Staff meeting: Loki “The Nexus Event”
Previously on Loki: Loki and Sylvie, Loki’s gender-swapped alternate-timeline iteration, were a real mismatched pair, whose similarities in personality only accentuated their rivalry. Marooned in the future on a planet that loves another planet and is about to make some baby planets with it, they were forced to work together to find a way off, but were hampered at every turn by their relatable personal foibles. Even their growing sense of grudging mutual respect couldn’t save them, and as the planet closed in, they had nothing left to do but confess that they’re really not all so different, after all.
We open on Asgard. The little-girl version of Sylvie, who’s doing nothing but playing with toys, is arrested for crimes against the timeline by a young (though seemingly the same age) Ravonna Renslayer, currently still a Minute-woman.
She’s hauled into a portal and her version of Asgard is unceremoniously nuked behind her. Brought into a courtroom to be sentenced, she saves herself by the simple measure of biting Renslayer, stealing her TemPad, and escaping, thus neatly establishing her origin story and contextualizing Renslayer’s personal vendetta against her. That’s smooth storytelling!
Now, Judge Renslayer is taking the golden elevator down to see the Time-Keepers with a terrified expression on her face, and rightly so, ever since Sylvie tied the Sacred Timeline into knots at the end of “The Variant”. We don’t see the meeting, but we can assume it was pretty bad from the way she’s talking to Mobius afterwards. Mobius requests permission to talk to Hunter C-20 to track the Wonder Twins down; he thinks she could have some information he needs. Renslayer says that C-20 is dead. Wink.
Nick and Nora are down on the planet still, waiting for their deus ex machina—ironic, since they’re gods themselves. Sylvie says she doesn’t mind dying in an apocalypse all that much, because she grew up in a series of apocalypses, being on the run from the TVA her whole life ever since stealing that TemPad. “Do you think what makes a Loki a Loki,” says Joanie, “is that we’re destined to lose?” “We may lose, but we don’t die. We survive,” says Chachi, metatextually. They’ve spent a whole episode on the run together, see, so they’re best friends now.
Back at TVA headquarters, all those reset charges Sylvie bombed the timeline with seem to have been straightened out off-screen, and Mobius is combing the timeline looking for Harold and Maude. As if on cue, Hunter B-15 observes a Nexus event branching off from the main timeline, deduces it must be Kate & Leopold, and sucks them through a portal seconds before a meteor pastes them.
A tsk-tsk-ing Mobius herds Loki into a portal that’s red instead of the normal orange color. Loki appears in Asgard, back when his brother’s sometime love interest Sif (Jaimie Alexander) was still alive, and it seems Loki has chopped off a lock of hair in her sleep like a 9-year-old might do. Sif punches him and knees him in the balls. Loki wonders what’s so horrible about this prison, and then the time loop resets and he gets punched and kneed again.
Mobius wants a crack at Sylvie too, but again, Renslayer cuts him off and tells him to focus on the variant that’s his official responsibility. He decides to glean what he can by having a chat with B-15 while she’s guarding Sylvie. He tells her that Loki told him that the TVA was lying to all of them. This puts a maggot in B-15’s brain.
Loki, having had not quite enough character growth last episode, breaks the time loop by admitting to Sif that he’s a narcissist who craves attention because he’s afraid of being alone. Just then, Mobius walks in and pulls him into interrogation. Loki won’t tell Mobius the secret he knows about the TVA—that it’s completely staffed by variants—until he gets a guarantee that he won’t be vaporized after he divulges this information. Mobius won’t guarantee that, and the remaining bit of truth isn’t enough to save him from getting thrown back into the infinite ball-bust. So Loki improvises, and spins a story about how he and Sylvie have been working together for years.
Mobius doesn’t quite buy this, and to jiggle Loki off his footing, he tells Loki she’s dead already. Watching Loki’s aghast reaction, he can barely contain his glee. He says that was what caused such a big Nexus event that he was able to find them on Lamentis: “two variants of the same being—especially you—forming this sick, twisted romantic realtionship! That’s chaos! That can break reality… What an incredible, seismic narcissist!”
In the face of all this badgering, Loki decides to spill it: everyone at the TVA, including Mobius himself, was kidnapped from their own natural time periods, their memories erased, their timelines pruned, and all put to work as time cops. Mobius chuckles and says he respects Loki’s ability to spin a tall tale to save his ass.
Hunter B-15 walks into the interrogation room where Sylvie’s being held. She conjures a time portal and says “Come with me.”
In Judge Renslayer’s office, she and Mobius are celebrating the end of the case with a couple of Mad Men-sized slugs of liquor. Renslayer tells Mobius the Time-Keepers want to personally oversee Sylvie’s deletion, and they want him there too. He’s sure moving up in the multiverse. Mobius asks why he wasn’t allowed to interrogate Sylvie. Renslayer says she was concerned for his sanity—look what happened to C-20 after all, wink, wink, audience, thisisaclue, wink. Mobius pretends to accept this explanation, but switches pocket computers (which, befitting the midcentury glamor milieu, look like fancy cigarette cases) on her while her back is turned.
B-15 takes Sylvie back to the Alabama hurricane from “The Variant” so they can talk uninterrupted. “When you were in my head, I saw something,” B-15 says. She begs Sylvie to show it to her again. We don’t see what B-15 sees, but she declares she looked happy in it. “What now?” she asks.
Meanwhile, Mobius takes the stolen cigarette computer down to the library stacks and looks up C-20. The official file says she is, in fact, dead. However, there’s also a video of her taken shortly before her death. In it, C-20—being very articulate, and not at all catatonic as Renslayer had said—insists that she saw a whole life she led on the Sacred Timeline. Renslayer is seen in the video too, giving kill-her-now eyes to the camera.
From here, Mobius charges right into Loki’s time-loop prison, and says he believes him now, and wants to help him bring down the entire TVA, and the Nexus event he and Sylvie created on Lamentis might be the key to doing it. He hustles him off to conspire, but they’re met in the hallway by Renslayer and some Minutemen. It’s clear that they’ve been caught, and Mobius only gets a few words out before he’s vaporized.
Renslayer then goes to collect Sylvie; she’s where she’s supposed to be, but B-15 is nowhere to be found. She orders an alert put out for B-15, and then takes Loki and Sylvie on a silent elevator ride down to the lair of the fearsome Time-Keepers, three lizard men in wizard outfits, who from the look of things spend all their time just sitting on chairs floating in a triangular formation.
Loki and Sylvie are about to be executed, but then B-15 shows up, remotely removes their collars, and throws them a sword to use. The elite Minutemen in shoulder epaulets activate their disintegration staffs, only to turn them around and fight with the other end so this fight won’t be three seconds long. The other end of the staff has a blade, and this allows Sylvie to wrestle one away and stab her opponents, just like an honorable combatant ought to. After dispatching her own two guards, she circles around to Ravonna Renslayer, who also obligingly turns her staff around.
After killing all four of the guards, and seeing the Time-Keepers unguarded, Sylvie leaps off a pinned Renslayer and throws her sword at the lead Time-Keeper, slicing its head off. But heavens, they’ve been had, because the Time-Keepers are lifeless robots. With Sylvie’s spirits at their lowest ebb, Loki decides it’s the perfect time to tell her he has a crush on her. But before he can get the words out, Renslayer hits him with the correct end of the staff.
Sylvie wrestles the staff away from Renslayer, which is absurdly easily, and holds it at her throat. “Do it,” she says. “No,” says Sylvie, “you’re gonna tell me everything.”
Mid-Credits Scene: As you probably could have guessed by checking the number of episodes left in the season, Loki’s still kicking around. He comes to in a wrecked post-apocalyptic city. “Is this Hel?” he asks. (Silly Norseman! You died in combat, you go to Valhalla!) “Am I dead?” “Not yet,” says a voice offscreen, “but you will be, unless you come with us.” Loki sits up on the pavement and standing before him is a colorful cast of variants, including: a guy who looks like a cross between Thor and John Henry, with a Mjölnir made out of a wrench and a section of I-beam girder; an elderly Loki with the classic Loki comic book costume on, a kid Loki, and a Loki who’s a baby alligator.