12:12 pm EDT, June 30, 2021

‘Loki’ episode 4 review: The lies you tell yourself

In our Loki episode 4 review, we discuss this week’s explosive twists and how they could affect the MCU moving forward.

Last week on Loki episode 3, we saw Loki and Sylvie try to navigate Lamentis-1 and avoid getting caught up in the apocalypse. There were a few revelations along the way (bisexual Loki!), but they were ultimately trapped in the apocalypse.

Believe it or not, this week’s episode was even more exciting. There have been a lot of awesome twists over the past month, but episode 4 stands out, regardless. And just imagine—we still have two episodes left!

Loki promises to be a game-changer for the entirety of the MCU, and I can’t wait to see how they wrap up this series and use its momentum for Doctor Strange 2 and beyond.

‘Loki’ episode 4 review

Sylvie’s story

loki episode 4 sylvie

The episode begins with a young female Loki who was taken as a child and erased from her timeline. Ravonna Renslayer was just a hunter when she took the young girl to be judged, but Sylvie’s always been quick. She stole Renslayer’s tempad and escaped.

This means Sylvie’s been on the run for decades, barely staying one step ahead of the TVA. In that time, she’s learned a lot about the Time-Keepers and how the Sacred Timeline works. Once she figured out she could hide in apocalypses, she began to formulate her plan.

“The universe wants to break free,” Sylvie explains to Loki, “so it manifests chaos.” She reflects upon what this means given she was born the goddess of mischief. Was she a variant because she was the female version of Loki, and therefore not the one the Time Keepers deemed appropriate for the Sacred Timeline?

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This is never fully explained. Even when Sylvie asks Renslayer what her nexus event was, Ravonna says she doesn’t remember. Sylvie is obviously angered and disappointed, having thought all this time that it must’ve been important if they took her when she was just a child.

If we’re meant to believe there is only one true timeline and all variants stem from the Sacred Timeline, then it means Sylvie is Loki. It also means she did something they deemed inappropriate for this universe. We know Loki is gender fluid, so was this the first time he identified and presented himself as a woman?

If this is the case, it could open up a wider dialogue on gender fluidity, identification, and women’s roles in a story like this. Why was Sylvie the variant instead of Loki? How do the Time Keepers decide what belongs and what doesn’t?

That’s some mind-boggling speculation for this Loki episode 4 review. Something tells me we might not even know by the end of this series.

Is this love?

loki episode 4 lady sif

On Lamentis-1, Loki and Sylvie touch, and something passes between them. It’s enough to create a nexus event (a temporal lock) the likes of which Mobius has never seen before. And it’s enough to pinpoint Loki and Sylvie’s location so the TVA can bring them in.

On the one hand, they’ve avoided being crushed on Lamentis-1. On the other, they’re both now in custody. It’s not an ideal situation, and tension is surely high within the walls of the TVA. These are some slippery variants.

Loki doesn’t want to cooperate with Mobius, but he tells him the TVA is lying to him before he’s sent off into a time loop in which Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) berates and beats him over and over again for cutting her hair.

It’s here that Loki finally admits he craves attention and is a narcissist. He also admits it’s because he’s scared of being alone. Sif reminds him, “You are alone, and you always will be.” It’s certainly a hell of his own making, but it also shines a light into the darkest reaches of his mind.

When Loki first aired, I was worried this version of everyone’s favorite anti-hero wouldn’t play as well as the Loki we saw in the later films. He’d been through so much by that time that he’d grown a lot. It would be hard to build him back up when the series had to start at a point just after the events of The Avengers.

But I was sorely mistaken, and I’m glad to have this Loki episode 4 review to expand upon that.

Although we’ve had much less time with Loki, the events have also been concentrated. Even the time loop, which happened over the course of a couple minutes in the show, was enough to reveal Loki’s deepest fears. And now that he’s admitted it to himself, he can move foward, a changed man (er, god).

When Mobius pulls Loki out of the time loop, the two sit down for a real talk. Mobius quickly discovers that Loki has fallen in love with Sylvie:

“Two variants of the same being, especially you, forming this kind of sick twisted romantic relationship?” Mobius says. “That’s pure chaos! That could break reality. It’s breaking my reality right now! What an incredible seismic narcissist! You fell for yourself!”

At first, I wasn’t so sure about this particular twist, but it makes sense if you consider how narcissistic Loki is. His deepest fear is being alone, and he’s always felt like an outsider. The only one who could possibly relate to his experiences is a different version of himself.

But it goes even deeper than that. Marvel has written an interesting article about how head writer Michael Waldron pitched this as a main focus of the series. He even goes on to say, “But in a series that, to me, is ultimately about self-love, self-reflection, and forgiving yourself, it just felt right that that would be Loki’s first real love story.”

This is something I can get behind. If Loki can fall in love with a version of himself, he can turn that same love inward. Yes, he’s a narcissist, but that’s merely a defense mechanism used to assuage his fears. Now that he’s admitted his fears and understood he deserves love, the real work can begin.

In fact, Mobius later tells him, “You can be whoever you want to be. Even someone good.” This, above all else, gives Loki hope and brings him back to where he was by the time Thanos killed him in Infinity War. As mischievous as Loki is, I think he’s always craved goodness and looked up to Thor’s righteousness.

Loki struggles to achieve what his brother does naturally, but that doesn’t make Loki’s actions any less valid. In fact, I would argue that Loki’s choice to be good is more admirable than someone who does not need to constantly stave off their own darkness.

This changes everything

loki time keepers

Last week’s revelation that everyone working for the TVA is a variant themselves was blown out of the water by this week’s twists and turns. There’s so much to talk about how this could affect the MCU moving forward that this Loki episode 4 review might not even be able to contain it all.

To start, Renslayer is a bit more of a sinister character than I had initially expected. She tells Mobius that Hunter C-20 is dead because Sylvie scrambled her brains, but it’s not hard to see through the lie. Mobius takes Renslayer’s tempad and sees C-20’s interrogation, which confirms what Loki told him—they’re all variants.

Renslayer won’t let Mobius anywhere near Sylvie, and this undoubtedly sparks his imagination. He mentions how they’ve had all sorts of variants through the TVA, including Kree, titans, and vampires (Dr. Morbius, anyone?), and yet this particular one seems more dangerous than all the rest.

Mobius’ comments also spark something in Hunter B-15. Despite being by-the-books from the beginning, I love that B-15 is also capable of thinking for herself. The memories Sylvie brought to the surface have her questioning her own reality, and she goes to the variant to get answers. What she learns changes everything.

Unfortunately, Renslayer is only half a step behind. It truly shocked me when Mobius was pruned on the spot like that. Owen Wilson’s character has been my favorite from the beginning, and while there’s hope we may see him again, I still find myself mourning his death.

Renslayer takes Loki and Sylvie in front of the Time Keepers, but B-15 shows up and frees them before they can be killed. The pair take out all the guards and knock down Ravonna, only to find out the Time Keepers are merely robots.

Okay, time to pause this Loki episode 4 review once again to do some speculation. We knew from episode 1 that the TVA had a machine which would detect if a variant was a robot and destroy them immediately. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Time Keepers weren’t real, but here we are.

I see three possibly purposes for this machine: One, to tell us (the audience) that robot impersonators exist in this world; two, to deflect any speculation about the Time Keepers being robots themselves; and three, to destroy any other robots before they could possibly get to the Time Keepers.

Sylvie says the Time Keepers are mindless, which leads me to believe options one and two are more likely than option three. However, there’s still the little issue of who was controlling these Time Keepers and where the real Time Keepers are—if they even existed at all.

Considering we’ll be jumping into the multiverse in Doctor Strange 2, it isn’t a leap to assume this will change everything. With the TVA falling apart at the seams, there’s no telling how reality will fold into itself.

Despite everything that just happened, Loki was on the verge of telling Sylvie how he truly feels about her before Renslayer unceremoniously prunes him. Sylvie quickly gains the upperhand and then demands Ravonna to tell her everything. How much does Renslayer know? Hopefully we’ll find out next week.

‘Loki’ episode 4 after credits scene

loki episode 4 after credits scene

The last piece of business for this Loki episode 4 review is the after credits scene. When Loki was pruned, I assumed it meant you were sent to another dimension. As interesting as it would be to have Tom Hiddleston’s Loki ripped from the universe and replaced with Sophia di Martino’s Sylvie, I’m glad we don’t have to say goodbye just yet.

If you sat through the credits this time, you’ll have come face to face with Loki once more. He asks if he’s in Hel (that’s with one ‘l’) and if he’s dead. A voice answers him, saying, “You will be unless you come with us.”

When he looks up, he’s faced with four versions of Loki. From left to right, we have DeObia Oparei, who plays a version of Loki with Thor’s hammer; Jack Veal as the kid version of Loki, who also happens to be holding an alligator variant; and finally, Richard E. Grant as an older Loki who’s dressed in the comics’ original costume.

My biggest question is where all these Lokis have congregated. Does each person get their own dimension full of their variants? Does this mean Mobius is in a dimension full of other versions of himself?

My second question is what they’re running from. In the background, you can see city ruins. Our Loki’s life is in danger, per Richard E. Grant’s warning, but what could possibly exist in this dimension that may prey on variants? Perhaps the pruning isn’t the part that kills you—it’s where they send you to die.

This week gave us so much to think about, and I can’t wait to see what Loki episode 5 brings to the table when it airs on July 7.

What did you think of our ‘Loki’ episode 4 review?

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