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Loki: The Variant

"My teeth were sharp. But my ears even sharper."

Well, this certainly didn't go the way that I expected it to.

I thought that this would set up a kind of Case of the Week format, where Loki slowly gains everyone's trust and turns more into the antihero that we saw at Thor: Ragnarok. There'd be some hints to an overarching story and conspiracy involving the Time Keepers and probably Ravonna. Maybe this was all a little unrealistic considering that there's only six episodes total, but it let me be pleasantly surprised and kept anything from feeling expected or boring.

I really want to trust Loki. I want to believe him and in the idea that he's being at least somewhat truthful with Mobius. But he's not. This episode established right off the bat that even though Loki has agreed to work with the TVA, it absolutely does not mean that he's on their side. Loki had me completely fooled for a few minutes there as well; I only caught on that he was lying at the same time that Mobius seemed to.

And that really just set the tone for the entire episode. I was constantly on edge, not sure if anything Loki said was just another one of his plots or not. Excellent writing and pacing.

The real highlights for me were watching the relationships grow and depend between our characters. I almost can't believe that I'm saying it, but Owen Wilson has been really impressing me so far. The chemistry between him and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is outstanding. I'm immediately invested in them and completely believe that they've been friends and colleagues for an untold number of years. I wonder who the second agent is and whether or not they'll end up being important later. Mobius mentioned not recognizing things far too often for it not to be important, right?

And, of course, the core of the show so far is the dynamic between Mobius and Loki. I can never tell which of them has the upper hand on any given conversation. I'll focus on two specific scenes, otherwise we'll be here all day. First is when Loki is first proposing his Ragnarok theory. We know that learning about it devastated Loki, thanks to a beautiful closeup of lovely acting from Hiddleston. But when Mobius offered his condolences, Loki just brushed him off like it was absolutely nothing, like it was weird that Mobius would even think to say such a thing.

I'm not sure if that's Loki hiding and masking any kind of weakness or if his excitement and need to be acknowledged as right just overrode it. The really interesting part to me, though, was Mobius' sympathy. He genuinely was sorry that Loki lost his entire planet, even though he's a Variant, even though he's a liar and a trickster and can't be trusted. And then, later, he also scolded the one agent for scaring the people in the storm shelter. Last episode, he also showed kindness towards the child in the church. He hasn't lost his humanity like others in the TVA seemed to have.

The second scene I want to talk about is the conversation that Mobius and Loki had about the Time Keepers and the Sacred Timeline. We're all expecting the Time Keepers to be evil and nefarious, right? Any group that dictates what Should Be and what Must Be, to the point of disintegrating anything that disagrees or goes off script, is always evil and nefarious. They're completely eliminating free will. (No wonder so many Lokis became Variants. A Trickster, God of Mischief? This is exactly what he would rebel against.)

But at the same time... Mobius does have a point. If you abstract any concept, any identity far enough, anything will sound ridiculous and impossible to believe. And if this is preventing a horrible, multiverse war, and if this is the best timeline... I don't know. Maybe it's necessary. And Mobius does seem to genuinely believe that he is doing this to protect people. I trust him when he says that much. It gives him his own glorious purpose.

When we only saw the Other Loki in a hood, I thought that it was just so that they could avoid doing as much splitscreen work as possible. Because obviously Other Loki would still be played by Tom Hiddleston. Obviously. They did foreshadow, though, that the many, many Other Lokis had variations in appearance. I still didn't expect our villain to be a pretty, blonde, female version.

So what do we actually know about this Other Loki? There seems to be some debate over which one of them is superior. She definitely has slightly different powers. We've never seen Loki psychically possess anyone, never mind jump between multiple bodies. He prefers illusions and visual trickery. But they are definitely the same person. Not only do they both love knives and horned headwear, but their facial expressions are the same. Tom Hiddleston has a very specific Cheshire Grin that he uses and the possessed B-15 matched it exactly. It actually really creeped me out. Props to Wunmi Mosaku.

So where do we go from here? Other Loki very clearly left the portal open for a very long time. Far too long if she didn't intend for Loki to follow her in. She also 100% just created the Multiverse of Madness that Dr. Strange and Wanda are going to be exploring, so I don't foresee the TVA being able to reverse the chaos that she just created. Are we going to end up killing the Time Keepers?

Random Thoughts

I did not expect to see Miss Minutes again but I loved it. And her uncertainty if she was alive or not.

I got a kick out of how defensive Loki got over his powers and abilities. I didn't realize just how complicated his illusions and copies were.

Hanging out at the scene of an imminent disaster gave me strong Jack Harkness vibes. Loki and Mobius even got out of there on "Volcano Day."

The files said that 9,719 Asgardians died in Ragnarok. That's a far smaller population than I would have expected.

Did anyone else see Peggy walking in the background of the TVA?

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

2 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

Fangirl, yes!

Well, this certainly didn't go the way that I expected it to.

That was exactly my reaction. I'm not sure if I expected a lot of wackiness (like in the non-Hela parts of Ragnarok) or something, but this was funny in a subtle way while still being quite meaningful.

I totally did not see Peggy in the background. Was she really there?! What does that mean?! OMG!?

An Honest Fangirl said...

Josie, I'm not sure if it was her or not. But during the first half of the episode when Loki and Mobius are walking through the halls of the VTA, one of the doorway opens and a woman with dark, 40s style hair and a blue dress is escorted through by a Hunter. It was out of focus, so we couldn't see her face, but it looked just like her!