As Owen Wilson would say, wow. What an episode. Whilst I felt that episode 3 was lacking, episode 4 more than made up for it. It was a thrill ride from start to finish, and I was hanging on every moment, not to mention the emotional roller-coaster I was on. Honestly, TV writers should take note, this is how you do an episode.
I don’t even know where to begin with this review, but as always there will be spoilers. There were a hell of a lot of big reveals, so if you haven’t watched it yet, stop reading! Believe me, this is an episode that deserves to be experienced properly.
Sylvie’s Origin Story
Despite probably having less screen time than last episode, I think this is the episode where we really learn more about Sylvie. Up until now she’d been somewhat of an enigma, but we start to truly see her motivations. It had never been revealed before when Sylvie had been snatched up by the TVA, but in a shocking scene at the start, we saw that they’d kidnapped her when she was just a little girl, playing on Asgard. She was a sweet, innocent child, terrified and confused as the agents appeared out of nowhere and took her. I guess I’d always assumed that she’d been doing some nefarious deed when she became a variant, but she hadn’t. She was just a child, playing with a toy boat.
We see a young Ravonna interacting with little Sylvie, presumably this is before she becomes a judge. It looks as though she’s struggling with her morals, when faced with such a small variant. Sylvie takes her opportunity, and steals a TemPad, escaping through a portal. Back in the present, she reveals to Loki that she’s been on the run ever since. Sylvie looks so stoic sat on Lamentis, waiting for the apocalypse to kill her. As she describes a life of exile, always looking over her shoulder, never being able to set down roots, she becomes more of an empathetic character. The TVA painted her as an evil psychopath, brutally murdering her agents. But really, she’s a lonely little girl, who had to learn that the only person she could rely on was herself.
Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart
This episode of Loki was super moving. You give my boy Loki self-awareness AND you kill off Mobius? Are you trying to give me emotional whiplash? To punish Loki for escaping, and to keep him secure whilst they decide what to do with him, the TVA put Loki in a time prison. It seems surprisingly cosy, until Lady Sif from Thor walks in and punches him. It’s clearly an incident from Loki’s past, but when she walks out, she comes straight back in. It seems Loki is stuck in a time loop constructed from a guilty memory, where have I seen that before?
At first, it’s just a light-hearted comic scene. Loki’s getting repeatedly punched, hilarious. But then it takes an unexpected turn. Instead of trying to defend himself, or resolutely taking the punches, Loki accepts responsibility. He acknowledges the pain he caused Sif, as well as recognising his narcissistic traits. He confesses that he’s afraid of being alone, so he leans into the whole God of Mischief act. When Mobius rescues him, it’s clear from Loki’s demeanour that he’s succumbed to his own guilt. But after a long conversation, and Mobius’ eyes being opened to the truth, they make up.
Loki apologises for the betrayal, and they become friends again. It’s beautiful, it’s touching, the dream team are together again. And then it all goes wrong. Mobius may have a new friend in Loki, but it seems his old friend isn’t too thrilled. Ravonna realises he’s been compromised, and without any warning, she prunes him! I was flabbergasted, I literally screamed and jumped out of my seat. I couldn’t believe what I’d seen! Hopefully wherever Mobius is, he can finally ride that Jet Ski he always wanted.
When People Say to Love Yourself, That is NOT What They Mean
Loki really crossed a line with this episode. An unspoken line that I didn’t think would ever need to be spoken. I mean, who even thinks of this kind of thing? I was all for Loki and Sylvie bonding in Lamentis, I thought it was sweet. Loki finally had a friend, and it was a version of himself? Adorable. But Loki having a crush on Sylvie? No, no, no! That’s all kinds of wrong! I know it’s not technically incest, but it sure feels like it! I think Mobius’ reaction summed it up for all of us.
Interestingly, it triggered the nexus event that led to the TVA finding them on Lamentis. Before that, I was trying to figure out why they’d been alerted. But apparently two versions of the same person falling for themselves is unnatural… In other news, water is wet. But Mobius hints that their feelings for each other could be disastrous for the TVA. I wonder where they’ll be going with that storyline.
Even though any kind of relationship between Loki and Sylvie would be undeniably gross, it is wholesome to see that Loki is capable of caring. Given the eventual growth he had throughout the MCU movies, we’ve sort of seen a kinder side to Loki, however, we mustn’t forget that Loki is set not long after the events of the first Avengers movie. And even though Loki got his pseudo-redemption arc from that video of his life, he’s still got unresolved issues. I do want to see him address the idea of love and romance, just not like this. At the end it looked like he was about to kiss Sylvie, so maybe it’s good that he got pruned. Speaking of…
It’s Theory Time!
Now, thus far in my episode reviews I have avoided any theorising, mainly because I’m usually terrible at it. But you know what, I’m going to go for it this time. I’m probably way off base, but I’m going to put this out there for the potential bragging rights if I’m close. Now, I actually didn’t realise there was an end credit scene when I first came up with this theory, but I can still make it work. If anything, it supports my theory. After all, the end credit scene only shows that Loki isn’t dead, we don’t get any clues about his location.
My theory is this: pruning isn’t a killing method. The TVA claims it erases a person, but I think it resets them instead. The purpose of the TVA is to maintain the sacred timeline, and all the variants were once in that timeline. So, it stands to reason that pruning could return people to where they were before they diverged from their path. If you look at the animation when someone is pruned, it’s basically identical to when the TVA reset time. It also could account for why an organisation that prides itself on order has pruned so many people without a trial.
If I’m being honest though, I mainly just want a happy ending for Mobius. Think about it. Right before he was pruned, he told Ravonna that he wanted to go back to where he came from. She knew that he was no longer loyal to the TVA, so maybe she decided to make that happen for him. Perhaps the look of sadness on her face wasn’t guilt at killing her best friend, instead it was the knowledge that she’d never get to see him again as he’d been returned to his real life.
Let’s See How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes
Not only did the episode deliver when it came to action and character development, but we also got some major plot advancements. Hunter B-15, the agent who Sylvie enchanted, has started questioning things. And so, doubting her very existence, she goes rogue! She sneaks Sylvie out of the TVA, and insists that she be shown the truth. When she realises that not only did she have a life before the TVA, but she was happy, she flips. We don’t know exactly what plan she and Sylvie have concocted together, but I bet it’s a good one.
Meanwhile, Ravonna clearly knows a lot more than she lets on. I’d been assuming that everyone in the TVA was unaware of being a variant, but it seems that’s not the case. When Mobius discovers the truth, he does so using Ravonna’s own TemPad. She’s been keeping secrets, and she’s only too quick to turn on Mobius in order to keep them buried.
However, the biggest reveal of the episode is the truth about the Time Keepers. They’ve been hailed as these supreme, all-powerful beings, and yet when we see them, they’re kind of lame. My first thought was that they looked ridiculous. They’re just these small little aliens with silly facial hair, and they speak in an exaggerated echo. I’m supposed to believe these guys control all of time and space? But when Sylvie attacks them during a fight, it’s revealed they’re just robots! They were simply the face of the TVA, there to fool everybody. Which begs the question… Who’s really running the show?
The Nexus Event was a fantastic episode, I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of it. As always, the visuals were breath-taking, I cannot compliment the production team enough. The audio too was brilliant, with powerful music and realistic sound effects. Everything blends together seamlessly to create a perfect experience. The plot was riveting, and the character development was poignant. Loki once again proved itself as a worthy entry in the MCU.
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