We’re running a weekly recap of Loki on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
Owen Wilson as Agent Mobius is an absolute delight. Wilson plays this character with such sincerity and charm that I can almost ignore how his character’s motivations are nonsensical.
Mobius is a student of Loki. He’s tracked Loki through the Sacred Timeline and all the Variant Lokis through the Multiverse, which means he’s got an above-average knack for spotting the variable God of Mischief’s tricks from afar. But somehow he’s convinced he needs a Loki criminal to catch a criminal Loki. Which means Mobius is employing the failed, backward logic of the NRA: The only way to stop a bad guy with a
gun Loki is a good guy with a gun Loki.
Really? Because I would suspect that if your sole purpose in existence, your one and only job, is to protect the Sacred Timeline, maybe you’d want fewer homicidal mischief-makers hanging about?With the introduction of the Multiverse, this is the sort of plot device that will bring about resurrections and connect all sorts of stories that weren’t supposed to be connected.
“You’ve literally stabbed people in the back like fifty times,” Mobius tells Loki.
You are correct, sir! So why on multi-earth are you banking on this actual murderer’s “help” as if the Sacred Timeline itself depended on it?
I get it. This is The Loki Show. We’re all rooting for Loki, just like Mobius. Guilty as charged. But shouldn’t we know better? We know this Loki. We know every trick, every betrayal, every—I cannot stress this enough—ACTUAL MURDER, yet we keep placing our trust in a character who epitomizes untrustworthiness.
But I digress.
Maybe we shouldn’t care. Placing our faith in Loki is all predicated on the idea that the Time Variance Authority is actually worth helping. With the TVA, the MCU has introduced an entirely new apparatus that exercises absolute influence over the flow of existence itself. Yet, after just two episodes, it’s not apparent that this is necessarily for benevolent purposes. We know very little about the Time-Keepers thus far, what motivates them, what makes them tick. We are told they created the TVA, and by this we can only assume they possess a certain level of near-omnipotence. Or at least, that’s what they’d like us (and everyone who works for the TVA) to think.
As we discussed last week, the Time-Keepers wield a power that is unmatched in Loki’s experience, even greater than the Infinity Stones. And so it makes sense that Loki is sticking around to cozy himself close to the Time-Keepers in the eventual hope of usurping their near matchless power of the Sacred Timeline.
Up to this point, Loki is asking all the right questions. Where did the Time-Keepers come from? Who put them in charge? Why do they get to dictate the annals of history? If the Time-Keepers force the flow of history to their predestined outcomes, how does free will exist? Agent Mobius, how can you say the Time-Keepers are good?
These are the theological questions that argumentative evangelical dudes spend all night debating on the CARM.org Forums.
And yet, while mocking Mobius’s simple acceptance and faith in the Time-Keepers, even mocking the Sacred Timeline itself, Loki nonetheless wants to rule it. His ambitions, lofty as they are, are still constrained to the TVA’s box.
But this is where the Variant Loki appears one step ahead of the TVA’s Loki.
Lady Loki is under no such illusion. She appears to know the TVA’s weaknesses better than the TVA knows itself. Long ago she realized she could hide within apocalypses to mask all the tiny Nexus events her time-hopping has created. But unlike Loki, she cares little for the construct at the heart of the entire TVA.
Lady Loki doesn’t want to rule the Sacred Timeline. She wants to destroy it. Or at the very least, she wants to create so many Multiverses that no one, not even the Time-Keepers, can say what the Sacred Timeline even is anymore.
A few final thoughts.
This episode once again brought 2012’s Loki up to the speed with the events of the MCU thus far. Last week, courtesy of Mobius’s Disney+ subscription, Loki saw his own death from Avengers: Infinity War. Similarly, this week, Loki learned the sad fate of Asgard from Thor: Ragnarok by reading about it in the TVA’s library.
This plot device isn’t dissimilar to the way 2014’s Thanos learned about the 2023’s Avengers plans by watching a clip played from Nebula’s memories. Or the way Good-Vision supplanted Bad-Vision’s mainframe with all his memories in the WandaVision finale.
Is this the way the MCU works now? Kill a character, but bring them back and show them clips of all the movies that came before? Abracadabra! Now you can have the “same” character as before, like they never even died at all.
That’ll probably get old.
Yet kudos to Marvel. With the introduction of the Multiverse, this is the sort of plot device that will bring about resurrections and connect all sorts of stories that weren’t supposed to be connected. Lest any of us forget, WandaVision “recast” Pietro with the X-Men universe’s Quicksilver. And just like you, I was a little bummed to learn that apparently that version of Pietro was just a dude.
But if we learned anything from this week’s Loki, not only do Variant Lokis occupy the Multiverse, many of those Lokis aren’t even recognizable as Loki. It stands to reason that every possible character in the MCU has multiple Variants too, which is why in some alternate dimension we’ll find a version of Pietro that looks and acts just like the guy from the X-Men universe.
Convenient how that works, right? Before, when the MCU replaced an actor with a different actor, we had to pretend not to notice. Going forward, the Multiverse will be our answer for those little inconsistencies. Why is this Loki a guy and the other Loki a girl? Multiverse! How did this beloved superhero from an entirely different franchise find themselves in the MCU? Multiverse!
Lastly, some eagle-eyed viewers last week caught that Loki’s gender was noted as “fluid” in his official TVA file, leaving no surprise that the Loki Variant at the end of this week’s episode was a woman. That would certainly fit within the groundwork the show has laid thus far.
But maybe she’s not Loki after all. We’ve never seen Loki control minds without his (or her) scepter (and the Mind Stone within it). Yet mind control seemed to be the only power this new Loki is actually demonstrating. Which means Loki Variants could have different abilities (maybe) or this new villain isn’t actually Loki at all (also maybe!).
Loki will be a limited series of only six episodes, just like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Which is kind of a bummer, but it also means we probably won’t be waiting long to learn all about this new girl and what her deal is.