If we know that Mobius thinks jet skis are cool, we have seen the episode and thus have heard Mobius explicitly answer this very question.
Loki asked Mobius why he has the magazine about jet skis. Mobius responds “Because they’re awesome.” Loki prompts Mobius to say more. Mobius says:
“You know, some things… actually, most things in history are kinda dumb, and everything gets ruined eventually. But in the early 1990s, for a brief, shining moment, there was a beautiful union of form and function, which we call the jet ski, and a reasonable man cannot differ.”
Loki asks Mobius if he has ever ridden a jet ski. Mobius says “No. No. I think a TVA agent showing up on a jet ski on the Sacred Timeline, that would create a branch for sure.” So, Loki asks him why he punishes himself by reading about something he can’t have. Mobius answers “Just helps remind me of what we’re fighting for.”
There’s a sadness there – the TVA agents have to forgo so much of life’s experiences because they fear affecting the timeline. Here we see that even an experience like riding a jet ski – an experience of no value or impact other than sheer enjoyment, is out of their reach. They live a life of window shopping.
So, why Mobius M. Mobius thinks jet skis are cool isn’t complicated. The real question should be why is this something that we, the audience (or maybe even Loki), need to know? At the surface, it is character-defining. The first two episodes of Loki have gone out of their way to make sure we don’t perceive the TVA as trustworthy.
They, as a whole, are portrayed as unreliable narrators. But not Mobius. While Mobius is playing games with Loki, conversations like the one above and his conversations with Judge Renslayer reveal a purity in Mobius. He is an idealist. He is a good man.
Are there more layers? Yes, no doubt. It is very interesting that the man who believes in the union of form and function also seems to be putting faith in Loki, whose form is fluid, something manipulated to accomplish a function. It’s hard to believe that is a coincidence.
Might the writers be telegraphing something more? Yes, they might. Mobius’s words echo a quote from architect Frank Lloyd Wright, referencing Wright’s mentor Louis Sullivan:
“Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
He’s echoing Wright, but he may be thinking of Plato’s theory of forms because it ties so well to the TVA mission. Plato’s theory says that the objects we see in the world are mere imitations of ideal forms that are aspatial and atemporal. When the TVA agents go on a mission into a branching timeline and cause that branch to dissolve, they see themselves as erasing mere imitations of the true forms that exist in the sacred timeline.
The very function of the TVA puts them outside of time. They work in our past and our future and the employees of the TVA spend their lives in its enclosed environment, except for when they are on a mission. How do you visually depict that? You do it via a timeless aesthetic and via anachronisms.
The TVA has a mid-century modern aesthetic that says both future and past and then individual characters take on facets of other time periods. Mobius seems very attached to the 1990s – the propmasters scatter it around him. We see that not just via the jet ski magazine but also via things like the Josta soda. In both episodes we see Mobius drinking Josta. Josta isn’t a made-up label. Josta was a real soda that existed for four short years. Pepsi introduced it in 1995 and discontinued it in 1999. It was one of the first energy drinks – sickeningly sweet and super loaded with caffeine. Why the 1990s? Random choice?
Because it fit Owen Wilson, whose career broke out big in the 1990s with films like Bottle Rocket and Armageddon? Or is there something darker there, divergent from the comics? In the comics, many members of the TVA are clones. Might he actually be someone who died in the 1990s? Maybe even in a jet ski accident? Or caused a nexus event? Who knows?