Episode 2 of Loki, titled “The Variant”, dropped many surprises and a new mythology in its final moments. But the entire episode was also filled with much more subtle clues and references. In a video on the New rockstars channel, YouTuber Erik Voss goes over the many hidden details that fans of the series might have missed on first viewing.
As Voss points out, the very first scene of the episode includes a cheeky nod – and no, it doesn’t talk about the “it’s Agatha” theory circulating online. The Renaissance Fair in Oshkosh, Wisconsin takes place in 1985, which happens to be the year that the iconic comedy Back to the future released, a film that would help popularize time storytelling in pop culture and become a touchstone for the basic rules of form.
Speaking of time travel rules, as Loki is busy trying to crush Miss Minutes with a rolled up magazine, his desktop screen displays a TVA test question involving Thanos and a few apples. It is at the same time a discreet way of the spectacle illustrating the construction of the world of TVA, but also a possible reference to Doctor strange, in which an apple was eaten and then uneaten as Steven Strange experimented with the Time Stone.
In the scene where Mobius goes through different holographic representations of different Loki variants, we see a number of alternate Lokis. One of them has blue skin, which is actually true to Loki’s origins as the Frost Giant. No explanation yet for the Loki who appears to have won the Tour de France, but this scene also provides useful exposure regarding the Loki variants: namely that they each have unique powers.
When TVA events “reset” at the Renaissance Fair, a TVA screen shows the timeline returning to normal – and in addition to Oshkosh, other locations that can be seen include Midavellir, the Space Forge of Avengers: Infinity War, and Sakaar, the planet of the Grand Master of Thor: Ragnarok.
During the episode’s perhaps funniest scene, in which Loki wreaks havoc in pre-apocalyptic Pompeii, he frees goats from a cart saying, “Go free, my horned friends!” While he’s primarily there to offer some levity while also confirming Loki’s theory, Voss says, this moment also foreshadows how he will ultimately allow the Horned Lady Loki to escape at the end of the episode.
And once Lady Loki’s plan comes to fruition and the time bombs have all exploded, we get another photo of a TVA screen showing all of the different places where she disrupts the timeline. These include Knowhere (the skull in the space of guardians of the galaxy), Niflheim (the prison dimension of Hela de Thor: Ragnarok), Vormir (the planet Soul Stone of Infinity war and End of Game), Ego (the living planet and father of Star-Lord), Titan (the homeworld of Thanos), Hala (the capital of the Kree Empire), and finally, the birthplaces of Thor and Loki respectively, Asgard and Jotunheim.
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