The writers and producers of “Loki” continue to show their love affair with “Doctor Who”. First, there are the statues of the Time Keepers, who look like they would fit right in on Gallifrey. Then there’s the Theremin use in the soundtrack, which rings back to the original Delia Derbyshire theme for “Doctor Who”. Finally, in “Variant,” episode two of “Loki,” there is an elevator leading to the Library of the Time Variant Authority that evokes the imagery of the title sequence of the William Hartnell years of “Doctor Who.”
The homage isn’t bad, as nothing the show has done is derivative of the BBC show. So far, the feel is giving off a strong vibe of the Matt Smith years. If I didn’t know that HBO holds the rights to Doctor Who in the US, I’d wonder if this were all going somewhere. Marvel has published “Doctor Who” comics in the past, so I suppose anything is possible. Still, it’s unlikely that our favorite Time Lord is about to join the MCU. That makes all of the allusions somewhat distracting, evidenced by the fact that I haven’t discussed the episode in two paragraphs.
The mission of “The Variant” is to establish whether or not we can trust the trickster god. The writers’ method to develop trust or lack thereof in Loki is the crime procedural linked with a buddy cop movie. It works well for the story and sets up something that would have been hard to believe; Loki’s existence is on the line. Unfortunately, the TVA has ‘pruned’ plenty of Loki’s before, and that seems to make the character almost insignificant. Fortunately, our Loki is having none of that and finally begins to make himself useful.
He figures out that the variant the TVA is chasing hides in the edges of an apocalyptic event. To prove this, Loki and Mobius travel to Pompeii to see if creating a disruption will show variant energy on the TVA’s equipment. If the writers wanted to cement that “Doctor Who” connection, they would have had Peter Capaldi in the background as Caecilius. Sadly, Capaldi now is a part of the DC universe (a subsidiary of HBO…they do have the rights to “Doctor Who, don’t they?), so that was never going to happen. Loki and Mobius’ exercise proves Loki’s theory, and now they only need to match the evidence left behind at previous encounters with the variant to an apocalypse.
A match comes in the form of a hurricane in Alabama in 2050. So along with Mobius and Loki, the TVA army heads to a ‘RoxxMart’ where people shelter from the storm. The variant reveals themselves, which feels early like this should be coming in another 2 or 3 episodes from now. Surprisingly, the variant isn’t who we expected either. No duplicate Loki, no Lady Loki was hiding in the shadows here. Instead, welcome Enchantress to the fold (At least, that’s possibly what the credits reveal, crediting the character as “Sylvie”. I’ll let you do your own research, I did.) Or maybe it’s Missy crossing over for that “Doctor Who” clash I so want to see. It doesn’t feel like we’ve met the biggest bad just yet, but it’s intriguing all the same.