Episode 2 - The Variant
Welcome back all you fellow myth nerds to another Loki episode breakdown! Cat and I have dug deep into Episode 2: The Variant. As with last week, this conversation will be divided into three parts: The Episode, Marvel Lore, and Mythology.
Obviously, this entire conversation contains ALL THE SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen Episode 2 yet, maybe give that a watch first. Unless, you are chaotic like Loki and spoilers are your bread and butter.
Don’t hesitate to give us a holler on social media to tell us what you thought! We’d love to know your takes on Episode 2.
Lyra: This episode asked a lot of big questions, which I feel is fitting for a show about Loki. Part of the role of a trickster is the trickster forcing us to face the truths we don’t want to face, and I feel that might be happening here…Like, does Mobius actually believe in the “Space Lizards”? To me, this quickly became an episode about faith. Faith in what you believe in, as well as WHO you believe in.
The other theme that popped out at me, not just because they mentioned it a million times, was order over chaos. We now know that the Time Keepers goal is to untangle the timelines until there is perfect and absolute order, and then...there will be absolute peace and it will all be over. That’s definitely not creepy at all with no cult undertones whatsoever.
Cat: Faith is definitely a large part of this episode. There are specific patterns that religions and cults have, in part because they work well with the human psyche. One of the reasons to seek out an overarching structure of faith in your life is to defeat chaos and give order to things like life and death. Knowing, for example, that your death is practically meaningless and that you’ll go to a beautiful afterlife creates certainty and calm in your life. And we can see that here in the TVA as they excuse massive loss of life over and over. They have the power to change so much, and yet they choose to watch, to give no value to the lives that they could have saved, because a greater power than them wills it so.
Also “We meet in peace at the end of time” is the most cult slogan anyone has ever come up with and is super sinister.
Lyra: Right? It seriously is and I couldn't agree more. Although, I maybe loved watching Loki, a literal being of chaos, be trapped in this ordered/cult world a bit TOO much, especially in the library. The SHUSHING. He is really being forced to live by the “rules,” and we can see how inflexible the TVA is. We also get glimpses of the cruelty of perfect rules and order, like how the TVA officers treat the people sheltering from the hurricane in Alabama. There is no mercy.
Cat: If you really listen to the way they talk about upcoming disasters for humanity in the future, it’s really unsettling, both that they’re just letting it happen and that it’s probably a stark, realistic look at our future. Also, their mention of swallows going extinct is bas
ed on a currently occurring extinction of swallows which you can read about here, though it doesn’t mention why the extinction of the swallow would have a huge impact on ecosystems, but since they mainly eat insects, we could take a guess.
Lyra: I did not know about the current swallow extinction. Thanks for making all of this THAT much more real. LOL
Another thing I found really impactful in this episode is the conversation between Loki and Mobius about their creation, the space lizards, and the overall goal of the Time Keepers. Loki saying “No one bad is ever truly bad, and no one good is ever truly good” only solidified for me that the true “bad guy” is probably not who it seems (aka, it’s def the space lizards). I think this conversation also tied into (and work with me here) the opening fight sequence when “Holding Out for a Hero” is played as Variant Loki ambuses the TVA officers....Who is the real hero here?
This is why I may have enjoyed TOO MUCH when Variant Loki destroys the sacred timeline, literally throwing order into chaos. The TVA is bad news.
Cat: I also really get the feeling that the TVA is the ultimate bad guy. Maybe I’ve studied too much religious/general history, but it reeks of something that’s not on the level. If you view everything from episode one a little more critically, they’re making a lot of excuses to use their crazy powerful influence to do nothing in a “that’s God’s will” style agenda.
The Marvel Lore
Lyra: My Big Question...Is this “Variant Loki” actually Loki, or...the Enchantress/Slyvie. Now, I am not that into the weeds of Marvel comics, so I could be very wrong, BUT...there were too many hints.
Cat: I have to admit, I didn’t catch this right away. I remember seeing that she’s blonde and thinking Enchantress, but I also immediately thought NAH, they told me it’s Loki, obviously it’s Loki. Which might actually be part of the theme of this series in the first place. A greater power tells me she’s Loki, I see her in the clothes, I believe it.
Lyra: That’s a great point, and definitely what I think they were trying to do here. Also, when Loki faces this variant he says he would have worn different clothes, and also “I would never treat me like this.” Of course, the biggest head scratcher was when Loki called the Variant “Loki” and they responded with “Don’t call me that.” Hmmm…
Cat: She tells us a lot by telling us what she isn’t. She doesn’t want to be called Loki, doesn’t want to rule the TVA, and definitely is the antithesis to Loki in a dozen ways.
Lyra: The Variant Loki also uses magic differently than Loki, which Loki even describes with the word “enchantment.” Hmmmm again….
Cat: Also, Randy-Loki was female coded the entire time. She was using phrases like “bless” and “oh my God” with a more feminine lilt and if you’re paying attention, it immediately gives it away.
Lyra: RANDY-LOKI...I want more Randy-Loki. So sinister. But yeah, curious to see who this Variant Loki actually is, although I bet 5 Pompeiin goats on them being Enchantress/Sylvie.
The Norse Lore
Lyra: Obviously, Loki teaching Mobius about tricksters was the most trickster thing ever. Poor Mobius has to put up with so much. Just like everyone in Asgard had to put up with Myth!Loki every single day of their lives.
Cat: With Loki as trickster and Mobius talking about “Only order, no chaos” rhetoric really made me wonder about how that meshes with the concept of the trickster as chaos and catalyst. How can a trickster even exist in a universe without chaos, without the ability to change and move things forward beyond the script?
Lyra: Also, I had to chuckle with how enthusiastic and excited he was for the apocolpyses. It was like a super fun beach vacation to him, and it checks out, because Ragnarok.