While the first three episodes of Loki have given Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, and Sophia Di Martino plenty of material to chew on, the enormously talented Gugu Mbatha-Raw hasn't had much to do except chide Agent Mobius about his belief in Loki. In the most shocking episode yet, that all changes as we learn Ravonna Renslayer has a far more complicated agenda than she has let on.
The seemingly mild-mannered Ravonna was the time agent that brought Sylvie in as a child (played by Cailey Fleming, who was young Rey in the Star Wars sequels) for seemingly nothing more nefarious than playing with her toys on Asgard. Sylvie manages to escape with Ravonna's TemPad before she can be sentenced and thus begins her reign of chaos along the Sacred Timeline. So for Ravonna, catching this particular Loki variant has always been personal. And she's still trying as she's called before the Time-Keepers after Loki and Sylvie escaped from the halls of the TVA.
But while she tells Mobius the Time-Keepers want the variants caught, she's hiding what really happened to Hunter C-20 after Sylvie's enchantment, telling him that C-20 died after he asks if he can interview her. Mobius seems suspicious but whether it's his latent crush on Ravonna or his overall faith in her, he does what she asks and starts searching the timeline for evidence of Loki and Sylvie.
Things are still looking pretty dire on Lamentis-1 as Loki and Sylvie face their imminent destruction. The end of the world has left them both feeling reflective and Sylvie finally confesses her past to Loki. She grew up on some version of Asgard just as he did but she was snatched away from her home by the TVA as a child. She escaped but created nexus events wherever she went and eventually had to grow up by hiding at the ends of a thousand worlds.
As she comes to the conclusion that what makes a Loki a Loki is that they are destined to lose, Loki himself says no, it's the fact that they survive despite that. He looks truly dazzled by her and he tells her so and despite the fact that it's incredibly weird hearing him give someone sincere praise, she is so moved that she takes his arm. And it's this act of two Lokis seemingly falling in love (which still feels weirdly incestuous even though Hiddleston and Di Martino have amazing chemistry) that triggers a big enough nexus event for Mobius to spot them on the timeline.
Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios
As Loki and Sylvie hold tightly to each other's hand as the world disintegrates around them, two portals open just in time. Time collars clamped around both of them, Sylvie gets dragged off by an enormous collection of guards as Mobius takes charge of Loki, who true-to-form complains he should have just as many guards as his counterpart. Still pissed at Loki's betrayal, Mobius isn't in the mood for his complaints and tells Loki he's not the God of Mischief but just an a--hole and a bad friend. But before Mobius can shove Loki into a time cell to soften him up before his interrogation, Loki lets him know that the TVA is lying to him.
Mobius doesn't seem to believe him at first but it plants a seed of doubt that grows over the course of the episode and with every interaction he has with Ravonna, who also won't let him see Sylvie. He drops the information Loki gave him to B-15 and doubt grows in her as well. Mobius also lets it drop that the TVA has brought in Kree, Titans and vampires casually prepping the MCU for the eventual Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali.
Loki, meanwhile, is stuck in a time loop reliving a bad memory of when he cut Lady Sif's hair as a joke and she knees him in the groin and tells him he deserves to be alone. While it's nice to see Jaimie Alexander reprise her role as Sif, it seems odd that of all the bad memories Loki must have, Mobius chooses this one and not something involving Odin or Thor (though of course the pandemic might have limited which actors were available). The scene does serve its purpose as Loki eventually apologizes to Sif and admits he's a narcissist who is scared of being alone. Sif doesn't hit him this time but still manages to verbally devastate him by confirming his fears.
This is the moment Mobius chooses to interrogate him and their conversation is filled with hurt on both sides, showing that before the betrayal their burgeoning friendship was real. Trying to figure out what the nature of the nexus event on Lamentis-1 was, Mobius starts to ask if Loki was working for Sylvie. Loki, knowing he'll be pruned as soon as he tells the truth, lies and comes up with an elaborate story that Mobius doesn't buy. Sensing that Loki really cares about Sylvie, Mobius lies himself and says she's already been pruned to see his reaction, which is complete devastation. Much to Loki's relief, Mobius reveals she's alive but believes that two variants of the same being forming a kind of a twisted romantic relationship is pure chaos. No wonder they didn't notice they created a nexus event!
Loki has had enough and tells Mobius that not only is he a variant, but the whole TVA is filled with them. They've all been kidnapped and their memories have been erased but Sylvie can access them through enchantment. Mobius could have a whole life he doesn't know about but he just keeps lying to himself that the TVA is real.
Loki gets shoved back in his time cell as Mobius goes to Ravonna to close Loki's case, but Mobius' doubts continue to grow. And while he has always been on good terms with Ravonna, he knows she isn't telling him the whole truth and switches TemPads to find out what really happened to C-20. And what he finds confirms that Loki has been telling the truth.
And just as Mobius has his faith in the TVA shaken, so does B-15, who takes Sylvie back to the Roxxcart apocalypse and demands the truth. The last time Sylvie was in her brain, she saw a memory that didn't involve the TVA and she lets Sylvie into her mind to see what her life was before. And through her tears, she realizes she was happy.
And this is when all hell starts to break loose in the halls of the TVA. Finding Loki back in his time cell, Mobius asks him if he really thinks he deserves to be alone because his connection with Sylvie is powerful enough to bring the entire TVA down around them. Mobius knows he needs to take an enormous leap of faith here on deciding to trust the word of two Lokis, but Loki says he can trust the word of a friend and Mobius tells him that his life is not predetermined. Loki can be whatever he wants, either good or bad.
Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios
They leave the time cell but walk right into Ravonna's clutches. Mobius reveals that he knows he's a variant and that the Time-Keepers basically stole his life. And though he told Ravonna earlier over drinks that he would always want to be where she was, he really wants to be back to his real life, before his memory was erased. Before he can wax poetic about the jet-ski in his own reality, Ravonna orders him pruned and in an enormous shock, Mobius is deleted before Loki's eyes.
If Loki wanted to go before the Time-Keepers before, this wasn't the way he planned. Ravonna collects Sylvie and puts out an alert for the missing B-15. Taking Loki and Sylvie alone up the golden elevator, Ravonna remains cool and in control, claiming she doesn't remember what nexus event caused Sylvie's kidnapping in the first place. While Loki looks devastated, Sylvie is all coiled fury and eventually he is as well.
They are both defiant as they stand before the Time-Keepers, who do really look like a bunch of weird space lizards. At first it seems like an odd design choice on the show's part but it's revealed that something is truly off about them when B-15 appears, releases Sylvie and Loki from their time collars, and tosses Sylvie her sword. Sylvie and Loki fight back to back in a scene that is a little reminiscent of the throne room battle in The Last Jedi. Ravonna and Sylvie face off as Loki takes on the rest of the guards. Sylvie eventually knocks Ravonna out and then beheads one of the Time-Keepers. But the remaining Time-Keepers creepily laugh and then deactivate. In another shock, it turns out the Time-Keepers were just mindless androids. Much to both of their frustrations, Loki and Sylvie still don't know who created the TVA — but Ravonna does. Before Loki can confess what seems like his love to despondent Sylvie, Ravonna deletes him. In her rage, Sylvie gets the upper hand and demands Ravonna tell her everything.
If you thought that was the shocking end of Tom Hiddleston's reign as Loki, the end credits prove that he has more lives than a cat. He wakes up thinking he's in Hel, the Asgardian underworld, but the three Lokis before him — one played by the wonderful Richard E. Grant in a the most tragic Loki costume I've ever seen, Boastful Loki by Game of Thrones' DeObaria Oparei, and the third by Jack Veal who seems to be Kid Loki (holding what looks like an alligator Loki) — who say he isn't there yet but he has to come with them. And so the question of what makes a Loki a Loki gets ever more complicated.