Major spoilers below for the fourth episode of Disney+'s Loki, so be warned if you haven't yet watched!
With the episode "The Nexus Event," Loki climbed delivered one of the most mind-jarring hours of MCU content we've seen so far, and it was made all the more impactful by the chemistry-filled character development built up in the first three installments. Not only did audiences witness Mobius' potential death (definitely not dead), Loki's surprise pruning (definitely not in Kansas anymore), and Lady Sif's surprise return (definitely not improvising), but we also learned the origin story behind the enchanting Sylvie and her revenge mission against the TVA. Well, sort of.
CinemaBlend spoke with Loki's super-talented director Kate Herron following the debut of Episode 4, and as one might imagine, there was no end in sight to the amount of questions that could be discussed. (Stay tuned for more on those amazing new Loki variants and much more.) Below, fans can check out what Herron had to say about both Sylvie's Nexus Event and why her massive timeline-demolition efforts didn't get more focus after Episode 2.
Was Sylvie's Nexus Event So Bad That The TVA Had To Destroy Her Life?
Episode 4 began with The Walking Dead star Cailey Fleming as a young Sylvie, seemingly as happy as could be while playing with her Viking-centric toys. Her afternoon was soon interrupted by Gugu Mbatha Raw's non-bounty hunter Ravonna Renslayer, who roughly hauled Sylvie away to the TVA as her henchmen set a reset charge in that timeline. Viewers didn't see anything particularly incriminating, and Ravonna herself later implied Sylvie's Nexus Event wasn't so impactful in saying she couldn't even remember what it was. When I asked Loki helmer Kate Herron about whether Sylvie's big moment was more of a major catalyst or an insignificant one, here's what she said:
My interpretation of it is that it's definitely open for discussion, because I wouldn't want to shut that down. I think it's kind of fun seeing everyone and their read on it. But I think there's something tragic, in the sense that we see her as a little girl and she's playing with her toys, and it doesn't seem like it's a big thing that she's done. So I think that's the really key thing with her is that we don't necessarily know what the exact event was, but it wasn't villainous, and it didn't seem [that way]. I think that's the clear thing, particularly with Episode 4, is that obviously our perspective on the TVA started to shift. For example, it was really important for me showing her going through the same process as Loki but it's like, 'Okay, how do we show that through the eyes of a child that's also innocent?' And we should feel, as an audience, wrongfully there. So I think that was really key for us.
It would make a ton of narrative sense if Sylvie's Nexus Event fell on the less-than-massive side of the spectrum. While Cailey Fleming's Sylvie could have certainly been an evil little imp outside of the scenes we witnessed, she wasn't depicted that way, and could easily believe that she's mostly innocent in nature. And it almost seemed like Ravonna had some kind of personal stake in taking the young female Loki away, considering how pissed off she seemed in the moment, which was in stark contrast to her nervousness later when she was seen entering the Time-Keepers' chamber. (Not that she had any reason to be nervous in front of those fakesters.)
Kate Herron continued, and her words were a reminder of Episode 1's introductory video with Miss Minutes, which pointed out that Nexus Events can be caused by something as otherwise insignificant as waking up late for work. Here's how she put it:
But in terms of like, what exactly it was, I would kind of just leave that open to the fans to discuss because yeah, I think it's fun. I have my own idea of what it is, but I think in my head, it's definitely something innocent and something out of her control. Which kind of plays into the fact that not everyone arrested by the TVA is necessarily like Loki and has stolen a tesseract and created this branch. Sometimes you accidentally do just step onto the wrong leaf and you create this branch. Do those people, where it's accidental, do they deserve to go through this process where ultimately they're deleted by the TVA? Probably not. Or maybe they do, for the better of servicing and protecting the timeline. So yeah, that's kind of all part of the discussion.
It's obviously suspect that Kate Herron herself doesn't appear to know what Sylvie's Nexus Event is, although that might just be the director's way of providing a spoiler-free answer ahead of any future episode reveals. Even if we don't ever really find out exactly why Sylvie was targeted by the TVA (beyond just being a Loki variant to begin with), that moment was still successful in serving as the episode's first full-blown indication that the TVA is not nearly as much of a protagonist-filled organization as fans (and Loki) had been led to believe. That continued to be proven throughout the episode, too, by way of Mobius being killed off, the Time Keepers reveal, and Loki himself being hit with the pruning stick.
Why Didn't Loki Show More Of Sylvie's Timeline Attack?
Loki's second episode ended with a doozy of a final scene, with Sylvie's big scheme being put into action as a bunch of timeline-reset charges were set off in various locations around the world, causing a huge rise in the number of timelines being split away from that most "sacred" one. While many viewers likely expected Episode 3's "Lamentis" to show the catastrophic aftermath of Sylvie's time-terrorism, the installment's runtime was almost entirely devoted to building the connective bridge between Tom Hiddleston's god and Sophia Di Martino's goddess.
Then in Episode 4, when Loki and Sylvie were captured and brought back into the TVA, that big attack was already an afterthought. I asked Kate Herron why the show didn't dedicate more focus on what came from Sylvie's actions, and she explained it by saying the point of the story in that moment wasn't about the TVA chaos, but about the burgeoning relationship between the two trickster gods.
I think the thinking was like, you know in Episode 3, while they're on Lamentis? That was sort of to hand in being sorted out, essentially. Because when she's infiltrating the TVA, we see Minutemen running off through time doors, so you get an impression that they are tidying up the timeline. But it just wasn't the P.O.V. that we were with at that point, basically. You know what I mean? We weren't back in the TVA. And I think we get an impression [of what happens], because obviously we leave Renslayer there when they fall through the time door. For us, it was more just that we're not there for that tidy-up moment in the story; we're with our two Lokis on Lamentis.
So even though Marvel fans probably had ideas of multiverse shenanigans and other comic-friendly chaos resulting from Sylvie setting off all those charges, Loki pulled a fast one on everyone by showing us just how ineffective the female Loki's seemingly calamitous act truly was. In the end, the attack was never meant to be a debilitating situation for the TVA, at least from the creative team's perspective, but more to show just how powerful and far-reaching their timeline-saving acts can be. And all while viewers were busy watching Loki fall in love with himself. I don't know if that counts as slight-of-hand, exactly, but it certainly did the job.