Loki episode two recap: did the god of mischief win the Tour de France?

Spoiler alert: this blog is for people watching Loki on Disney+. Do not read on unless you have watched episode one and two.

Loki was always so theatrical, so Shakespearean – particularly in the first Thor film and Avengers Assemble – that it was fitting to see him at a renaissance fair. But given what I now know about the Variant hopping around in time prior to apocalypse-level events, I’m not sure what the significance was. A little Googling tells me Ronald Reagan also visited Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1985 – are Disney telling us the tax reforms he outlined that day turned out to be disastrous? Or perhaps the writers chose 1985 solely so they could play Holding Out For a Hero? I will now be looking for Footloose callbacks in the remaining four episodes.

Back at the TVA, Hunter B-15 and Mobius outlined how C-20 had been kidnapped, and gave more details on how many Loki variants they’d already caught. Among the various shapes and sizes, there was one image of him in a yellow jersey and cycling shorts, seemingly holding the Coupe Omnisports. Did a Loki variant win the Tour de France? The competition has had its fair share of doping scandals over the years, but I wonder what the UCI’s attitude to magic would be.

Loki’s speech about the wolf’s ears and teeth, while overly long and clearly a stalling tactic, did make me think there will be a cry wolf theme in future episodes. Expect to see that scene replayed, with Agent Mobius torn over whether to believe the Asgardian or not, around episode five.

The meeting between Mobius and Ravonna Renslayer, the Timekeeper’s judge we met in episode one, felt hugely sinister to me. The trophies from TVA missions in her office, her talk of the Timekeepers being especially involved in the Loki case, the mysterious pen Mobius didn’t recognise – “Must be from one of the analysts you keep on the side” – all led me to believe she’s serving another master. And I think I know who it is.

Down in the TVA archives, Loki was put to work trying to find a pattern in the Variant’s moves. After reading reports of incidents in which the teams of Minutemen were ambushed, he turned to the only other file he was allowed to read – his own – and the penny dropped.

I loved the explanation of his apocalypse theory, using Ragnarok, Mobius’s salad, salt, pepper and Casey’s drink as props. The chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson remains this show’s greatest strength, and I hope there are many more dialogue-heavy scenes between them to come. Their cat-and-mouse relationship, in a 60s setting, reminds me very much of Frank Abagnale Jr and Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can.

After some candy-based research (remember the sweets the 16th-century French boy had?), Loki and Mobius deduced the Variant they’re chasing was hiding in Haven Hills, Alabama in 2050, in a Roxxcart store and warehouse. (Is Roxxcart the MCU’s take on WalMart?)

Hunter B-15 quickly revealed herself to be the Variant, or at least a charm of B-15, who then appeared as Randy, then as a character listed in the credits as Country Hoss and, finally, as Lady Loki herself (welcome to the MCU, Sophia Di Martino).

“Now I understand why Thor found this so annoying.” I must admit, I didn’t care for this lead-up to the big reveal, either, although watching our antihero realise he isn’t the superior version of Loki was enjoyable, and brilliantly played by Hiddleston. “This isn’t about you,” she hissed, as the sacred timeline splintered off, the TVA went into meltdown, and the red lighting made Loki look remarkably like the stained-glass window seen in episode one.

As for what this all means, well, it’s not entirely clear just yet. Maybe Lady Loki is merely one step ahead in overthrowing the Timekeepers? Perhaps she has a boss? Perhaps getting rid of the sacred timeline is for the best. But keep Loki’s lesson that no one is ever truly bad or good to mind, remember that Loki redeemed himself once before, and enjoy.

What did you think? Is Loki shaping up to be the best Marvel/Disney+ series so far? What is Ravonna Renslayer hiding? Will Mobius get to ride a jetski before the series finishes? Have your say below in the comments

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