The following post contains major spoilers for Loki Episode 4. Proceed with caution!
When a familiar face from the Marvel Cinematic Universe pops up, but that’s not the most gasp-inducing moment of the hour, you’ve got a rather eventful Loki episode on your hands.
Wednesday’s installment of the Disney+ series — its fourth out of six — briefly welcomed back Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif, but it also did the following: Showed us the Time Keepers, who actually do fit Loki’s “space lizards” description more than I thought they might. Confirmed Ravonna Renslayer to be a major villain. Possibly killed Mobius. (Nooo!) And definitely didn’t kill Loki, but sent him to a mysterious new timeline and introduced four new variants… one of which is a reptile. Busy day!
Early on in Episode 4, the TVA is able to locate Loki and Sylvie just moments before Lamentis is fully decimated; for reasons unknown (for now), their presence on Lamentis is causing an enormous nexus event, branching off from the Sacred Timeline with alarming speed and intensity. Thus, seconds before Loki and Sylvie perish in an avalanche of debris, two time doors open, and they’re taken back into TVA custody. Here are the highlights of what happens next:
* As punishment for betraying Mobius and the TVA, Loki is banished to a Time Cell, where an unpleasant memory — in this case, Sif repeatedly punching Loki for cutting off some of her hair as a prank — plays over and over on a loop. Prior to entering the cell, though, Loki informs Mobius that “the TVA is lying to you,” which appears to weigh on Mobius’ mind, especially after Renslayer suspiciously informed him earlier that Hunter C-20 is now dead after Sylvie enchanted her. (Renslayer also won’t let Mobius interrogate Sylvie, claiming Sylvie is just too dangerous. Sure, Jan.)
Later, while interrogating Loki about his and Sylvie’s master plan, Mobius lies that Sylvie has already been pruned (see: killed!) by the TVA, and he can tell by Loki’s reaction that the God of Mischief is harboring romantic-ish feelings of some sort for the Goddess of Mischief. And in Mobius’ estimation, it’s Loki and Sylvie’s weird chemistry that caused the massive nexus event on Lamentis: Two variants of the same being developing feelings for each other? That would straight-up break reality, and could even take down the whole TVA, perhaps. Loki eventually reveals to Mobius that he wasn’t created by the Time Keepers, and all TVA employees are variants who had past lives… but Mobius claims not to believe him, and it’s back to the Time Cell for Loki.
* Meanwhile, B-15 has her own suspicions about the TVA, after Sylvie briefly enchanted her mind while they were back at Roxxcart. She manages to get some one-on-one time with Sylvie in her interrogation room, and uses it to transport both of them back to Roxxcart on that same rainy night. B-15 says she saw something while Sylvie was in her head, and Sylvie ensures her it was a real memory of her pre-TVA existence; Sylvie can’t create new memories to deceive people, but can only work with what’s already there.
B-15 holds out her hand to be enchanted again, and Sylvie takes it, showing her something. We don’t see what’s happening in B-15’s mind, but her face is emotional and expressive as she visits the past. “I looked happy,” she says tearfully upon opening her eyes, and Sylvie nods. “What now?” B-15 asks.
* Later, Mobius presses Renslayer some more about what happened to C-20 and why he can’t interrogate Sylvie, and Renslayer tries her darndest to convince Mobius she’s protecting him. But Mobius isn’t buying it, and he secretly swaps his TemPad with Renslayer’s, where he finds grainy video footage of C-20 insisting she had a life before the TVA. Contrary to what Renslayer had told him, C-20 is of perfectly sound mind, and she reveals to her interrogator that everyone at the TVA is a variant… until Renslayer steps in to end the questioning (and presumably prune C-20 altogether).
Mobius then rescues Loki from the Time Cell and confirms that Loki’s been right about the TVA all along. They agree to trust each other while they attempt to figure out what’s really going on here… but the moment they exit the Time Cell, Renslayer and some guards are waiting for them, looking angry. Mobius returns Renslayer’s TemPad to her, playing it off like the devices simply got swapped by accident, but it’s clear he’s in real trouble. So Mobius tells Renslayer that if he could go anywhere in time, he’d go “wherever it is I’m really from. Wherever I had a life before the TVA came along. Maybe I had a jet ski.” And as he’s dreaming of riding on that jet ski, Renslayer orders Mobius’ pruning, and a guard turns him to dust with his time stick. Once more, with feeling: Nooo!
* Fortunately, there’s reason to suspect Mobius will be OK, heartbreaking as his sudden pruning might be. Following Mobius’ evaporation into time-space dust, Loki and Sylvie are taken to the Time Keepers for their prunings, which a newly enlightened B-15 ultimately prevents before they can be carried out. This leads to a fistfight between B-15, Loki, Sylvie, Renslayer and the TVA guards, with only Loki and Sylvie left standing at the end. (B-15 and Renslayer appear to only be knocked out, though.)
When one of the Time Keepers tells Sylvie, “You’re a child of the Time Keepers, too,” Sylvie hurls a sword at his head with incredible precision, fully beheading the Time Keeper while the other two space lizards laugh. But the head that rolls down to Loki and Sylvie’s feet is full of only wires and sparks, and the remaining Time Keepers suddenly power down like a malfunctioning animatronic at Disney World. “Fake. Mindless androids,” says an exasperated Sylvie, while Loki wonders who created the TVA if even these great leaders aren’t real.
Unsure of where to go from here, Loki has an idea. That offhand comment Mobius made about Loki and Sylvie’s bizarre attraction, and how it could take down the TVA? Loki seems prepared to test that theory, suddenly softening and telling Sylvie, “Back on Lamentis… uh, this is new for me…”
But just as Loki grabs Sylvie’s shoulders and looks prepared to possibly kiss her, he’s stabbed in the back by Renslayer, who has come to and is now pruning Loki with her time stick. He disintegrates into nothingness, and Sylvie looks at Renslayer with a venomous expression, swiping Renslayer’s time stick from her and holding it dangerously close to her face. “Do it,” a newly fearful Renslayer says. “No,” Sylvie replies. “You’re gonna tell me everything.”
* Fear not for Loki, though! In a mid-credits scene, he wakes up in post-apocalyptic New York City — and he’s not alone. “Is this Hel?” he wonders aloud, referring to the underworld of Norse mythology. “Am I dead?”
“Not yet,” answers a voice. “But you will be, unless you come with us.” And Loki sits up to face four new variants of himself:
One’s a crocodile! One’s holding a new iteration of Mjölnir, maybe? And perhaps this means Mobius is alive and well somewhere, surrounded by his own variants with increasingly impressive moustaches.
OK, your turn! What did you think of Episode 4? Hit the comments below!