After the excellent introductory episode “Glorious Purpose,” the second episode gets things going as Loki starts his work with the TVA.
The Variant strikes again by attacking a TVA unit at a Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin, 1985. The Variant is even able to a capture a TVA agent. Agent Mobius sees Loki as being the best way to the find The Variant and the Asgardian comes up with some theories on how to find them.
Out of all the properties Marvel has adapted Loki is the most ambitious and risky. That is really saying something considering some of the films and shows they have made. It’s a show that features time travel, alternative universes, and philosophical musing. It was like the ultimate hybrid of Rick and Morty and Doctor Who.
Loki sets up that there are multiple universes but the timelines are fixed. It’s like Doctor Who where fixed points in time can’t be changed. If a new timeline is created in the MCU it could cause a Nexus event which might lead to the destruction of reality. It makes the stakes higher than in Avengers: Infinity War/Avengers: Endgame. The idea of different universes not being allowed to mix was similar to His Dark Materials.
Like Doctor Who, Loki was also filled with wibbly wobbly timey wimey explanations and logic. The scene when Loki explains using a salad and various seasonings to explain how The Variant hid felt like something The Doctor would do. This is the closest we will ever see Tom Hiddleston play The Doctor.
As well as the time and inter-dimensional Loki and Mobius did act as detectives. The premise of Loki was like Thomas Harris’ Hannibal series. The series so far centred on the relationship between Loki and Mobius with Mobius’ logic being they need a villain to catch a villain. The pair had to work together to look for potential clues in the files and use their logic to find The Variant. However, Loki is a character who’s always has his own agenda and looking for a way to benefit himself.
“The Variant” showed Loki and Mobius having a philosophical debate due to the big revelation from the previous episode. Loki states what I said in the previous episode review, that free will doesn’t exist. Loki acted a bit like Rick from Rick and Morty because he said ‘everyone’s going to die.’ It’s hardly surprising Loki had elements of Rick and Morty because the showrunner, Michael Waldron, worked on the popular animated series.
One of the interesting aspects of ‘Glorious Purpose’ was the character development with Loki getting his worldview rocked. ‘The Variant’ continued this in a small way when Loki read about Ragnarök and discovered that most of his people had died. This information hurt Loki but it also led to the god having an epiphany
On a final note it was noticeable that within the TVA there were many statues of the Time Keepers around their complex. They loomed large over everything and their presence was felt even if they haven’t made a physical appearance yet.
“The Variant” was an excellent piece of TV because of its mix of sci-fi, police procedural and humor. The episode ended on an incredible cliff hanger that will leave viewers wanting more.