Marvel: ‘Loki’ Episode 4 Review

Screenshot of Owen Wilson as Mobius and Tom Hiddleston as Loki from ‘Loki’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

Episode four of ‘Loki’ was just released and I have…erm a lot of thoughts. I’m going to forewarn you, I’m a bit angry. And that’s not to say I disliked this episode. There was a lot about this episode to like. But there are several issues with it that, with time, have made me angrier and angrier as I think about them. So this will be the first episode where I’m bringing back my ‘What I Disliked’ section. Yeah. I can’t say much else without spoiling the episode so let’s jump into this. SPOILERS ahead!

What I Liked:

Loki and Mobius: Honestly, this was one of two major saving graces of this episode for me. Loki gets recaptured by the TVA early in this episode, reuniting him with Mobius. This alone made me happy because I, along with most other Loki viewers, missed Mobius a heck of a lot last episode. Mobius is just a comforting presence and his banter with Loki is second to none. Mobius is snarky about the fact that he doesn’t trust Loki after Loki abandoned him to follow Sylvie. But Loki immediately shows how much he cares about Mobius the minute Mobius takes him back to interrogate him. Loki is attempting to talk himself out of his interrogation (Right before he gets thrown in to be kicked in the nuts by Sif a bunch of times), but when Mobius allows him a last trick, Loki tells Mobius that the TVA has been lying to him. No more lies or tricks. A truth that he delivers with such sincerity and concern for Mobius, that Mobius actually pauses. Mobius briefly pulls Loki out of the Sif time loop to make him elaborate. I actually liked the little moment that occurred right when Mobius appeared in the time loop, as well. Mobius knew Loki was ready to talk only after Loki comes to another realization about his own loneliness. The scene was heartbreaking, but it always seems that Loki comes closer to understanding himself when Mobius is around to point things out.

That aside, Loki spends his time in this interrogation lying about his apparent “master plan” in order to protect Sylvie. However, Loki once again becomes very sincerely concerned when he tells Mobius that he’s a variant who was kidnapped by the TVA. He even seems to mourn the life Mobius might have had before his kidnapping. Mobius uses this sudden change from Loki to seek out answers for himself. Which is relatively easy because Ravonna is a terrible liar and already set off warning bells in Mobius’ head when she revealed Hunter C-20 died for no apparent reason. Mobius quickly figures out that Loki is right and returns to rescue him. Within his rescue we learn a few things. Loki tells Mobius that he genuinely views him as a friend. Mobius hints that maybe a jet ski was part of his former life. And finally, when Mobius is “pruned”, we get to see how much Loki has come to care about a human. Loki cries not for another god, but a person of a species he felt was beneath him. Loki is changing. And Mobius is a major reason for that.

Sylvie and Hunter B-15: I was curious as to why Sylvie was being guarded so heavily as opposed to Loki. The both of them seem to pose a similar threat to the TVA. It wasn’t until Ravonna made the very purposeful decision to keep Mobius away from Sylvie’s interrogation that I realized what the problem was. Not only is Sylvie a good fighter, which we also got a good look at in this episode, but she’s evidently used her abilities to unlock the memories of TVA agents before Hunter C-20. Anyone who comes into contact with her is at risk of being “compromised”. And Hunter B-15, who was already taken over by Sylvie back in episode two, has definitely been feeling the effects of Sylvie’s influence. Throughout this episode we get to see Hunter B-15 waver on her loyalty to the TVA because of the things Sylvie’s magic made her see. When she goes in to interrogate Sylvie, she caves and asks Sylvie to completely unlock her memories. It’s emotional to see Hunter B-15 cry over the happy life that was wrongfully taken from her. Especially because Sylvie can also relate to being forced out of a happy life by the TVA. Afterwards, B-15 makes the intelligent move to leave immediately after her memories are unlocked. This decision gives her the ability to stay hidden until she sees that Sylvie and Loki are in trouble. At which point she swoops in to save the day like a badass. While Loki and Mobius were going through their own trauma, it was nice to see Sylvie and Hunter B-15 come together to deal with theirs. These two really stepped up in this episode.

The After Credits Scene: For one thing, Loki and Mobius aren’t dead! It’s pretty clear that Loki wakes up in a place where all of the things the TVA attempted to erase from the timeline have ended up. For another thing, that’s a lot of Lokis! We saw classic Loki, kid Loki, a Loki I’m not completely familiar with that appears to be holding a hammer (Is he worthy?), and alligator Loki! I already love this concept! Bring on the Lokis!

What I Disliked:

Loki and Sylvie: This is going to be a long one, folks. Tell me you didn’t see this coming. You can’t. Because I haven’t seen anyone who actually liked this development. People are calling it self-cest. And they’re completely right. To start, their genetic similarities as a result of, you know, being the same person, make this disturbing no matter which way you look at it. And though I’ve seen a few people attempting to defend this by saying they technically aren’t brother and sister, these similarities made a bunch of us instantly view them as at least something similar to it. You can’t just expect people to go from this line of thought to suddenly thinking that a romantic relationship between these characters is okay. Putting this aside, there are other aspects to this that make me genuinely angry. The first is the interview that came out with the writer and the director detailing why we shouldn’t think this relationship is weird. In it they explain that, in a story of self love, it only makes sense to have Loki fall in love with a version of himself. This sentiment is so incredibly stupid on so many levels I actually had to sit for a while to calm myself down. Self love and romantic love are not the same thing. Ask anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who has spent YEARS trying to grapple with both of these things. Romantic love is an incredibly complicated concept that involves the way you emotionally react to another person. It can also involve your needs or the qualities you value. Self love, on the other hand, is a personal issue. Outside help can, and in many cases should, be sought. But in the end, self love is a personal journey into caring about your own happiness and being proud of your own accomplishments and accepting yourself for the way that you are.

Coming back to Loki and Sylvie, I see some very contradictory statements coming from the series creators. The creators say one second that this relationship isn’t weird because Sylvie is actually quite different from Loki. But then they claim that this relationship is all part of the self love narrative. These two ARE different. Their backgrounds have turned them into very different people. Which means that there is no possible way for Loki to explore his own self love through Sylvie. We’ve seen Loki begin to accept himself for who he is at points in this series, but none of that has anything to do with his empathy for Sylvie. Moving on from this is my biggest issue with this relationship. It’s the bisexual reveal from last episode. Loki is bisexual, which means he can absolutely be in a straight-passing relationship. (He’s also gender-fluid, but he’s still identifying as male currently as the series has refused to explore this further.) But I’m so tired of seeing places like Disney think that it’s ok to praise themselves for one progressive line and then wipe away the part that society finds unacceptable. Yes, it was nice that Loki got to confirm his bisexuality. But did we actually get to see him in a relationship with one of those princes before he nearly confessed his feelings for Sylvie? No. Because Disney feels that the part of bisexuality where you could be in a same-sex relationship is taboo, so they’ll put him in a heteronormative relationship to ignore potential progress. I know there are plenty of bisexual people who feel they’re being erased because they’re in straight-passing relationships, and that isn’t fair. But at the moment, we are severely lacking same-sex relationships onscreen. Marvel has plenty of relationships between men and women. There is no shortage of them. There is absolutely NO representation for same-sex couples. And I stupidly thought ‘Loki’ might change it all. The exploration that has been done into his gender and sexuality in the comics has made him a queer icon to many, and I hoped that would translate over to the show. But no. We’re stuck with one crumb for the LGBTQ+ community while Disney and the director and the writers pat themselves on the back. I’m disappointed in this show.

So those are my thoughts on this episode. A lot of it was a large rant, and I apologize for that. But it all needed to be said. I’m excited to see what’s actually going on with the TVA now that we know the Timekeepers aren’t really pulling the strings. I’m excited to see more of Mobius and Loki’s interactions. I’m excited to see Hunter B-15 continue to kick ass. But today I find myself severely disappointed in this show. My heart hurts for the LGBTQ+ community after what ‘Loki’ chose to do on the last day of Pride. I sincerely wish they had set Loki up with Mobius instead of the grossness they gave us.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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