Episode 2 of Marvel’s Loki picks up where episode 1 ended, with Time Variance Authority perplexed and in the struggle.
A Renaissance Faire in 1985 Oshkosh Wisconsin, Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane, Hellboy) and her squad of Minutemen arrive to investigate a temporal disturbance. They ignore the patrons who are more interested in the festival than a crew of armor-clad soldiers strolling about.
Upon entering a dark, torch-lit tent, an announcement plays on a speaker and the Minutemen realize it is a trap. The voice on the speaker is announcing the start of a battle between good and evil, the part you’ll miss if you blink is his last few words: “Will evil prevail, or are we holding out for a hero?”. Almost as if in response to the question, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero begins to play, and we see C-20 “possessed” by a figure in the shadows. The possessed hunter dispatches her team of Minutemen in short order as Bonnie Tyler’s velvety voice serenades us. The spell wears off before she able to take out the last man, who just happens to be carrying the reset charges. He valiantly turns to face the Variant, but he is no match and is quickly killed. The Variant then leaves with the charges, and C-20 as the title card rolls.
At the TVA, Loki is bored to death in training for his new role assisting Agent Mobius. Miss Minutes (Tara Strong: Teen Titans Go!) definitely has her hands full with the God of Mischief as he tries to swat her with a magazine. Before things escalate, Mobius walks up with a jacket and hands it to Loki telling him to gear up “there’s been an attack”.
In the next room, B-15 is explaining to her team what happened to C-20 and her crew in the 1985 branch. They know it was an ambush and they have enough evidence to confirm the attacker was rogue the Loki variant. Perhaps the most interesting question asked during this briefing is around exactly which type of Loki the Variant is. Mobius gets a bit into that as he explains to the team (and us by extension) that they are dealing with a “Loki”. The TVA has had to prune more Lokis than almost any other variant. However, they are not all the same, some look like the Loki we know and love, while others differ vastly, not even their powers are completely the same.
The teams split up with Mobius taking Loki and head through a time door to the Renaissance Faire. Meanwhile, we get a quick explanation behind why the TVA must show up in real time to deal with events versus traveling to before the event to stop it. We also learn that time charges essentially disintegrate everything in its radius allowing time to “heal all its wounds”.
Inside the ambush tent, B-15 investigates the evidence left behind. They are astonished to find that the Loki variant took C-20 as a hostage. Taking hostages is something the Variant has never done before. Our Loki then gives his take on the evidence he sees claiming that it is all a trap designed to take them out if they step outside of the tent. Mobius seems to go along with the ruse until Loki asks to the speak to the Timekeepers. He realizes Loki is lying and they reset the timeline.
Judge Ravonna’s office, she and Mobius are having a conversation. Even though he is one of many analysts working for her, they look to be familiar and possibly have some history. Ravonna is concerned about Mobius working with Loki, especially in light of them having botched the last case. They also have a quick discussion about the Timekeepers and from the sound of it, not many people at the TVA have actually met them. Ravonna makes it clear however, that they are indeed paying attention to this case and want the “lesser” Loki caught. Also, in no uncertain terms, this is the last chance Mobius is going to get with this Loki.
Afterward, a frustrated Mobius explains to Loki that he is tired of his crap, and this is his last chance. Mobius then puts Loki to work in the TVA library going through the case files of the attacks on the Minutemen. He hopes Loki will see something they didn’t see, which he doesn’t. After finding out he is restricted from all files but his own, Loki begins to look at the file pertaining to the destruction of Asgard. Hiddleston dazzles here as he plays up the emotion Loki feels learning of the annihilation of his home world. At that exact moment, through welled up tears, Loki realizes something…he has found a way to locate the Variant.
Going down to the cafeteria, Loki finds Mobius and begins to explain his theory. Using Mobius’ salad to demonstrate his hypothesis, Loki explains that during annihilation events, no matter what happens the timeline won’t change because it and everyone in it will be destroyed by whatever apocalypse is coming. Furthermore, the Variant could be hiding in an apocalypse do whatever he wants, and the TVA wouldn’t know. It is a very good theory, but Mobius is dubious. He thinks Loki is just trying to lure him out in the field for a good old-fashioned stab in the back. Nevertheless, Mobius finally relents, and he and Loki set off for Pompeii 79 AD.
They arrive in Pompeii just before the volcano erupts and destroys pretty much everything in the area. Wilson and Hiddleston show great onscreen chemistry here as they comically banter back and forth about the best way to test the theory. Loki finally jumps into action and releases some goats from a cart, he then goes on a tirade (in Latin) decreeing he is from the future and everyone around him is about to die when the volcano explodes. Which it does in short order, Mobius stares on in disbelief before looking down at this monitor to see there is no time variation hence proving Loki’s theory to be true.
Armed with a new theory that the Variant has been ambushing Minutemen and hiding in doomsdays to cover his tracks the duo dash back to the TVA. Using their new criteria, they get to work but don’t find anything quickly. Taking a break in the cafeteria Loki and Mobius have a philosophical conversation around the TVA and why Mobius believes in it. During the conversation, Mobius has a breakthrough that leads him back to the pack of gum he found in the first episode. Using the gum, they are able to discern the time and location of the Variant as Haven Hills, Alabama 2050. Haven Hills is the site of a “Class Ten Apocalypse”, a category eight hurricane that will take the lives of 10,835 humans.
Mobius runs to Ravonna to get approval for an armed mission to Alabama. She counsels him that he shouldn’t trust Loki and that she cannot protect him if things go wrong. Nonetheless, she gives her consent for the operation and off Mobius and Loki go to gather the team. The team suits up with B-15 briefing them on what to expect when they get to the apocalypse site. Her final comments while staring directly at Loki are: “If you see a Loki, prune it”.
Alabama is in full hurricane mode as the TVA team arrives. Upon entering the building, the teams split up and Loki ends up with B-15 after a bit of an argument. Variant Loki is watching it all unfold on monitors as the camera zooms in on a timer counting down from 20 minutes. As they stalk through the compound, B-15 and Loki encounter a man doing some flower shopping. B-15 approaches and appears to be possessed; the variant Loki is using the “person to person” jump technique from that old Denzel movie Fallen. Once in control of B-15, variant Loki introduces herself to our Loki. From the conversation it is clear they are both indeed “Loki”.
The conversation is fairly combative between the two as body jumping Loki jumps from B-15 to a poor guy named Randy. Our Loki finally explains that his plan is to overthrow the TVA and he could use the Variant as a lieutenant in his campaign. Variant Loki scoffs and rebuffs saying he isn’t interested in ruling the Time Variance Authority.
Elsewhere, Mobius and the Minutemen have located C-20. She says she wants to go home but admits that she has given away the way to find the Timekeepers. On the other side of the compound B-15 awakes, shaken and shivering after having Loki “insider” her.
Back at the Lokis, our Loki talks away as he asks the Variant what he is after if not to rule over the TVA. Variant Loki, now a burly redneck, steps from the shadows and proceeds to issue Loki a beatdown. Loki quips that he misses Randy. They tussle for a bit before Loki is knocked down and the Variant goes to set what looks like a bomb. Our Loki recovers, shouting, “What do you want from me”. The Variant tells Loki to brace himself before shedding the redneck body. The camera pans over to a hooded figure and reveals this Loki variant is a woman with little bitty horns. She tells Loki that what she’s doing has nothing to do with him.
In the closing moments the Variant’s plan sets into motion with dozens of reset charges all lighting up simultaneously and disappearing through different time doors. At the TVA this event registers as a “Code 000” or more accurately, someone bombed the sacred timeline. Upon seeing the readout on her monitor, Judge Ravonna Renslayer grabs her baton and heads out of her office. Minutemen are scrambling through time doors all over the place as we cut back to Alabama. Female Loki, proud of herself, conjures a time door and steps through. Mobius and B-15 race to stop our Loki but are unable to keep him from stepping through the door in pursuit. Mobius fails again as this week’s installment cuts to credits.