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Five Thoughts on Loki’s “1893”

By | October 23rd, 2023
Posted in Television | % Comments

On to episode 3 of Loki season 2, featuring the return of several key characters from season 1. The TVA is in trouble, Miss Minutes and Ravonna have disappeared, and Loki… is still Loki. So let’s take a look at the key developments and themes of this episode.

1. Contingency Plans

When Sylvie killed He Who Remains, that seemed to be the end of this version of Kang. And technically, it was. But when he said “see you soon,” he had plans in place to make sure that would happen. Now we get to see them fall into place, starting with Miss Minutes and Ravonna.

We catch up with the two as they travel to 1868, and leave a package containing the TVA handbook by a window. This kicks off a chain of events that is designed to put one of his variants on the path to becoming a new He Who Remains, although how exactly that’s meant to play out has yet to be seen.

However, judging by the fact that O.B. still needs someone with the same “temporal aura” as He Who Remains to get to the Temporal Loom, and this variant checks that box, we can safely assume that bringing said variant to the TVA is absolutely part of his plan. (It’s likely that Miss Minutes was also the one to lock O.B. out in the first place, just to force this necessity.)

This sets up a big question: how much of everything that happens from here on out is following the plans of He Who Remains, and what (if anything) takes it off the rails? We’ll have to wait and see if predestination remains in effect, or if this variant will be able to decide for himself what he becomes. Speaking of said variant…

2. Victor Timely

Okay, let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the room: Jonathan Majors, who plays Kang and all his variants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is currently facing charges of assault and harassment, with multiple people alleging abuse at his hands. The trial is still ongoing, but Marvel has not, as of this time, recast him as Kang. As such, it would be impossible to discuss this series properly without talking about his character, but I’ll focus on the character as written while mentioning Majors and his performance as little as possible.

This variant of Kang/He Who Remains that we meet is called Victor Timely, a name comic readers will recognize as an alias used by Kang in 1901, where he founded his own town, and the company that would go on to create some of his own equipment (thus creating something of an ontological paradox). But rather than a disguise, this Victor Timely is his own person, albeit still a variant.

Now, this is the part that gets a little strange. The MCU’s version of Kang does still seem to come from the 31st century, and mastered the ability to travel across timelines and parallel universes. So how is there a version of him that was born in Chicago in the mid-1800s, if all the variants are the results of branching timelines? Was there a timeline where he just happened to be born a couple thousand years early? (And let’s not make any assumptions about whether or not the MCU will do Iron Lad, because that would just add further complications at this point.)

Putting that aside, the version of Victor that we meet is shown to be both an inventor and a con man. He has ideas for inventions that the technology of the time can’t support, but he’s also used to tricking people out of their money with or for the inventions he has. He’s also completely opposed to the idea of being partners with anyone, to the point where he betrays Ravonna almost the instant she calls what they have a “partnership.”

So this is setting up a very different character than either the He Who Remains we met before or the Kang from Quantumania are like. But since he is a variant of them, he’s still treated like he is He Who Remains, both by Miss Minutes and Sylvie.

3. Sylvie on the Attack

While last episode had Sylvie choosing to stay at McDonalds in the ’80s and not get involved in any TVA business, it seems she’s changed her mind. How did she know where and when exactly to go to find Victor? Well, that’s not entirely explained, but we can assume it’s thanks to the device she was looking at last episode, which the director stated was He Who Remains’ personal TemPad.

Continued below

This brings us to another Loki vs Sylvie fight, this time with them fighting over a scared Victor Timely. Sylvie wants to kill him because he’s a variant of He Who Remains, while Loki wants to bring him to the TVA for his temporal aura. It’s not a bad fight, and to be fair, Sylvie does have a point about how he’s already been set on a path to become the new He Who Remains, but Loki’s also not wrong about them needing him. (Too bad they couldn’t reach a compromise like “first we use his temporal aura, then you can kill him.”)

However, when she catches up with him again, this brings us right back to a recurring theme in this series. Victor pleads that whatever He Who Remains did, it wasn’t him, and he can make his own choices. That’s another example of choice vs destiny—is he making his own choices, or is this all exactly as He Who Remains had planned?

It seems it’s at least enough to convince Sylvie to let him live, so we’ll see what the repercussions of that are. I fully expect to see “Sylvie was right” become a refrain among fans somewhere down the line.

4. Miss Minutes is a Bit Obsessive

When we were first introduced to Miss Minutes, she seemed to just be a mascot character used in the introductory video for the TVA. Then we learned she’s an actual AI that serves a key purpose around the TVA, and eventually, we saw her working directly for He Who Remains.

Well, this episode gives us a little more backstory, including how she was originally a chess AI that He Who Remains gave autonomy to, until she developed into who she is. She was beside him the entire time, and all she wanted was a real body so she could interact with the world.

By which I mean “so she could be his girlfriend.” And since He Who Remains is dead, she now sees Victor, his variant, as his replacement in every way. Her monologue slowly grows creepier and more obsessive, and credit to Tara Strong for her voice performance. It all helped develop her as a character from a little mascot to potentially a major player in this season.

5. Trapped or Just as Planned?

As the episode ends, Loki and Mobius manage to bring Victor Timely to the TVA, while Sylvie fights Ravonna Renslayer. To her credit, once she wins, she doesn’t go straight for the kill. Instead, she decides to give Ravonna a more poetic fate: sending her to the End of Time, where He Who Remains sits dead in his chair, surrounded by a trashed office. (But c’mon, Sylvie, you really just left the corpse sitting there this whole time?)

But as I said: Miss Minutes may be about to play a bigger role, as she returns to Ravonna’s side and definitely has “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” energy. She knows all of He Who Remains’ secrets, including one about Ravonna, which she says will make her “real angry.”

What is that secret? We’ll have to wait until next episode, but there are already fan theories about. It likely relates to the recording Loki heard in episode 1 with He Who Remains talking to Ravonna, but it’s all just guesswork at this point.

At the same time, Victor Timely is now getting his trip to the TVA, which is almost certainly in line with what He Who Remains had planned for just this contingency. If that’s the case, it’s also possible that Ravonna’s fate and secret plays into it as well, or Miss Minutes could suddenly become a spanner in the works. Whichever it is, whether destiny or choice prevails, we’ll see how it plays out in the coming episodes.

//TAGS | Loki

Robbie Pleasant


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