With last week effectively dropping Loki and Sylvie into the middle of certain death, you always knew they were going to get out of it - even if they didn't.
The episode opens in a flashback wherein we're shown how Sylvie came to know the TVA and, more pointedly, why she's held a grudge against them for this long. Even more interesting is the fact that Ravonna - Gugu Mbatha-Raw's character - was the very TVA hunter who brought her in for "pruning", which is just a nice way of saying vaporising them.
As Loki and Sylvie face into their certain oblivion, the two of them slowly begin to bond and realise that their own messed-up relationship actually means something. Of course, later in the episode, Mobius makes a very relevant - and funny - point that it's a cosmic level of narcissism. Loki literally falls for a variant of himself, a female one. While that might seem like narcissism, maybe there's a bit more to it. When Loki and Sylvie are recaptured by the TVA after detecting the shift in the timeline from their touching hands, Loki is sent to a "time-cell" where he's forced to relive getting hit in the balls by Sif - with Jaimie Alexander returning for the role of balls hitter. After being expertly kneed in the infinity stones for a few hours, Loki admits that the reason he's like this generally is because he's a narcissist who craves attention because he's afraid of being alone.
Yet, when Mobius confronts him about his relationship with Sylvie, he then tries to dismiss their relationship as one that only benefits him and that when she no longer suits his purpose, he'll dispose of her just as soon as look at her. It's unconvincing, of course, but nevertheless, he eventually learns that she's still alive and will be for the time being. What's interesting about this episode is how things unravel so quickly. Hunter B-15, for example, starts to feel her memories come back from before she was in the TVA. Mobius, who's always been a loyal analyst, is beginning to question whether or not the TVA is telling him the truth. Loki has confronted his own problems, and Sylvie too confronts the reality that she's gone up against the TVA because she can't understand why they wanted her gone.
More revealing, however, is the fact that the TVA itself is basically one big sham. Each and every member of the TVA is themselves a variant, plucked out of the so-called Sacred Timeline and the memories that Sylvie enchants them with aren't implanted, but simply ones that have been buried for years. Let's talk about the scene right after Loki is broken out of his time-cell by Mobius for a minute and apologies for jumping all over the episode.
While we're led to think that the sticks the TVA use to vaporise people, we find out in the post-credits scene that it essentially deposits people into... a bin? A time waste basket where all the other variants go? The end credits scene has Richard E. Grant in Loki's comic-book costume, standing next to a black Thor, a lizard who has Loki's helmet, and a child Loki holding said lizard with Loki's helmet. Basically, the vaporising stick doesn't vaporise anyone - it just zaps them away to someone else. This, in turn, suggests that Mobius isn't really gone at all, but merely dropped into another place where - we hope - he gets his chance to experience jet-skis at long last.
The two final episodes seems to be gearing up for a showdown between the misfits and cast-offs of the Sacred Timeline and the TVA, which is a fantastic idea because who doesn't want the Marvel Cinematic Universe to get good and weird once in a while? Richard E. Grant feels like a perfect choice to play Loki, and a lizard Loki? Come on.
After Loki and Sylvie manage to confront the Timekeepers and they're revealed - another reveal! - that they're just robots, we're left with a mystery as to who actually created the TVA. If not the Timekeepers, then who? And why is the Sacred Timeline so sacred in the first place? Does it really need to be protected?
Overall, 'The Nexus Event' wasn't quite the exposition dump of an episode as we'd feared. 'WandaVision' and 'The Falcon and Winter Soldier' both had these episodes, yet 'Loki' managed to get all the reveals and twists out in such a way that it never felt like a slog to get through. More than that, the fact that quite a lot of 'Loki' has been made up of dialogue-heavy interrogation scenes and the like, it's really got a charm and vibe to it that's distinct from the other Marvel TV shows, maybe the whole MCU as a whole.
- The end title song is Brenda Lee's 'If You Love Me'
- RICHARD E. GRANT AS LOKI IS FANTASTIC CASTING, WE HAVE NO NOTES WHATSOEVER
- It's interesting how when the Timekeepers are revealed in their chamber before they're killed, the guards around them are super-fash looking, then you realise that everyone including the hunters are the same, and the very concept of industrialised extermination of variants is itself very fash-y, and then it all starts to make sense