Loki: Episode 2 Event Report
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Stream Episode 2 “The Variant” of Loki now on Disney+, and read on to discover some notable highlights from our Event Report below!
• Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1985
• Pompeii, Italy, 79 AD
• Roxxcart, Haven Hills, Alabama, 2050
Tasked with A New Purpose
Miss Minutes quizzes Loki on the facets of what the Time Variance Authority (TVA) does as part of his training. For example, if a Nexus Event branches pass a red line, the TVA would no longer be able to reset the Nexus Event, which would lead to the destruction of the timeline, and the collapse of reality as we know it. In trying to determine if Miss Minutes is alive or a recording (she’s sort of both, FYI), Loki uses Mobius’ jet ski magazine to swat at her, much to her disapproval.
Mobius and Hunter B-15 rally a unit of Minutemen as there was another ambush on the TVA — Hunter C-20 and her team went dark shortly after they jumped into a 1985 branch. The temporal energy left behind confirms it’s a Loki variant, but remains to be seen if it’s the Variant they are hunting.
[RELATED: Which Is Your Favorite Variant of Loki?]
Before heading to a Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin in 1985, Mobius and Hunter B-15 brief the team that they’re looking for a Loki similar to the one consulting with them; they all should be familiar as the TVA has pruned a lot of Lokis — more than any other variant! While no two variants are alike, accounting for slight differences in appearance and power sets, the Loki characteristics they should be on the lookout for, including but not limited to: shapeshifting, illusion projection, and duplication casting.
Loki openly inquires why they’re not concerned with him betraying them when they leave the confines of the TVA and he gets his magic back. Mobius simply states that they all know the TVA will be able to catch him, and that betraying them will not get him any closer to securing an audience with the Time Keepers.
After Loki inquires about some simple questions, Mobius wonders if Loki has even been paying attention to any of the TVA training videos. If he had been watching them, he’d know the Hunters and Minutemen do not travel back to moments before the Variant first arrives, because Nexus Events destabilize the time flow. With the branch still changing and growing, they can only show up in real time. A Minutemen quizzes Loki on the tech the Variant has been stealing – reset charges, which prunes the affected radius of a branched timeline, allowing time to heal all its wounds (Read: TVA propaganda for “disintegrate everything in its vicinity.”)
The unit come across the area of their fallen colleagues concerned that the Variant has escalated circumstances as it appears Hunter C-20 has been taken as a hostage. Loki admonishes all of the TVA for underestimating a Loki and not seeing the scheme at hand. He likens it to an Asgardian saying: “Where there are wolves’ ears, wolves’ teeth are near.” He boldly claims that they are not aware of their surroundings and they’ll easily be exploited likening the TVA to the gods of Asgard who are all drunk with power and blinded to the truth — “Those you underestimate will devour you.” Loki tells them now that he understands the Variant, and now motivated by his newfound purpose as a servant of the Sacred Timeline, he can deliver them the Variant if they can provide him with assurances, i.e. not be completely disintegrated the moment the job has been completed and to gain an audience with the Time Keepers.
Realizing he’s playing a game, Mobius orders them to reset the timeline and return to the TVA.
First Lesson in Catching a Loki
Back at the TVA, Judge Renslayer calls Mobius to her office following their botched mission. After Mobius notices a handful of trinkets from solved cases, Renslayer states he’s not the only analyst working for him. Pouring her longtime friend a drink, Renslayer shares her concerns that his “soft spot for broken things” is clouding his judgement and that he has given too much leeway to this Loki. This particular Loki is “insubordinate, stubborn, and unpredictable,” and his role on the Sacred Timeline is to be nothing more than an evil, lying scourge — “This is who he is, who he was, and who he will always be.” Mobius wonders out loud if that means no one can change, and Renslayer matter-of-factly responds, “Not unless the Time Keepers decree it, and then it shall be so.” Mobius asks Renslayer how the Time Keepers are as he has never met them, to which she reveals they are alarmed and monitoring every aspect of this case. She warns Mobius this is his last chance with this Loki.
Informing Loki that this is final chance to prove his usefulness to the TVA, Mobius puts him to work in the Archives, reminding him his life depends on it. Mobius hands Loki a stack of each variant’s case file and to only come to him when he can offer his unique Loki perspective. Bored, Loki tries to access the files on the creation of the TVA, files on the beginning of time, and files on the end of time, only to discover they’re all classified. The only file he’s able to access is L1130 — the one on himself. He’s shaken to discover a document detailing the destruction of Asgard, a Class 7 Apocalypse, that has reduced his home and his people to rubble. He notices that there were zero variance energy detected, and rushes to track down Mobius about his new working theory.
Loki tells Mobius that the Variant is hiding from the TVA in apocalypses. Reflecting on what he has learned from his training, he states that Nexus Events happen when people do something they’re not supposed to leading to a cascade of other events, AKA “chaotic alterations of a predetermined outcome.” Loki then theorizes, for example, Ragnarok causes its complete destruction, so should he arrive in Asgard before that happens, he could “push the Hulk off the Rainbow Bridge” or “set fire to the palace,” and none of that would matter because it wouldn’t go against the dictations of the timeline because Ragnarok and Surtur will destroy them no matter what he does — everything and everyone is destined for imminent destruction — and as a result, the timeline will not branch as it will get destroyed anyway so the Variant can be hiding there and not produce a Nexus Event.
To test the theory, Mobius and Loki head to Pompeii, Italy, in 79AD. As Mobius monitors his Tempad for any temporal variance energy and signs of the timeline beginning to branch, Loki starts a commotion in the town square telling the crowd that he’s from the future, and that they will all die when the volcano erupts. As Loki promised, he delivers on the one variable they can count on — they can’t trust him, but they can trust that he loves to be right.
What We’re Fighting For
After a light bulb moment, Mobius realizes that the disasters the Variant is hiding are all naturally-occurring, sudden without any warning, and do not have any survivors. With a solid lead in their grasp, Mobius and Loki step away from the Archives and take a break. Finding common ground, the Trickster asks Mobius why he collects jet ski magazines. Mobius reflects that while most objects in history are kind of dumb, for a brief shining moment, there was a “beautiful union” between form and function. However, the agent’s never been on a jet ski because him showing up on a jet ski on the Sacred Timeline would surely cause a branch. He just reads about and admires them because they remind him what he’s fighting for. Mobius tells Loki to not get too hung up on what to believe and what not to believe — he just accepts what is. He said Loki’s origin as a Frost Giant from Jotunheim who is adopted by Odin of Asgard is just as ridiculous as the Time Keepers being three magic lizards who created the TVA.
Mobius tells him to not think too hard about where any of them really come from because it all sounds absurd; existence is chaos. While nothing makes sense, it’s the role of the TVA to make sense of it — his own glorious purpose. The TVA is his life, and it’s real because he believes it’s real.
Loki questions if everything is written — past, present, future — does free will not exist? With that in mind, then he, Mobius and the TVA are the only ones who are actually free. However, how does this all end? Mobius explains that while they protect what came before, the Time Keepers are untangling the epilogue from its infinite branches, and when it’s finished without any more Nexus Events, only order, they will all meet in peace at the end of time. Loki thinks all of that sounds boring without any chaos. Continuing, he corrects Mobius’ earlier insult of calling him a “scared, little boy,” by stating that Mobius is wrong as he knows something others do not — “No one bad is truly ever bad, and no one good is ever truly good.”
Loki triggers a thought for Mobius as he rushes back to the Archives. The Variant had left behind a clue at the last crime scene, a Cathedral in France. They now have two variables to narrow down the apocalypse the Variant is hiding in — apocalyptic natural disasters and Kablooie candy, which was regionally sold on Earth within the span of a few years. They make it a competition to revisit all the case files to find the next target destination.
Narrowing it down to Alabama, 2050, Mobius asks Judge Renslayer to approve deploying a new task force for this potential hiding spot. Renslayer once again, as his friend, cautions him from trusting an unreliable Loki who blew his previous mission. She begrudgingly approves, but warns him that if this goes south, it will be out of her hands.
Class 10 Apocalypse
Riding off of Mobius’ excitement over the latest breakthrough, Loki inquires if the good work and potential capture of the Variant could garner him a face-to-face with the Time Keepers, which Mobius tempers with a “one step at a time.”
Hunter B-15 prepares her Minutemen for their next mission — a Roxxcart warehouse that’s currently in use as a makeshift shelter for civilians riding out a hurricane in the middle of a Class 10 Apocalypse. She reminds her troop that all previous attacks had the unit’s reset charges stolen and to be on the lookout for any missing charges at their destination.
Arriving in 2050 at Roxxcart, Hunter B-15 and her Minutemen begin a sweep of the location for the hostile and dangerous Variant. However, she orders Mobius to accompany Hunter D-90 while Loki remains with her. Loki assures them both he will earn both of their trust.
Carefully surveilling the aisles, Hunter B-15 and Loki come across a civilian who claims to be shopping for azaleas. However, upon approaching the man, he touches B-15’s arm and then faints. The Variant enchants Hunter B-15, putting Loki in the presence of another Loki. Meanwhile, Hunter D-90 and Mobius have found Hunter C-20, but she’s currently still in shock, repeating “It’s real,” over and over again. Once lucid, she admits that she had given up how to find the Time Keepers to the Variant.
Loki diminishes the Variant’s enchantment ability as an arbitrary and cowardly trick, but still clever, which the Hunter B-15-enchanted Variant retorts, “Almost as cowardly as working for the TVA.” Loki takes offense as he only works for himself, and would never treat another Loki this way. Laying his cards on the table, Loki tells the Variant he sought them out because he plans to overthrow the Time Keepers and could use a “qualified Left Hand.”
The Variant promptly turns down after a few seconds of consideration, after admonishing Loki for referring to them as a ‘Loki’ as well. They’re not interested in ruling the Time Variance Authority.
After using another enchanted proxy to knock Loki down, the Variant removes their cloak and reveals herself to be a female Loki variant who simply has no need for him — “Brace yourself. This isn’t about you.” The Variant thanks Loki for helping her stall as she opens a number of Time Doors with a Tempad sending all the stolen reset charges through the portals, before stepping into another Time Door herself.
At the TVA, the organization puts out a distress alarm as someone has bombed the Sacred Timeline causing several branched timelines at once.
FOR ALL TIME. ALWAYS.
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