"Loki" Episodes 3 & 4

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Sasha Lane, Neil Ellice, Susan Gallagher, Cailey Fleming


Episode 3: Lamentis

The usual Marvel fanfare is bizarrely replaced by a hip hop song this episode. This turns out to be playing in a restaurant somewhere. C-20 in her pre-TVA state is reading the menu. Across the table, Lady Loki suggests they maybe eat somewhere else. C-20 asks why she hates this place so much. Lady Loki is like 'no, it's fine. I'm sure a lot of restaurants get repeatedly shut down by the health department.' C-20 takes a sip of her drink and winces at the brain freeze. Lady Loki rambles about brain freeze being a literal freezing of the synapses and offers to test that theory by asking a question that C-20 won't be able to answer until her synapses have unfrozen. "How many people are guarding the Time Keepers?" C-20 is like 'the what now?' She blinks and the entire restaurant surroundings change. Lady Loki gets her attention and asks how long they've been friends. C-20 agrees it's been a long time. Lady Loki says she can tell her anything, so "why won't you tell me how many people are guarding the time keepers?" C-20 starts to answer, then gets distracted looking around the restaurant. She realizes she remembers this place, but doesn't know who this woman is, actually. Lady Loki says she's just tired.

Somewhere, C-20 is in some sort of dreamlike state with Lady Loki touching her temple, mumbling that yeah, she must just be tired. Lady Loki asks how she finds the elevators. C-20 mumbles that they are "gold" and Lady Loki lets her go before looking at the monitors and seeing Mobius and Loki et al arriving outside because it turns out they're at Roxxcart.

And now we're back to just after she walked through the portal. It turns out it went to the TVA. She emerges just after a bunch of minutemen depart to respond to the emergency she created and swaggers off. She tries to use that green energy thing on the first minuteman she encounters, but since powers don't work at the TVA she has to knock him out the hard way instead. She takes out three more, using a prune stick on two agents.

Back at the door, Loki comes running through and hesitates before running after his female counterpart, looking at the locker B-15 put those knives she wouldn't let him have in. And then he's creeping down the hallway with the knives in hand. He finds her at a door just after she dispatches a couple more agents and does the little knife flip trick Tom did just for shits and giggles in Ragnarok that made it into the trailer despite not being in the actual movie. "A few questions," he says. Starting with is she really a Loki? She walks past him for...some reason...and then declares he's in her way. They lunge at each other a couple times. He suggests that maybe, possibly, they could work together. She kicks him in the chest and he drops both knives. He adds that that is obviously a bad idea as she lacks "vision". She rolls her eyes and turns to walk away. He grabs her by the back of her cloak and she lunges for him. He twists her arm behind her and says she can come willingly or not, but this is how he plans to get to the time keepers. She flips him and they roll back upright just as Renslayer comes around the corner, flanked by two minutemen and wielding a prune stick. Lady Loki holds her dagger to Loki's throat and threatens to kill him if they come any closer. Renslayer is like '........and you think that's an effective threat because?' Loki grabs the temp pad off her belt and opens a portal beneath them before Renslayer can reach them.

Lady Loki scrambles to recover the temp pad that has been dropped. Loki grapples with her a bit and she smashes his face into the nearest surface. She tries to use the pad, but it has a little logo of Miss Minutes cheerfully announcing that the battery is too low. She takes a swing at Loki, but he teleports himself behind her and throws her into a wall. Because hey, powers are working again. He picks up the pad and she snaps at him to give it back because he doesn't even know how to charge it. He's like 'oh, because you're the only Loki who can use tech?' She snaps at him not to call her Loki. She tries to take the pad, but he makes it disappear into a pocket dimension or something. She sneers that he's just a magician then. He offers to make her disappear and pulls out the knives again. A meteor crashes through the ceiling of whatever room they're in and he asks if that's one of her powers then. She asks where he sent them with the temp pad.

We get an outside shot of a desolate landscape with meteors crashing all around that the chyron identifies as Lamentis 1 in 2077. We pan up to see what looks like a moon of some sort cracking apart and WAY too close. They scramble out of some sort of tent structure and she yells that he is a MORON because that planet is about to crash into this moon in the WORST apocalypse she's seen. They dodge falling rocks as he snarks that he didn't have time to "consult the brochure" before opening the portal.

They hide under a large earth mover type vehicle and he notes that she stopped trying to kill him. She's like 'yeah, you still have the thing that might get me out of here, so.' They run to a little building that still has lights on it. While he's gasping for breath, she reaches to touch the back of his neck with both hands. There's a pause while she stares at him expectantly. He asks what she's doing. Trying to enchant him or something?
Emilio: Not if it isn't working, no.
He thinks that won't work because his mind is too strong.
Emilio: [snort] Doubtful.
Chrissy: Hey!
Diandra: Oh, yeah. This is going to be fun.

She pulls out the dagger again and he pulls out his daggers and asks if they really want to do this again. He suggests they call a truce since they aren't getting off this moon until they can get the temp pad working.
Chrissy: We can stab each other later all you want.
Diandra: [cough cough] Yeah. Thank you, Freud.
He thinks he might be able to get somewhere if he doesn't have to worry about her trying to stab him "every thirty seconds". She says he needs her to recharge it and he knows it or he would have left her to the meteors out there. He's like 'fine. Let's just "slaughter each other" then.'
Emilio: Is that a euphemism?
Chrissy: If it was, I would have said we should stab each other.

She says the plan he so casually interrupted back there took YEARS of planning and she intends to go back to the TVA and finish it as soon as they get that pad working. Then she'll kill him. He snorts not if he kills her first.
Emilio: I have a clear advantage and my knife is bigger.
Chrissy: It's not the size that counts, remember? It's how you use it.
She heads toward the door to find some sort of power source.
Emilio: Maybe a rift.

Outside, he's running after her again, asking what the plan is, exactly. She says there's a town nearby and also shut up because his voice is really annoying. He calls her "Variant" this time and she snots at him not to call her that either. He mutters that he's certainly not "calling some faded photocopy of me Loki." She says that's fine because her name is SYLVIE now. He doesn't think that sounds very "Loki-like". She asks what makes a Loki a Loki exactly. Because yes, even though the world is literally falling apart around them they WILL continue these philosophical discussions. "Independence. Authority. Style," he suggests. She thinks it's funny he decided to work for the "oppressive time police" then. He says he's not. He's...consulting.

He notes that her years-long plan involved just tearing down the TVA, creating a power vacuum, "and then just walk away", which frankly sounds stupid and like something he would never do. She reminds him that she ISN'T actually him.

They reach the town where everything is abandoned and partly destroyed and the signs are in some alien language. The set design on this show is really something. Loki notes that everyone fled. Sylvie shrugs that it won't save them because NOBODY survives this apocalypse. Loki asks how much time they have. She says twelve hours, but it's going to get increasingly bad during that time. Not just the physical destruction, but the total collapse of society as everyone realizes they're going to die. She runs up to a neon light to "check the coupling" and holds out her hand for the temp pad. He laughs and says she has to try harder than that because he isn't an idiot. She's like 'yeah, the temp pad requires a lot more power than that, but YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT, DID YOU?'

They go to another small building in the middle of nowhere and he drops this chestnut: "brute force is no substitute for diplomacy and guile." She says yeah, sure and kicks the door open. A blast of energy hits her in the chest and knocks her back. From his safe distance, Loki smart asses that it's amazing she made it this far. He calls to the woman inside the door that they mean no harm. He peaks in the window and sees a photo of the woman with a man and transforms himself to look like the man before stepping into the doorway. She hesitates until he starts sniffling that she's as beautiful as he remembered. Then she blasts him too. He lands next to Sylvie, which she thinks is hilarious. The lady calls that in case he was wondering what the giveaway was, that guy never said anything that sweet in 30 years. Sylvie asks if that was diplomacy or guile then and he tells her to shut it.

The lady comes out with whatever energy canon she's been blasting still aimed in their direction and asks what they want with her. Sylvie says they just want to know where everyone went. She says the Ark. Because that's what we name all spacecraft fleeing the destruction of a planet, apparently. Sylvie thinks THAT would have the power they need to run the temp pad. Loki asks how they get to it. The lady gives directions but says it's useless because they won't get a ticket.

A long line of people are waiting for a train, corralled by armed guards. A lady exposits to one that they've been waiting for hours. Loki and Sylvie arrive and he grumbles that there's no way they're going to be able to fight their way on the train. She asks who said anything about fighting their way on.
Chrissy: I don't know. Captain America, I think.
Diandra: .................
Chrissy: Oh, come on. Somebody had to make the reference to "Snowpiercer".

No, he just assumed because all her plans involve fighting. She says this one involves enchanting a guard and getting him to lead them right in. She acknowledges that the guard could fight them on that, which he points out could lead to having to shoot a LOT of people and hijack a train. He says he has a better idea and magics himself into a guard uniform. She says no, that's a shit plan. He's like 'whatever, you're just jealous' and shoves her toward the front of the line.

The parallel to "Snowpiercer" is here when they march past the guards right toward the train while a lady in the line screams about how only the wealthy are getting on. Sylvie ends up having to enchant a guard anyway because they don't have tickets and he starts protesting letting them through before suddenly "remembering" that there was a request radioed in this morning and they're cleared.
Emilio: What is the point of having enchantment powers if you're just going to try to lie your way through in a ridiculous voice like an idiot?
Diandra: He's not as smart as he thinks he is. Probably why his plans tend to fail.
Chrissy: Oh [blows a raspberry]

They go into some sort of fancy dining car on the train and Sylvie sits in a booth. Loki flusters and says he can't sit in a seat facing backward on a train. She says well, she doesn't sit with her back to the door, so suck it up. He's confused by this because there are doors in both directions. And there are no windows to see out so who cares what direction you're going? He sits and she says that was still a shitty plan. It wasn't even a plan because those have multiple thought-out steps. She yawns and he suggests she get some rest. She glares and suggests he go first. Point taken. She admits that she needs him to get to the temp pad because "someone taught you fairly decent magic." He says that would have been his mother. Sylvie pauses for a moment and asks what she was like. Loki thinks about it for a while and says she was the Queen of Asgard and a genuinely good person. "Are you sure she was your mother," Sylvie snorts. Loki says no, actually, he was adopted. She says yeah, she was too. And apparently she was told long ago and didn't have it dropped on her very recently, which makes him splutter a little. He asks what her mother was like. She doesn't remember much, so we go right back to him and a story about how Frigga would entertain him with little tricks when he was little. She told him one day he would be able to do them too. "Because I could do anything." He makes a little firework display in his palm and sniffs that she was the sort of person you wanted to believe in you.

He asks who taught her that enchantment trick. She says she taught herself. He asks how it works: is she projecting an illusion directly in people's minds?
Chrissy: Wasn't he able to do it at one point?
Diandra: He was able to read Valkyrie's memories in "Ragnarok" and I think I noted at the time that it was something that came out of nowhere because it was needed for plot convenience.
She says it would be easier if she showed him and he says yeah, enchant him and steal the pad and jump off the train. Sure. He's not THAT stupid.
Emilio: Why would I jump off the train that's going where I need to go to get the pad working?
Diandra: Shh. You're thinking too much.

A waitress brings a couple glasses of champagne over and Loki takes both of them since Sylvie refuses. He clinks them together, toasts "the end of the world" and sucks down a whole one in one swallow. Then he decides to reflect on the fact that that woman back there chose to die instead of at least trying to get on the ark. Sylvie thinks she was in love. He reminds her she talked like she hated that guy "Maybe love is hate," Sylvie suggests.
Chrissy: And the opposite is indifference.
Diandra: Yeah, actually, there IS a reason that is the saying. It's really easy for love to turn to hate, but if you're indifferent you can't really care enough to go either way.
Loki conjures a pad of paper and a ridiculously large quill so he can write that down and she's like 'oh, fuck your snarky ass.' He sends them back wherever they came from and asks if she has a boyfriend waiting for her when this is all over. She says yeah, actually because she "managed to maintain quite a serious long-distance relationship with a postman." But she only kept it up to "keep me going". She asks if he has a "would be princess" or maybe another prince somewhere. He's like 'yeah, you're probably bi too, right?'
Chrissy: Ever try both at the same time? Or more than one of each?
Diandra: Settle down.
Chrissy: What was that term you used to describe Loki several recaps ago? Something about a bicycle.
Diandra: The fandom communal bicycle.
Chrissy: Yeah, aka the Jack Harkness.
Emilio: So will screw or be screwed by anyone?
Diandra: Sort of, but there may be a difference in nuance. The fandom communal bicycle mostly applies to fanfiction and headcanons, I think. Everyone has had a ride because the character ships with EVERYBODY. Whereas Jack Harkness being a slut is just cannon.

[ETA: this last conversation/recap was done before episode four of "What If..."]

Anyway. He says he's never had anything serious. She suggests love is mischief instead of hate and he says he probably needs another drink if they're going to continue this discussion. While he's sucking down the second glass, she notes that they are about to hijack the power source that is the last hope of this entire civilization. She suggests they should get some rest.

We get a few establishing shots of the train going through apocalyptic landscape with what looks like a chunk of a mountain crashing into the ground in the distance.
Emilio: Huh. No tunnels anywhere.
Diandra: We're not there yet.

Back on the train, Sylvie is asleep on the table and Loki is singing in what the subtitles identify as "Asgardian". Sylvie wakes up and blinks at him engaging the whole bar in this folk tune wearing his TVA jacket and suit again. He finishes the song, drinks whatever is currently in his hand and smashes it on the floor yelling "another" in a call back to the first "Thor". Which I read somewhere the director noting in an anecdote that went something like "Tom is a walking encyclopedia of all things Loki at this point, so when he said he wanted to do something that would be in character I trusted that he knew what he was talking about."

Sylvie marches over to him and snaps that he is drunk. And because Asgardian is just...Norwegian, he makes a language joke that he's just "full". Very....very..."full". Because apparently this is a polite way of saying drunk in Norwegian or something. He tries to hand her some sort of hors d'ouevre and she asks why he changed out of the uniform because they're SUPPOSED to be undercover here. He doesn't think anyone gives a shit anymore because they're fully in the 'nothing matters, the world is ending' part of the timeline. She says yeah, well, she saw a guy looking at him kind of weirdly while he was singing.
Chrissy: Did you get his number? Was he good looking?

In what possibly started as a blooper that they just powered through, Loki drops the plate with a loud crash and stares at it for a second like 'huh' before asking when she became so paranoid. She says when she "spent my entire life running from the omniscient fascists you work for." He is distracted by the thing he just dropped on the floor, which he mutters is a shame to waste before changing the subject back to that conversation they were having earlier. He's decided that love is a dagger. "It's a weapon to be wielded far away or up close. You can see yourself in it. It's beautiful. Until it makes you bleed." He pulls a dagger out of thin air to wave around in demonstration and finishes pointing the handle toward her. "But ultimately, when you reach for it..." she reaches for the handle and he makes it disappear. "It isn't real," she concludes. So to summarize: "love is an imaginary dagger." He frowns as he realizes that it doesn't actually make any sense.
Chrissy: Yeah, generally anything you come up with while "full" up to your eyeballs is nonsense.
Diandra: Learn that one the hard way?

The guy who was eyeing Loki earlier comes back into the car with a couple guards in tow, pointing him out to them. The same guard they managed to get past earlier asks to see his tickets and he tries to conjure some, but just ends up creating a firework display on his palm again because I guess this is what it looks like when a magic user gets drunk.
Chrissy: Okay, now I want a fic with Stephen and Loki performing magic drunk.
Emilio: Even better: Wong.
Diandra: No, Wong would need to be sober so he could keep them from, like, breaking the universe and why am I letting you two run away with plot bunnies again?
Emilio: Hasn't Doctor Strange broken the universe, like, twice in the past year?
Diandra: Both times after Wong told him not to do something stupid and then just...walked away. You're kind of proving my point there.
The guard starts manhandling him while he babbles that he can EXPLAIN. And then another guard puts a hand on his chest and that apparently sends him over the edge and he starts fighting them both off. On the other side of the room, Sylvie starts fighting a couple more guards, taking off her horns to use as a weapon. Which explains the broken side.

One of Sylvie's guards gets her in a chokehold and Loki produces a dagger again and tries to throw it at the guard. Which is an excellent trick to attempt while DRUNK.
Chrissy: Oh, whatever. I know what I'm doing.
It embeds in the wall, like, two feet on the OTHER side of her head and she glares at him like 'DON'T TRY TO HELP ME ANYMORE.' One of his guards gets up again and he kicks him right out the window of the train. He laughs and waves right up until a couple more guards pick him up and throw him out right after. Sylvie is like 'oh, well. I didn't like him very much anywa....fuck, he still has the temp pad.' She grabs a cutlass and jumps over the guards and out the window.

He apparently ditches the Variant jacket immediately and joins her as she's picking herself up. "Well, that's not ideal," he says, pointing at the train disappearing in the distance. She waves the cutlass at him and demands the temp pad now. He pulls his hand from the general direction of a pocket and the pad appears on his palm. It sparks and emits a puff of smoke. "Well, I did take quite a tumble," he says. She snarls that he just got them killed. He thinks maybe they can fix it, but the second he tries to manipulate it in any way it falls apart and all the pieces tumble to the ground. She rants at him for being a joke of a being who fucked up the mission by getting drunk. He snorts that she really thought any "mission" was going to beat "them" anyway. She stomps away from him, screaming and sending a blast of green energy in all directions. She sits on a rock ledge and pouts. He slowly creeps close like 'okay, did you get that out of your system then?' He asks what they should do now. She's out of ideas since the temp pad is broken and the rock they're on is doomed. He says the whole moon is being destroyed, right? And she said everyone dies, including them now, which...what happened to the ark that train is headed for? She says it's destroyed before it gets off the ground. He notes that the ark never had them on it. She immediately follows his logic and asks if his plan is to hijack the ark and make SURE it launches then. He shrugs like '........yes?' She stares at him for a moment, then says "okay" and starts walking along the train tracks. He stumbles after her belatedly like 'I didn't think it would be that easy. You must be desperate.'

As they are walking, he whines about the amount of walking he's had to do today. Then he notes that he's told her a lot about himself, but she hasn't returned the favor. She smirks and thanks him for that "tactical advantage". He asks if she intends to use that advantage to kill him once the TVA shows up.
Emilio: Well, I don't need you anymore, so it's really a miracle I haven't killed you already.
She smirks and asks if he's worried. He just doesn't know if he can trust her.
Emilio: She's a Loki.
Diandra: Yeah, didn't we already have this conversation with Mobius?

She circles back to his questions about how her enchantment power works to give him something. She needs to touch the person she's enchanting and then she can take over their mind. For most, it's easy, but some are a little more resistant. She can take control, but they are still in there right beside her, so she has to "create a fantasy from their memories" in order to keep the connection from breaking. She says the soldier from the TVA - C20 - was "messed up" and everything in her mind was clouded so she had to pull a hundreds years old memory before she worked for the TVA. Loki stops walking, frowning, and asks her to repeat that last part. "Before she joined the TVA?" Sylvie says uh...yeah...back when she was a normal Earthling. Loki says but according to the TVA, everyone who works for them was created by the time-keepers and had no previous existence. She snorts and says no, they're all Variants.
Chrissy: I think there was discussion about this in the fandom at one point, but...obviously Mobius is a made up name. Who is he a variant of? Just some random guy on Earth, or...
Diandra: Ralph Boner. No, sorry. I saw a theory somewhere that he's a variant of Thor, but I'm not sure that makes sense.
Emilio: She just said hundreds of years but that scene earlier looked like the present. Assuming they don't age in the TVA because time works differently and knowing how they work...he could be from any time.
Diandra: Right, but given that speech he made earlier, he's probably from Earth in the later decades of the 20th century.
Chrissy: So not Thor. And probably not anybody else we already know either. Unless he's the Iron Man variant everyone thinks Tom Cruise should play.
Diandra: Probably not, but I would welcome that plot twist if only because it would make the fanboys insisting it MUST BE Tom Cruise mad.

They are close enough to the city and the waiting ark that they can hear the announcement of ten minutes to launch now. They walk faster and arrive at this neon lit town square sort of area as the final boarding call is announced. Sylvie asks if they can trust each other. Loki thinks so. She says "good. Because this is going to suck." A voice announces that they've reached capacity and everyone else has to return to their homes now. Loki notes the number of people who are being condemned to death and are just realizing this. Sylvie grabs his hand and leads him around the crowd into a shot that Sophia noted only "looks like" a continuous take through a set that looked ridiculous and fake in daylight. People are running around, rioting and breaking things and setting fires. Overhead, the planet starts really breaking apart and sending meteors crashing into the city. Loki and Sylvie run and are thrown backward by an impact. Everything goes dark for a second and Loki scrambles back upright, dragging Sylvie into the nearest building, which is a bar. A couple people dressed like the guards from the train station descend on them and they fight them off and run back out onto the street.

One of the side streets is blocked by an entire building collapsing. They wind through a couple more streets, dodging falling chunks of everything. Loki stops to magic one of the towers back upright before it falls on their heads. As they wind closer to the ark, more guards try to intercept and they fight through them. And then everybody looks up as the ark explodes and crumbles. Some of the natives collapse in despair and the rest just stare in shock. Sylvie walks away dejectedly, leaving Loki staring at the burning remains of everyone's last hope like '...........fuck' and a sad country song plays us into the credits.
Chrissy: And that was probably when the ratings for this show started to go up because that rivaled almost anything else in the MCU up to that point.
Diandra: Yeah. The reason I mentioned that part about it looking ridiculous and fake in daylight is because you can't tell by the finished product. It is bigger and more spectacular looking than anything that was never meant for a theater screen has any business being. I'm sure there are still guys who hated it because it's Loki and it appeals too much to women, but hopefully by this point it was obvious those were the minority voices and they don't deserve coddling.
Chrissy: That rant make you feel better?
Diandra: A bit. It probably won't be the last.
Chrissy: I'm sure.

Episode 4: The Nexus Event

The previouslies are mostly about the revelation that the TVA employees are all Variants who had their minds wiped of any prior existence. The music accompanying the apocalyptic stuff that we ended on sounds almost Irish.

But before we continue with that story, we go back to Asgard. Not the one we know, however. Little Sylvie is playing with some action figures, narrating a story about Valkyrie defeating a dragon and saving Asgard when a TVA door appears behind her. Renslayer - apparently back when she was just an agent and not a judge - identifies Sylvie as the variant and they take her into custody for "crimes against the Sacred Timeline."
Chrissy: Yeah, that's not messed up at all.

We skim through her going through all the steps our Loki did in the first episode, but before the judge can actually talk to her, she stomps on Ravonna's foot and twists out of her grip. Ravonna realizes too late that Sylvie lifted her temp pad and Sylvie escapes through a doorway before anyone can stop her.

In the present, Ravonna takes a deep breath and steps off the elevator into a smoke filled room. The smoke clears just enough to see three enormous figures on some sort of podium seats at the other end. And we go to the title card.

And we're back with Mobius as Ravonna returns from that little meeting, apparently. He asks if she's okay. She rants that of course she isn't because it's always "jarring" to speak to the Time Keepers. He says they can't possibly blame her for what happened. She says yes, they do. The Variant was right under their noses and could have gotten to the Time Keepers, but ended up just escaping with the other Variant Mobius has a crush on or something which is ALMOST AS BAD. She spews some bullshit about how hard it is to keep the timeline stable and the Time Keepers being the only thing standing between them and chaos.
Chrissy: Well, then you should have expected interference from the God of Chaos.
Diandra: That is literally the premise of the show. What if there was this organization that existed to create order and we threw Loki into it?
Mobius says yeah, he wants to help, but he needs to talk to C-20 if they're going to find the variants. Find out what she meant by "it's real" and if she knows anything else. Ravonna hisses that C-20 is dead. Mobius asks when the hell that happened. Ravonna says the variant scrambled her mind and by the time she got back to the TVA she "could barely speak" and declined rapidly. But they haven't told anyone about it yet because they don't want a panic. Mobius promises not to tell anyone. Ravonna hisses that he better find those Variants because having them just run around out there somewhere is dangerous.
Chrissy: Meh, right now they're more a danger to each other.

Lamentis. The city is on fire and chunks of rock are raining down constantly and the entire sky is taken up by the descending planet. Loki finds Sylvie sitting on a rock just staring into space. He sighs and joins her. "I'm sorry," he says.
Emilio: Yeah, you should be.
Chrissy: Is the tendency for plans to turn to shit common for all Loki variants, or...
Emilio: Just the dumber ones.
She starts talking about her distant memories of life on Asgard and takes a sudden philosophical turn. "The universe wants to break free, so it manifests chaos." Her very existence is one of those instances of chaos and as soon as it was chaotic ENOUGH to disrupt the TVAs precious Sacred Timeline, they arrested her. Which didn't take all that long since as we saw she was maybe ten. She escaped with a temp pad and had to keep running because everywhere she went she created new Nexus events that alerted the TVA. "Because I'm not supposed to exist." Eventually, she figured out she could hide at the end of the world and grew up hopping from one apocalypse to another. So it's kind of fitting that she would die in one.
Chrissy: And if you were already having an existential crisis with the first episode...
Diandra: Yeah, I want to say she wasn't supposed to exist in ANY OTHER UNIVERSE but her own, but that's the one she was removed from so she can't go back there either.
Chrissy: I suppose all the variants have that same problem, which is why the only way they can be dealt with is either to "dispose" of them or brainwash them and recruit them to the TVA.

Back at the TVA, they have magnified the sensor so it can detect "if somebody steps on the wrong leaf" and they still can't find the Loki variants. B-15 arrives and Mobius asks if she found anything at Roxxcart. Because I guess she went back. But they're long gone from there. And they're probably plotting a massacre, she thinks. She asks how C-20 is doing. Mobius is like 'uh...no idea.'

Lamentis. Enormous asteroids are starting to rain down. Sylvie says it won't be much longer now. Then she asks if maybe "what makes a Loki a Loki is the fact that we're destined to lose?"
Chrissy: Certainly seems that way.
Loki says no, they may LOSE, but they don't DIE. He uses the example of her nearly taking down the all powerful organization that allegedly controls time despite being only a child when they took her. He says she's amazing. She reaches for his arm.

At the TVA, a branch suddenly starts forming, identified as coming from Lamentis 1 and rising very quickly toward the red line.

A giant firey mountain smashes whatever is left of the city and a wave of destruction starts moving toward them. Loki takes Sylvie's hand and they stare at each other, waiting for death. And then a couple time doors appear behind them.

They are separated at the TVA, manhandled down different hallways, which obviously disturbs both of them. Mobius stays with Loki and they bicker about which of them betrayed the other on the way back to the time theater. Mobius says he was wrong about Loki being the God of Mischief. He's just "an asshole and a bad friend." He says "it" is ready and another door appears that the agents holding him ready to throw him through. He struggles harder against them and Mobius says they can just let him do whatever he's trying to do there. "One last desperate trick from the desperate trickster." Loki says the TVA is lying to Mobius. Mobius just chuckles and the agents throw him through the door.

He ends up somewhere in Asgard, which makes him laugh because what the fuck? And then Sif appears, holding a chunk of her hair that has obviously been butchered off her head. She calls him a pathetic, conniving worm and slaps him. "I hope you know you deserve to be alone and you always will be," she snarls.
Chrissy: Ouch.
Loki calls in the direction of where the door used to be that this is cute shoving him in what is obviously a bad memory prison. She looks in the direction he's talking like '......eh?', knees him in the groin, punches him in the face and stomps off. He says yeah, if they had done their homework they would know that after that, he went and had a bath and a glass of wine and forgot all about the whole incident because it was hardly the worst thing he ever did. And then Sif reappears and repeats the entire speech punctuated by all three blows all over again. "Time loops," he groans like 'oh, that's why.'

Sif comes around again and he tries to derail her by finishing the sentence about always being alone before she can. He says she is just a reconstruction of a past event created by an organization that controls time. "So you need to trust me and you need to help me escape." She crosses her arms and seems to consider this for a moment. Then she nods and grabs his shoulders and just as he thinks she's come around she knees him in the groin, punches him and spits "pathetic".
Chrissy: Hope you weren't planning on having kids eventually, because after a few rounds of that...
Diandra: Considering his best prospect at that is now an effective clone that's probably for the best.
Chrissy: Oh. Right.
Diandra: Anyway. What I'd like to know is, does the fact that this story from Norse mythology exists in this world imply other well known mythology stories might possibly exist?
Chrissy: You're just trying to make the horse thing canon again, aren't you?
Diandra: I mean...

Ravonna is looking like she's nursing a headache while going through paperwork when Mobius enters her office. She asks why he isn't interrogating his Loki variant. Mobius says they're playing a little bad cop with the Time Cell first. He thought maybe while they're killing time on that he could interview Sylvie instead. Ravonna says nope, he's sticking to his own lane. He thinks he could figure out what that Nexus spike was faster if he could "work 'em both together."
Chrissy: That costs extra.
Diandra: How did I know you'd say that?
Ravonna says Sylvie is "too dangerous" for him. Mobius is pretty sure that if there is a mastermind behind this whole thing, it isn't his Loki. Ravonna just smiles sweetly and says he should be easy to break then. "Work your Loki," she concludes. Mobius thinks that should be his mantra.
[Chrissy and Emilio both clear their throats]
Diandra: NO!

Mobius finds B-15 and a few other minutemen outside the time theater they put Sylvie in. One of them is nursing a facial wound. B-15 asks why Mobius isn't interrogating his "pet". Mobius exposits that they've dealt with Kree, Titans and vampires, but the "two orphan demigods" are really the worst.
Chrissy: And that's why you're so fascinated, isn't it? The challenge?
Diandra: Can we talk about the fact that they just casually referenced vampires? Like yeah, there's probably a Blade variant running around here somewhere.
Emilio: Have to prepare people for his introduction somehow.
B-15 asks if Loki said anything "while you were in there". Mobius snorts that he said the TVA is lying to them. B-15 doesn't laugh, but doesn't say anything else.

Back in the time prison, Loki is sitting on the ground already when Sif enters on whatever iteration this is. He begs her to please stop. "I'm a horrible person. I get it." He drags himself to his knees and babbles that he cut off her hair because he thought it would be funny, but he was wrong. He psychoanalyzes that he does shit like this to get attention because he is a narcissist.
Emilio: I mean...you are literally falling in love with yourself, so duh.
He says it's probably because he's scared to be alone. She looks uncomfortable as he has basically nullified her rant. She holds out a hand to help him up. He accepts warily. Then she growls the part about him always being alone anyway, but this time she just flings his hand aside instead of hitting him and stomps off. Mobius comes through her entrance door this time and asks if he's ready to talk now.

They reenter the time theater and Loki pulls out his chair and sits with very aggressive motions. Mobius wants Loki to elaborate on his "the TVA is lying to you" statement. Unless, of course, that was "just a cockroach's survival mechanism kicking in." Loki is like 'I will gladly talk about whatever you want if you will quit the enhanced interrogation and let me out of here.' Mobius takes that as validation of the cockroach thing and asks how long he has been working for the Variant. Loki thinks the idea that he has been working for Sylvie is hilariously absurd. Mobius says okay, what are they then? Partners? Loki says no, not that either. She's "difficult and irritating" and kept trying to take his head off. Mobius is like yeah, you probably only take on partners if you intend to betray them eventually.
Chrissy: Ah, there it is. So why didn't you "soften me up" yourself then, Daddy? Afraid you would enjoy it too much?
Diandra: I see we're back to the Daddy thing. Sigh.

Loki snaps at him to wake up to the "real world". "Down there, we're awful to get what we want." Mobius thinks it's hilarious that a crown prince is lecturing him on the "real world" and asks what they did on Lamentis to cause a Nexus event. Loki is back to insisting he won't tell them anything because they'll just prune him the minute he's finished. Mobius sighs and says they are done here then. He's going to miss these little talks. He takes out his pad again and tells Loki to give his regards to Sif. The threat has the desired effect of making him talk, but also...of course...he lies. He claims it was HIM all along, manipulating her ever since she visited him on Asgard long ago. They came up with the plan together. Mobius is like 'great...what's the plan?' Loki non-answers that they are already doing it and she is his "pawn" and he will get rid of her after "something big" happens. Mobius says they already pruned her, so he won't have to bother. He tries to move on, but Loki's face falls and he asks if they really did that. Mobius says yeah, but she took out two of their agents first. B-15 took care of her if he wants to know who to thank. Turns out he really is the "superior Loki". Tom's face runs a somewhat more subdued gamut than in that first episode. Shock, a couple tears that don't quite fully form, and then hardening into feigned bluster as he says "good riddance." Mobius notices the weird smile that doesn't reach his eyes and laughs. "You like her. Does she like you?"
Chrissy: What, are we in junior high? Should I circle a "yes" or "no" somewhere? Also, that's a really dick move.

Loki asks if they really did prune her then. Mobius just snorts that they don't know what caused the Nexus event because they were too busy making heart eyes at each other. And what kind of narcissistic sicko forms a romantic relationship with a variant of himself anyway, he asks, really on a roll. Loki calmly says her name was Sylvie. Mobius jots that down in his file. "Is she alive," Loki barks at him. Mobius says yes and moves on to asking if their big plan involved infiltrating the TVA and overthrowing the timekeepers. Loki says if what Sylvie told him is true, it affects everyone at the TVA. Mobius grumbles that he's told "50 lies in the last 10 minutes" and he's about to start another one.
Chrissy: As opposed to what you were just doing there?
Diandra: Proving your point about means to an end?

They bicker a little and Loki objects to Sylvie being labeled his "girlfriend" or "your female self that you have some demented crush on." Loki finally yells that everyone at the TVA is a variant. Kidnapped from the timeline by the Timekeepers and told they were "created" to protect it. And here's where the fact that he was very recently told about the Frost Giant thing is significant for the character. Having been through a VERY SIMILAR scenario, like, a week ago gives him a level of understanding, if not full empathy. He says Sylvie can access their scrubbed memories through enchantment. Mobius is just staring at Loki like he's trying to figure out if he's lying or not as Loki insists he used to have a LIFE before the TVA. Maybe a family.
Emilio: Certainly a jet ski.
He shakes himself and laughs it off as another load of bullshit from the god of lies. Then he sighs that he'll have to close the case because they don't need him anymore. A couple minutemen come in and manhandle Loki back to the time prison as he sneers that Mobius is lying to himself.

In a hallway, B-15 seems to be mid-crisis. She stares at a poster insisting they must "get them all" and "verify through deletion". She activates her prune stick and stomps into the time theater where they put Sylvie. Except when she's in the room, she turns off the stick and pulls out her pad, opening a door. She says "come with me" and walks through the door.
Emilio: ...if you want to live.
Diandra: Can always trust you to bring the pop culture references.
Emilio: Of course.

Renslayer's office.
Emilio: Speaking of which, isn't there a fan theory that that name actually comes from her being the slayer of Kylo Ren?
Diandra: I would not be even a little surprised.
She and Mobius both sign off on a file and she declares the case closed and they drink a toast to "putting all of this behind us."
Chrissy: You think.

Now that they don't have anything better to be doing, apparently, she decides to ask what he would do if he could go anywhere, anytime.
Chrissy: Well, I always had a thing for F. Scot Fitzgerald. But the last time I visited that timeline there was a variant of me already there.
Diandra: Ha. Cute.
Chrissy: And this one immortal guy who looked like Doctor Strange...
Diandra: Stop trying to make me write that crossover. We don't know that that movie is even going to be a thing anymore.
Mobius seems to think about it, but then redirects to asking why Ravonna wouldn't let him interrogate Sylvie. Ravonna shifts shiftily and says they couldn't risk her escaping. Y'know, like the other one did during his first interrogation. She presses him to answer her original question: where would he go if he could go anywhere? He says he likes where he is right now, working with her.
Chrissy: Nobody likes a kissass, Mobius.

So since we're not doing the chit chat successfully, Ravonna says the Timekeepers want to personally oversee the Variant's pruning. And they want Mobius present. Mobius is like 'really? I get to meet the big bosses? Cool. Let's talk about C-20.' It really is that abrupt. He says it's just that she seemed fine when he last saw her and then... Ravonna says she "very quickly wasn't fine" after that. Uh-huh. Not at all shifty. She asks where he's going with these questions. He says something seems "off". She sighs and says the truth is she's trying to protect him. Because that variant scares her and she doesn't want to see him end up like C-20, who she claims "lost her mind" and "couldn't even form words by the end." She quickly adds that she doesn't want to see ANYONE end up that way, in case he starts getting any ideas that he's special or something. She says what they are doing MATTERS and waxes a little poetic on their friendship lasting to the end of time. They've both seen "all of existence" and they know "friendship like ours is uncommon. And worth fighting for. Same as the Sacred Timeline." He praises that little speech and gloats "I KNEW I was your favorite analyst."

He asks what she's going to do with her new trophy: Sophie's cutlass. As she's putting it on her shelves, he switches their temp pads. Then he starts making noise about leaving, which she scoffs at because this is probably the biggest case of his career here and he's leaving after only one...or two...drinks.
Emilio: Baby, it's cold outside.
Diandra: Oh, ew, we're going with that? Okay, fine.
He says he's tired from dealing with Lokis all day.
Diandra: Also, I'm pretty sure you spiked this. What is it? Truth serum? Or just common date rape fare?
Chrissy: Well. That became awkward very fast.
Emilio: I mean...that song really is gross.
They do the "For all time. Always." call and response and he leaves the office.

B-15 takes Sylvie back to Roxxcart. Sylvie thinks she's trying to make it a "fair fight" and squares her shoulders. But B-15 wants to talk about what she saw when Sylvie was messing with her head. Sylvie says oh, that was just your life before the TVA. B-15 cites the "I was created by the Time Keepers" thing as evidence that that must have been some sort of deception. Sylvie says she can't just create memories out of nothing. That's not how her power works. She only uncovers what was buried when the Time Keepers scrubbed their memories. They're all variants. B-15 holds out her hand and asks Sylvie to show her. Sylvie takes her hand and green flashes on her temple. She watches with closed eyes for a minute, smiling and crying, until Sylvie lets go. She sobs that she looked...happy and asks what they should do now.

At the TVA, Mobius goes into the library stacks for privacy so he can check Ravonna's pad. He pulls up the file on C-20, which says she is deceased. It also has three dates: one in 1537, one in 1979 and one in 2050. One of those first two is probably a birthday and the last is death date, but that kind of brings up more questions than it answers. He opens a debriefing file from Roxxcart, where C-20 insists that what she saw was REAL. A memory of something NOT TVA. She had friends "down there". A life. The interrogator tells her to calm down and she snaps that she is a VARIANT and so is the interrogator. Ravonna interrupts suddenly to announce that she's ending the interview. Mobius zooms in on her face, distraught.

Meanwhile, in the time prison...Loki is on the ground again. He recites Sif's line before she can say it for the hundredth or so time, but instead of Sif coming through the doorway, a door into the TVA appears and Mobius comes through. He asks if Loki cares about the variant. Loki says "care" isn't really the word when it comes to Sylvie. Mobius asks if he really thinks he deserves to be alone.
Chrissy: Is this the part where you kiss me, or...
Diandra: In fanfic, probably.
Mobius says whatever that Nexus event was that they caused probably DOES, in fact, prove that they can bring down the TVA. Is he sure Sylvie didn't plant those memories in C-20? Loki says he believes her. Mobius is like 'great. All I have is the word of two variants of the God of Lies.' "How about the word of a friend," Loki says.
Emilio: Aye, I could do that.
Diandra: Are you seriously comparing them to Legolas and Gim....never mind. I just realized that actually totally works. Ignore me.
Chrissy: I'm just impressed that you actually got that reference.
Mobius says it turns out Loki was right about the TVA and if he wants to save Sylvie they're going to have to trust each other. "You could be whoever, whatever you wanna be. Even someone good." Loki blinks at him and he adds "I mean, just in case anyone ever told you different."
Chrissy: I love you too, man.

They go through the door back into the TVA and immediately run into Renslayer surrounded by some minutemen. She is holding his temp pad and flatly says he has something that belongs to her. He tries to bullshit that he JUST realized he picked up the wrong pad and one of the minutemen snatches it from him and hands it to her. He asks what's going on, like...why are they staring at him like that? She just stares accusingly and he drops the act instantly and starts rambling an answer to her question earlier about where he would go. "Wherever it is I'm really from." Because he's pretty sure he had a jet ski and he'd love to give it a spin right about now. Ravonna orders him pruned and he screams and fizzles away as the minuteman hits him with the stick. Loki gasps and looks traumatized and then like he probably really is going to burn the place to the ground and make sure Ravonna has a front row seat before she dies as he's escorted away by the guards.

Ravonna goes to the room Sylvie is back in. Only her hair is wet now. She asks who else was in the room. One of the other guards tells her and she puts out an "alert" for B-15 since the variant has obviously compromised her.

Sylvie is escorted to the same place they were taking Loki. She asks if he's okay, since...obviously he isn't. Ravonna dismisses the guards and gets on an arriving elevator, both of them just following her docilely. After a minute of silence inside the elevator, Sylvie asks if Ravonna remembers her. Ravonna says yep. "What was my Nexus event?" Ravonna doesn't see how it matters. Sylvie just wants to know what was so important that they took her from her life and family. Ravonna kind of smirks as she says she doesn't remember.

They arrive at the smoke filled room with the Time Keepers and Ravonna presents them with "the variants". This time we see them up close and yeah, they look kind of like reptilian Time Lords. The one with the beard asks in an echoey booming voice if they have anything to say for themselves before they are executed. Loki says oh, is that why we're here? Well, go ahead, because I'm starting to think I can't actually be killed.
Chrissy: The fans won't let the writers follow through on it.
Diandra: Yeah, well. That's what happens when you seem to kill him in the first movie only to make him the main antagonist in the next. Don't act surprised when nobody believes he actually dies in the next one. I mean, that and the fact that one of his powers in the comics is a healing ability that basically makes him invincible. So it's not like this was ever completely outside the realm of possibility and it's just fangirls keeping him from dying.
The one with the ridiculous eyebrows hisses that he's no threat to them.

Sylvie starts to step toward them and Ravonna uses the time loop collar to snap her back. She says they're bluffing: they're actually scared of them. The normal one in the middle calls her a "cosmic disappointment" and orders them deleted. Sylvie starts moving again and Ravonna uses the time looper, but it seems to glitch. B-15 comes through the door and pushes a button on her controls to release both Loki and Sylvie's collars. She recites the TVA slogan and tosses Sylvie's cutlass to her. And a fight breaks out. Ravonna yells at the minutemen to protect the Timekeepers. Loki and Sylvie fight back to back and Loki has no weapon at all and is just punching the guards holding prune sticks. He asks Sylvie for "a little help here" and she tosses the cutlass to him. Then she relieves one of her opponents of a prune stick, which I don't think we noted before has a pointy sword-like opposite end. She faces Ravonna, who picks up a stick from one of the downed guards and vows to finish the job this time.

We go back and forth between Loki fighting two guards and Sylvie fighting Ravonna for a bit, until the two variants are the only ones standing.
Chrissy: Notice that you only knocked your opponent out, while I finished mine off?
Emilio: That's what happens when you're fighting redshirts instead of a major character.
Chrissy: Why is the Star Wars person using Star Trek terminology too?
Diandra: Because redshirts are universal.

The head Timekeeper tells Sylvie she is a "child of the Time Keepers" and offers to "talk". She tosses the cutlass Loki just handed back to her at his head, which falls off with some sparks and rolls down to land beside them. The other timekeepers laugh maniacally for a while and then all of them slump like anamatronics whose power cord has been pulled. Sylvie picks up the head and they blink at the still sparking wires as she notes that they're nothing but "mindless androids". Loki asks who really created the TVA then, if this wasn't the man behind the curtain. Neither of them knows where to go from there, so they just kind of lapse into a frustrated silence. And then Loki starts rambling about how they WILL figure this out and he has to tell her something, because back on Lamentis... Before he can maybe get around to whatever point he's clumsily trying to make, Ravonna wakes up and hits him from behind with a prune stick. Sylvie snarls and relieves Ravonna of the stick, pointing the melt end at her. Ravonna invites her to do it. But Sylvie just growls that Ravonna is going to tell her "everything".
Chrissy: I assume we noted the "Loki can't die" thing to reassure everyone that we didn't just kill the title character before the series was done.
Diandra: I mean...obviously they didn't. I think when I first saw it I thought 'well, that's one way to reassure viewers that pruning is not equivalent with death'. Because a few minutes back, they took out Mobius, which...I mean...might not have been enough to convince anyone of that, but now that they used it on Loki too you KNOW something else must be going on.

The credits are to a country-ish song (written by Edith Piaf, apparently) about a woman telling her lover they will meet on the other side "if you really love me" or something along those lines. It's interrupted by the first mid credit scene. Loki gasps awake on the ground somewhere and asks no one in particular if he's in Hel. A voice off camera says he's not dead YET, "but you will be unless you come with us." He blinks up at the three guys hovering over him. Richard E Grant is dressed like the ridiculous comics version of Loki with bright green and yellow and a long cape. A kid is wearing something closer to what Loki and Sylvie have worn with the horn logo on his chest. He is holding an alligator that has Loki horns on its head. And then there's a big black guy wearing a fur pelt and holding a gold version of Mjolnir. They are all standing in front of what can only be described as an apocalyptic wasteland of a city.

We smash back to credits, with the names of the three actors we just saw listed under "special guest star" while we contemplate just how weird the next episode is going to get.
Emilio: Looks like it's your turn to play multiple versions of a character, Christine.
Diandra: Yeah, I know we said you should play Sylvie just to lessen the load a little, but there's really no avoiding it now.
Chrissy: I thought we made him Sylvie so I would have to hit on myself. Or whatever you were doing playing both versions of Doctor Strange in that last episode of "What If".
Diandra: That's fun in small doses, but gets confusing fast if I remember whichever "Sherlock" recap that was where we kept forgetting who we were supposed to be and having loopy arguments with ourselves.
Emilio: I can play a couple of them too. Should make good practice for doing all the Peter Parkers in "No Way Home".
Diandra: We are all going to go insane at some point in the next few MCU installments, aren't we?
Emilio: Eh. Probably.