Loki – Season 1, Episode 2: The Variant

After the first episode’s glorious exposition dump we now get into the meat of what this series is going to be and the answer is something that the majority wouldn’t have expected.  Following on from last episode’s revelation, that Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) of the TVA wants Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) help to trach down a Loki variant that is causing havoc in the timeline, we are presented with is a buddy cop, fish out of water, psychological thriller with some horror tones procedural.

Like any good procedural the crime happens in the first minutes of the episode.  A squad of TVA agents have tracked the Loki variant to a renaissance fair in 1985 Ohio.  The agents enter a large tent and as Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ (a song that is having a moment as in the last week it has also feature on the ‘Masters Of The Universe’ trailer and the ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ game trailer) one of the team Hunter C-20 becomes possessed and takes all the others out.  The Loki variant them kidnaps the possessed agent, steals the timeline reset charge, and disappears.  From this point it becomes and old-school ’70s detective thriller, all leg work and reading through files, with fantasy trimmings.

The rest of the TVA doesn’t want 2011 Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on the team but Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) sees this as the only way to catch the other Loki that is playing havoc with the timeline.  Loki sees working with the team as a way to get a meeting with the hrads of the TVA.  The great thing about this show is that none of the characters are treated as stupid, they know that Loki is the god of mischief and they treat him as such.  As they all investigate the scene of the crime it is obvious that Loki has an ulterior motive but he is not allowed to get away with it, Mobius plays along with him then calls him on it.  In fact, the only one who seems not to have an ulterior motive is Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) fanatically believes in the TVA.  Mobius clearly knows or needs something that we don’t know about yet  and his superior Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) blatantly has another agent in play.

Again most of the episode is people talking but fortunately you have two of the biggest charm factories in Hollywood bringing their best.  Wilson delivers two great monologues that are prime Wilson, one a veiled dig at the craziness of organised religion and the the other on the beauty of the Jet Ski.  Hiddleston proves himself to be possible the strongest actor in the MCU displaying the full spectrum of emotions and showing Loki as everything from a playful clown to a dark dictator.

Loki goes full on criminal profiler to try and work out what the other version of himself is up to and where they are hiding.  Read through all the files he discovers that Asgard is destroyed in his future.  Through he pain of discovering this he comes up with a theory – the variant is hiding in apocalyptic events because as everything in those places is going to be destroyed nothing that happens there will effect the timeline. To test the theory Loki and Mobius head to Pompeii at the time of the eruption. Loki makes a scene and nothing happens to the timeline, theory proved.

After more detective work they track the variant to a shopping mall in 2050 (possible the first time we have seen the future in the MCU) that is about to be destroyed ina hurricane. What follows is a sequence ripped straight from the 1998 Denzel Washington thriller ‘Fallen’. The variant has possessed a local and then the possession is past between characters through touch as a beatdown is put on Loki. When Loki is defeated the variant steps out of the shadows and is revealed to possibly be a female version of Loki. She then sets her plan in motion and drops all of the bombs she has been collecting into the timeline triggering nexus events throughout history. She opens a portal and disappears and, as Mobius arrives on the scene, Loki with a defiant look on his face follows her.

So it looks like we are getting the Multiverse Of Madness sooner than we were expecting. By the gods of Asgard, this show is entertaining.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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