by @holocronGeorge for @mar_tesseract
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Loki – Episode 4: The Nexus Event
It’s incredible how much emotion, tension, intrigue, and action can be packed into a mere 48 minutes, but Loki proves time is no restriction in its fourth episode. The Nexus Event picks up on Lamentis with Loki and Sylvie waiting for an impending death on the apocalyptic planet. Meanwhile, Mobius searches for the variants as mysteries about the TVA are unveiled.
Last week’s cliffhanger left us waiting with baited breath after we were finally introduced to Sylvie and saw her relationship with Loki develop and evolve over the span of an episode. The Nexus Event immediately follows up on Lamentis as Sylvie and Loki await their deaths. There was something destructive, yet poetic about these beginning moments of the episode. Loki and Sylvie have known each other so briefly, but now they are two individuals who will be sharing their final moments together so intimately. Loki’s comforting of Sylvie was heartwarming and the backdrop of the planet silently turning to rubble was stunning. From the get-go, Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino command the screen once again in this episode.
After a departure from the inner-workings of the TVA last week, episode 4 sees a reintroduction of Mobius, Ravonna, and Hunter B-15. The Nexus Event really explores the intrigue surrounding the TVA and the unique position Loki finds himself situated in. Once recruited by the TVA to stop Sylvie, Loki now feels connected to his fellow Variant and disturbed by her revelations about the TVA. In many ways, episode 4 feels like a mirror of episode 1, but things have changed now. Loki isn’t the conniving villain he once was – he is more reasonable, vulnerable, and selfless. Owen Wilson’s superb turn as Mobius continues, but now with a twist – there’s a seed of doubt regarding the intentions of the TVA. There was a sense of tension reverberating throughout the entire episode as we saw Mobius and Hunter B-15 gradually grow suspicious of the TVA in the wake of their interactions with Loki and Sylvie. After a few episodes in the background, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was given her most substantial role in the series yet as we follow Mobius’ suspicions and similarly come to realize the TVA is not what they seem.
Apart from the core mystery, The Nexus Event also featured the return of Jaimie Alexander’s Sif in unique fashion. While ultimately inconsequential to the broader narrative, the mere inclusion of Sif added a sense of interconnectivity between Loki and the Thor films that came before it and, hopefully, opens the door for Alexander’s return as the character in future projects.
Tensions come to a head in the final act of episode 4. After deliberation and investigation, Mobius follows his gut and concludes that the TVA is hiding something and that Loki may be telling the truth that he and the other agents were not created by the TVA, but are Variants plucked from the timeline. It’s not long after the formation of Loki and Mobius’ reforged alliance that Mobius shockingly ‘dies’ at the hands of Ravonna and her TVA forces. At the time, this moment was shocking and felt like we had truly said goodbye to Mobius, but the closing moments of the episode put this in doubt. Either way, Loki’s reaction to Mobius’ death as he is dragged through the halls of the TVA was heartbreaking and further emphasized what kind of person the God of Mischief is becoming as a result of his interactions with others.
It’s from there that the episode goes to new heights of suspense and unpredictability. We are finally given our first look at the mysterious Time Keepers. Their design was grandiose and haunting, although their dialogue was too muffled and difficult to hear. The entire action sequence that ensues before the Time Keepers very much evoked Rey and Kylo’s team-up in Snoke’s throne room in The Last Jedi, as many fans have pointed out. And, similar to the duel in Star Wars, this fight also felt like it could have been at the center of the closing moments of a movie. As the agents of the TVA are disposed of, we see Sylvie behead one of the Time Keepers, only to reveal that they are machines. This fake-out felt a little predictable given the MCU’s tradition of similar fake-outs in previous projects. That being said, the twist comes with two episodes to go and is executed extremely well.
Speaking of twists and turns, seeing Loki ‘die’ as he was about to confess his feelings for Sylvie felt like a knife to the back. We had never seen this intimate and warm side of Loki before and suddenly he is taken away. This heartbreak doesn’t last long, however, as we’re greeted to one of the MCU’s most bonkers post-credits scenes yet. Loki wakes up only to stand before three other Loki variants, once of which played by the incredible Richard E. Grant. What this means for the remainder of the show remains unseen, but the sheer surprise of it all really took our breath away.
Mysteries were interestingly unraveled in The Nexus Event, an episode that saw Loki reach new heights of intimacy and unpredictability. The suspicions of Mobius and Hunter B-15 were intriguingly explored, as was the relationship between Loki and Sylvie. The big reveal regarding the Time Keepers was well executed, albeit somewhat predictable, which is something that could not be said for the death and reappearance of Loki before a series of Variant Lokis. Needless to say, Loki demands your viewing and continues to impress week after week.
Images courtesy of Marvel Studios & Disney+