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Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second episode of Loki.
After a series premiere that was equal parts Jurassic Park and Doctor Who, the second episode of Loki went full Law & Order: MCU. Only instead of Benson and Stabler prowling the streets of New York, we had timecops Loki and Mobius (Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson) patrolling the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, on the hunt for the dangerous Loki variant.
"I love detective stories," series director Kate Herron confirms to Yahoo Entertainment, adding that she worked references to procedurals like David Fincher's Seven into the episode, titled "The Variant." "It was about making this seem like a fun case to crack." (Watch our video interview with the cast and crew above.)
And just like their Law & Order counterparts, these top Time Variance Authority cops always get their man. Or, in this case, woman. The final scene of the episode marks the first live action appearance of Lady Loki, played by English actress Sophia Di Martino. Introduced into the comic book continuity in 2008, the female Loki quickly became a fan favorite and Twitter was thrilled to see her enter the MCU. Although some eagle-eyed sleuths believe her actual identity is Sylvie Lushton, aka the Enchantress. That's because the English-language credits list Di Martino as "The Variant," whereas the foreign-language dub cast ID's the character as "Sylvie."
Both Herron and Hiddleston were understandably tight-lipped about this twist, but they did acknowledge the fun of filling the episode with multiple Lokis. "It was fun to have a mirror like that," says Hiddleston, who acted opposite all of the variants. "Loki is made up of these characteristics: he's playful, charming, witty and sort of full of grievance, interior pain and isolation."
"To see different actors bring those qualities to bear in their own way, I found really enjoyable," the actor continues. "It's quite a confronting mirror for me at least!" Adds Herron: "I think the fun of it is the rules we set up in the first episode really define the rules of a Loki... and then we're going to twist them here and there."
For the record, there are actually two Lady Lokis in the episode: before Di Martino makes her appearance, the variant possesses TVA enforcer, Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), who got in a time-brawl with Loki in the first episode.
"That was fun," the actress says of her big Loki moment, adding that she studied all of the "Loki-isms" including Hiddleston's movements and "signature smile" ahead of time while doing an MCU rewatch. "I watched all of the Marvel movies that Tom had been in, but that was research for the show as well, because I needed to understand the whole timeline and who he is when we meet him," Mosaku explains. "Doing it with Tom was the best part of that scene."
While Loki and Mobius were off investigating Lady Loki's time crimes, viewers kept their eye on Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who seemed super-sus in this particular episode. Her conversation with Mobius definitely suggested that her relationship to the mysterious (and so far unseen) Time-Keepers is more complicated than we've been led to believe.
For her part, Mbatha-Raw agrees that Renslayer is a character with complicated motives. "She's one of the few judges that reports directly to the Time-Keepers," the actress notes. "They're her mega super-boss. Even though she has a lot of power in the TVA, there's a whole realm above her. They hold such huge power over her, and that shifts as the story goes on."
It should be noted that there's now also a shifting power dynamic between Loki and Mobius. While the Asgardian trickster knows the identity of the variant they're up against, his timecop partner is still in the dark for now. That's bound to change the way they approach the future crime scenes they visit, whether it's vintage Pompeii or a climate change-impacted future.
In real life, of course, Hiddleston and Wilson did their investigations from a single location: an Atlanta soundstage. "I remember doing those scenes and it was a lot of going to places we kind of visit in history ... and we're filming it in Atlanta," Wilson says with a wry chuckle. "They say, 'We're going to add all this stuff with special effects. I guess you just have to take their word for it!"
Loki is currently streaming on Disney+.
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