When we left off, Loki and 'The Variant' had just escaped to an unknown place and time through a time door after she had wreaked havoc by bombing the sacred timeline. Realities were branching off from the fixed timeline at a terrifying, exciting rate and the credits rolled on episode two. This time...
We rejoin 'The Variant' having travelled to the TVA headquarters. Loki isn't far behind. She wants to find her way to the Timekeepers, and Loki... Loki has no idea what he wants, but is pursuing her, knives-out, anyway. He halts her progress, and before she can make it to the elevator the pair are stopped by Renslayer who has no qualms about just deleting both of them. Before she can do so, Loki grabs a TemPad from 'The Variant' and sends both of them to another unknown location. They continue to fight, but the TemPad is out of charge and they quickly learn where they are when a meteorite barely misses them both. Loki has sent them to Lamentis-1.
You idiot! This is Lamentis-1.
I don't know what that means.
The moon that planet is about to crash into and destroy. Of all of the apocalypses saved on that TemPad, this is the worst! No one makes it off here.
The pair are stranded on a doomed moon with a TemPad that's out of juice. From there, this episode takes on a vibe that's very Doctor Who. It feels a lot like a two doctors story. Loki has hidden the TemPad from The Variant and they need to work together to try and find an enormous source of power. We don't get resolution or progression to the timeline bombing of the previous episode, we don't catch up with Mobius or the rest of the TVA. It's a Loki and 'The Variant' story. Some fans have been left disappointed by this, calling it a filler episode, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I suppose it is a filler episode, but gods the budget on this show! It's a filler episode on a doomed moon, and they didn't cheap out on the special effects to make this world look truly apocalyptic. And we learn a lot; not just about 'The Variant', but also a little about the TVA and a bit about Loki.
First, we get to finally learn the name of 'The Variant', so let's stop calling her that. She's Sylvie now, and neither likes to be called 'variant' nor Loki. She specifically says she doesn't go by Loki anymore, she's Sylvie now. We learn that she's calculating and methodical, but often her plans come down to brute forcing a solution. This is contrasted with the Loki we do already know, who is much more about illusion and subterfuge. She's a very different yet very familiar character. Sylvie has been running from the TVA, apparently for her whole life, the magic she knows is self-taught and so it's a little cruder than Loki's. But deep down they're the same person, or so we think; Sylvie just branched from the sacred timeline much earlier than Loki did.
It's also confirmed here that Loki is bi or pansexual.
You're a prince. Must have been would-be princesses... or perhaps another prince?
A bit of both. I suspect the same as you.
It's not the biggest take away from the episode, but it sure is one of the greatest. Fans, myself included, were taken by surprise because... this is Disney, a company with a not-exactly-stellar history of LGBTQ+ representation. There was that one scene in Endgame where director Joe Russo played a gay character attending Steve Rogers' group therapy sessions... and there's been nothing else in the MCU so far. To finally have confirmed that a major character, Loki, is bi, maybe pan is huge news! It's a step towards a more diverse and representative MCU that hopefully continues.
So, Loki and Sylvie are trying to find enough power to escape this doomed moon. They learn the location of an ark, a large spacecraft meant to rescue... mainly the wealthy inhabitants of Lamentis-1. They sneak their way onto a train, but are ejected when Loki gets drunk and creates a scene. Sylvie follows him off the train in order to get the TemPad which... Loki has now broken tumbling from the train. Oops!
After some lamenting (ah? ah? see what they did there?), Loki and Sylvie resolve to make it to the ark and try to ensure that it makes it off the moon - according to the proper flow of time, it was always supposed to be destroyed, but maybe they could change that. They discuss Sylvie's plans a little and we get the revelation that TVA agents aren't actually created in the TVA, as was believed by Mobius; they're variants, like Loki and Sylvie, they just don't know it. This was hinted at the beginning of the episode when we saw Sylvie casting an illusion in a TVA agent's mind to try and extract information from them - the illusion was of a cocktail bar somewhere on Earth. While we didn't know that this was that agent's personal history at first, we know that now, and Sylvie suggests that it was hundreds of years ago. It seems the TVA must be wiping people's memories, providing them extended lives and recruiting them into a regime they know nothing true about.
This all leads to the big final sequence of the episode, and some expensive looking action for a "filler episode". It's all shot as though it were one shot (though eagle-eyed observers will spot the seams). Sylvie and Loki are trying to make their way around to the ark, but the streets are crowded with desperate inhabitants, with guards and with debris; meanwhile, the sky is crowding more and more with falling meteorites and buildings. Yeah, falling buildings... At one point, Loki catches one of these with his telekinetic ability and pushes it away. It's probably the strongest power we've ever seen him use.
Finally, Loki and Sylvie stand before the ark, a tall, industrial structure that's almost ready for... and it gets hit by a meteorite and destroyed. Sylvie walks away, Loki laments. End of episode.
So not a great deal happened, right? Loki and Sylvie go from one unknown at the beginning of the episode - where did they go? - to entirely another unknown by the end - how do they get off this world? But gods it was fun. I enjoyed seeing Loki and Sylvie in action, and both failing in their own methods but requiring each other to succeed. I enjoy what we've learned about Sylvie, about the TVA and about Loki. This was more an episode about Loki and Sylvie's bonding than anything else, just as episode one was sort of that for Loki and Mobius. If I had to guess, I'd expect to see Loki joining Sylvie's fight against the TVA at this point, probably also trying to reveal the truth to the TVA agents, most of all Mobius who might then join them too... and ultimately get to ride a jet ski. We demand Mobius on a jet ski!
Episode two remains the high watermark for the series, but I'm still in love with this show. I still think this was a wonderful episode.