Today, Loki gifted viewers with a welcomed and awaited game-changing episode. While the previous episode focused on Loki’s character development and effectively took a detour from the overarching TVA-centered storyline, Episode 4 gets back on the main road and kicks it into high gear. The series so far has danced around the mysterious details and inconsistencies of the TVA and Time-Keepers. Episode 3’s reveal that TVA workers are all variants whose memories were wiped exposed a thread that this episode pulled on to extensively unravel the sacredness of the sacred timeline. This episode truly excelled at building momentum in the story going into the final two episodes of the series.
The episode begins by introducing Sylvie’s background as the “Goddess of Mischief” who was taken by the TVA—with Judge Ravonna Renslayer as the hunter—as a child and her timeline reset. Sylvie later asked Renslayer what her nexus event was. Specifically, what was so important that Sylvie had to suffer? When Renslayer coldly says, “I don’t remember,” the lurking dark side and apparent arbitrariness of the TVA and sacred timeline is emphasized.
After Loki and Sylvie are captured again by the TVA, they start to tell the agents interrogating them that they are variants who once had lives before the TVA reset their timelines. Hunter B-15’s tearful remark that “I looked happy,” when Sylvie showed her some of her past memories was a particularly moving moment. In the end, Mobius and B-15 believe the Loki duo and start to rebel against the TVA—this leads to all of the major players of the series being in action at the same time, which is very fun, very exciting, and generally a blast to watch. While deception by Loki and Sylvie still cannot be ruled out, the show has been relatively predictable so far, and it feels fairly safe to assume that the current storyline regarding the TVA agents is genuine.
One of the two big “reveals” of the episode is that the Time-Keepers—or at least the ones who can be reached via a golden elevator—are nothing more than mindless androids. This is not particularly shocking, but it does open the door for a much larger reveal as to who created the TVA and is trying to maintain the timeline, which will almost certainly be more exciting than the space lizards. The second not-so-surprising reveal is that when someone is “pruned”, they seem to not actually be killed. Instead, it appears as though they end up in some other dimension or point in time—in this case, what looks like post-apocalyptic New York. While it isn’t clear, this is where we will likely find Mobius as well as Loki in the next episode. The first mid-credits scene of the series ends in a shot of several very odd-looking Loki variants pulling a “come with us if you want to live.” As weird as this show is compared to the rest of the MCU, it is clearly about to get so much weirder.
The episode also harps on Loki and Sylvie’s ambiguous and potentially romantic relationship. As they seem to connect on a deeper level on Lamentis-1, a highly dramatic branch in the timeline emerges. So far, it is implied that a Loki-on-Loki romance somehow caused the branch in the middle of an apocalypse, but that seems highly unlikely. Let’s be honest, the idea of the two being romantic is pretty uncomfortable. The fact that Mobius confronts Loki as someone who must truly be a narcissist for only loving himself and the paired fact that Loki never actually confirms it but seems to lean into it feels an awful lot like something built for a Loki-style deceptional twist. All in all, the episode pushes the notion that Loki is destined to be alone, but may in fact have a shot at more outside his timeline. In any event, whatever caused such a dramatic variant change in the timeline during an absolute apocalypse must be big.
4.5 Lady Sifs out of 5
Episode 4 felt at times fairly awkward with the potential Loki-Sylvie romance as it never actually takes it all the way there. Instead, the episode drives the plot forward very aggressively but well-paced enough that it didn’t feel overly rushed or jarring. While the larger twists were not overly surprising or gasp-worthy, they were necessary to bring the series to where it is clearly going in its final two episodes. Having all of the major characters in significant force by the end of the episode was genuinely entertaining and it played out in a way that made the buildup of the first three episodes feel perfectly fitting. It is exciting that Episodes 5 and 6 seem primed and ready to deliver a spectacular finale to the already daring show. I would hate to speak too soon, but…bring on the multiverse?
- Jaimie Alexander’s cameo as Lady Sif is another nice callback to the “normal” MCU Loki storyline and a reminder of where we actually started with the character.
- It is a huge relief that those Time-Keepers were not going to stick around, because that CGI was absolutely terrible (but maybe on purpose).
- If Crocodile Loki doesn’t make it to the end of the series, what was even the point?