Marvel’s Loki Episode Two Continues the Story of Both a Hero and a Villain
In the second episode of Marvel’s Loki, the titular character attempts to catch himself in a spectacular episode with a final, big reveal.
The first episode of Marvel’s latest Disney Plus series Loki presented fans with a therapeutic, interrogational episode that heavily explored the character. The first episode of the series was incredible, and the second episode continues that trend.
A somewhat routine teaser starts the second episode with C-20, and her squad of TVA Hunters as they arrive in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the 1980’s to investigate an on-the-run Variant. The TVA Hunters are ambushed by the Loki Variant last mentioned by Owen Wilson’s character Mobius M. Mobius at the conclusion of last week’s episode. As “Holding Out For a Hero” escorts the scene, the Variant captures C-20 and escapes from the branch timeline.
Meanwhile, at the Time Variance Authority headquarters, Loki is educating himself about what happens when a Nexus Event crosses the red line: the end of the Sacred Timeline. During the Nexus Event teaching lesson, Miss Minutes is there and Loki has no appreciation or time for her regardless of her own over-enthusiasm, and she decides to escape into the computer after the disrespect from Loki. It’s true, Loki is clearly acting incredibly rude and disrespectful, however, the scene is absolutely hilarious nonetheless.
Temporal energy has told the TVA that the Loki Variant was certainly responsible for the attack on C-20’s squad of TVA Hunters. In fact, the Hunters are acquainted in dealing with Loki Variants — supposedly they manage Loki Variants almost more than any other Variant. This is incredibly important information for a variety of reasons. How many versions of Loki are there, and why are they continuing to revolt against the TVA? Furthermore, which Variants have come into contact with the TVA as much as Loki has? Audiences have already seen a Skrull and Peggy Carter.
Loki is being presented with the chance to have a word with the Time-Keepers if he’s useful to Mobius, embracing the stereotypical crime drama “you could get a second chance” idea. Loki accepts it, however it’s difficult to imagine that this is anything other than some lies being fed from Mobius.
Audiences also get to spend time with just Mobius M. Mobius and Ravonna Renslayer, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The two characters clearly have known each other for a long time, but Renslayer must clearly walk the line between friend and colleague. She’s headstrong and collected, and you can certainly see her as Loki’s personal police chief.
Mobius comes out of the meeting with Renslayer even more determined and excited. He attempts to manipulate the God of Mischief with his calm and soft-spoken psychology by informing Loki that the Variant their hunting is the “superior version” of Loki. Our version of Loki is merely a scared little boy, according to Mobius.
Loki is put to work in the depths of the TVA for research purposes, rummaging through files and having a comical interaction with a receptionist. The stakes are incredibly high for Loki, his life practically depends on him finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, he manages to find it during a somewhat emotional scene where he realizes that Asgard, his home, has been destroyed. Loki digs deeper into the end of Asgard and finds that there was zero variance energy detected during the apocalyptic event and he has a realization.
Loki realizes that if it were him (which it is, in this case), he would hide in apocalyptic events to evade capture from the TVA. Mobius is stunned, but they try out Loki’s theory during the destruction of Pompeii. The buddy cop shtick is awesome in this scene, with Loki acting as the reckless rookie and Mobius as the seasoned, ready-to-retire partner.
The chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson is easily the best part of the series so far. This is an action-packed, entertaining episode, but watching Hiddleston and Wilson’s incredible chemistry even when they’re having an existential conversation about death, the meaning of life, and jet skis has shown to be worthwhile.
Eventually, after Mobius’s own perfectly-timed realization, he, Loki, Hunter B-15, and several other TVA Hunters are dispatched to Alabama in 2050 where they find themselves in a slightly futuristic shopping center called Roxxcart. Personally, I love that this series can go anywhere in time and do anything yet audiences are treated to a filing room and a discount, future-Walmart. It’s so incredibly meta, yet so incredibly perfect.
The Roxxcart assignment unmasks the mystery Loki Variant: it’s Sophia Di Martino as Lady Loki. However, in the credits she is referred to as Enchantress. This reveal was quite surprising considering it came so early in the series. However, the exciting reveal certainly means that there are bigger and better surprises to come.
It’s here that the episode subverts all expectations. It’s not Enchantress revealing her grand plan upon being found out, rather it’s Loki. “This isn’t about you,” she tells our version of Loki, somewhat referring to the Ancient One’s last words to Doctor Strange. Again, this is incredibly important. The Ancient One spent decades protecting our reality, and her successor is going to deal with a multiverse of madness in his upcoming sequel film. As the Ancient One plainly puts it, “Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.” Lady Loki definitely knows something of importance, and her purpose is not-so-selfish indeed.
However, Loki might be closer to redemption than Lady Loki knows. In my personal favorite moment of the episode, he checks to make sure B-15 is alright after Lady Loki possessed her. This is a character who just invaded New York City with a violent, dangerous alien army, yet he’s now concerned with the safety of a TVA Hunter who has been nothing but disrespectful to him. Loki is no longer a villain, or an anti-hero. Loki is a hero and a great character, and that is why he has his own show.