As the TVA wrestles with two Variants, Clémence Michallon recaps the events in ‘The Nexus Event’
This week’s episode of Loki had a lot of work to do, and it got right to it. Revelations were made! Variants were pruned! Plots were twisted! A declaration of love was tragically cut off!
Last week’s instalment, “Lamentis-1”, took us out of the TVA and focused entirely on Loki, Sylvie, and their joint efforts to avoid being annihilated in an apocalypse. That meant we didn’t get to see the TVA deal with the repercussions of Sylvie’s bombing of the Sacred Timeline in episode two. Episode four, “The Nexus Event”, brings these two worlds together once again, and answers this question – and many more – about the TVA’s dealings.
Så, the TVA really sucks
We’ve known for a while now (and by “a while” I mean two episodes) that something’s wrong with the TVA. This episode pulls back the curtain on the organisation’s dark side, and boy, it’s dark.
First, TVA agents are seen in a flashback arresting and capturing a young Sylvie, on the basis that she’s a Variant. Seriously, who arrests a literal child? She was just trying to play with her toy Viking ship like a good little Asgardian!
Neste, the TVA locates Loki and Sylvie – as they stare down the abyss of an impending apocalypse on Lamentis-1 – and captures them too. Loki is immediately thrown into a cell and tortured. Sikker, it’s not the direst form of torture ever depicted on screen (he gets yelled at and beaten up over and over again by an incarnation of Lady Sif, the Asgardian warrior). But Mobius (sweet Mobius!) uses that as a pressure tactic when he later interrogates Loki, basically giving him a choice between speaking or going back into the cell, where Lady Sif awaits. Not exactly a fair interrogation.
Apropos of the TVA’s messed-up judicial practices, if memory serves, wasn’t Renslayer both judge and prosecutor when Loki was first brought in front of the TVA? En gang til, we’re crossing that threshold into the realm of “fully messed up”.
Selvfølgelig, there’s a slight chance that things will get turned on their head once more, and the TVA will be revealed to not be so evil after all. There are still two episodes left, so who knows! Maybe this is just a clever manipulation to make us really despise the TVA before surprising us one more time.
Follow the white rabbit
In last week’s episode, Sylvie revealed to Loki that the TVA’s employees were not created by the Time Keepers (as they’ve been led to believe). Nei, the truth is they are Variants whose memories of their own past have been wiped. Quite the plot twist! This means that Loki is now burdened with the glorious purpose of getting Mobius to see the light and realise he, også, has been manipulated.
Except Mobius doesn’t want to see the light. Or maybe he can’t. Who could blame him? The information is coming from Loki, who – no offence, Loki – lies a lot. And Mobius believes he has spent his entire life at the TVA, serving the interests of the Time Keepers and preserving the Sacred Timeline. If I were him, I’d have a little trouble believing Loki too.
And so Loki goes full Matrix, with Mobius as a reluctant Neo and – I guess that’s where this analogy is taking me – Loki as Trinity, trying to guide him towards the truth.
He was a God, she was a Variant, can I make it any more obvious?
Last week’s bonding between Loki and Sylvie toed a delightful line between friendship and romance. “Enemies to friends” and “friends to lovers” are two of my favourite tropes, so as far as I’m concerned, that’s all good fun.
This week’s episode takes things further. During Loki’s interrogation with Mobius, it becomes evident that Loki does, in fact, have a humongous crush on Sylvie. I have a feeling this revelation, and the way it plays out on screen (a lovesick Loki trying to profess his love but struggling because “this is new for me”) aren’t going to please all Marvel fans. Some people will love it, for sure. But the fandom can have strong reactions whenever romantic plotlines are explored so outwardly, so we can also expect some fans to be less pleased.
Me? Vi vil, I’m a romantic. Whenever I watch anything, part of my brain is just yelling “Kiss! Kiss!” at the screen on a loop. I like a tortured Loki wrestling with his own feelings. I like Tom Hiddleston as a lovesick God/prince. I like it all.
Despite this softer edge, the episode ends on a dramatic note, with Mobius AND Loki getting pruned by the TVA (and Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15 having an awesome moment rebelling against the organisation).
Cut to the end credits, to the tune of “If You Love Me” by Brenda Lee – aka a 1961 version of Édith Piaf’s French classic “”Hymne à l’amour”, literally a hymn to love! Nice touch. Maybe it was the song, or maybe I had a lingering feeling that the episode wasn’t quite done (or maybe I just couldn’t accept Loki’s pruning), but I kept watching as the credits rolled. Turns out that was a wise decision, because this episode marks Loki’s first post-credits scene. Loki, freshly pruned, wakes up to be confronted by four more Loki Variants – including a crocodile and a Variant portrayed by Richard E Grant!
What a delightful surprise. I can’t wait for the show to return next week, and I’m already sad that there are only two episodes left.