Loki episode 3 reveals a popular TVA fan theory was correct

Loki episode 3
(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

Spoilers follow for Loki episode 3.

Loki episode 3 has arrived on Disney Plus. While it's the weakest episode of the trickster god's standalone adventure so far, it does reveal a big Time Variance Authority (TVA) secret – and one which some fans had already called in last week's episode.

Episode 3 sees Tom Hiddleston's Loki and Sophia Di Martino's Lady Loki/Sylvie bond (if that's the right word to describe their fractious relationship) after the pair are marooned on Lamentis-1, a moon with a sizeable population that is set to be destroyed by the planet it orbits.

It's standard fare for a Marvel TV episode – there's plenty of humor, drama and action – but we do get one major revelation confirmed, by way of Sylvie, that refers to the TVA's entire workforce.

A word of warning before we begin: there are big spoilers for Loki episode 3 from this point on. If you haven't watched the entire episode, turn back now.

Loki episode 3: the TVA's entire workforce are also Time Variants

Loki episode 3 Lamentis

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

You read that right: every TVA employee, from the Minute Men to standard office workers, are Time Variants like Loki.

Sylvie explains as much while they travel alongside Loki with the aim of hijacking the Arc – a space ship that is due to leave Lamentis-1 before the planet (Lamentis) crashes into its surface and destroys the moon's civilization.

During their chat on route to the Arc's location, Sylvie tells Loki how their enchantment power works. Sylvie explains that they have to make "physical contact and then grab hold of their mind" in order to 'possess' whatever individual they want to control.

Sylvie goes on to reveal that some minds are easier to enchant than other. This leads into Sylvie telling Loki about the TVA Minute Man soldier that they kidnapped and possessed in episode 2.

This is where episode 3's surreal beginning comes into play. At the start of the episode, we see Sylvie hanging out with this TVA employee in a cocktail bar. The duo are discussing the sensation known as 'brain freeze', but something feels off about the whole exchange.

As it turns out, the woman (who Sylvie is with) is the same TVA soldier that Sylvie kidnapped in episode 2. It's this person who reveals the Time Keepers' location to Sylvie before Loki, Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the TVA find Sylvie's location in episode 2.

But we digress. Back in episode 3, Sylvie tells Loki that the TVA soldier's mind was stronger than other individuals, so they had to create a "fantasy from their memory" in order to preserve the enchantment connection. 

In this instance, Sylvie uses the TVA soldier's memory of hanging out at a cocktail bar to maintain the connection and find out where the Time Keepers were. This, though, is where one of the TVA's biggest secrets is revealed to Loki and the audience.

Sylvie explains that they had to use one of the soldier's oldest memories "from centuries prior" to preserve this particular enchantment connection – a memory which predated the soldier joining the TVA.

Startled, Loki asks what Sylvie means. The TVA soldier, Sylvie says, was just a regular person on Earth before she was recruited by the TVA. 

Loki tells Sylvie that he was told (by Mobius) that the TVA created all of its employees. Sylvie tells Loki that such an idea is ridiculous, before dropping the biggest bombshell yet: the TVA's employees are all Time Variants, just like Loki and Sylvie are.

Loki episode 3: what this TVA revelation means for the series' plot

Loki trailer

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Suffice to say, this is a major revelation. Providing this is true, the TVA is built on fabrications and lies, and it seems that none of its workforce, apart from one or two individuals including Ravonna Renslayer (GuGu Mbatha-Raw) have any idea about who or what they really are.

Sylvie's explanation means that it isn't just the TVA's Minute Men soldiers who are Time Variants either. Its office workers, sacred timeline monitors and other agents are, too.

Wilson's Mobius has to be one as well, given that he's been left in the dark about the so-called Time Keepers. If he is a human Time Variant, it would explain his strange love for jet skis, as we see in episode 2.

It seems, then, that the TVA locates Time Variants and uses them for its own means. Time Variants who aren't compliant are deleted from existence, but those that choose to help the TVA do so without knowing what happens afterwards. 

If we had to guess, these cooperative Time Variants end up having their minds wiped by the TVA, are indoctrinated to believe that they were created by the Time Keepers, and used to carry out the TVA's duties without questioning them.

Loki episode 3

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

What does this mean for Loki's TV series moving forward? Well – bear in mind that everything from this point on is purely speculation on our part – Loki and Sylvie may destroy the TVA from the inside.

Episode 3 ended rather abruptly, with Loki and Sylvie having no way to leave Lamentis after the Arc space ship is destroyed by the planet's debris. It's possible, though, that the TVA will locate them, save them and then incarcerate the pair for their crimes. 

After all, they can travel freely through time and space, and Mobius knows that Sylvie has a habit of hiding in timelines where an apocalypse is due to take place. Given that this Lamentis timeline has one such instance, it stands to reason that Mobius can track down Loki and Sylvie to this location.

Loki, though, could reveal this big secret to Mobius to try and convince him that he, as well as the other TVA employees, have been conned. That could lead to an uprising within the TVA and see Loki, Sylvie and Mobius lead a revolution against the Time Keepers, Ravonna and any other commanders-in-chief. 

It would certainly play into the TV show's exploration of free will and if our life paths are predetermined, and it may allow Loki to take charge of the TVA as we know it.

Alternatively, MCU fans think that the TVA's collapse or destruction may lead to Kang the Conqueror's arrival. Rumors have emerged online that Kang will appear in Loki at some point, even though Jonathan Majors (who will play the character in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania) has refuted such speculation.

With the TVA rudderless, Kang could step in and take over. Or, if he's already the figurehead behind the TVA, he could reveal himself in a post-credits scene during Loki's finale, which may set up the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania.

It's a plausible theory, but we'll have to wait and see what transpires in Loki's final three episodes to find out for sure. 

Hiddleston has already revealed that episodes 4 and 5 will be where "the whole series takes off in a direction that I certainly didn't see coming", so hopefully we'll get more answers about the TVA's workforce in the next two weeks.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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