Loki attempts to prove his worth to the Time Variance Authority by revealing a huge security lapse that proves the lead they needed to find the alternation version of him -- but is it too late?
Tom Hiddleston is clearly having an absolute blast sliding into one of the slipperiest characters to ever grace a comic book page, or the silver screen. In the second episode of the new "Loki" series, he's at his most dangerously charming -- but this is a very different audience.
Still trapped and now reluctantly working within the Time Variance Authority, Loki is quickly discovering that he can't just talk his way out of everything the way he's used to doing. They're also making it extremely difficult for him to just betray everyone and be on his way.
Or maybe he doesn't really want to do that. We kind of suspect, considering the big reveal that the Variant they're looking for is actually an alternate version of Loki, that he's kind of sticking around to meet himself.
Considering what a high opinion he has of himself, he might look forward to meeting someone as brilliant and devious as himself. More likely, though, he'd probably like to see if he can match wits with someone his equal and then beat him.
Loki's wits are exactly why he hasn't just been erased the way all other variants are. Remember, this is a version of Loki from directly after the events of the first "Avengers" movie. As such, seeing the destruction of Asgard in a file hit him about as hard as watching his own death last week.
That this Loki could have a similar redemption arc as the main MCU one remains to be seen. It does make it a little simpler, though, to know that this is him at his trickster-iest. It's just a matter of time before he betrays Mobius and the TVA.
He even tells Mobius at one point this episode that he's "ten steps ahead" already. Mobius seems to have a pretty good read on Loki, but if there's one thing that seems to always happen it's that people underestimate the Asgardian. Even knowing that Loki will betray you, it always seems to come as a surprise.
That's because betrayal is so much sweeter after you've gained trust. Loki spent a lot of time doing just that, actually watching the training videos, reading through the case files and even cracking something that the TVA had not yet been able to do.
He realized that the best place for a variant to hide would be at a total annihilation apocalyptic-style event. Massacring poor Mobius' lunch salad -- and boy was Mobius hilariously devastated -- Loki theorized that no matter what you might say or do in one of these events, it can't effect the timeline because everything gets destroyed.
He and Mobius then enjoyed a delightfully dark jaunt to Pompeii in 79 AD where Loki jumped around and told everyone about the TVA and that they were all going to die. As the volcano erupted, Mobius confirmed there was zero variance energy. Despite Loki's antics, the Sacred Timeline was intact.
From there, it was just a matter of matching up alt-Loki's favorite Kablooie gum (we know it would come back into play) with an apocalyptic event and we discovered that the Roxxon coroporation had expanded into retail by 2050. Do they buy out Walmart, maybe?
The TVA also discovered that Loki was right and that his alt-version was there. And she was definitely not what Loki was expecting, even though we'd already seen that alternate Lokis can take different forms. This one happens to be female presenting.
It's also not unique to the MCU, as Loki presented female for years in the Marvel comics universe as well. It goes perfectly in line with his file reading him as gender fluid. And neither Loki in that scene seemed all that concerned about the gender of the other.
Our Loki was more concerned in figure out what alt-Loki was up to, which we never quite did. She'd been stealing the mechanisms for resetting the timeline, but when she set them off this time, they disappeared through doorways. So where did she send them and what is she resetting?
Back at TVA HQ, we saw that a whole slew of divergent timelines began erupting, leading to a world-class crisis and definitely an all-hands-on-deck situation. But they'll be down at least two hands as Loki managed to evade his TVA captors in a last-minute desperate bid.
Alt-Loki created a doorway for herself, escaping Roxxcart before the impending hurricane wiped everyone out, but the door stayed around just long enough for Loki to look back at Mobious and the TVA agents running toward him yelling for him to not go through the doorway ... and then step through the doorway.
Was he really attempting to escape capture, or was it more about tracking down alt-Loki so she didn't get away. Obviously, Loki is working his own angles and agenda, but his alternate also has piqued his curiosity. As crazy as it may seem, he may still be working the case, even if it's toward his own agenda.
Even more curious, before this last escape, alt-Loki had captured one of the TVA's Hunters (C-20) while wreaking havoc at a Renaissance Fair in 1985 Wisconsin. Why did she kidnap this particular Hunter (after taking over her body temporarily) when she'd just killed all the agents before?
And why did she then abandon C-20? The Hunter did reveal to her rescuers that she revealed to alt-Loki how and where she could find the Timekeepers, which could be why she was captured. With the plan this close to fruition, maybe it was time to get some intel. But then why not kill C-20 when she was done with her?
Also, when rescued, C-20 kept repeating the phrase, "It's real." While she finally snapped out of it and began talking with more meaning, we never got any clarity as to what she was talking about. What's real? Where did alt-Loki send the time reset devices? Where did she go? Is she the superior Loki?
What will our Loki do now that he's out from under the TVA's thumb? Will alt-Loki stop trying to kill him? Will they team up? Will Mobius ever get to ride on a jet ski? And why is he right about them being a nearly perfect combination of form and function. There's a reason why you never see someone sad on a jet ski.
"Loki" is weird and wonderful and even when we have no idea what's going on, we find ourselves smiling almost as much as both Lokis do. There are more smiles to come each Wednesday on Disney+