After a successful series debut, Loki is back for another week of mischief, misdeeds, and mishaps in the second episode of the Disney+ show.
Episode 2 wastes no time in pursuing the Loki Variant revealed at the end of the season premiere, forcing Tom Hiddleston's character and Owen Wilson's Mobius to venture through the timestream to catch their culprit.
Details about the mechanics of the timeline and how it can be exploited were delved into, in addition to teases of other Loki Variants. Plenty of Easter eggs were featured too, including the return of the Roxxon corporation and a callback to Loki's adventures in Thor: Ragnarok.
Now Loki's villain has been revealed, bringing together a nefarious plot that will impact the MCU forever…
WELCOME TO 2050’S APOCALYPSE
After tracking down the Variant’s apocalyptic location, Loki, Mobius, and co. find themselves at a Roxxcart supermarket being bombarded by a hurricane in 2050.
The superstore is derived from the Marvel Comics company Roxxon, which has made a few appearances in the Iron Man trilogy. This is the first time since Iron Man 3 that the petrol corporation has been seen in the MCU, demonstrating that the business has diversified into other industries. Roxxon is known for its underhanded and shady corporate dealings, so maybe Jennifer Walters will find herself on the prosecution against the company for tax fraud in the She-Hulk series.
The year that this disaster is taking place is also significant, occurring several decades after the MCU’s current present-day of 2023. The supermarket’s design gives a few hints at how humanity has developed since then, showing that the hologram technology used by the Avengers and Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame has become a bit more mainstream.
Given the fact that Loki has now dipped its toes into what will be, delving a bit more into how the MCU’s future will unfold is certainly not off the table.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH A TRICKSTER
Accompanied by Hunter B-15, Loki ventures further into the supermarket and encounters a peculiar shopper. After the customer grabs the TVA Agent’s arm, the God of Mischief quickly clocks that he is talking to another Laufeyson (or Laufeydóttir?).
The Variant conceals their identity for a while longer by possessing a variety of store patrons, toying with the mainline version of Tom Hiddleston’s character to buy time for their plan.
This is somewhat similar to one of Loki’s actions in The Avengers, in which he takes control of Hawkeye with the use of his Scepter and the Mind Stone. Another somewhat related power is Loki’s ability to shapeshift into other beings and impersonate them, which has been seen a few times throughout his MCU tenure.
This new power marries the two concepts, fully taking over other people to be used as mouthpieces. This Loki can seemingly control their subjects whilst performing other tasks in their own body, as they are seen setting up reset charges during the conversation with their other self.
Just before the plan all comes together, the Variant reveals their identity: Lady Loki. Long speculated, rumored, and hoped for, Sophia Di Martino has allowed the female version of the trickster god to finally make her way onto the small screen. Loki's gender fluidity has been tackled in the comics many times, but the Disney+ series is finally bringing this idea to the MCU proper.
After enduring a barrage of questions from the mainline trickster, Lady Loki gives her other self the hard truth: "This isn't about you." Lady Loki may have selfish intentions throughout, but the line could also be playing on the other Loki's ego and self-centered attitude. The Goddess of Mischief may instead be referencing the fact that her schemes don't just involve her Variant, but rather all the other Loki Variants previously prevented from existing past their initial Nexus event.
Dozens of reset charges light up Roxxcart’s aisles, primed for anarchy and chaos.
THE TIME BOMB
Using the multiple reset charges and a TVA device snagged off the body of one of their agents, Lady Loki creates a time bomb that seeks to rupture the temporal fabric of the Sacred Timeline. The effects are instant, with a screen in the Time Variance Authority’s headquarters showing multiple branches diverging.
Several locations and time periods are listed as being affected, all of which raise many questions about the impact of the devastation and the outcome that Lady Loki is hoping for.
So what effect did the reset charges have on the timeline? The bombs seem to disintegrate a branch completely to bring it back to the correct flow of time, but how would this affect the Sacred Timeline itself?
Perhaps the TVA can’t go past the red line point because the charges have a limit to how much they can reset. As agents only appear to stay at crime scenes for a short while, the charges may only be able to prune a branch back by a small period of time accounting for how quickly the organization can respond to temporal anomalies. However, even a few minutes taken from the right time and location can have devastating effects.
Several key locales from the MCU’s past are on Lady Loki’s hit list, such as Asgard, Ego, Titan, and Vormir. All of these locations are home to powerful beings, so could Loki be trying to level the playing field and leave herself on top?
The dates seem to be all over the place as well, such as Vormir being affected in 2361. What is the future event that takes place on the purple planet that Lady Loki is so intent on wiping from history? The only potential beings that could be on the planet are Red Skull or phantasmic versions of Gamora and Black Widow, so perhaps an otherworldly visitor to Vormir could warrant the necessity for a reset charge.
The reset charges seem to target many Midgard-based locales as well, with Lisbon, Portugal, Rome, Italy, and Beijing, China among the many places from Earth to be impacted. Is there a reason for Earth taking the brunt of Lady Loki’s time attack? The Goddess of Mischief may still be burnt from her loss at the Battle of New York assuming she took part, so she might still have a bone to pick with the green planet.
Whatever the case, Loki has successfully set the Sacred Timeline’s Doomsday Clock at one minute to midnight, her mishaps leading to countless Nexus Events across time. If the TVA isn’t quick enough to stop her, it can only mean one thing...
THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
The Time Variance Authority explained that unchecked Nexus Events would lead to the creation of another multiverse. So why does Lady Loki want that to happen?
It was made apparent by the Goddess that Loki has no interest in overthrowing the Time-Keepers and ruling the TVA like her other self. That said, Agent C-20 reveals Lady Loki managed to extract the means to get to the Time-Keepers, so the space lizards are definitely involved.
The threat of the multiverse may be used as a bargaining chip, with Loki causing more chaos to leverage something from the Time-Keepers. Since the TVA is dead set on wiping out any Variants they come across, Lady Loki might be causing havoc as a means to get the organization to leave her alone, so she can live freely without the fear of being reset.
Forming a multiverse may have served a more functional use, as its creation would certainly introduce more Variants into the fray. Rumors have long circulated that Loki will introduce plenty more versions of the God of Mischief, including a Kid and Old incarnation of the character. Lady Loki may be on a mission to recruit a ragtag gang of troublesome tricksters, as a means to take the TVA down.
Loki’s continued skepticism of the Time Variance Authority may be further evidence of this, hinting towards Lady Loki feeling the same way (they are the same person after all). This may suggest that Lady Loki will turn out to not be a full-on villainous character, with the TVA being positioned as the series’ antagonists instead. In classic Loki fashion, the God of Mischief may switch sides and fight to stop his current employer’s universal influence.
CAN THE TVA BE TRUSTED?
While suspicions about the group are at an all-time high, could there be some truth in what the TVA says about the multiverse's threat? A multiversal war was teased during the TVA’s informational animation, warning that another conflict could break out if the multiverse were to form. Lady Loki may see the risk of another multiversal war as a fair trade for free will and autonomy if she shares similar sentiments to her other Variant.
A liberated multiverse undoubtedly means a chaotic one, which should tie directly into the plots of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2. The outbreak of a war between the multiverses could result in timelines overlapping and battling for supremacy once again, potentially acting as the reason for other multiversal villains like Sam Raimi’s rumored Doc-Ock and Green Goblin crossing over to the Sacred Timeline. This would certainly leave a hefty mess for Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch to mop up.
Perhaps No Way Home will assess some smaller-scale impacts of a maddening multiverse, such as characters being brought into universes and timelines that they don’t belong in. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, on the other hand, may get into the nitty-gritty of timelines converging and battling it out. An adaptation of the famous comic book storyline Secret Wars was not completely shut down by Loki head writer Michael Waldron, so there’s a chance that a Battleworld might be formed to make some sort of temporary temporal sense of intersecting realities.
Lady Loki’s introduction signals another major shift for the MCU, bringing the franchise one step closer to the arrival of the multiverse. Whether she wants to show the Time-Keepers who’s boss or needs a few more temporal hidey-holes to bunker down in, the Goddess of Mischief’s actions are sure to have devastatingly chaotic consequences to come.
Episode 2 of Loki is streaming now on Disney+.