Loki (EP2) : The Variant - When Form and Function Create Chaos

This review contains spoilers for Episode 1.

There is a moment in the 2nd episode of Marvel's Loki when Loki (Hiddleston) asks Mobius (Wilson) why he loves jet skis. Because they represent the correct merger of form and function and no rational person would differ, says Mobius. This episode of Loki represents the correct amalgamation of form and function to give us a ringside view of the chaos the Variant wreaks forth.

A group of MinuteMen are ambushed in 1985, Wisconsin. The other Loki or The Variant, as the episode calls him (or is it her?) then steals the time charges and abducts the commander Hunter C-20. Meanwhile Loki is being quizzed by Miss Minutes (the TVA cartoon) about the various concepts of Variance. Only that it is not Loki answering them but us. Consider it as a revision of sorts. It is cute and funny.

Mobius then takes Loki along with him to Wisconsin where Loki being Loki tries to jeopardize the mission. But Mobius sees right through him and ensures Loki doesn't do anything that will compromise them. They go back to TVA where both of them then try to find out a pattern to The Variant's actions. Loki then understands that The Variant is targeting events where there is next to no variance and hiding in them.

The sequence that follows is one fun ride for the viewers as Loki tries to get his point across to Mobius. Mobius gets it but at understandable distress. They test out the theory in AD 79 in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupts and Mobius then understands that this theory is a solid one. What they do from there forms the rest of the episode.

One thing that I have greatly admired about the MCU is the pairing of characters. Especially when you consider Avengers Endgame where you had a load of characters. Like for example, why did only Iron Man and Captain America travel to 1970? Or why did Hawkeye and Black Widow go to Vormir. Or the biggest hit - Rocket and Thor go to Asgard? Why not Thor and Iron Man or Black Widow and Rocket? Story line aside, it was because these characters played off each other and credit to the writers to define them like that.

In Loki too, this plays out really well. Agreed, the number of characters are lesser but this makes the writer's job tougher. If these two characters don't catch your attention, then the episode/series/movie will not work. That's why I must say Michael Waldron has done a damn fine job. He knew the plot but to make us invested and want to know more about the characters requires a certain level of skill. The characters and the conversations they have are actually the soul of any work of art. They are what lend gravitas to the work.

Both the men try to understand what makes the other tick. For Mobius it is accepting things the way they are while for Loki it is making people understand that there is more to him than betrayals and backstabbing. He says "No one bad is ever truly bad, and no one good is truly good". You can sense his hurt in that sentence. It is one time when he allows himself to be vulnerable. But he snaps back into his old self and tells Mobius the "scared little boy" was one barb too deep. And this sets up the chaotic climax for this episode.

Philosophy and mundaneness, trust and betrayal abound in equal parts in this episode. Go watch "The Variant".

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