Loki Season 1, Episode 2 (Disney+)
Written by Elissa Karasik
Directed by Kate Herron
After this episode of Loki, it was clear to me this and the first entry should be viewed as the entire pilot. It reminded me of the 1980s and 90s when some network action-dramas would debut as a two-hour made-for-TV movie that served as an origin story and set up of the series’ conceit. For Loki, it seems the show will be about trying to repair the now fragmented timeline before time runs out. It was established in this episode that the TVA agents can only enter branches in real-time, unable to go back to before the incidents happened to erase them. That sort of ticking clock scenario is the hallmark of much procedural television series.
A renaissance fair in OshKosh, Wisconsin, in 1985 becomes the next spot where The Variant strikes. A group of TVA agents is sent to investigate, only to be ambushed by the hooded figure. One agent is kidnapped with the Variant showing interest in her time travel device. Loki tries to prove his worth to Mobius and the other TVA agents but fumbles the attempt. He and Mobius begin doing research, and the God of Mischief realizes his Variant is hiding in the moments before disasters occur. The destruction washes away any trace of them, and so they go undetected. This brings Loki and the TVA to Alabama in the near future as a hurricane bears down, about to drown an entire city. Loki finally corners his Variant, and the hood drops, revealing a blonde female version of the god who states she has no interest in working with him. Then she displays her master plan, sending back timeline erasing bombs to hundreds of points in time, resulting in the potential birth of a new Multiverse.
I was thrilled to see Sophia di Martino appear as Lady Loki. Di Martino was one of the actors in Flowers, an excellent British comedy-drama whose two seasons are available on Netflix. If you take away one thing from this review, it’s that you should go watch that series over the weekend. It’s 12 episodes total and also stars Olivia Coleman and Julian Barrett. It’s a fantastic show that is sort of a Wes Anderson film mixed with the Addams Family and a lot of pathos and humanity. Her performance on that show, something with a lot of manic, dangerous energy, has me interested to see the choices di Martino makes as Loki.
The kidnapped TVA hunter C-20 was played by Sasha Lane (American Honey, Hellboy) and her casting makes me think that character will play a more significant role as the series unfolds. She seems to have been exposed to information about Lady Loki’s plans which has marked her psychologically. I expect we’ll see her debriefing in the next episode and get some more details about the exact purpose of shredding the timeline.
We’re two episodes in of a six-episode series, so things are likely to move at a quickened pace. I’ve noticed this show would be an hour program on network tv as opposed to the 30-minute mark the other shows have typically hit. I appreciate that I’m still unsure what this show is about or what direction it’s going. I am assuming it will be about repairing the timeline, but it won’t work thanks to the title of the Doctor Strange film. I’d love to see winks at What If? type of stories, and I wouldn’t be surprised that this serves as a potential lead-in for that upcoming animated show.
So far, I am enjoying Loki more than the other Marvel shows to date, and I’m someone who hasn’t been enamored with the character in the films. I think knocking Loki down a peg and making him vulnerable is doing a lot to make him more interesting. Owen Wilson is an excellent pairing with him, and I appreciate that he’s basically playing the Owen Wilson persona. It makes him feel less like a cosmic bureaucrat and more like a human being. I found the conversation about the people in TVA having come into existence out of the ether apparently very fascinating. It begs the question of why they have differing personalities. I also assume they don’t have reproductive systems as it’s unimportant. Then we have to ask, what happens when one of them dies? Is the population depleted, or are new ones made by the beings that rule over this realm? Is Miss Minutes a living being or just a holographic projection?