This is about 10 minutes shorter than the first two episodes.
We rush straight into TVA headquarters: the Variant does not kid around, and she takes down a crowd of guards with no magic and no mercy.
The Variant’s headgear is interesting; one of the horns is broken. So she’s a Loki but broken or different. Distinctly different; that much was already clear.
“Don’t call me Loki! Don’t call me Variant!” She’s Sylvie. That will cut down on the confusion. She and Loki are evenly matched, but far more different from other Lokis than I think we’ve seen in the comics. She’s far more direct and much more of an anarchist than Loki who, ultimately is a megalomaniac.
These two are different enough that I have to wonder if they really are versions of the same individual. If they are that calls into question the whole notion of a sacred timeline. The flawed headgear could be telling us that they’re not the same; her story is broken.
There’s a Sylvie in the comics, but she’s an Earth teenager given Asgardian powers by Loki. A later version of the Enchantress. That may or may not be a clue.
Lamentian society as commentary lacks subtlety. It smacks you in the face with class privilege. Traveling to an arc so you can escape the destruction of your planet isn’t the time or place for luxury.
More differences: Sylvie doesn’t know her mother. That’s kind of chilling since that small nascent spark of decency in Loki mostly came from Frigga. Assuming she’s really a Loki. The broken horn would fit a missing parent symbolically though.
Meanwhile, their plan to use the Arc to recharge the TemPad and escape Lamentis is extremely cold-blooded, even if everybody on board is fated to die anyway.
We get more clues that the TVA or at least the Time Keepers aren’t on the up-and-up.
A lot of this episode felt like an homage to the new Doctor Who that didn’t quite land but the episode was necessary; we needed to learn about Sylvie and we did. And the sense that nothing is as it seems has intensified somewhat. I’m still fully engaged.