“The Nexus Event” formally introduces the Time-Keepers and even more mysteries in the best episode of Loki thus far.
This recap of Loki season 1, episode 4, “The Nexus Event”, contains spoilers.
“The Nexus Event” opens with Ravonna Renslayer reminiscing about taking a young girl from Asgard for crimes against the Sacred Timeline, and the whole thing is explicitly framed like one of those documentaries about draconian immigration policies, in which children are wrenched from their families and met with the blank stares of compassionless bureaucrats as they try to plead their case. It’s a weird flex for a Marvel property, but the fantastical wish-fulfillment of the brand comes through since the girl is able to swipe Ravonna’s TemPad and escape. Ravonna, it turns out, is thinking about all this right before coming face to the face with the Time-Keepers themselves, whose three smoky faces loom out of the shadows as the opening credits roll.
We didn’t see Mobius in last week’s episode, so it’s nice to see him stood outside the golden elevator, waiting for Ravonna to emerge. She isn’t thrilled about having just been rightly chewed out for allowing a dangerous Variant so close to their office, and she’s equally unhappy with Mobius, who still wants access to Hunter C-20 so that he can continue to pursue Loki and the Variant, even though doing so was what caused all this in the first place. Ravonna says C-20 has been in a state of constant mental decline ever since the Variant scrambled her memories, but is he going to buy that? He seems to.
Speaking of the Variant, she and Loki are posted up on Lamentis, which is now a smoking ruin being constantly battered by meteors. Sylvie recounts the events of the cold open from her perspective (she was the little girl, obviously) and explains how everywhere she ran caused one of the titular Nexus Events since her reality had been erased by the TVA and she wasn’t technically supposed to exist — she grew up at the ends of a thousand words, so I suppose it’s only fitting for her to die in an apocalypse. That’s how she sees it, anyway. As the CGI threatens to engulf them, Sylvie and Loki hold hands and await the end… as Mobius and the rest of the TVA watch the spike it causes on their timeline monitoring equipment. Suddenly, two portals appear behind Sylvie and Loki, and they’re saved! If you consider being taken right back into the custody of the TVA to be saved, anyway.
Loki episode 4 delivers a brief but valuable “Loki chats with Owen Wilson” scene, which has a different tone than usual since Mobius is upset that Loki is, far from being the God of Mischief, “just kind of an a*****e and a bad friend”. That oddly pathetic line clearly gets to Loki, who’s used to more grandiose put-downs. Before he’s shoved through another portal, this one red-rimmed, which obviously denotes a higher-than-usual level of seriousness, he’s sure to tell Mobius that the TVA has been lying to him (about how the Minutemen were supposedly created by the Time-Keepers, if you recall.)
The red portal transports Loki to a facsimile of Asgard, where a cameoing Lady Sif isn’t happy to see him. She gives him a slap, a knee to the nuts, and a right hand and leaves him squirming on the floor… it’s a memory, obviously, but one that endlessly repeats on a loop and that he can’t escape from. While the memory leads Loki to grapple with his narcissism and his fears of being alone, Mobius tries to finesse Ravonna into letting him interrogate Sylvie, but no such luck. Nobody is to see or speak to her, since she’s too dangerous, but all the caginess obviously raises Mobius’s suspicions. By the time he gets around to interrogating Loki, he’s clearly sick of the matter. Loki tries to blag his way out of his endless loop with Sif by pretending he orchestrated everything all along, but Mobius double-bluffs him by claiming that Sylvie has already been “pruned”, and mocking the sheer “seismic narcissism” of Loki falling for himself. Loki gets so wound up that he says outright that all the Minutemen are really Variants, kidnapped from the Sacred Timeline by the Time-Keepers, who subsequently erased their memories. Since Sylvie can access those memories via enchantment, it’s obvious why she’s so important. Loki’s claims that this whole TVA scandal affects all of them are difficult to quibble with. For once, he’s the most honest person in the room.
Someone else who has had enough in Loki season 1, episode 4 is Hunter B-15 — she storms into Sylvie’s cell, opens a portal with her TemPad, and takes her through it. At the same time, Mobius speaks with Ravonna, who claims that she has gotten word from the Time-Keepers that they want him present for Sylvie’s pruning. He counters by pressing her further about Hunter C-20, and it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that Ravonna is lying through her teeth. When she turns around, he switches out her TemPad.
Anyway, Hunter B-15 takes Sylvie to a rain-lashed Roxxcart to ask her about what she saw when Sylvie enchanted her. She wants to see the truth of her real-life again… so Sylvie shows her. Hunter B-15 asks the most pertinent question: “What now?” When Mobius roots through Ravonna’s TemPad, he sees a recording of Hunter C-20’s final interrogation, during which she backs up Loki’s claims by suggesting she and everyone else are Variants. That’s enough for Mobius. He goes to propose a team-up with Loki, as difficult as it might be to trust him, and the two of them leave the portal… only to be confronted by Ravonna and some goons. Mobius, knowing the jig is up, explains how if he could go anywhere, it’d be where he’s really from before the TVA took his life away. Ravonna immediately orders him pruned, and Loki looks convincingly devastated, almost as if the God of Mischief is used to putting on a front. Ravonna goes to get Sylvie, realizing that B-15 has also been “compromised by the Variant”, and takes the pair of them into the golden elevator to meet the Time-Keepers.
In the elevator, Sylvie asks Ravonna what her Nexus Event was, why she was taken away in the first place. It must have been important since it was enough to take her entire life away. And, of course, Ravonna can’t even recall it. You know, there have been a lot of villains in the MCU, but with that one line, Loki episode 4 might have made Ravonna the worst — certainly the most realistic.
The Time-Keepers are pretty comics-accurate, really. They’re exceptionally smug about things since both Loki and Sylvie are wearing collars that keep them from using their powers. Unfortunately for them, though, they weren’t anticipating the surprise arrival of B-15, who disables those collars and throws Sylvie a sword. Time to knuckle up! Everyone fights, Loki and Sylvie against the TVA and Ravonna, but of course, the Asgardians get the upper hand. In victory, Sylvie throws the sword at one of the Time-Keepers and lops its head clean off. The severed neck reveals sparking circuitry. They’re just androids. So, who created them? And where does it end? Does it even matter, at this point? Loki takes the moment to try and confess some of his honest feelings for Sylvie, but their romantic moment is interrupted by Ravonna, who prunes him! Sylvie is able to disarm her and demands that she confess everything that’s going on.
It’s going to be a long wait until next Wednesday, isn’t it?