After a boring third episode, I entered episode four of Loki fearing more of the same and a streak that wouldn’t hold up. Well I have some great news! Episode four changed things instantly. And like Marvel, that left us with a lot of questions. You see, they lied to us.
Warning: This is a review of an ongoing TV series and will contain spoilers.
During the last interruption, Loki and Sylvie (the name our Lady Loki prefers) managed to run aground on a moon. Oh, what about the lunar planet? Currently crashing into the moon. We learned a few things about Sylvie (she learned magic on her own) and a tantalizing detail about the Time Variance agency. You see, every VAT agent is a variant! Just as we learned this detail, Loki and Sylvie’s last hope of leaving the moon alive literally exploded before their eyes.
And that’s it, really. Last week was a boring episode. Fortunately, this week has turned out to be much more interesting. You might think we’d start with how Loki and Sylvie will avoid certain death, but that’s not what happened.
Well at this point I think we can say for sure that Sylvie really is a Loki after all. Her powers and her chosen name scream Enchantress, but her story confirms otherwise. The episode begins in Asgard, with a young woman Loki playing with her toys. It’s hard to say how old she is as Asgardians and Frost Giants practically live forever and who knows how they age. But physically, she looks like a 12-year-old.
TVA kidnaps her, 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 VAT altogether. Oh, and keep it in question? Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Mobius’ boss (Owen Wilson) and now judge.
Here, right at the end of the flashback, we have our first real look at Time Keepers. Just kidding, they’re covered in shadow, and all we really see are silhouettes and glowing eyes. Renslayer apparently updated them on current events, and it didn’t go well. Later, Mobius asks to interview the agent Sylvie kidnapped and enchanted. But that is apparently not possible: she is dead. Renslayer claims Sylvie’s magic drove her crazy, and she’s dead. If you’re like me, anything Renslayer says looks suspicious at this point. But no time for that; how are Lokie and Sylvie?
Who else but Loki could love if not themselves
So, stranded on a moon, unable to escape the total destruction coming from the planet crashing into everything, what should Loki and Sylvie do? To be honest, I expected Loki to reveal that the TemPad wasn’t really broken at this point, but I guess I called it wrong. They both sat down and waited for the end. Loki apologized. And then they remember. Sylvie barely remembers Asgard, which seems likely. She might be a thousand years old or older, and she hasn’t seen Asgard since she was a child.
In the end, Loki tries to give Sylvie a pep talk, to tell her what makes a Loki really a Loki. She, like all Lokis, are survivors. They can fail, they can lose, but no matter what, they always survive. And, surprisingly, she managed to escape and evade VAT even as a child. Loki takes Sylvie’s hand and hangs on, is it romance? The music sounds like a romance. They look at each other with wide eyes. Does Loki fall in love with Loki? Uh.
No time to think about it, though, as something is causing the biggest spike on the timeline TVA has ever seen, and it leads them straight to Loki and Sylvie. They do not die a fiery death. Instead, it’s the return to VAT as prisoners.
Oh that cameo
From a distance, the climax of the episode is an unexpected cameo. After capturing the Lokis, the agents lock Sylvie in an invisible location and Mobius pushes Loki through a red door. Just before he can do it, Loki tells Mobius that TVA is lying to him.
On the other side of the door, Loki finds himself in Asgard. And Sif (Jamie Alexander) comes out, a character we haven’t seen since Thor 2 (or possibly Shield Agents if that is considered canon). She holds her hair, which Loki apparently cut, beats Loki, then tells him that he deserves to be alone. He always will be. After walking away, the entire 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 heartbreaking to see the moment break Loki. It is not only the physical violence, but the mental anguish of hearing these words: “you deserve to be alone and you always will be”.
Between hits, Mobius meets Loki just long enough to hear the rest of what he has to say. That everyone else at VAT is really a variant. Mobius also confirms the true cause of this giant spike, the fact that Loki and Sylvie were falling in love. Two variations of the same being falling in love would create pure chaos. As Mobius puts it so well, “what an incredibly seismic narcissist.”
But all is not well with VAT
What is this episode of Loki manages to do is to handle well all the intrigues “while waiting”. Even as Mobius begins to believe Loki about the TVA lies, Sylvie’s enchanted hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) begins to have doubts as well. She remembers her past. And then she breaks into Sylvie’s holding cell, takes her into an apocalypse, and the two form a plan.
During a “closed case” meeting with Renslayer, Morbius manages to exchange his TemPad for his and learn the truth about the agent who “died of insanity”. She did not go mad; she remembered her past. And she knew the truth, everyone at TVA is a variant. Renslayer had him killed.
Morbius meets Loki to form a plan, but Renslayer catches him first. And she has an agent who “prunes” Morbius. The size is very similar to the decay. And to be honest, at first I assumed it was a gimmick. That Loki had his powers, and he deluded Morbius. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, Loki and Sylvie are taken to meet the Keepers of Time. The Keepers of Time want to see Loki and Sylvie cut personally. Going up the golden elevators, Sylvie asks Renslayer what event prompted the TVA to decide to kidnap her when she was a child. Normally, they only care when a timeline deviates far enough from the sacred timeline. It doesn’t seem like the fact that she’s a woman that Loki did the trick; after all, they didn’t look for her at birth. But Renslayer claims she doesn’t remember. I think that 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 Keepers of Time! For real! But uh, you better turn on the subtitles. They gave each Time Keeper a thick accent, snake rasps, and an echo voice. I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. It’s horrible.
None of this matters, however. B-15 shows up with Sylvie’s weapons, a giant fight ensues, Renslayer and B-15 are knocked out, and only Loki and Sylvie remain standing. The Keepers of Time begin to negotiate, calling Sylvie a Child of Time, but she throws down her swords and beheads one of them.
I called him
Back in episode two, I assumed the Time Keepers weren’t real. They depended too much on faith, and only Renslayer seemed to have seen them in person. It all sounded strange and strange, like a giant lie to buy loyalty. I guess I was largely right. When the Time Keeper’s head bounces off our Lokis, they discover the truth: Time Keepers are robots. Animatronic puppets. The other two simply collapse. Someone else created VAT, and it’s all built on a bunch of lies. Everything they told us is a lie.
Sylvie is discouraged, and Loki tries to comfort her with a profession of love (ew?). But before he had a chance, Renslayer “pruned” him from behind. Sylvie beats Renslayer again and we end with the words “you are going to tell me everything”.
Except we don’t! If you hang around, this episode gives us our first half-credit scene. Loki is alive! Surrounded ad. By other Lokis. There are Young Loki, Classic Loki, Boatsful Loki, and Alligator Loki. Young Loki and Classic Loki are straight out of the comics, and I have to say the Classic Loki costume is perfect and glorious and just as gruesome as it should be. And if you take a closer look, the background is a destroyed city, with what looks like an Avengers tower that has exploded. The episode is now over.
And boy, do we have any more questions.