The third episode of ‘Loki’ season two takes audiences to 1800s America, starting a cyclical path for the TVA by having Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) put Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors) on the path to becoming He Who Remains aka a variant of Kang the Conqueror. It’s a fun episode that lets Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) engage in witty dialogue and shows just how unhinged Miss Minutes can really get.
The stand-out character of this episode is really Miss Minutes. She’s brought back into the show as Renslayer’s companion, giving her instructions on how to set Victor Timely up for his eventual destiny as He Who Remains. Their relationship is playful, with Miss Minutes taking on an old-timey clock look. It’s a testament to the effort the VFX artists put in that she fits right in with what’s happening on screen and is very convincing.
Her dialogue is voiced excellently by Tara Strong, who, as the episode goes along, becomes more desperate and jealous of the budding relationship between Renslayer and Timely. This is until she snaps, and attempts to remove Renslayer from the equation. This is where audiences get the reveal that Miss Minutes’ AI is no longer running like clockwork, as she demands that Timely make her a body so she can be with him. Strong’s voicework carries this, coming on as crazed and creepy. It puts a spin on the constant AI murder motivation, which is a nice twist.
Timely himself is a different story. Majors plays the character with an annoying stutter and a crazy pantomime-like quality, eschewing the violent menace he had in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania for a clever yet stupid conman. Clever, as he can create these terrifying contraptions, stupid because they don’t quite work and Timely wants to con powerful people with them for money and quickly getting found out. It’s hard to see how this version of Kang will become the Conqueror Loki fears or the one audiences feared in Quantumania, because this man doesn’t look like he has the potential.
Mobius’ and Loki’s back and forth with each other is just as strong as it usually is, with Hiddleston and Wilson having natural chemistry with each other. The setting of the 1893 Chicago World Fair is sweeping and well-designed, Kasra Farahani, the production designer, did a fantastic job at bringing it to life, with it feeling authentic and true to life. The episode thoroughly explores it too with several sublocations and even a reference to Balder the Brave.
Sylvie makes a surprise appearance to come and kill Timely, continuing to say that the TVA cannot be reformed, and if Loki brings him back to the organization he is sealing the fate of millions. It’s an intriguing moral quandary and shows that the heroes may be responsible for the doom they are about to bring onto themselves. But if they don’t, then the TVA will collapse, which brings about destruction too. Their fight on the Ferris wheel is very fun and is reminiscent of the season one finale.
At the end, Sylvie gets the choice of whether to kill Timely or let him go. Major’s pleading is convincing, after all, the episode has presented him (intentionally or not) as an awkward stuttering fool, not as an all-powerful figure, so audiences are bound to sympathize with his claims that he isn’t He Who Remains and shouldn’t be punished for his sins. It’s part of a broader arc for Sylvie, as she lets go of the anger that’s built up inside her. This change affects Renslayer, who, after Loki, Mobius, and Timely leave, is left for Sylvie to kill, only she grants her mercy by kicking her to the End of Time. Miss Minutes has composed herself again and says she has something to say, but this cliffhanger is where the episode ends.