Loki (2021) s01e04 – The Nexus Event

Lots happens this episode. It’s “the episode where fill in the blank happens” then happens again. Then happens again. Then maybe happens again. But probably not another time because they don’t actually show Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino making out—they’re time line variants of the same entity (you know, “Loki”) but Di Martino’s from a time line where the entity is born female. For some reason the mysterious Time Lords want Loki to be a boy.

Plus Di Martino has told Hiddleston secrets he can use to improve his situation with Owen Wilson, should that need ever arise. And we also find out guard Wunmi Mosaku (I didn’t think she’d be back but thank goodness because she’s so good) wants to question Di Martino privately about some of those secrets. And we find out there’s some history between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Di Martino. Plus conspiracies. And robots. And exploding planets.

There’s lots.

It’s really good Owen Wilson. Like, good enough I got wistful thinking about him actually doing a part instead of a stunt cast, actually having direction, actually having a script. They could even do it with Hiddleston; it’s that old time Owen Wilson magic. Or at least more of it than “Loki” has ever shown before.

Mbatha-Raw turns out to be very, very good after seeming like another stunt cast.

Di Martino barely has anything to do this episode. She’s good. Same for Hiddleston, though he does have some stuff to do and it’s not great, but then the rest of the time he’s pretty good. It evens out. Pointless cameo from Jaimie Alexander but it’s at least funny.

Kate Herron’s direction is wanting. There’s only so much to do with the script—Eric Martin gets the credit and it’s one big melodramatic beat after another, with no time for reflection or supporting cast in between. The secrets behind Marvel Disney+ show budgets would reveal a lot about the potential for the shows.

But the special effects—the composites—are terrible in this episode. Interstellar CGI should be better than the opening titles for “Third Rock from the Sun.” And then the big fight scene. It’s confusing, plodding, and bad.

The cliffhanger’s a big twist after a bunch of interesting enough reveals. I feel like if you’re this many episodes into “Loki”… you’re stuck finishing it but… it’ll either be entertaining and dumb or just dumb. With the cast, seems like the former.

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