Loki Season 1, Episode 4 (Disney+)
Written by Eric Martin
Directed by Kate Herron
As I’ve been watching Loki, I can’t help but hold it up against Wandavision and The Falcon to determine where it ranks. It’s certainly better than that dismal Falcon mini-series, but not sure about its comparison to Wandavision. I think the first Marvel series had some great pathos, but the weirdness and surprises of Loki are appealing to me quite a bit. I loved the reveals in this episode and the exasperated reactions of Loki and Sylvie to them. And I hope you didn’t miss the mid-credits scene because wow, that has me excited for the next episode, which I want to get really weird with it all. Like this is the moment to just go bizarro and make the Multiverse as wild as it could be.
This episode opens with some needed backstory as we see Ravonna as a TVA hunter capturing the young Sylvie. The variant timeline is wiped out, and Sylvie is headed for the same fate until she swipes Ravona’s TemPad and begins her life living in the moments of catastrophe through time and space. In the present, Mobius is told Hunter C-20 is dead due to her encounter with Sylvie, and the TVA rescues Loki and Sylvie before Lamentis-1 is destroyed. However, both Lokis are going to be interrogated and likely erased. However, Loki convinces Mobius to believe him when he shares that the TVA agents aren’t creations of the Timekeepers but rather mindwiped variants. B-15 is more quickly convinced by Sylvie and goes full rogue when the pair of Lokis are taken to the Timekeepers. The fight leaves Mobius wiped from the timeline, with Loki following close behind. Sylvie overpowers Ravona and wants answers when a significant truth is revealed about the all-powerful Timekeepers. Loki finds he’s not dead in the mid-credits scene but in an apocalyptic space where three Loki variants ask him to join them.
I’m very sure C-20 and Mobius are not gone from the show. Both are played by actors (Owen Wilson and Sasha Lane) who would not be relegated to such small arcs. The mid-credits reveal tells us that when someone is “pruned” from the timeline, they aren’t actually being erased but sent somewhere else. I suspect all the Multiverse elements are not destroyed but held in some pocket universe, explaining the chaos we see briefly at the end. I think it would be pretty delightful for Loki to lead the rebellion that explodes the Multiverse back into the mainstream because it would be the ultimate act of mischief one could do. I also want to note that Richard E. Grant wearing the original classic Loki costume is one of the best things I have seen all year, and I cannot wait to see more of him in the next episode.
Sophie di Martino is excellent as Sylvie, and I hope her character isn’t killed off at the end of this. I would like Sylvie to continue in some manner because she has a compelling story that I think could continue beyond this season. I also find B-15 is becoming more and more interesting with each passing episode. Her breakdown here, turning on the TVA, and having her past life revealed to her was pretty intense. I also loved that the audience doesn’t get a peek in her head, those memories are hers, and we’re left to speculate about what she saw that moved her so powerfully. While very much not grounded in reality, the characters here have more genuine pathos than almost anyone in The Falcon and Winter Soldier, which says a lot about these respective writers and showrunners.
I want to touch on the showrunner’s statement that beyond the dialogue that acknowledged Loki as bisexual, they will not explore that any further in the series. Okay, so then he just won’t have a romantic subplot, annoying but fine. Oh no, they aren’t putting on the brakes on his romances as they show him developing feelings for Sylvie. Now that does bring up questions about Loki being so narcissistic that he’s falling in love with himself, but it’s been made very clear that Sylvie is not the same kind of Loki he is at all. Therefore, he’s falling in love with an entirely different character who is female. I don’t think bisexual representation is in dire need of showing a man in a romantic relationship with a woman. Yes, it does happen, but I think what would push boundaries more and really be something new in this franchise would be Loki in romantic situations with another man or multiple genders. But no, Disney is doing its lip service queerbaiting once again and making sure it doesn’t actually rock the boat. If you are looking for media that actually shows LGBTQ+ relationships that go beyond dialogue, here is IndieWire’s list of some of the best. Marvel is a joke in this regard, and we should not give them acknowledgment until they feature a protagonist who is actually LGBTQ on film, not just in words.