Warning - This article contains spoilers for Episode 2 of Loki.
Loki is back for another week of mischief, keeping the momentum at an all time high for its second episode.
“The Variant” continued Loki and Mobius’ pursuit of the alternate Loki, whose identity was shrouded in secrecy for the majority of the second chapter.
Episode 2 didn’t leave the mystery dangling over viewers for too long though, as the Variant was revealed to be a female version of the trickster god in the closing moments. Lady Loki’s arrival hints towards the inclusion of even more versions of Loki, though some are also theorizing that Sophia Di Martino’s character could actually be Marvel’s Enchantress.
In order to track down his other self, Loki had to look back through history to uncover how the Goddess of Mischief was able to evade the Time Variance Authority’s all-seeing eye…
AN APOCALYPTIC SALAD
After cracking the case wide open, Loki goes to tell his partner-in-crime Mobius M. Mobius his findings. Using the TVA Agent’s lunch as an analogy (an ana-lunch-y?), the God of Mischief explains exactly how Lady Loki has managed to keep her head down.
Setting aside the lettuce and cucumbers for a moment, Loki states that catastropes and disasters in history are the key to the Loki Variant's success. Since these events are destined to lead to the destruction of their respective places according to the Sacred Timeline, a person traveling to this moment in time could do as they please so long as they are not actively trying to stop the doomsday in question. This means that a catastrophe would negate the possibility of any Nexus Event from affecting the timeline in a significant way, as it would always lead to the same outcome.
Therefore, Lady Loki can go between doomsdays as she pleases, because she is not technically interfering with the 'correct' flow of time and therefore no Variants or Variance Energy can be detected.
To test this theory, the duo travel to Pompeii in 79 AD, just before the island and its inhabitants are wiped out by a volcano. Loki causes a bit of a ruckus in an attempt to throw the timestream into a flurry, including setting farm animals free, revealing that him and Mobius are from the Time Variance Authority, and breaking the hard truth that the civilians are all soon to perish.
None of these actions impact the Sacred Timeline whatsoever as they do not conflict from what is predestined.
The same would be applicable to Asgard, for example. Since the Fire Lord Surtur destroys the Asgardian homeworld in Thor: Ragnarok, only an act like the Hulk choosing to his beatdown on the flaming villain would be grounds for TVA interference. The smaller actions are inconsequential, as all the evidence will be destroyed anyway. Dread it, run from it, destiny still arrives.
SEEKING HIDING PLACES AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Focusing on history’s disasters provides a unique spin for Loki's time-traveling adventure. The next episode may find the newly formed duo hopping between Lady Loki’s catastrophic hiding places, of which there could potentially be many. Looking to past catastrophes in the MCU, there are plenty of temporal avenues and alleyways that the Lokis could stop by.
Though most of its civilians were saved in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sokovia met its downfall after a literal downfall from the sky. The nation was never recovered from the rubble, making it an ideal location for Lady Loki to bunker down in.
Ego is an interesting location, also being connected to an actual person. Nevertheless, Ego’s celestial body eventually went kablooey thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy, which could have freed up some time for Lady Loki to set up a base on the surface. The living planet seemed to be relatively uninhabited aside from Ego himself and Mantis, so there would have been plenty of room for the goddess to find some prime real estate.
Often forgotten was the decimation of Xandar, an event that occurred off-screen as mentioned in Avengers: Infinity War. While the extent of the Thanos’ damage was not delved into, it is likely that this would have constituted as a disaster despite the planet’s population likely being restored by Hulk’s Endgame snap.
Speaking of Mad Titans, another relevant Mad Titan is Thanos’ home planet, Titan. Ruined by overpopulation and a lack of resources, Titan was always destined to fall. This may have been a dangerous option though, considering it would have put the Lokis within walking distance of their future boss.
They say to keep your friends and your enemies closer. Could Lady Loki pay a visit to the home of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes over at Avengers HQ, considering it gets blown to smithereens in Endgame? The trickster goddess would have to keep a low profile, but a couple of shapeshifts here and there could be enough to keep herself out of trouble.
DISASTERS OF FUTURE PAST
The purpose for Lady Loki’s Time Bomb is still wrapped in secrecy. Tremors through time will undoubtedly spur on the creation of another multiverse, but perhaps this could have been an inadvertent consequence to achieve the trickster goddess’ true intentions. As Lady Loki was using disasters and apocalypses to hide out in previously, the reset charges may have been the quickest way to create more retreats outside the TVA’s gaze.
Lady Loki’s reset charge bombardment would certainly create new catastrophes throughout the Sacred Timeline, some of which have been teased by Loki’s promo material so far.
Many avidly analytical viewers picked out a scene from one of Loki’s trailers and identified a violet-colored location as the planet Vormir, with a red-headed figure believed to be Natasha Romanoff adding evidence at the time. The events of “The Variant” now suggest that this mysterious character is actually Lady Loki, but that doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of this being Vormir. A relatively barren floating rock in the middle of space could be tucked away enough to avoid the TVA looking too closely.
A secret hideout may not be the only function for these newly manufactured catastrophes though. One teaser has shown off footage of a dilapidated version of the Big Apple's skyline, with many theorizing that this is the resultant wreckage from an Avengers loss at the Battle of New York.
While Lady Loki could feasibly conceal herself in the lead up to this unstoppable disaster, it would also result in the formation of a branching timeline where another version of herself comes out on top. Multiple doomsdays in multiple diverging timelines would certainly make Lady Loki even harder to track, but there may be another reason for her to cause all of this chaos.
Where the mainline God of Mischief is thinking for himself, the Goddess of Mischief may be thinking big picture: Lady Loki could be creating a series of timelines that all end with Variants of herself winning their battles. Mobius said to the mainline Loki that "for someone born to rule, you sure do lose a lot." Perhaps Lady Loki has thought about this conundrum herself, taken it to heart, and sought to change that innate attribute.
The times and locations being bombarded by reset charges could be moments where Loki suffered a loss, with the bombs being sent there to rewrite history in the God of Mischief's favor. President Loki has been a prominent component of the series' marketing, so it is likely that at least one of these branches resulted in a win on the trickster's side. Lady Loki may not be interested in ruling over the TVA, but there is a chance that she hopes to exert her dominance over the entirety of the multiverse. After all, what's the next step after becoming King of Space?
Episode 2 of Loki is streaming now on Disney+.