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Loki: The Nexus Event

“Do you think that what makes a Loki a Loki is the fact that we’re destined to lose?”

First, that was awesome. Second, what the hell just happened?

In true Marvel fashion, the second half of the season opens by turning expectations on their head. I was quite content to speculate what the Time-Keepers evil agenda was and whether Loki was a villain on a redemption arc or an anti-hero. Hell, I at least thought I knew what the TVA’s glow sticks did. The debate over Loki still holds true, but the rest is anyone’s guess.

Fortunately, we have plenty to mull over while we await more clues. Themes of trust, friendship, connection, and destiny spring to mind. Since the first two are intertwined in this episode, let’s tackle them together, shall we?

What defines a friend? Is it camaraderie and a shared past? Or is it based on trust and sacrifice? Could it be all of the above? I think most of us would have defined Mobius and Renslayer’s relationship in terms of friendship. Maybe with a side order of romance or at least a dash of attraction. Did Mobius’ growing distrust or Renslayer’s eventual betrayal negate what came before?

Does that make Mobius and Loki friends? Each appears deeply offended by the other’s betrayal. As if they were somehow owed better. And considering that their relationship boils down to a detective and his suspect/CI, their concern for each other seems genuine. Loki even offers Mobius the soubriquet of friend in his most heartfelt voice. Though since it’s Loki, one can never be sure.

What is most telling about these relationships are the lies and truths they choose to tell each other. For my part, I believe Mobius and Renslayer were friends. Just as I believe that for all her misdirection and half-truths, she wasn’t lying when she told Mobius she was trying to protect him. Renslayer knew if she were forced to choose between Mobius and the TVA... Well, we saw how that ended.

As for Loki, he doesn’t lie to Mobius until he doesn’t see a viable alternative.  That Loki withholds information makes sense since it’s the only leverage he has, and the alternative is pruning. Sadly, Loki’s actions only serve to convince Mobius of his duplicity. So, when Loki finally admits the truth, we have yet another “Boy Who Cried Wolf” moment.

Then there’s Mobius. He may be good at his job, but since it entails nearly as many lies and manipulations as either Loki or Renslayer, he’s hardly the poster child for honesty. A fact proven when he informed Loki Sylvie had been pruned. What a badass play for such a subtle and mundane moment. I personally don’t believe there’s anything romantic between Loki and Sylvie, and I’m not sure Mobius thought so either. However, he realizes the connection is real and it just might be the cause of the nexus event. So why not play the card he’d been dealt.

And it worked. He is able to read the God of Mischief, to understand which of Loki’s emotional levers to push in order to ferret out the truth and the instinct to know said truth when he hears it. Whether or not Mobius wanted to believe it is another story.

Now that we’ve explored Mobius’ perspective regarding friendship and trust, we need to turn our attention to our titular character, or characters', in this case, debate on destiny verses free will and their need for connection. Given their respective histories, Sylvie’s question about the defining characteristic of a Loki is as prudent as Loki’s answer is prophetic. Is it their destiny to always come up short? Or are their chaotic natures tools of a higher power?

I prefer to believe their continual failure is the product of their unwillingness to trust anyone else. What is success if there’s no one to share it with? Could this be the nature of Loki’s connection to Sylvie? That the recognition of each other’s pain and loneliness gives them a foundation on which to build the trust they refuse everyone else? Why else would the narrative focus so heavily on Loki’s destiny to be alone only to have him end up in the company of three other Lokis? Just a thought.

Mobius’ belief that the Lokis could bring down the TVA obviously has merit. Nexus events aside, their mere presence causes chaos. Sylvie succeeds in turning Hunter B-15 against the TVA while Loki sows enough seeds of doubt to make Mobius question the motives of his oldest friend. When the TVA resorts to pruning their own, there are cracks in the foundation.

Regardless, someone high on the food chain wants the Lokis for a reason. We’re led to believe Sylvie and Loki are two of the most dangerous variants in (out of?) the Sacred Timeline. Yet, instead of being pruned on sight, they are brought before the Time-Keepers. To a place most TVA employees have never been. The only question is who that someone is. Given that flashbacks show a young hunter version of Renslayer going before the Time-Keepers, I’m going to go out on a limb and say she is not our Big Bad. Although, it’s obvious she knows more than she’s let on.

Now I’m left with a mountain of questions. Who is the big bad, what is their relationship to Renslayer, and what is their agenda? If Loki is alive, what does pruning actually do? Could Mobius be alive as well (pretty please with sugar on top)? And what happened to Hunter B-15? Just once I’d like the black side character to make it out alive.

No matter what happens, I’ll be watching.

4 out of 5 Time-Keeper Androids

Parting Thoughts:

If there were any doubts about the TVA’s evilness, how can you justify pruning a child? What was her crime? Being born a girl? Don’t get me started on the narrative implications of that!

Not that I wasn’t grateful for that mid-credit scene (Hi there, Richard E. Grant), but it undercut the power of watching Loki be pruned.

Quotes:

Renslayer: “In the best of circumstances it’s jarring to stand before the Time-Keepers. This is not the best of circumstances.”

Sylvie: “The universe wants to break free. So, it manifests chaos.”

Mobius: “We’ve brought in Kree, Titans, vampires. Why is it two orphan demigods are such a pain in the ass?”

Sif: “You are alone. And you always will be.”

Mobius: “If you’re not working for the Variant, what is it? You’re partners?”
Loki: “Absolutely not. She’s difficult and irritating and she tries to hit me all the time.”

Mobius: “What a pair. Gosh! Unbelievable. Wherever you two go, it’s just death, destruction, the literal ends of worlds.”

Loki: “Of all the liars in this place, and there are a great many, you’re the biggest.”

Renslayer: “Is that what you wanted to hear?”
Mobius: “Yeah, if it’s the truth.”

Sylvie: “What was my nexus event?”
Renslayer: “What does it matter?”
Sylvie: “It was enough to take my life from me, lead to all of this. Must have been important. So what was it?”
Renslayer: “I don’t remember.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

12 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

I really enjoyed this episode! I love the implications of Loki, the ultimate narcissist, finding love with another version of himself.

I have mixed feelings about the mid-credit sequence. On the one hand, I'm very glad we get more Tom Hiddleston Loki. On the other hand, I would have loved for Marvel to take a risk and really, really kill him off this time.

Shari said...

I had mixed feelings too, Josie.

Given that we've seen scenes with Tom Hiddleston in the trailers that haven't shown up in the episodes, I knew Loki would make another appearance but it could have been another Variant instead of the one we'd been following up to this point. So, what could have been a week of collective speculation ended before it began.

You're right. It would be a bold move to kill off Loki permanently. But I doubt it'll happen until Tom wants to hang up his horns.

CelStudios said...

In hindsight, it was kinda disappointing (and predictable) that the show didn't just let Loki die and pass the torch onto Sylvie or something like that, but my internet went out right before the mid-credits scene so I ended up having a bit more of a shock than most people.

Josie "Still Giggling" Kafka said...

"But I doubt it'll happen until Tom wants to hang up his horns."

This made me giggle for quite a while.

Shari said...

Then my work here is done. :)

Anonymous said...

Great review! I really enjoyed reading it! I liked reading about your ideas on friendship, truth, and lies, and of course everything else.

I really liked this ep! I also really like the idea that Loki can only understand and open up to another version of himself; it's both fascinating and a little sad that he can't be truly honest with anyone except himself.

I really like Sylvie!

I, for one, am very happy Loki didn't die because I've lost way too many favorite characters over the years! On pretty much any show, it's almost a certainty that my favorite character dies! (Spoilers for Avenger's Infinity War follow):

Loki's death in Infinity War was really really hard for me, and I hated that I had to wait a long long time before I knew he survived.

(End Spoilers)
I was so relieved for that mid-credit scene in Loki because I really didn't want to wait a week to see if my favorite character survived or not!

Thank you very much for writing such a great review!

Shari said...

Wow! I'm happy you enjoyed it so much.

I'm right there with you. Loki is one of my favorite characters because you never know if he'll be a force for good or ill at any given moment. Regardless, he's never boring and Tom Hiddleston plays him to perfection.

Even if they were to kill him at the end of the season, I find it hard to believe they wouldn't find a way to bring him back again. He's just such a good foil for the Avengers (or your average Supervillain depending on the day). So don't lose hope.

Shari said...

I just had a thought. If all the TVA employees are Variants could they have arrested Sylvie so they could have their own Loki on the payroll? It's obvious someone wants the Lokis alive...

TJ said...

All I thought was - but it's Tom Hiddleston!!! The sexiest man alive in this multiverse! They can't kill him off!!

And they didn't...

Shari said...

Awww, TJ.

You must have been crushed after Infinity War?

Anonymous said...

I don't want to lose Loki again. Hiddleston is why I'm watching this. Sylvie is a nice bonus, and i kinda ship them. Even if it's..dunno..selfcest? Plus..Richard E Grant, always welcome.

Anonymous said...

Killing off the title character in the middle of the first season seems a bit extreme. And even before I saw the mid-credit sequence I realized that this is a show about altering the timeline, so nobody is ever really dead.

BTW, I'm hoping it was the alligator that was telling Loki to "come with us"!