‘Loki’: The Identity of the Other Variant Is… (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Loki Season 1, Episode 2.]
It really does “take one to know one” on this week’s episode of Loki… especially when that one is oneself.
With the premiere’s revelation that the mercurial Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been brought in to hunt a rogue variant of himself, the God of Mischief is getting even weirder, trippier — and funnier, thanks to the dynamic duo of Loki and the TVA’s loyal Mobius (Owen Wilson). Surprisingly, Loki proves to be a genuine asset to the team and really does help… but not, of course, without putting his own ambitions and plans first.
One More Chance
To start things off, Loki and Mobius go on a little trip through time to an Oshkosh, Wisconsin Renaissance Fair. Earlier, a time of Minutemen was ambushed by the variant in that spot and the variant took a hostage. Now, they’re trying to get her back. However, Loki — as part of his own scheme — stalls for time by talking and talking and talking, and the variant gets away. Bad Loki! Bad!
His performance does not impress Time Variance Authority judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who tells Mobius he has one more chance with this variant — if he pulls another trick, she’ll have him reset and Mobius will lose what he feels is the key to their case. He promises things will go better next time, which they’ll have to, otherwise, it’s curtains for our Loki.
Testing a Theory
With that, Mobius puts the trickster to work. He slams a stack of files in front of him and tells him to read, saying it’ll help him get in the dangerous variant’s head. Loki, naturally, does a few minutes of work and then heads over to the librarian’s desk, where he asks for files about the Timekeepers (classified), the creation of time (classified) and the creation of the TVA (classified). But what’s not classified is more files about himself and the variant, which is exactly what she hands him.
Finally, as he looks over a file about Ragnarok and the destruction of his home planet, Loki has an epiphany. He discovers that the variant is hiding in timelines with conclusive endings that they can return to over and over and over again because nothing they do there will matter — since the timeline is ending, their appearance won’t cause a disturbance. He and Mobius test that theory in Pompeii, where Mobius tells him to start small, with “bird noises.” So, Loki runs out into the street, frees a cart of goats, and bellows to the crowd of onlookers that they’re all about to die. “Right on cue!” he shouts as the volcano erupts. But in the end, he’s right: There are no notable disturbances on the machinery, so nothing he did altered the TVA’s perfect timeline.
Loki, Meet Loki
From there, thanks to the manufacturing date on some bubblegum the variant left behind on a previous excursion, they figure out that the variant is hiding in a big-box store in a Mississippi town that gets wiped out during a hurricane. He, Mobius and a team of Minutemen head to that timeline in hopes of capturing the variant — and Mobius implies that if Loki does well, an audience with the Timekeepers might be on the table — but when they arrive, the TVA soldiers insist on splitting up Mobius and Loki (bad move). Loki goes with Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku). As they move through the aisles in search of anything Loki-like, they stumble upon a civilian… who other variant-Loki is using as a vessel. They possess the TVA soldier, and they and Loki have a chat, fight, and eventually, Loki makes a proposal. He wants to overthrow the Timekeepers (what a surprise!), and he thinks it would be useful to have another variant of himself on his side.
Meanwhile, Mobius and his crew have found their missing soldier, but she’s looking pretty rough. She tells them she gave up their location, meaning where the Timekeepers live, so that’s pretty bad.
As the episode ends, other-variant-Loki turns down Loki’s offer of unlimited power. Apparently, they’ve got a plan of their own, since they’ve been gathering Time Charges from teams that come after them and now they’ve amassed dozens. As the hurricane descends on the store and the conclusion of the timeline is imminent, other-variant-Loki stops possessing people and appears in their true form, and the fan theories were right: it’s Sophia Di Martino, as Lady Loki!
After telling Loki her plan “isn’t about [him],” she waves goodbye and steps through a portal she opened. The Sacred Timeline warps beyond all recognition at the TVA headquarters, with branches forming at an alarming rate. And as the episode ends, Mobius finds Loki standing in front of the portal; Loki steps through it, following Lady Loki to a destination unknown.
Loki, Fridays, Disney+