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Loki: Breaking Brad

"Stop trying to be a hero, man. You're a villain. And you're good at it. Do that."

Excellent episode title. Thematically relevant as well!

X-5 both surprised and confused me. Last week, he seemed like he was very closely aligned with Dox, and not just because of the forehead touch thing. I did not expect him to suddenly cling to the idea of having a life outside of the TVA. His life. I had some whiplash when it came to that, and it put me on the back foot for most of the episode. He just felt like a very different character than the person we met last episode.

It did lead to some of the high points of the episode. Of course, for all of the reminders from Mobius to not let him under his skin, Mobius was the one who snapped. It brought out an intriguing shade of his character. He doesn't remember his life before the TVA, but he also doesn't want to. Why would he? He likes his life in the TVA. It's his own glorious purpose. Why put yourself through the pain and the temptation of another path? Especially if it's a good path. It's easy enough to disregard a bad life. A good life is one that would linger.

The entire pie scene was a showcase of Mobius and Loki's bond, and it was such a highlight. Loki was very caring all throughout the episode. Last season, he wouldn't have asked Mobius multiple times if he was okay. He wouldn't have put his hand on Mobius' shoulder at the end of the episode when things went poorly. He's changed.

Even if everyone doesn't fully believe it or buy into it. Apparently, Lokis aren't meant to be heroes. They cause trouble. They make things worse. They lose. This idea was brought up last season with the question of: What makes a Loki a Loki? This one, at least, is trying to give a different answer. Kind of. I don't think that Loki wants to be a capital 'H' Hero like Thor or Iron Man, but he wants to prevent indiscriminate slaughter and the end of time. That's a good place to start.

You knew that we were building to something. The first time that X-5 insisted on getting back to the TVA, his excuse was believable. Of course he didn't want to be around Sylvie. But then he kept saying it. Over and over. I liked how jumpy he was, how on edge his body language was, but the dialogue didn't need to be that blatant. At least they didn't drag out the mystery of what Dox was doing. She had such an urgency last time that it made sense that she would act to fix what she saw as a disaster.

The fight against Dox and her forces was very quick, though. Too quick, for my liking. The entire set up went by incredibly quickly as well. It needed a little bit more time to breathe. Still, I did love how Loki and Sylvie did magic together at the end. Even when things are tense, they're still able to work together and connect on the level.

It wasn't enough, though. A lot of timelines were still pruned. I could have done without the heavy-handed "Those are people," but the emotion of the moment still carried through. (Another time that the script could have been more subtle.) It's a powerful feeling to end the episode on, and the melancholy continued through the closing moments with Sylvie.

There was a surprising lack of Sylvie overall. After we ended last episode on her, I expected us to spend more time exploring her new life. Instead, we just met up with her at the end. Apparently she graduated from ordering at McDonalds to working there. I'm too young to fully appreciate the nostalgia factor or how well they may have replicated the setting in those scenes, but other people tell me that they did a great job with it.

Sylvie finally has a life. She has a home that she can come back to, has people who ask if she's okay, and there's no danger of a war zone or an apocalypse dangling over her head. She can just live. It's not surprising that she hated the idea that Loki was back: he threatened that by his very presence. The tension between them was amazing, and I wish that we got more of it. I'm sure that we will. This kind of fracture doesn't heal on its own, especially after what Dox did. It'll be fun to watch.

Random Thoughts

Zaniac is indeed a comic book reference, as is X-5's name, Brad Wolfe. Wolfe played the killer in the slasher movie, Zaniac, when he gets infected by a swarm of demonic entities.

I'm a little confused. Everyone in the TVA is a Variant, and yet X-5 had built his life in the Sacred Timeline. So what happened to that timeline's Brad Wolfe? Did he ever exist? Did X-5 kill him? He made it seem like he just slipped back into his original life, but that shouldn't be possible.

I do love how much Casey we're getting. And his dynamic with O.B.

Why didn't Loki mention the fact that the Loom can't handle multiple timelines at all? That seemed like a better pitch to Sylvie than the idea that multiple Kangs are going to show up. After all, she did kill one already. What's a few more?

Did anyone really believe that the torture session wasn't completely planned? I never once thought that Loki was actually going off script. It was too obvious.
An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I'm unsure as well about how X-5's life as Brad Wolfe fits and what happened between him and Dox. He knows her plans but isn't helping her carry out them. Because she still thinks he's looking for Sylvie? Or was his "reward" for finding her the freedom to enjoy a life on the sacred timeline? Doubtful. Plus if Dox had known where Sylvie was, she would have pruned that branch first.

    I think Loki thought that O.B. had "fixing" the Loom under control at that point. Also the whole point of the Loom would have to be explained for it to even make sense to her.

    The "torture" session going according to script was probably made to be a bit more obvious than it needed to be so it wouldn't shake our faith in this redeemable Loki. Yes, it removed the tension of "is Loki going back to his villainous ways?" but few would have bought that anyway, even with a more subtle approach. You can enjoy the scene of Loki playing X-5 like a fiddle without worrying that a "good" character is resorting to torture. Better to save that sort of questioning on a bigger moment anyway.


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