High-key stakes for a Loki show.
One aspect of Disney+ shows that I enjoy over Netflix for example is how Netflix tends to dump an entire season at once where Disney+ and most other networks are still operating on the old format of releasing an episode every week. Personally I like the weekly format better, it works with the formatting of the shows to create tension, it works for the platforms more because they hold people on longer, and when a show hits hard it’s fun to speculate on what’s going to happen next.
We are four episodes into the six episode season, and this week’s episode feels dedicated to answering our questions and setting up the real stakes for how it ends.
The episode starts offering us backstory on Sylvie, the female Loki variant. Sylvie is plucked from her home as a child to be prosecuted and pruned by the TVA for reasons that aren’t yet clear to the viewer or Sylvie herself. Unlike Loki, Sylvie outsmarts the TVA as a child by stealing Ravonna Renslayer’s PDA and going on the lamb. A lifetime of running from a nearly omnipresent authority is how Sylvie knows to hide in apocalypses, and a lifetime of trauma has led her to what she is today.
Compared to earlier episodes, “The Nexus Event” doubles down on the “what the hell” moments. We learned in a prior episode that TVA employees are simply variants that were reprogrammed and think they are creations of the TVA. Sylvie and Loki manage to infest this doubt in the minds of Mobius, B-15, and C-20 who Sylvie enchanted in a prior episode.
Evidently the time stream has been fixed since Sylvie bombed it at the end of episode 2, since we see the timeline looking pretty normal and nobody mentions the event (or if they did, I missed it). Loki and Sylvie fall for each other in the midst of an apocalypse and evidently the cataclysmic narcissism of wanting to sex up yourself from another timeline is enough to shine on in the face of an extinction event, because it shows up on the TVA radar and the two are saved.
It is interesting to see Marvel’s continued reluctance to actually kill off characters, as we learn that pruning isn’t quite the death sentence that we thought. Having Mobius be pruned by the TVA while he waxes poetic about his love of jet skis was a kick in the crotch. Seeing our protagonist Loki be pruned right as the episode ends felt like Disney putting their foot through the television screen. The mid-credits reveal that Loki is actually fine and likely so are Mobius and everyone else who was pruned feels like a last second decision not to make the leap.
This does however validate both of my predictions simultaneously from the end of Episode 3, where I said either Mobius would save them at the last minute or it would be another Loki. Now Mobius saved Loki at the beginning of the episode and now Loki gets met with four new Loki variants who have taken to surviving on wherever Loki was sent. We see Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, Classic Loki, and gator Loki.
Loki also finally admitted that he has feelings for someone other than his mother, even if those feelings are effectively for himself. Mobius also hits hard when he lies during the interrogation and says Sylvie had already been pruned.
Speculation has been rampant on who the true villain of Loki is and fueling it are the long reams of Marvel established canon. For instance Ravonna Renslayer is an established character going back to the 1960’s. She is the girlfriend of longtime villain Kang the Conquerer who is set to appear in the next Antman movie. Kang is a powerful being who controls space and time, do you get where I’m going with this?
Hopefully Owen Wilson is still alive, or at the very least if this is some sort of storytelling paradox where only Lokis manage to survive pruning, that we see his normal version somewhere enjoying his jet skis. They can’t cockblock us on Owen Wilson talking about jet skis and then never show it, like the shawarma scene from the original Avengers.
Put on your exposition pants for episode 5, since we’re bound to get a ton of exposition as Sylvie interrogates Renslayer and Loki talks to his other Lokis.
One more week to episode 5.