Mobius and Loki stand at the counter of OB's workroom at the TVA. Loki is being stretched into noodles by some unseen force.

What Is Time Slipping in ‘Loki’? Time Slipping in Marvel, Explained

Loki keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'

Loki season 2 has dropped, and the first episode introduced a new concept in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: time slipping. But what is time slipping? How does it effect the plot of Loki and the wider MCU? Here’s everything we know so far!

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Spoilers for Loki season 2, episodes 1-5 ahead!

Time slipping in Loki season 2

Loki season 2 starts off with a thrilling sequence: Loki has been transported to a past version of the Time Variance Authority, and he’s on the run from a suddenly hostile Mobius. Suddenly, Loki’s body is torn apart by an invisible force, and then reconstituted in the present TVA. The process looks painful, even though Loki insists that it’s not that bad. He doesn’t have any control over when it happens, or what point on the timeline it takes him to.

Loki and Mobius go to visit the tech wizard O.B., who initially tells them that time slipping isn’t possible in the TVA. Once he reconciles the fact that he just saw it happen, though, O.B. builds a device to fix it: a temporal aura extractor. Mobius has to attach the extractor to the temporal loom, which necessitates going out into space in a giant spacesuit. Once it’s attached, Loki has to prune himself in order to release himself from time. If everything goes according to plan (spoiler: it does, eventually), then the extractor will pull Loki out of the time stream and send him back to the TVA, with his time slipping fixed.

How and why did Loki start time slipping?

We don’t yet know why exactly Loki started time slipping. By the time episode 1 starts, he’s already time slipping uncontrollably, and no one stops to wonder what triggered it, or how it’s happening in the TVA. Loki’s time slipping was probably triggered at the end of season 1—either by Sylvie pushing him through the time door to the past, or by the chaos unfolding at the TVA in the wake of the multiverse being unleashed.

Loki’s time slipping in episode 5, “Science/Fiction”

In episode 5, “Science/Fiction,” Loki starts time slipping again—and the condition gets even more complicated.

At the end of episode 4, the Temporal Loom explodes and the TVA is seemingly destroyed. At the beginning of episode 5, Loki discovers that he survived, but he’s the only one left. He wanders the halls of the empty TVA, and discovers that his time slipping is back.

Not only that, but Loki is now time slipping outside of the TVA. That’s a new development, since before, he was only time slipping within the TVA itself. Loki soon finds that he’s being whisked across the timeline, visiting each of his friends’ lives in turn. First he’s taken to Casey, who’s breaking out of Alcatraz. Then he sees B-15, who’s a doctor in New York City. After that, he sees Mobius, who’s selling jet skis. Finally, he finds O.B., who’s an obscure science fiction writer (oh, and a physicist at Cal Tech).

Unlike the others, O.B. is open to Loki’s crackpot story about traveling through time to save the TVA. Not only that, but O.B. offers Loki an intriguing possibility: what if Loki is time slipping for a reason? After all, his time slipping has taken him to each of his friends. What if Loki can learn to control this ability and use it to his advantage?

That’s exactly what Loki does. At first, he can’t figure out how to control it, but when the timelines start spaghettifying and his friends disappear around him, he’s finally able to time slip back to the TVA to try and fix the loom again.

This brings us to an amazing theory that one fan came up with before season 2 came out: time slipping could become Loki’s newest superpower. And with Loki poised to become the MCU’s God of Stories, that superpower is looking more and more likely.

Is time slipping in Loki the same as glitching in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse?

When the first Loki season 2 trailer dropped, Marvel fans immediately picked up on the similarity between Loki’s condition and glitching in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, in which characters are painfully jolted and warped when they land in the wrong universe. The two effects are visually pretty similar, and the causes seem at least somewhat related, but it’s too soon to tell whether the similarity is intentional or just a coincidence. After all, MCU characters like Doctor Strange don’t glitch when they travel the multiverse.

How will time slipping affect the Multiverse Saga?

Marvel’s Multiverse Saga has introduced several new concepts to the MCU: warring timelines, microscopic universes, dreamwalking, incursions, and more. It’s hard to tell how it’ll all eventually come together (assuming Marvel has an overarching plan, which isn’t always the case). However, with one episode of Loki season 2 to go, we may find out soon.

(featured image: Disney+)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>