New episodes of Marvel’s Loki drop every Wednesday on Disney+ and each week, ET is breaking down the biggest moments from the God of Mischief, his new friends Mobius and Sylvie and the entire TVA. Make sure to also check out our recap of last week’s Loki episode.
Are all time cops bastards? After last week’s big revelation — that the TVA workforce is actually made up entirely of Variants, plucked from their timelines and mind-wiped to serve as minions to the Time Keepers — that is the question at the center of Loki‘s fourth episode: Who’s good? Who’s a bastard? And who’s in the know about what’s actually going on at the TVA?
Episode 4, “The Nexus Event,” is hands down the best episode of the series thus far, unexpectedly emotional with a handful of deft action bits and a Marvel-sized wallop of an ending — and that’s all before Loki‘s first post-credits scene, which is a real jaw dropper.
The episode is, in many ways, about unwrapping the enigma that is Ravonna Renslayer, who we know as a formidable time judge but who we meet in flashback as Hunter A-23. It was Renslayer who arrested Sylvie for her crimes against the Sacred Timeline, and we watch as young Sylvie is taken from Asgard to the TVA, enduring the same bureaucratic rigamarole that played so sillily when it was happening to Loki in episode 1, but which now feels sinister enacted upon a little girl. Of course, Sylvie escapes — stealing Renslayer’s TemPad — and the rest is alternate history.
In present time — or the MCU circa 2012, as it were, or outside of time and space entirely, who really knows at this point — Sylvie and Loki are rescued from Lamentis in the nick of time after they inadvertently cause a Nexus event big enough to register with the TVA despite the impending apocalypse. So, what cause the Nexus Event? Gird your loins, shippers.
“Two Variants of the same being — especially you — forming this kind of sick, twisted romantic relationship, that’s pure chaos,” Mobius informs Loki. “That could break reality. It’s breaking my reality right now. What a incredible seismic narcissist. You fell for yourself!”
Last week, Loki’s bisexuality was made canon and this week he falls in love with himself. That’s queer culture, baby!
But while Mobius is telling Loki about himself, the God of Mischief has some news for Mobius: He’s a Variant, who had a life on the timeline and probably one with a jet ski. Mobius confirms this by stealing Renslayer’s TemPad (which apparently she still hasn’t password locked) and discovering she may be behind Hunter C-20’s death. (Due to C-20 learning the truth about the TVA and whatnot.) Renslayer, it would seem, is a bastard. B-15, meanwhile, comes to a similar understanding with Sylvie, setting this little quartet on a crash course with the Time Keepers.
OK, let’s get to the big stuff: Renslayer takes Loki and Sylvie to the Time Keepers to be pruned, after pruning Mobius herself. (“Wow,” I say in my best Owen Wilson impression watching the events unfold.) We meet the Time Keepers in the flesh, who look like Dr. Seuss characters but who have more in common with the Chuck E. Cheese band or the Wizard of Oz. Which is to say: The Time Keepers are not real.
The reveal comes after Sylvie decapitates one of the Keepers and finds his severed head full of wiring. “It never stops,” Loki remarks. “Then who created the TVA?” Which is when he gets pruned! Our Loki, deleted from the sacred timeline forever! It’s a helluva way to end the episode. But wait!
Of course, our Loki isn’t gone for good, as he awakes somewhere, somewhen in the post-credits scene. “Is this Hel?” he asks. (The subtitle confirms the spelling.) “Am I dead?”
“Not yet,” a voice that sounds suspiciously like Richard E. Grant says. “But you will be unless you come with us.”
And it is Oscar nominee and noted character acotr Richard E. Grant! As Classic Loki! Dressed in the comic-accurate green and yellow costume! He’s with Boastful Loki (Deobia Oparei), who wields a Mjölnir-like hammer of his own, and Kid Loki (Jack Veal), who carries a tiny crocodile wearing a tiny horned helmet. Lest you mistake the reptile for Kid Loki’s pet, he is very likely another Loki Variant! Somebody get Crocodile Loki a tiny hammer, stat!
◦ To clear up some of our earlier debating about whether Sylvie is the MCU’s version of Lady Loki or Enchantress, the answer is: Neither. “She’s a unique character,” director Kate Herron told ET, confirming Sylvie is a female Loki Variant and not an imposter. Just not that female Loki Variant. “Lady Loki in the comics is a very different character to our character, obviously. I love that character and I think she’s got a very different journey.”
◦ “The Nexus Event” contains our first in-universe reference to vampires ahead of Mahershala Ali’s Blade. “We brought in Kree, Titans, vampires,” Mobius lists off past TVA detainees. I’d wondered how the relatively grounded MCU was planning to tackle literal bloodsuckers, and now we know: There just are vampires in the MCU and that’s that on that.
◦ After sitting out Thor: Ragnarok, Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif makes her first of two return appearances within the MCU. In this Loki episode, she pops up when the God of Mischief is imprisoned in a Time Cell, with Sif both physically and emotionally beating him down for cutting her hair, Sour Patch Kid-style. Next, she’s set to reprise the role in Thor: Love and Thunder.
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