SPOILER WARNING: Do not read if you haven’t seen Season 1, Episode 4 of “Loki,” streaming now on Disney Plus.
Since Marvel Studios embarked on its new adventure in streaming television, the episode of each of its series that falls on or just past the halfway mark has proven to be decisive — the fulcrum point on which the rest of the show pivots and things get truly bonkers. On “WandaVision,” it’s when Fietro (Evan Peters) shows up on Wanda’s doorstep. On “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” it’s when John Walker (Wyatt Russell) kills a man in broad daylight.
To which the minds behind “Loki” said, “Hold my mead,” because Episode 4 goes positively mad with game-changing plot twists.
Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) erases Mobius (Owen Wilson)!
Ravonna erases Loki!
Loki…survives? And meets…other Lokis?! And one of them is played by Richard E. Grant!
The title of this episode, “The Nexus Event,” could refer to why Sylvie was collected by the TVA, or a meta-joke about the wild episode itself and how it precipitated the unraveling of the so-called sacred timeline. But it’s really about Loki and Sylvie’s growing romantic bond, the spark of which on Lamentis-1 proved to be so profound that it caused the most extreme timeline branch ever seen by the TVA — and allowed Mobius to find and capture Loki and Sylvie.
Later in the episode, Mobius plops Loki in a time loop prison in which his old Asgardian compatriot Sif (an uncredited Jaimie Alexander) repeatedly smacks him up for cutting off her hair, ending always with a variation on the rebuke, “You deserve to be alone — and you always will be.” If Loki and Sylvie do find love with each other — as Mobius observes, a wild commentary on narcissism — that would certainly fly in the face of the seeming fate of every Loki to live only for themself.
Whether Loki and Sylvie can find each other again is just one of the big burning questions from this momentous episode. Let’s get to the others!
Is there any hope for the brainwashed victims and members of the TVA?
Oh, be still our hearts as we watched Hunter B-15’s (Wunmi Mosaku) face completely melt with tenderness as Sylvie showed her what her apparently happy life was like before she somehow got on the TVA’s bad side. But, Sylvie’s “enchantress” powers may not be enough to save all of the victims/members of the TVA that have been brainwashed into submission, which points to a probable Loki/Sylvie heroic team-up to finish out the series. Maybe Marvel will also do its fans right by cluing us in on the past lives of agents, such as Mobius. (More on him in a bit!)
What was Sylvie’s nexus event?
Sylvie, the Goddess of Mischief, is a “nexus event” herself — her existence supposedly forced the Sacred Timeline to branch out onto a non-Timekeeper approved pathway. A flashback shows that, once young Sylvie (Cailey Fleming, known best for portraying Judith Grimes on “The Walking Dead”), is, without warning and unsuccessfully, snatched by Ravonna back in her days as a Hunter, she begins an endless cycle of evading capture and hiding in “the ends of thousands of worlds.” If Lokis are, as OG Loki declares, meant to survive and elude death, then Sylvie is a prime example of a Loki (in spite of her aversion to the label). But what was Sylvie’s nexus event — or, rather, what chaos does her birth spur? Why was she not meant to exist?
What’s most curious is that Sylvie only showed up on the TVA’s radar when she was already 8 or 9 years old, rather than when she was a newborn. It may be that Lokis and their determination to survive are a unique threat to the TVA.
Wait, who are all these new Lokis?
If you turned off the episode once the credits sequence began to roll to Brenda Lee’s plaintive song “If You Love Me (Really Love Me),” you missed a classic MCU mid-credits teaser, and with it arguably the biggest reveal of the entire episode: When Ravonna erased Loki, she apparently didn’t kill him, but sent him to what looks like a barren depository for discarded Lokis (and possibly other pruned variants). According to the end credits, Loki was greeted by Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei, “Sex Education”), Kid Loki (Jack Veal, “The End of the F***ing World”), Classic Loki (the aforementioned Oscar-nominated international treasure Richard E. Grant), and an alligator with a Loki helmet who the internet is already calling Lizard Loki.
Much like Wanda Maximoff’s Halloween costume on “WandaVision,” Classic Loki appears to be wearing a version of Loki’s comic book costume, and Boastful Loki is wielding what looks like a variant of Mjolnir. It’s the appearance of Kid Loki, however, that is most intriguing. Like the name suggests, in the comics he’s a youthful reincarnation of the god of mischief; more importantly, he’s the latest in a growing roster of new MCU characters who play major roles in the Young Avengers storyline. (Others include Tommy and Billy Maximoff from “WandaVision,” Eli Bradley from “FAWS,” Kate Bishop from “Hawkeye” and Kamala Khan from “Ms. Marvel.”) His introduction here is perhaps the biggest indication yet that a “Young Avengers” series, feature, or both is on Marvel Studios’ horizon.
Farewell, Mobius? What happens when you get “pruned,” exactly?
From those aforementioned mid-credits scene, it appears that being “pruned,” or erased, may not necessarily mean death. At least, we hope that is the case for the pure-at-heart Mobius, who only wanted to see the good in Loki no matter if evidence pointed to the contrary. No doubt that, wherever Mobius is, he’s probably riding a jet ski (which may have likely been a cornerstone of his personality and his past life, hence his fixation on the watersport vehicles). There’s mystery as to where Mobius is, but one thing seems for sure: Loki and Mobius must have some kind of closure. Whether or not that happens in a sort of afterlife, or in Mobius’ original timeline (or an alternate one, somewhere in the multiverse), remains to be seen.
If the Timekeepers are fake, who is running the TVA?
The revelation — first predicted in Variety’s Episode 1 recap! — that the vaunted Timekeepers are fakey fake fakers leaves the real mastermind behind the TVA a wide open mystery. Some have noticed that the TVA’s logo flipped upside down looks a lot like “Val,” as in Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ scheming operator who made her debut on “FAWS.” But that Val seems rooted in much more Earthly concerns; placing her at the head of a time-and-space defying super authority would be an awfully big pill to swallow.
Other possibilities from the comics — like the Beyonder and Battleworld, or the Delubric Consortium — evoke the breathless speculation that Mephisto was destined to show up on “WandaVision.” They could work on paper, but weaving complicated, brand new characters as central figures in Loki’s story this late into the series is something Marvel Studios just doesn’t do.
That is, except for Kang the Conqueror. The time-traveling mastermind was already announced as the main villain in 2023’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” as played by “Lovecraft Country” star Jonathan Majors. Crucially, in the comics, he has a long history with Ravonna, who has revealed herself to be a lynchpin figure in the TVA’s activities on “Loki.” Many fans have already posited that the TVA resides from within the Quantum Realm, first introduced in 2018’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and clearly the central subject of the next film in that franchise.
In other words, Kang doesn’t just make sense from the comics — he makes sense for the MCU.
Or — OR! — it’s Miss Minutes. We’ll just have to wait until next week to find out.