Loki 2×03 “1893” is about free will and about the big picture. Loki has, throughout his run, been a show that has focused a lot on that elusive big picture, even though it has been very hard to truly pin down what that big picture even is. Who is right? Who is wrong? It has never been entirely clear.
This episode doesn’t exactly give us answers, but it reinforces the sides the characters are forced to take in the pursuit of their own answers. In the end, that is life, isn’t it? We all make our own decisions, and we live our lives depending on those decisions – whether we are right or wrong isn’t always clear right away.
Loki 2×03 “1893” brings back Ravonna Renslayer and delves deeper into her story with He Who Remains, a story we had already gotten a glimpse of in Loki 2×01 “Ouroboros.” In that episode, Loki stumbles into a recording while time slipping that makes it seem like He Who Remains and Renslayer were very much partners. This episode, however, sees Victor Timely betray Renslayer just because she suggests they might become just that. Kang, it seems, doesn’t like partners. He works better alone.
That even extends to Miss Minutes. Kang is – or his variants – is a one-man show. Not that anyone should really be surprised. Narcissists never really play well with others. They always want to be the center of attention because they believe the world revolves around them. Amplify that be a thousand when it comes to very powerful beings like Kang and well, you’ve got potentially multiversal problems.
Now the question is: what does Renslayer want? She isn’t – can never be Kang’s partner. Will she now turn into his enemy instead?
Loki and Mobius’ time travel adventures add levity to an episode that isn’t exactly light – they are, after all, trying to save the TVA and reality itself. The stakes could not be higher. But still, Mobius is enjoying himself up to a point, and so is Loki. There’s a lightness to their interactions that has always kind of been there but has taken a new dimension in Loki Season 2.
In a way, Mobius is teaching Loki to enjoy life, not just live it. To feel without being upset at the things he’s feeling. So much of Loki’s feelings were rooted in anger at even feeling things before because, at the root of everything, there was a deep-seated resentment. Now that he’s worked through so much of that resentment, Loki has been able to let himself feel …well, the other feelings. And there’s so much freedom in that.
Freedom to find amusement in Mobius, and to feel sad for Sylvie (and to love both of them too, for who they are). It’s why even jabs about Thor, which feel very familiar, are way less pointed than they were before. Loki isn’t lashing out against a brother he hates and resents; he’s just joking about a brother he loves and misses.
There’s a different feel to the words that come out of Loki’s mouth these days because his words are no longer used as a shield. Instead, his words are merely truths he now chooses to share with the world. That makes this Loki a very different Loki than the one we’ve always known and makes the relationships he’s cultivating now the first true relationships he’s ever truly had.
Two Halves of a Whole (The Same Whole)
Loki 2×03 “1893” reaffirms what the first two episodes showed us about character dynamics, but it does so while allowing characters to take a step forward. No one does so more than Sylvie, who has so much more to grow than anyone else in Loki. This is partly because she had so much more to grow, but also because she has been given the tools and the character arc to come to the realizations she needs. It’s subtle and it’s hard, but it’s real and it’s exactly what she and we, as viewers need.
“I can make my own choices,” Timely tells Sylvie, and Sylvie doesn’t really want to let him go, but that’s the beauty of free will, isn’t it? Believing that, even for a Kang variant, there is the possibility of good. Otherwise, is it really free will? And has Sylvie even grown if she always believes the worst? She has been hurt and hurt badly, and she has spent her entire life defaulting to the worst-case scenario – and been right about it. But if meeting Loki has shown her anything it’s that, you can have someone in your life who will be there for you, someone who will have your back.
You just gotta trust that. And that, well, that might be the hardest part. But she is a Loki and she has Loki, so perhaps she can get there.