Do decisions governed by prejudice make way for determinism, or is it the other way around? Disney+’s best live action series, Loki presented this discourse in its first season, and has successfully held onto it as it progresses to the midway point of the second one. The team makes yet another journey back in time, and this one is a rather significant one in MCU timeline given the fact we are finally introduced to one of He Who Remains’ variants – Victor Timely.
In the previous episode, we learned that O.B was unable to fix the instability in the Temporal Loom, as it required the Temporal aura of the person who designed TVA in the first place – He Who Remains. In his absence, Miss Minutes’ presence would have sufficed, but she has been missing since the season finale of last season, as is the rogue Judge Ravonna Renslayer, and it is speculated that the two are in cahoots. Loki and Mobius were also able to track down Sylvie in a branched timeline but failed to convince her to join them to save the TVA. General Dox and her loyalists destroyed almost the entirety of branched timelines, which the team, along with Sylvie, failed to contain in time, resulting in the death of billions. It is imperative that the team find Miss Minutes before TVA’s situation goes beyond saving, and the third episode, titled 1893, revolves around their effort as all the major players converge in Midwestern America during the late Victorian era.
A Timely Journey: Where In Time Did The Team Find Victor Timely?
The episode begins in the year 1868, in the Sacred Timeline, as we see Ravonna Renslayer entering the southern province of Chicago through a time door. After the events of last season when she had betrayed her colleagues in TVA and escaped from the organization in search of free will, Ravonna has been declared a fugitive – and she is getting the help of the sentient AI loyalist of He Who Remains, Ms. Minutes, to cover her tracks. Renslayer is initially confused as to why she has appeared in this period of time, when she locates Minutes inside a barn and the duo briefly catch up. Minutes had instructed her to bring a copy of the TVA guidebook, which she asks Renslayer to deliver to a specific someone while remaining undetected. To clarify Renslayer’s confusion, Minutes asserts that this is in accordance with the instructions of He Who Remains, who had devised this plan while predicting his own demise. To poke her ambition, she also states that completion of this pivotal act will ensure that eventually He Who Remains will take his rightful seat at the top of TVA, and Renslayer will get to be at his side. Renslayer discreetly delivers the book to the young Victor Timely, who is one of the variants of He Who Remains.
The scene shifts to TVA, where O.B. is freaking out as the previously destroyed timelines are branching out once again, the Temporal Loom crisis is gradually getting worse and they still haven’t been able to track Minutes anywhere in the timeline. Taking Casey’s suspicion that Minutes is helping Renslayer into account, Loki and Mobius decide to track the rogue judge – which might take them to Minutes as well.
Initially, the duo reach the same spot Renslayer’s Tempad signal was last detected in 1868, but as they fail to notice anything significant which could potentially involve temporal shenanigans, they jump to the next signal detection point of Renslayer in 1893 – where the World Science Fair aka World’s Columbian Exposition was being hosted at that point of time. They come across a newspaper article depicting a ‘clock ghost,’ which confirms their suspicion about Minutes and Renslayer and they get busy finding them. The repartee and bromance between Loki and Mobius is always enjoyable, as Loki’s seriousness perfectly complements Mobius’ happy go lucky attitude, and their brief merriment at the science fair is a reminder to that. At one point, they stumble across a Norse exhibition gallery where statues of Thor, Odin, and Balder are showcased and Mobius pulls his leg stating Loki might be feeling left out seeing himself not up there. Truth is, that’s what the trickster god has been feeling all through his life – and gradually the desperate need for validation made him villainous. He has reformed since, surely, but only time will tell whether that’s permanent.
To Snag An Inventor: Which Side Did Victor Finally Join?
Noticing a pamphlet about an exhibition about Temporal marvels, conducted by a certain Victor Timely, Loki and Mobius suspect that there can be little coincidence that concepts much ahead of the contemporary era are being introduced – and their assumption proves to be true when they find out that Victor Timely is a variant of He Who Remains. Loki recognizes him at once due to his experience in the Citadel at the End of Time, but finds it hard to believe that the eccentric, rather goofy fellow like the inventor in front of them can become a multiversal tyrant.
Thanks to Renslayer providing him with the TVA guide, Victor has managed to conjure up some nifty gadgets – in this context, a prototype of the Temporal Loom – which can mitigate the decay of flow of power to sustain it for a much longer duration. As an ambitious creator, he dreams to light up the world using his inventions, and the resemblance to Nikola Tesla is unmistakable at this point.
Victor’s device attracts potential buyers, customers, and rivals, and the two parties – Loki-Mobius, and Renslayer try to pitch in their propositions as well. Mobius is of the opinion that Victor should be brought to TVA, as neither Minutes nor Renslayer can ever be convinced to help them anyway. The duo share the plight of TVA, and try to convince Timely to assist them but before he can share his opinion, they face another situation. It turns out Victor’s inventions often malfunction, drawing the ire of his buyers. What follows is a funny chase through the fair with old timey cartoon score adding to the humor – which soon recedes as Sylvie enters the arena. She considers Victor Timely a potential threat, who could take the place of the next He Who Remains, which wouldn’t have happened if Renslayer hadn’t changed the course of his life in a massive way in the very beginning. Loki tries to stop Sylvie, and as the duo clash, Ravonna uses her opportunity to make Minutes distract the crowd and take Victor away with her.
What Secret Miss Minutes Might Share With Renslayer?
Renslayer and Minutes go to Victor’s rundown single room, where the duo share everything about the TVA, variant situations and his possible role in the cosmic scale of things to the curious inventor. Victor is enchanted by the promise of such a glorious future, but fails to realize why Renslayer didn’t join hands with Loki and Mobius when both of them seek the stability of TVA. Renslayer shrugs off the topic by stating them to be unreliable, completely hiding the facts of how TVA actually worked in the first place. However, Mobius and co. and other pursuers of Victor arrive soon, prompting them to flee to another location across the Michigan lake, at Wisconsin, where Victor’s lab is located. From there, he can obtain his most crucial invention, a Throughput Multiplier – which can handle the Temporal Loom problem in TVA.
En route, Victor shares how important of a role the TVA guide played in his life, and the fact that he is immensely thankful to the unknown benefactor who provided him with the opportunity of a lifetime, and Ravonna reveals that it was she who orchestrated the ordeal. Victor laments that his ideas are constrained by the technology of his age, and thanks Ravonna for her generosity. Victor almost feels a connection between them, but soon realizes Ravonna’s personal ambition being the only reason for her assistance. Later, being manipulated by Minutes’ provocation, Victor betrays Ravonna and de-boards her from the ship in a lifeboat.
However, as Victor takes Minutes with himself in his lab, he learns that the sentient AI is hopelessly in love with his creator – and Victor being his identical variant, she demands complete autonomy from him and professes her feelings. A scared Victor shuts her off and Ravonna, who had chased the duo all the way, corners him. In the meantime, Mobius and Loki arrive at the spot as well and both parties find themselves at an impasse. Sylvie arrives to break up the party, incapacitates Ravonna, and seems determined to kill Victor to prevent any possibility of the prediction of He Who Remains coming true (uprising of his nefarious variants). Victor pleads for his life, conveying that he is not the person she assumes him to be, he has individuality, hence she shouldn’t estimate of someone else. Sylvie, who has always fought for the preservation of free will, can’t bring herself to kill an innocent person who shares her ideology, and spares his life at the end. Loki and Mobius take him to TVA, and Sylvie deals with Renslayer by throwing her into the Citadel at the End of Time, using He Who Remains’ master Tempad.
This is the first time since the first season finale that viewers got to see the Citadel, and its visibly decrepit after the death of He Who Remains – whose rotting body still sits at the throne. Miss Minutes is revealed to be with Renslayer, and they discuss Timely switching sides. Minutes adds that she knows a certain secret regarding Ravonna, which is pivotal in the context of Victor’s decision, a secret which might make Ravonna really angry as well. Now regarding the secret, we speculate it’s about Renslayer’s close relation with He Who Remains – which was hinted in the recording Loki listened to in the future. Or might it be a secret regarding her human life, which she chooses to forget? In any case, Victor’s inclusion in the series will deal with multiple possibilities, as his allegiance with either side will shape the course of past and future in a massive way.