After a boring third episode, I went into episode four of Loki fearing more of the same and a series that wouldn’t hold up. Well, I have good news! Episode four turned things around instantly. And in true Marvel fashion, it left us with many questions. You see, they lied to us.
Warning: This is a review of an ongoing tv series and will contain spoilers.
Previously on Loki
When last left off, Loki and Sylvie (the name our Lady Loki prefers) managed to strand themselves on a moon. Oh, and the moon’s planet? Currently crashing into the moon. We learned a few things bout Sylvie (she taught herself magic) and a tantalizing detail about the Time Variance Agency. You see, every TVA Agent is a variant! Just as we learned that doozy of a detail, Loki and Sylvie’s last hope of getting off the moon alive literally blew up before their eyes.
And that’s it, really. Last week was a boring episode. Thankfully this week proved to be far more interesting. You might think we’d start with just how Loki and Sylvie will avoid certain death, but that’s not what happened.
Well, at this point, I think we can say with certainty that Sylvie is really a Loki after all. Her powers and chosen name screams Enchantress, but her backstory confirms otherwise. The episode starts in Asgard, with a young lady Loki playing with her toys. It’s hard to say how old she is because Asgardians and Frost Giants live practically forever and who knows how they age. But physically, she looks like a 12-year-old child.
The TVA kidnaps hers, resets the timeline, and accuses her of crimes against the Sacred Timeline. But before they can judge her, she manages to bite her guard on the wrist, steal their TemPad and escape the TVA entirely. Oh, and the guard in question? Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Mobius’s (Owen Wilson) boss and now a judge.
Here, just as the flashback ends, we get our first real look at the Time Keepers. Just kidding, they’re cloaked in shadow, and all we really see are silhouettes and glowing eyes. Renslayer apparently updated them on the current events, and it did not go well. Later, Mobius demands to interview the agent Sylvie kidnapped and enchanted. But that’s apparently not possible: she’s dead. Renslayer claims that Sylvie’s magic drove her crazy, and she died. If you’re like me, anything Renslayer says seems suspect at this point. But no time for that; how are Lokie and Sylvie doing?
Who Else Could Loki Love but Themselves
So, stranded on a moon, unable to escape the utter destruction coming from the planet crashing into everything, what are Loki and Sylvie to do? To be honest, I expected Loki to reveal the TemPad wasn’t really broken at this point, but I guess I called that wrong. They two sat and waited for the end to come. Loki apologized. And then they reminisce. Sylvie barely remembers Asgard, which seems likely. She could be a thousand years old or more, and she hasn’t seen Asgard since she was a child.
As the end comes, Loki tries to give Sylvie a pep talk, to tell her what makes a Loki truly a Loki. She, like all Lokis, are survivors. They might fail, they might lose, but no matter what, they always survive. And, amazingly, she managed to escape and elude the TVA even as a child. Loki takes Sylvie’s hand and hang on, is this romance? The music sounds like romance. They’re looking at each other with googly eyes. Is Loki falling in love with Loki? Ew.
No time to think about that, though, because something is causing the biggest spike on the timeline the TVA has ever seen, and it leads them straight to Loki and Sylvie. They don’t die a fiery death. Instead, it’s back to the TVA as prisoners.
Oh That Cameo
By far, the highlight of the episode is an unexpected cameo. After capturing the Lokis, the agents lock up Sylvie somewhere unseen, and Mobius pushes Loki through a red door. Just before he can, though, Loki tells Mobius the TVA is lying to him.
On the other side of the door, Loki finds himself back in Asgard. And out steps Sif (Jamie Alexander), a character we haven’t seen since Thor 2 (or possibly Agents of Shield if that’s considered canon). She holds up her hair, which Loki apparently cut off, beats up Loki, then tells him he deserves to be alone. He will always be. After walking away, the whole sequence of events loops and repeats, and nothing Loki says or does can break the cycle.
It’s wonderful to see Sif again, and it’s also heart-wrenching to watch the moment break Loki. It’s not just the physical abuse, but the mental anguish of hearing those words, “you deserve to be alone, and you always will be.”
In between beatings, Mobius meets with Loki just long enough to hear the rest of what he has to say. That everyone in the TVA is really a variant. Mobius also confirms the real cause of that giant spike—the fact that Loki and Sylvie were falling in love. Two variants of the same being falling in love would create pure chaos. As Mobius so aptly puts it, “what an incredibly seismic narcissist.”
But All is Not Well in the TVA
What this episode of Loki manages to do is handle all the “meanwhile” plotlines well. Even as Mobius is starting to believe Loki about the TVA’s lies, B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), the hunter Sylvie enchanted, is starting to have doubts too. She remembers her past. And so she breaks into Sylvie’s holding cell, takes her to an apocalypse, and the two form a plan.
During a “case closed” meeting with Renslayer, Morbius manages to swap his TemPad for hers and learn the truth about the agent who “died from insanity.” She didn’t go insane; she remembered her past. And she knew the truth, everyone at the TVA is a variant. Renslayer had her killed.
Morbius meets up with Loki to form a plan, but Renslayer catches on first. And she has an agent “prune” Morbius. Pruning looks a lot like disintegration. And to be honest, at first, I assumed it was a trick. That Loki had his powers, and he illusioned Morbius away. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Instead, Loki and Sylvie are taken to meet the Time Keepers. The Time Keepers want to see Loki and Sylvie pruned personally. On the way up the golden elevators, Sylvie asks Renslayer what event caused the TVA to decide to kidnap her as a child. Normally they only care once a timeline gets far enough off track from the sacred timeline. It doesn’t seem like the fact that she’s a female Loki did the trick; after all, they didn’t come after her at birth. But Renslayer claims she can’t remember. I think this will come back in a later episode.
What happens next is both some of the best and worst parts of the episodes. We finally see the Time Keepers! For real! But uh, you better turn on the captions. They gave each Time Keeper a thick accent, and snake-like rasps, and an echoey voice. I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. It’s awful.
None of that matters, though. B-15 shows up with Sylvie’s weapons, a giant fight ensues, Renslayer and B-15 get knocked out, and only Loki and Sylvie are left standing. The Time Keepers start to bargain, calling Sylvie a Time Child, but she throws her swords and beheads one of them.
I Called It
Back in episode two, I speculated that the Time Keepers weren’t real. They depended too much on faith, and only Renslayer seemed to have seen them in person. It all felt off and weird, like a giant lie to buy loyalty. I guess I was mostly right. When the Time Keeper’s head bounces down to our Lokis, they discover the truth—the Time Keepers are robots. Animatronic puppets. The other two simply slump. Someone else created the TVA, and the whole thing is built on a pack of lies. Everything they told us is a lie.
Sylvie is despondent, and Loki tries to comfort her with a profession of love (ew?). But before he has the chance, Renslayer “prunes” him from behind. Sylvie bests Renslayer again, and we end on the words, “you’re gonna tell me everything.”
Except we don’t! If you hang around, this episode gives us our first mid-credit scene. Loki is alive! Ad surrounded. By other Lokis. There’s Young Loki, Classic Loki, Boastful Loki, and Alligator Loki. Young Loki and Classic Loki are straight out of the comic books, and I have to say Classic Loki’s costume looks perfect and glorious and just as awful as it should. And if you look closely, the background is a destroyed city, complete with what looks like an exploded Avengers Tower. Now the episode is done.
And boy, do we have more questions.