Martin Carr reviews the fourth episode of Marvel’s Loki…
Purgatory for some involves sharp slaps, nut sack attacks and pure subjugation. For our strung out narcissist, it proves to be one in a long line of humiliations due for delivery in episode four. Bouncing from a dying planet and back into the deceptive custody of TVA number crunchers, Loki one and two continue raising hell. With more screen time for Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna and Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15, things also feel more grounded.
If anything, this latest information drop sheds more light and leaves audiences with an intriguing cliff hanger. Subterfuge, misdirection and cyclical interrogation still form the basis for any relationship within the TVA, but progress is definitely being made. Both Mobius and Hunter B-15 experience personal revelations within The Nexus Event, which does much to propel things forward. A solid chemistry is developing between Sylvie and Loki, while elsewhere Ravonna and Mobius are also given room to explore their dynamic in more depth.
What proves most touching however is the border line love interest element, which makes things between Loki and Sylvie slightly awkward. From their shared near death experience to an unexpected look of love between our divided variants; these characters are forever changed. Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino do a lot with a little in these moments, conveyed in the main through glances more than anything more obvious.
There are other more tangible revelations to be had here, but most come towards the latter stages of an episode which may catch some people off guard. Pruning is metered out with ruthless efficiency, while the ramifications take some time to become apparent. As people are caught, captured and liberated in a matter of minutes, Loki delivers yet another curveball after the dust settles. Multiverses, divergent versions and timelines in triplicate have been mentioned by Marvel on a multitude of occasions. However, on this occasion they mean business.
In essence, this show is built on such flights of fantasy, where anything will happen, has happened and continues to be a possibility. With the realisation that audiences are finally being lead down the rabbit hole, Loki becomes a completely different prospect. In dimensional terms all bets are off, as variants may prove to be the norm rather than an aberration to be hunted down. That ending also raises more questions, taps into more comic book fork lore and does so with a mischievous glint in its eye. If people were wondering when Loki was going to kick it up a notch, Marvel have not only answered the question; but done so with vigour.