Let Loki be Loki!
That’s a refrain Marvel fans have had while offering critiques of the universally beloved television series, Loki.
Yes, everyone adores both the character and the Disney+ series named after him.
Still, the one lingering criticism about season one involved Marvel’s reduction of the Big Bad from 2012’s The Avengers into a lesser version of his own self.
We crave the terrifying Loki who strikes fear in the hearts of others…and we definitely get that in Loki season two, episode two!
Remember last week when General Dox and her crew were “raiding the armory?”
Yeah, we find out why in this episode, and it’s pretty gruesome. Before we get to that point, we need a good old-fashioned chase scene, though.
First, we must meet Zaniac.
The time is 1977, and the place is London, England. There, an ascending film star is glad-handing fans and media members.
Said star appears rather familiar, though. Hey, isn’t that Hunter X-5, who we just met for the first time in the last episode? Yeah, I think it is!
Hunter X-5 has decided to explore what life is like for those people who aren’t variants.
So, the Time Variance Authority (TVA) agent picks the best spot on the Sacred Timeline to live his best life.
Loki and Mobius are looking for him, but he’s not that hard to find. Well, “Brad Wolfe” isn’t.
Wolfe stars in Zaniac!, which looks like a classic action-horror flick of some sort. Eventually, Wolfe, aka Hunter X-5, describes it as an “elevated thriller.”
That happens in between chase sequences involving Loki and Mobius.
The duo crashes Wolfe’s gala premiere party, but he is NOT happy to see them.
After pulling off a lame ruse involving a round of shots, Wolfe flees, which Loki (but not Mobius) totally saw coming.
Wolfe is using a modified TemPad of some sort to bounce around the Sacred Timeline.
Hilariously, he gets busted by a “fan” seeking his autograph. The “fan” is actually Hunter B-15, who zaps him and temporarily takes his TemPad.
Wolfe quickly recovers the TemPad and escapes, leading to a chase sequence and lots of Loki magic.
That’s right, folks! Scary Norse God of Mischief Loki has finally arrived!
The former (?) Avengers adversary proceeds to give Hunter X-5/Brad Wolfe/Zaniac the whuppin’ of a lifetime. Even Wall Shadow Lokis get in on the act!
This episode’s title does more than riff on a popular television series.
Breaking Brad hints at an interrogation of the now-captured X-5. Loki, Mobius, and B-15 must get Brad to talk, spilling his guts about what he knows.
After all, somebody modified that TVA TemPad, and we’d last seen X-5 scanning TVA artillery for Dox’s strike force.
What happened between then and Zaniac?
Loki and Mobius must find out, and B-15 gives them some strange advice. She asks them to ask Ouroboros about the TemPad.
Here’s why that bothers me and also makes me suspicious.
In the season premiere, Ouroboros indicated he hadn’t seen anyone else at the TVA in centuries.
Now, O.B. has become B-15’s first suggestion about whom to ask for assistance? It doesn’t add up.
This incongruity occurs multiple times in the episode, punctuated by Casey hero-worshiping the author of the TVA manual he has never met. That’s O.B.
In episode two, Ouroboros has switched from persona non grata to the go-to person at the TVA for any kind of tech help.
Based on what we learned last week, this oddity hints at something changing in the past…or screenwriter error, something I cannot rule out after Secret Invasion.
Anyway, O.B. asks some reasonable questions about priorities since his current project could save the Sacred Timeline. He questions whether the TemPad is more important.
That’s a deft workaround to the fact that O.B. could likely break down the TemPad in a matter of seconds instead of taking an episode or two for that action to occur.
In fact, Casey figures out some aspects of the modified TemPad almost instantly. But the group needs more information.
Brad’s a Jerk
Actually, that’s me calling Brad a jerk. Mobius uses a swear as a personal descriptor instead.
Anyway, B-15, Loki, and Mobius work together in the mutual interrogation of the imprisoned X-5.
As often happens in scenes like this, the villain says hateful but accurate things about the protagonists, causing one of them to lose their temper.
In this instance, Loki resents a mention of his mother and a statement that he’s a loser and a villain, not a hero.
Mobius is the one who loses his cool, though. X-5 cannot believe that Mobius isn’t curious about who he is in the Sacred Timeline. Mobius slugs him.
After a bit of pushback, Mobius exits the room and walks to an indiscriminate location. A worried Loki suggests they have pie.
During this conversation, the two of them embark on a plan, even as they’re foolishly eating pie without any sort of accompanying beverage.
Out of everything we’ve seen with the TVA, that one thing strikes me as the strangest. They’ve got an entire commissary just for pie…but no drinks? What?
Anyway, Loki returns to the prison cell, but he’s wielding a weapon this time.
Mobius joins him, but Loki “tricks” his friend into leaving the room, which Loki then locks behind Mobius. It’s just Loki and X-5 in the prison cell now.
You shouldn’t think about this one too much, as a prison door absolutely shouldn’t lock from the inside. The prisoner could cause mischief.
Anyway, Loki uses a time portal device to torture Brad. The device creates a temporal cell around Brad, shrinking when Loki directs.
By the end, Brad has become an accidental, extremely uncomfortable contortionist. At this point, he confesses that he knows where Sylvie is.
Next Stop, McDonald’s
Midway through episode two, we finally get the much-anticipated reunion between Sylvie and Loki. It takes place at an Oklahoma McDonald’s in 1982.
Understandably, Sylvie isn’t happy to see Loki. Before then, she seems perfectly content in living a normal life as a McDonald’s trainee.
While on her break, Sylvie speaks with Loki, who describes his problem, the Time Slipping from the last episode.
Loki recounts the climactic events from then. He tells Sylvie that in the future, as the TVA is ending, Sylvie is there.
Sylvie points out that the future is no longer written, given her recent Kang-killing actions.
Loki informs her that if she doesn’t help him, the McDonald’s restaurant she likes could vanish, along with the entire world around it.
Fittingly, Mobius and Brad are casually eating a meal inside the restaurant, which reinforces the peril of the moment.
Sylvie grudgingly joins the three men after Brad confesses that they’re in immediate danger, and we’re about to find out why.
Sylvie reads his mind to know Brad is telling the truth, which makes the predicament that much more alarming.
Back at the TVA, O.B. tells his number one fan, Casey, that the only person who can fix the Sacred Timeline at the moment is…Kang. Yeah, that’s not good.
Even worse, Brad’s kernel of knowledge involves Dox and her plan, the one that doubled as the season premiere’s cliffhanger.
Dox and her strike force are collapsing various timelines, much to the horror of everyone at the TVA.
As they watch their monitors, Dox pulls the equivalent of going Ultra Thanos.
With each bombing, she explodes an entire timeline, killing trillions. And this happens in countless timelines.
Dox basically murders quadrillions of people, thereby shattering the Thanos Slaughter Scale.
What’s Sylvie Holding?
Sylvie, Loki, and Mobius narrowly save trillions of lives by stopping some of the explosions.
At first, Loki is hesitant to trust Sylvie in uniting their powers. She calmly states, “Don’t overthink it.”
Loki instantly grabs her hand, and the two eviscerate the strike team, capturing Dox in the process.
They all return to TVA headquarters, even Sylvie. She hesitates briefly before following Loki.
Sylvie appears just in time to witness B-15 mourning the lives of innocents. Sylvie personalizes the moment by thinking about her beloved Oklahoma timeline.
She also isn’t a fan of Loki’s actions in defending the various timelines and blames the TVA for much of what has transpired, which she should.
Then, Sylvie does something I didn’t even catch at first. She uses a TemPad of her own to teleport back to Oklahoma.
There, she sits on the hood of her truck as her boss, the kid we met last week, checks on her.
Once the nice young man leaves, Sylvie looks after him fondly. Then, she activates her TemPad.
Well, it’s hers now, but that’s because possession is nine-tenths of the law.
The original owner of that device was…He Who Remains. Uh-oh.
Sylvie is bouncing around the timeline while using the most powerful Kang variant’s tech.
He Who Remains had promised multiversal war. Sylvie has apparently pocketed an ultimate weapon just in case.
Meanwhile, the TVA tracks a hit on Ravonna Renslayer’s TemPad. So, that’ll be next week’s adventure.
Also, I like how this episode casually slid in an explanation for what happened to Loki at the end of the last one. He was in the future!
Overall, I found the second episode enthralling, although there are a couple of potential nitpicks I’m tracking for logical consistency later. I don’t entirely trust O.B.
Loki is a really good show, folks.
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