Episode 4 - The Nexus Event
Welcome back all you fellow myth nerds to another Loki episode breakdown! Cat and I have dug deep into Episode 4: The Nexus Event. As with last week, this conversation will be divided into three parts: The Episode, Marvel Lore, and Mythology.
Obviously, this entire conversation contains ALL THE SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen Episode 4 yet, maybe give that a watch first. Unless you are chaotic like Loki and spoilers are your bread and butter.
Don’t hesitate to give us a holler on social media to tell us what you thought! We’d love to know your takes on Episode 4.
Lyra: First, I just gotta say, this episode had me screaming on multiple occasions. I may have even thrown something. THIS. EPISODE. Just gonna say it here, I loved it. I loved it because it caused me immense pain. THE PRUNING! (I can’t believe Mobius’ last words were “Jet Ski”...someone hand me the tissues)
Cat: Honestly I was super mad about the episode and how stupid Loki’s fucking death was going to be, but then we got the after-credits scene and I changed my mind. But go on.
Lyra: No, I honestly get that. BUT...The first thing that struck me with this episode is how it picked up threads from Episode 1. Namely, that Loki’s entire function in the universe is to lose and to be a villain. To be alone. THAT is all Loki is allowed to do on the sacred timeline. However, we now see it’s possible to break that cycle, which happens with a nexus event on Lamentis 1.
For the first time, Loki and Sylvie aren’t alone. They aren’t facing death alone. They have each other, and their combined belief in the other breaks the “loop of pain” they’ve been forced on. THIS is what saves them, and this...this is what I found incredibly moving and beautiful.
Cat: I read this in a very similar way, and took it directly to the idea that the trickster archetype isn’t supposed to feel loved and satisfied with their lives because they need to be motivated to get up to nonsense and change the world. Boom, nexus event.
Lyra: After this event, Loki learns that he can be loved, he is worthy of love, and doesn’t HAVE to be the villain. He has a choice. He knows he is MORE, and Mobius tells him as much, which echoes what Frigga always told Loki. They both believe in him.
Cat: Exactly. We see in this episode that Loki’s being told over and over “I hope you know you deserve to be alone and you always will be.” Mobius tells Loki that Sylvie is dead because he knows they have a connection and will talk if he removes Loki’s hope. Mobius is killed in front of Loki’s eyes and we see him mourning him in the hallway afterwards. Loki has never been close to anyone and when he tries, it backfires and causes him suffering. This Loki never went through the motions of learning that his brother really loved him, remember?
So what was the nexus event?
Loki figuring out he isn’t alone and doesn’t have to be the villain.
Lyra: Exactly! Oh! It gives me chills. This love is what is most important, and I think is the beating heart of not only this episode, but this entire series. I also want to say that the love shared between Loki and Sylvie is NOT romantic. This is not a romance. It is platonic. It is self-acceptance. It is self-love.
I think it is integral here to understand the different types of love there are. Because “love” does not automatically equal “romantic” love, or “Eros.” And this is where this show, and this episode in particular, get a big bravo from me, because it is detailing the various forms love can, and does take. I believe the loves we are seeing demonstrated here are “Phillia” (friendship), “Philatuia” (self-love-I know I’ve said this already a million times, and I will say it a million more because I just adore this), and “Agape” (empathetic and universal love). I mean Mobius has always shown empathy for Loki since the beginning. Same as Loki’s mother.
We can’t lump any form of affection, tenderness, love, etc., into one basket.
Also, just one small soapbox moment if you please...Loki is genderfluid. Sylvie is genderfluid. Loki is always Loki. How Loki presents does not change Loki’s identity or invalidate Loki’s queerness. Please...can we just…*sigh*
Cat: Sometimes I get the feeling that in trying to protect queer space, there can be an overcorrection. Lateral violence is a great term and everyone should understand it.
And on a related note, there are people out there who are saying that this is a SylviexLoki incest ship. And okay, maybe? But the only person who said that is Mobius. Neither Sylvie or Loki have said that. And wouldn’t it be just on par with the rest of the theme for someone to misunderstand Loki’s intentions, think him incapable of anything good, and tell him that he’s only capable of loving himself, DESPITE the fact that we see that he DOESN’T love himself? Doesn’t that idea fit very well with the kinds of things that straight people say to queer people, making them doubt their own inner workings?
Lyra: RIGHT? The only one who poked the “Incest Bear” is Mobius, and sure, I mean, it checks out that the only one Loki COULD fall for would be himself, haha. BUT...if we are really going to split hairs over this, technically it’s as I said last week...this would technically be masturbation. Not incest.
Look, even Tom Hiddleston said that Loki needs to learn to love himself first before there would be any kind of romance. So can we please just chill?
Cat: Like he was killed mid-sentence, you have no idea what he was going to say and the only reason you think you do is because you’ve been trained on tropes to predict patterns. Literally, let the man finish speaking.
Lyra: Self-realization, self-love, and the transformative power of friendship were the true winners here.
Cat: If you read the scene as romantic and don’t give room to the thought that it could just be that Loki’s never had a fucking friend, it’s on you that you don’t think that a friendship can be so powerful that it can change your timeline.
CAUSE IT CAN.
An overarching theme of self-acceptance and self-love would fit a queer audience very well, don’t you think? And yet some people are so quick to anger that they’re not willing to see how it plays out.
To me, that just reads as people saying they want complicated, honest queer narratives but turning their backs the second anything gets real or messy. Which happens all the fucking time.
END RANT, MIC DROP.
The Marvel Lore
Lyra: OK...so it appears that Ravonna’s dislike of “Loki” is rather personal, given Sylvie escaped her long ago. I thought it super creepy how she kept Sylvie’s sword as a trophy, along with so many others from past “missions.” And I’m curious, are all these other trophies relics of past Loki conquests? I feel like the true goal of the TVA is really to exterminate Loki, i.e. any chaos and all chaos in the universe.
On another note, I learned that Ravonna has something to do with Kang the Conqueror? I am thinking the show might be headed in that direction as we found out the TIME KEEPERS ARE A FRONT?? This is like the Wizard of Oz...who is the wizard? Who is really running the TVA?
Cat: Speaking of Ravonna. This scene with Kid Sylvie not only mirrors Kid Loki at the end, but it brings up a lot of questions about the ethics of the Time Keepers. What did she do, play with her raiding ship wrong? The only reasonable thing I can pull from it is that Sylvie unwittingly has created the plan that will save the realms from Ragnarok but that’s a fucking stretch. And the guy that’s pulled into the TVA beside her in his fucking PJs?? What did he do, forget to use lotion? And then for Ravonna to not remember the incident that fucked up Sylvie’s life? Gross. Ravonna is either The Fucking Time Keeper or is an evil Ho.
BUT to contradict myself, Ravonna also seems really keen to be pruned at the end of the show…maybe she's just the head pawn.
Lyra: I also think the TVA is kind of a metaphor for toxic religion/cults.
Cat: Indoctrination is a hell of a drug.
The Norse Lore
Lyra: THE MEMORY PRISON SCENE...WE GET LOKI CUTTING SIF’S HAIR. I screamed. I SO appreciated this nod to the original myths, AND bonus...we got some testical kicking action that would make Skadi proud. Loki really never seems to have a good day, does he?
Cat: I loved that they finally dropped the Loki Cuts Sif’s Hair thing. Just in case you aren’t aware, kind reader, in the myths, Loki cuts off Sif’s hair either for fun or at Odin’s request, depending on the version you read. The cutting of a woman’s hair has a lot of historical and cultural importance, as it was typically something done to adulterers and was a very big insult. Whatever the reason, this is a very strong example of the trickster archetype acting as catalyst, because if Loki hadn’t cut Sif’s hair, he would’ve never had to replace it, and would never have had Thor’s hammer Mjolnir made as well.
Lyra: Another great Myth!Loki nod was Loki “revealing the truths we keep from ourselves.” Especially as concerns Mobius and Hunter B-15 finally learning and accepting that they’ve been lied to and the TVA is a front for something evil.
This is Loki’s main function as a trickster. He makes us face what we find uncomfortable and charge headfirst into it. Not just because he’s an asshole, but so we can come out on the other side, as stated even in episode 1, as the “best version of ourselves.” If you want change, you have to invite chaos. Will it be fun? No. But once you emerge from the fire, you will be stronger and have achieved a higher understanding.
Overall Thoughts on Episode 4:
Lyra: This was my favorite episode so far, I’ll admit. Not only do we get some fantastic Myth!Loki nods, but also a gorgeously presented exploration of the types of love and the power they can make in our lives.
Cat: I think the train episode is still my favourite but this is a close second.
Lyra: Love is ultimately what will take the TVA down. Loki breaking free of the set path they’ve forced him on in enduring pain, stripping away his hope, WEAKENING him...As Frigga said, Loki CAN do anything, and the TVA knows this, and why they won’t let him ever have love.
So, Loki finally believing in himself. Loving himself. Herself. Theirselves...this is Loki’s salvation, as is it all our salvations.
Cat: I agree. Because what’s more powerful than something powerful? Someone powerful who believes in themselves.
Lyra: It also makes me think of a little theory I have about kid Sylvie...we see her just happily playing and this somehow creates a nexus event. I believe Sylvie’s happiness and peace and feeling loved is what caused the event. As I said above, Loki knowing love is not allowed as it takes him off his set path...
On a more whimsical note…
THE END CREDIT SCENE! I screamed for the millionth time.
Especially with ALLIGATOR LOKI??? I will love him forever.
Cat: I really wanna see what they can set up with this. One person online suggested that Kid Loki shows up for Young Avengers WHICH MAKES PERFECT SENSE AND I WANT IT. The only thing that could’ve made me happier than this crew is if Agents of Asard Loki was in there. That’s the Loki that feels closest to my heart. SAD.
But like, ONLY CROCOLOKI COULD TAKE THE THUNDER AWAY FROM KID LOKI. And is that MJOLNIR IN THAT MAN’S HANDS? OLD LOKI’S COSTUME. I screamed so loud my neighbours probably started dialing 911, I swear.
And honestly, I think we need to prepare for the idea that this might be setting us up to pass the torch from Loki to Slyvie for the next series of movies. Maybe? I hope not. But it’s not impossible either. Most everyone got shuffled out of their positions from the first arch of the MCU so it wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Glorious Conclusion - What we want to see in Episode 5
The many adventures of “Alligator Loki” or “Lokigator” as I want to name him.
What was Loki going to say to Sylvie before he got pruned? (HOW MANY TIMES MUST I WATCH THIS MAN DIE?)
WHERE IS MOBIUS? He better be happy in his own Owen “The Butterscotch Stallion” Wilson universe.
I need a distinct answer to the “is Loki in love with Sylvie” so people will shut up about it, but this was an excellent PR stunt to get people writing articles about the show
Is President Loki a variant and why do I love him so much?
I want someone to tell me that the NYC backdrop of this final scene is actually after Ragnarok. Yes, give this to me.