Season 2, Episode 4 “The Heart of the TVA”

Season 2, Episode 4 "The Heart of the TVA"

Things go haywire at the Time Variance Authory—to be expected, since the Temporal Loom is about to burst over capacity—on Loki episode four, “The Heart of the TVA,” on Disney+.

Everything has led up to this. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) must use their might to support Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the TVA in saving the new timelines sprouting from the Temporal Loom. With the help of Victor Timely’s (Jonathan Majors) aura to unlock the blast doors that have been keeping them from getting the job done, they’re ready to race against the clock.

Here’s our recap of this week’s episode, which begins at the end of the world and finally shows us Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha Raw) getting all the tea from Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) about what really happened when the TVA was built.

Image for article titled On Loki, Time's Running out for the TVA—and the Multiverse

Image: Marvel Studios

In a projected flashback, Miss Minutes shows Ravonna the moment she and He Who Remains arrived at their “utopia at the end of time.” He tells her how proud he is to lead with her, and calls her a “marvel” (wink). He then sends her away to the TVA, which awaits their command, but says he’ll catch up. But, uh-oh, not so fast! As soon as she steps back into the TVA, He Who Remains calls Miss Minutes and tells her to wipe her memories, everyone’s memories. He clearly wants to rule alone and has scammed Ravonna out of being there with him. So clearly, a scorned Renslayer teams up with Miss Minutes to get revenge. I still think two girl bosses don’t make a right—especially over a man—but seeing them reclaim their power? Well, I can’t say I don’t support women’s wrongs, either.

Back at the TVA, Timely arrives and begins to explore the domain he created—er, has yet to create. The pacing gets a little off here with everyone looking for Timely. Ravonna wants to stop him while Loki and Mobius want to get him to the Temporal Loom. There’s an oddly placed comical tone as they drag their feet with Wilson’s whispered quips to coax Timely to their side like he’s a stray cat let loose in the TVA. What’s really a bummer is that these shenanigans are followed up by a short but essential scene between B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Judge Gamble (Liz Carr)—it’s the first time in this episode where there is standout dramatic acting, that’s for sure. No dicking around here; they have an important talk about deciding to really create change within the TVA and dismantle the systemic poison that made them turn against each other. They also decide to give Dox (Kate Dickie) and her army another chance to rethink how they do things instead of just pruning them like was protocol before. In four episodes, this is the type of TVA change we wanted to see and get more of from B-15 and Gamble. Otherwise, they—like Casey (Eugene Cordero) and O.B. (Ke Huy Quan), who seem to be the only ones really planning out how to deal with the Temporal Loom—have been short-changed in favor of banter and pie scenes between the show’s stars.

Things pick up when Timely enters the picture. Casey and O.B. have been working on a Throughput Multiplier (think a cannonball) that they use to expand the loom’s rings, and Victor’s presence signals a meeting of geniuses who can figure out how to get it to work. Quan’s performance is scene-stealing here; he charmingly delivers a lot of writing that tries to make the show look smarter than it actually is. While geeking out over each other, there’s a bit about Timely crediting O.B. for his genius and O.B. saying it was all Timely that’s very self-indulgently clever. The pacing still feels off here—and they eventually start trying to figure out who will go out there to launch the Multiplier and risk getting their skin ripped off or turning into spaghetti. Mobius and Loki once again bicker about it and my eyes rolled so hard at this bro-mantic scene between all the dudes.

Image for article titled On Loki, Time's Running out for the TVA—and the Multiverse

Image: Marvel Studios

I could feel and relate to Sylvie’s annoyance, and wondered what they needed her there for? She was the first season’s MVP and is getting benched in this episode—but you know TVA bros gotta bro. Mobius then suggests they hit the pie room and Sylvie snaps. The branches are dying and she calls him out as a company man. He doesn’t care even about his own timeline; he’s so disconnected from actually doing anything other than his managerial work and overseeing others to try and fix it. For a character that hasn’t stepped up, it’s like Mobius is just there getting lots of scenes without contributing much other than quips and exposition because he’s Owen Wilson. There better be a solid reveal coming that he can actually do more, because Di Martino keeps getting less this season and I’m not here for it.

Back in the cells holding Dox, Brad aka X-5 (Rafael Casal), and the rest of their squad, leadership calls out X-5 for defecting in order to live on the sacred timeline. Brad gets his Matrix moment here where he’s like, “Blue pill all the way,” and tries to get his former comrades to negotiate a way into lives they had taken from them. But Brad selling out his own only unites them more, and when B-15 comes in to talk to Dox, they figure out a way to work together. This is another amazing scene with Mosaku, this time opposite Dickie, that underlines what Loki is really trying to say outside of key lime pie moments. Too bad that it’s also short-lived, as Renslayer comes in with Miss Minutes after B-15 leaves to try to convert them to their team for lives on the Sacred Timeline—only for Brad to take the deal and watch Dox and his team violently murdered in a box. Seriously, the joyful animation on Miss Minutes when they were being crushed was unhinged and terrifying.

Speaking of pie, Sylvie is annoyed in the pie room and we are too at this point. The episode has gone on for too long and then gets dragged out more, with Loki defending Mobius like he’s a manic pixie dream office boy. Then, he attempts an appeal to her morals by talking about how free will is so important, and that it’s why she didn’t kill Timely. Sylvie agrees, saying it’s because he was afraid and He Who Remains wasn’t. But she also points out he’s backing the TVA when she thinks it should still be burned down. Loki posits that they should do the hard thing and hope they can fix it. Sure, it’s a lot of hoping, but they can watch and guide Timely and make sure he doesn’t become He Who Remains and they can play god since, well… they are gods.

Over with O.B. and Casey, working hard on the multiplier, Mobius drinks some hot cocoa and—in a very man-out-of-time moment—Timely decides he wants one too. Yay, more obstacles to get Timely away from those who are supposed to be watching him. Meanwhile B-15 finds the aftermath of Dox and her team being taken out and while there’s no real dialogue here, Wunmi’s face says everything B-15 is feeling. When she gets a notification on her temp pad that Miss Minutes has begun to override the TVA, she’s now radicalized to stop the cheery evil AI.

As the Loom continues to melt down, Timely encounters Brad at the hot cocoa machine; he takes him to Renslayer and Miss Minutes. Victor, like a cheater caught cheating, acts all apologetic toward the women he pissed off. Then to check off boxes, we get Loki and Sylvie looking for Timely and being thwarted by Miss Minutes, leading to the elevator scene from the top of the season. Sylvie opens the elevator and sees Loki, who looks at her like it’s the first time as the mysterious phone rings and then he’s struck by a pruning wand by none other than the present Loki—like no one saw that coming. Loki just shrugs it off, telling her it will make sense later.

Image for article titled On Loki, Time's Running out for the TVA—and the Multiverse

Image: Marvel Studios

Loki answers the ringing phone. O.B. asks what’s taking so long—which is what we are all thinking. Miss Minutes is sabotaging everything so they decide to reboot the system so she gets locked out. She says she needs to tell Victor something, and it’s “you’ll never be him.” Things pick up just as the episode wraps up: X-5 gets possessed by Sylvie in order to snatch Timely away from Ravonna Renslayer, and then Renslayer is pruned. It’s a stolen victory because we could have at least gotten a showdown between them.

Victor finally gets taken back down to open the locked gate by putting his face in the temporal scanner to open it (surprise, surprise, it works). He then decides to be the one to go out and launch the Throughput Multiplier. O.B. tells him to be really fast and it builds to him getting a moment to shine as he tells himself, “It’s time to be brave.” The walk takes forever and you can read it on Sylvie and B-15’s faces: they know these fellas have taken too much sweet time already.

As Timely makes it past the blast doors with the multiplier in hand, he immediately bursts into spaghetti. I couldn’t help but laugh at what I assume was a serious moment. But then it’s curious because Mobius didn’t burst like that. What if Timely un-alived himself in order to get his noodles all over the timelines, thus ushering in the Kang dynasty? What a con, that Victor Timely!

Back at the TVA, the team chalks up Timely’s seemingly untimely demise to the temporal radiation being too high and sure enough the Loom explodes. Everyone gets their last looks in as they’re engulfed. What is the reason? Why should we care? We got introduced to so many side characters who are more interesting, then not developed, so the show can focus on Mobius and Loki’s antics instead. Of course, this isn’t over and some sort of deus ex machina, probably in the form of Miss Minutes going Ultron, will restart everything or rewind it from going caput. It’s all so tired. Why should we care if the depth and individuality of show is gone there’s no consequence to MCU at large, allegedly? God I hope there’s a reason and I eat crow.

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