Warning: This article contains spoilers.
“Loki” leaves us ready for some resolution with the release of S2:E3 “1893.” This episode brings back the last few missing faces from season 1, and even one from “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (sort of).
“Loki” S2:E3 – “1893”
We open on the sacred timeline in Chicago, Illinois, in the year 1868. Stepping through a time door, we finally catch up to Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) as she questions if she has come to the right time.
She then meets up with Miss Minutes (Tara Strong), who summoned Renslayer here with a mysterious package. Miss Minutes reveals that this was all part of a plan He Who Remains set in motion when he knew his end was near.
We then return to the TVA to see our main crew frantically discussing what options they have to gain access to the Temporal Loom. As the blast doors and windows crack and groan more and more as the timeline branches behind them, they settle on finding Miss Minutes, and Loki and Mobius head out.
After checking Chicago in 1868, where they just miss Renslayer, they head to Chicago in 1893 on a branched timeline, where they search for their quarry at the Chicago World’s Fair. Here we get to see the after-credits scene from “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”, where Loki and Mobius are surprised to run into Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors), a Kang/He Who Remains variant.
During an ensuing chase, Sylvie arrives to kill Victor. As Loki steps in between her and Victor, they have another tense and magically explosive discussion while riding a Ferris Wheel. Ultimately, with the help of Miss Minutes (in an absurd scene where she terrorizes the fairgoers as a ghost clock), Victor escapes with Renslayer.
Victor, Renslayer, and Miss Minutes have a discussion about what to do while also revealing who built the TVA and who delivered a TVA Guidebook to a young Victor in 1868. Ravonna and Victor have a tender conversation (much to Miss Minutes’ chagrin) at which point I remarked, “Are they setting up a love triangle?” It was a joke.
And then Victor then betrayed Renslayer, abandoning her behind and continuing on with Miss Minutes. An unsettling scene follows in which Miss Minutes flirts with Victor and begs him for a real body so they can be together. She puts her face on a mannequin. It’s as uncomfortable to watch as it sounds.
She scares Victor, who chooses to lock her away in the TemPad. When Renslayer arrives, now planning to eliminate Victor, Loki, and Mobius arrive to take him to the TVA, and they are all caught off guard by a magical blast from Sylvie. Victor then pleads at the end of Sylvie’s blade, changing her mind as she lets Loki and Mobius escort Victor through a time door.
A clever moment here mirrors an earlier part of the episode, where it’s revealed that Victor’s inventions are scams, and Loki identifies him as a fellow manipulator. During the Ferris Wheel fight, Sylvie yells at Loki about free will. When Victor begs for his life, seemingly terrified and genuine, he talks about wanting a chance to have a choice in who he becomes.
It works, and Sylvie lets him go.
Sylvie then sets her blade upon Renslayer, explaining how she has been waiting for this moment of revenge. In the end, she kicks Renslayer, who has the TemPad containing Miss Minutes, through a time door to the end of time where they find He Who Remains’ corpse.
I think as an episode on its own, it falls a little short compared to the previous episodes. An unfortunate result of having to move the plot along, this episode seemed to push a messy narrative with less emphasis on the characters. The strongest part of the “Loki” series has been its characters, and those spotlight moments we get in previous episodes feel a bit rushed in this one. Even so, those focused moments are the best part of this episode.
Renslayer returns with the same goals as we left her in season 1, but by the end of the episode, we see a big shift. Initially intent on being a partner to He Who Remains, Renslayer is following instructions from Miss Minutes, being led to believe this will get her to her goal. The reunion with Mobius has him attempting to reason with her, planting seeds of doubt. The final straw is the betrayal of Miss Minutes and Victor. She catches up with them, having reevaluated the partnership and her past at the TVA, deciding that she wants the TVA for herself, having been the true force behind its past success. We’re here for it and look forward to discovering if she will be an ally or adversary in the future.
Sylvie has a similar turnaround. Another fight with Loki reminds her of the battle at the end of last season. Though hesitant while listening to Loki rehashing the same reasons she should stop, her real pause comes when she has Victor at the end of her blade. Sylvie decides what she is doing may be wrong and lets Victor live.
Victor Timely starts off as a stark contrast to the Kangs we’ve met. He seems far from his Kang destiny, appearing as a timid inventor, but he slowly reveals other devious qualities. He is a very persuasive con man, even being able to charm people confronting him upon realizing they’ve been conned. We then see his softer side as he affectionately talks with Renslayer, until she mentions wanting to be his partner, at which point he immediately leaves her behind and continues with Miss Minutes.
The highlight of this episode was Miss Minutes. Often in the background, we see her reacting as Victor gets friendly with Renslayer. Through upset, disgruntled, frustrated, and devious smiling faces, we see that she does not want anyone between her and He Who Remains, to whom she sees Victor as a successor. When she’s finally alone with Victor, she reveals her unsettling goal of becoming more than just a sentient AI.
While not the best of the season thus far, “1893” was good. We got some closure on the whereabouts and intentions of Renslayer and Miss Minutes. We also finally got to see the context from the teaser of Victor Timely we saw back in February. The episode ended in a relatively positive place. We’re excited to see Victor Timely at the TVA and what that will mean for the state of the Temporal Loom.