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'Loki' Episode 2 Recap: "Is That My Jet-Ski Magazine?"

·5-min read
Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel
Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel

Obviously this recap of the second episode of Loki contains spoilers for the second episode of Loki. Probably watch it before you dive in here.

For most of us on this side of the Atlantic, the idea of a Renaissance fair is absolutely fascinating. People wander around a Merrie Englande theme park, eating corndogs and trying to avoid getting roped into some drama students' ye olde performances? Wild. 

Watch: Gugu Mbatha teases 'jaw-dropping' moments in every episode 'Loki'

That's where we start out this time around: Wisconsin in 1985, with a needle-drop on Belinda Carlisle's 'Holding Out for a Hero' and another hit job by this evil Loki that our Loki and Mobius are trying to track down. Variant Loki grabs both the reset charges and a conked-out Hunter. 

The TVA could probably be doing a bit more to get on this cloaked figure's case, especially now Loki and Mobius are meant to be buddy cop-ing around the place. But Loki's still on the nursery slopes, digesting his Time Crimes 101 course with Miss Minutes. A word on Miss Minutes, by the way: very happy we're getting to spend more time with her. As corporate mascots of self-appointed regulators of every event that's ever happened go, she's very engaging. Loki's less than rapt, and flips through Mobius' bits and bobs ("Is that my jet-ski magazine?") before they're hoiked out into the field to sort out this Renaissance fair stuff.

Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel
Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel

But first, some exposition. Our Loki is a "cosmic mistake", as one of the TVA's Hunters puts it: one of infinite Lokis who exist in different timelines. There's Hulk-Loki, and Viking-Loki and cycling champ-Loki. More pertinently, there's a carrot dangled in front of Loki: a meeting with these Time Keepers we've been hearing so much about. The way the TVA guys bang on about them, they seem somewhere between gods and extremely competent bosses.

In a tent at the fair, Loki tries on some schtick about humans being gullible, Evil Loki playing 4D chess at all times, and the Time Keepers being in serious danger, but to no avail. Despite his new jacket, he's still very much on probation, as Ravonna tells Mobius when they get back. (Judging by her office, Owen Wilson got a few bits and bobs for her from Sofology.) Basically: Loki's got one more chance, or he's getting disintegrated. 

There's only one thing that's going to save him, and that's proper shoe leather detective work going through the Variant Loki's files. "Pretend your life depends on it," Mobius tells him. "I’m gonna get a snack." 

There's a really neat nod to Fritz Lang's Metropolis here in the never-ending lift shaft which takes the pair of them down to the archives. Both, after all, are set in a utopian dreamworld ruled over by we-know-best types who keep the little people in their place. And – spoiler alert – in Metropolis that tension kicks off, and everything ends in absolute chaos. Something to bear in mind. (How nice is all the theremin on the Loki soundtrack by the way? Lovely, lovely theremin work.)

The digging turns up a couple of nuggets. First, the bald facts of the destruction of Asgard, coldly laid out in black and white. Second, a brainwave. There's no variance energy on the records. Variant is hiding in apocalypses, doing whatever they want, because the timeline gets destroyed immediately afterwards – no fuss, no muss. Loki wants to go down to an apocalypse, and is hurt that Mobius thinks he'd use the opportunity to stab him in the back. "You’ve literally stabbed people in the back, like, 50 times," he points out. 

So, for safety's sake, the head not to Asgard but 79AD in Pompeii. Mobius tries rocking the boat with bird noises. Loki goes bigger. "Nothing matters!" he shouts in Latin, freeing goats and trailing everyone's upcoming fiery death. "Nothing has any consequence!" As it turns out, he's right. 

Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel
Photo credit: Disney+/Marvel

The debrief afterwards is one of the strongest bits of the series so far. These sitting down and chatting bits are, along with Miss Minutes and her handy explanatory videos, just what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was missing: a bit of space to breathe and think, to flesh out characters a little. Loki is chaos incarnate, as we know; Mobius is the company man who loves jet-skis but can't ever ride one in case it knackers the Sacred Timeline.

That Kablooie chewing gum that Variant Loki left in 1500s Aix-en-Provence points to one apocalypse in a particularly sticky mid-21st century for Earth – climate apocalypse, Krakatoa, swallows disappearing, and, crucially, a hurricane in Alabama at a definitely-not-Amazon corporate township. In they go.

Obviously splitting up isn't a good idea, so that's exactly what Loki and Mobius do as soon as they get to the enormo-store where frightened humans are sheltering from the storm. Loki and Hunter B-15 track the Variant, but he bounces between possessing the Hunter, a shop guy called Randy, and a gigantic trucker. "God," says Loki, "now I know why Thor found this so annoying."

Finally, the Variant settles in their own body: that of a woman with horns. She sets off the stolen reset charges all over the store and steps into a portal. Too late to see the Variant, Mobius arrives in time to see Loki buggering off and apparently returning to his back-stabbing ways. Back at HQ, chaos reigns. "Somebody just bombed the sacred timeline," whimpers an underling. The charts look extremely spicy. Er... Miss Minutes? Little help?

Watch: 'Loki' interview - Gugu Mbatha-Raw explores her character's backstory

Nexus Events

  • The jet-ski magazine is a mark of how exactly Mobius as a character's been tailored to Owen Wilson. No other sport, whether aquatic or land-based, is more perfect.

  • Without wanting to bang on about Doctor Who too much (see the episode one recap) there's a lot of prime wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff this episode. Sylvester McCoy cameo?

  • They should make a 'Variant' TVA jacket as merch. I wouldn't buy it, but they should.

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