Loki is a very, very confusing show. Luckily, the entire first episode was given over to explaining it – even to the point of having a talking clock spell out all the difficult bits via a cute little cartoon. Tl;dr: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has fallen into an alternate timeline and is now teaming up with TVA (Time Variance Authority) cop Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) to stop a time travelling murderer who might also be himself. With that out of the way, episode two kicks off with a lot less exposition and takes us straight into a fight scene to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ (note the irony of the lyrics…)
We’re in Wisconsin, 1985, for a medieval fair that’s also the scene of another time crime by the mysterious hooded assassin being tracked by the TVA. Now eager to please, Loki is desperate to try and help Mobius figure out what’s going on, picking through the wreckage of the fight to look for clues to figure out what his worse self might be up to next. “I see a scheme, and in that scheme I see myself”, he muses, right before trying to double cross the TVA again.
Mobius doesn’t buy it, but the trick is enough to spook Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Ravonna Renslayer into having the classic angry police chief conversation back at TVA headquarters, giving the pair just “one more chance” to try and solve the case before condemning Loki to his original unpleasant fate at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Back to the desk job, (and back to a neat Seven reference hidden in the music for the library scene), Loki works out the criminal is hiding in famous apocalyptic events throughout history – in other words, having fun messing stuff up somewhere it won’t be noticed. Confused again? Don’t worry, Loki explains it all with Mobius’ lunch.
Wanting to test the theory out, the pair skip back to Pompeii, 79AD, to see if anything they do to mess up the space time continuum actually makes a difference in a place that’s about to be destroyed by molten lava. As Hiddleston gleefully jumps around ranting in Latin, and as Wilson gets a long scene to talk about “that one perfect moment in the ’90s” when jet skis were cool, for a brief moment it looks like both actors are writing their own lines. As ever, the best thing about Loki is just how much fun it looks like everyone is having making it – awkwardly and brilliantly fitting a weird Rick and Morty-esque comedy into the middle of the MCU.
Back to the Marvel stuff, the TVA now start scouring other natural disasters to try and find the anomaly, ending up in Alabama, 2050, for a hurricane that’s about to wipe out a supermarket storm shelter. Split up from Mobius, Loki quickly runs into his bad self and starts a fight – first with the hypnotised body of Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), then with various store employees, before the show gives us its first big reveal.
As if everyone didn’t already guess from the fact that we never saw their face, bad Loki is not, in fact, not really Loki at all. Pulling back the hood at last we get our first glimpse of Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino). “This isn’t about you”, she says, right before setting off a time bomb that starts fracturing the entire timeline and escaping through a time door to who knows when…
- While Lady Loki isn’t Loki, she also is – as (male) Loki was reborn as (female) Loki in the comics after the events of Ragnarok. Since a case file in episode one already confirmed Loki is officially gender fluid in the MCU, it’s a safe bet that Lady Loki is still a variant of the same person from another timeline.
- The climatic bombing of the sacred timeline will no doubt play out across the rest of the series, but it’s also possible that this is the starting point for the universe-hopping in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
- One of the Loki variants we briefly see in Mobius’ hologram shows him winning the Tour de France. Does… does this mean Loki is also Lance Armstrong?!