The majority of this article was originally published on June 8, 2021. You can read the full review of the first two “Loki” episodes on this article page titled “‘Loki’ is Marvel’s best series yet.” For this review, I’ve added what I wrote before and some new notes at the bottom about the series upon a second watch.
While Episode 1 of “Loki” was fun and a great introduction, Episode 2 — titled “The Variant” — is where we see that this show truly stands the test of time in the Marvel Cinematic CinematiUniverse. “Loki” proves to be a thrilling ride you just can’t stop watching.
We learn in Episode 1 that there is another version of Loki going around to different timelines, killing Time Variance Authority officers and collecting items to refresh the timelines. It appears the other Loki’s goal is to simply reset the timelines he is in.
We learn a lot more about the TVA in this episode. It’s more than just an agency that monitors timelines. It’s a group that honors and obeys the Time Keepers — a group of godlike beings who created the universe’s timeline. They control everything in the universe, creating a planned path for everyone. And the TVA honors their wishes and goals, despite there being no proof the Time Keepers exist. Obviously, skepticism arises about their existence in this episode. That’s quite an interesting theme to follow. The show is asking us to question how and why we believe in something, even if we don’t know it’s there.
The episode has a few, fun Easter eggs throughout — we need to keep an eye on that pen from Franklin D. Roosevelt that the TVA has in its building. And Agent Morbius hints that there’s another analyst helping out the TVA who we haven’t met yet, which could be another setup for another Marvel Cinematic Universe character to appear down the road.
More importantly, the second episode ends with a final confrontation between Loki and the other Loki. And it’s ... well, I won’t spoil it. But the last 20 minutes of this episode will fly.
And by the end of the second episode, you’ll be left not only wondering what’s happening next in “Loki” itself, but also what is going to happen in the entire MCU.
More than anything, “Loki” has a simple message for us: We’re in a completely new phase of Marvel projects.
New thoughts and ideas
The second episode of “Loki” truly flies by in a heartbeat. Everything about it works. There’s no question it is better than the first episode of the series, having less exposition and recap of the MCU. It’s just pure, new, original storytelling at its greatest.
Owen Wilson as Agent Morbius impresses even more upon a second watch. The lunch scene with Loki and the loss of his salad shows top tier Wilson — a little bit of comedy, improv and charm thrown in all at once.
Upon the second watch, it’s clear to me the Time Keepers will play a role later in this season. We’re gearing up for some climactic moment where we either meet them or learn their true identity.
An underrated part of this episode is the score. “Loki” has a pretty decent score that walks the line of your traditional Marvel superhero score and an odd sci-fi thriller soundtrack. It’s quirky, bouncy but also filled with dread. It’s “Avengers” meets “Aliens” all at once.
This episode really underscores that there could be many new places for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to go. I expect we’ll learn more about where we’re going in the coming weeks. But this episode clearly made me want Episode 3, and it also made me NOT want Episode 3. It was so good that I don’t want us to get closer to the end of the series. But alas, we will eventually. And like all variants on the TVA’s timeline, this show will soon disappear. So enjoy it while you can.