Glorious Purpose Review and Recap
2. Marvel’s Alien #1 Introduces Radical Change to the Alien Lore
3. BLACK WIDOW (2021) – Spoiler Review and Recap


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