Loki: The Variant (Episode 2) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of Loki, The Variant, Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) work towards nabbing the Variant before their plan falls into action.
Now fully ingrained into the situation with this Variant version of themselves, Loki is now officially a part of Mobius’ efforts to find this Variant, but it’s not exactly smooth sailing. Per usual with Loki’s behavior, they’re not taking anything seriously and are more focused on trying to figure out how to take control of the TVA rather than help them. Their time swatting at a holographic Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong) and stalling time while looking at a crime scene where a minutemen soldier was taken by the Variant is fun and all, but just kind of typical Loki shenanigans. Not to say that it’s not fun every once in a while, but Loki just screwing around is what we’ve seen for the last decade with the character and I thought them coming to slight terms with themselves might change something.
Frankly, Loki just goes through the same patterns all the time and it’s starting to get old. They do something bad, then seemingly go through some growth only for it to be a ruse. I get that’s just the Loki formula and sort of a staple to the character, but it’s just gotten old. What’s the point in them going through growth or seeing something that literally rocks them to their core if they’re just going to be back in the same place? Even Hiddleston’s performance and the self-reflective dialogue when Loki finally meets the Variant feels a little too business as usual for Loki going through a change in working with the TVA. Although it’s hard to fully blame everything when Loki is still trying to get one over on the TVA.
They’re mostly unsuccessful though since Mobius isn’t easy to trick and he’s really using Loki to his advantage throughout the episode. Wilson continues to be one of the best things about this series as his line delivery is immaculate, he brings a charismatic charm that’s endlessly enjoyable, and he makes Mobius feel all powerful without it ever coming off narcissistic. Rather it actually comes off quite humble and kind of heroic. He’s the true antithesis to Loki, which makes for these two having to work together a lot of fun.
The two are pretty much competing Sherlock Holmes most of time this week as they look through some of the Variant’s activity that leads to some interesting discussions on time and life as a whole. The way this episode delves deeper into how time works is really intriguing and the idea of this Variant hiding out in the middle of a natural disaster since any action they do there wouldn’t matter or be noticed by the TVA is really awesome. It’s a very unique way of utilizing time travel and the way that Mobius cross references this finding and that pack of gum that kid had at the cathedral to get the Variant’s location is very cool. The pieces finally come together for these two and it’s what makes this episode super enjoyable regardless of Loki doing the same old same old.
The discussion Loki and Mobius has on time, life, and death is also really interesting and fleshes out Mobius as a selfless protector of time a little more. I really love how one glimpse of a jet ski magazine sparks this entire discussion about Mobius’ purpose and the timekeepers’ power. It’s something that seems meaningless on paper but carries a lot of meaning for Mobius as a reminder of why he does what he does and keeping the simple pleasures of life intact. Their discussion on the dangers of trying too hard to find meaning and being so upset and scared of the end is very thought-provoking and simple. Instead of getting too philosophical, it makes the right choice in keeping things simple and it’s both super fitting to the characters and the unworrying nature of the TVA. It’s such a perfect use of these settings and characters and is, to me, the standout moment of the series thus far.
Eventually, Loki and the TVA make their way to a near distant future where a small Alabama town is getting decimated by a hurricane to confront the Variant. Even for it feeling like the big climax, it’s really the tip of the iceberg. We get the expected body possessing and self-reflective dialogue that anyone would expect out of a Loki. The two Loki’s even try to get the other to join them as their underling. Nothing works though and we end up getting two surprising moments that leave a lot to be interested in going forward. The first is that the Variant Loki (Sophia Di Martino) is actually a female version. There isn’t much else to say about it other than it makes sense given that we know Jane Foster is about to become her own version of Thor. The Variant’s plan is also a little unclear, but they make quite a power move by causing a lot of branches in the timeline that could throw everything off. With Loki following the Variant in the unknown, the series leaves things on the perfect breath-holding cliffhanger and things are definitely about to get wild.
Although it struggles a bit to get out of old Loki habits, this week’s episode provides a very fun dissection of time and its character while letting Loki and Mobius do some Sherlock Holmes mystery solving and setting up its intriguing end stinger.