Something is rotten at the “Heart of the TVA”

A little rejection goes a long way...

Last week Miss Minutes (MM) confessed her real motives for helping Victor, Sylvie spared the Kang variant so he could potentially save the TVA, and Ravonna was promised a big reveal.

This week Ravonna learns she was Kang’s #2 until he had her memories erased. MM enlists her help in taking over the TVA, and running it without the man (girl power!), so they go back to recruit Dox and her minutemen to the cause. It does not go well, ending with just one added soldier. Meanwhile, Victor is given the 411 on the looming danger (I had to!). After him and O.B. lamp shade the Ouroboros in the room, he’s happy to put that brilliant mind to the task of saving the TVA. But, MM, Ravonna, and X-5 are not going to make it easy. X-5 kidnaps Victor after pruning D-90 (Neil Ellice) so Ravonna can drill him for information as MM fucks with the facilities. The solution? A system reboot will take the evil AI offline, and give Loki and Sylvie access to their magic within the building.

It works, Sylvie gets the drop on X-5 and enchants him to prune Ravonna, and Victor is rescued. Sadly, though they have all the puzzle pieces ready, the temporal radiation kills Mr. Timely almost instantly (a very untimely death, eh?). And before any kind of Plan B can be made, the loom explodes in the wake of an atomic blast level surge of energy. The bright light heads for Loki and the TVA, and that’s where we end.

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

There’s definitely stuff to unpack in this episode. Not only does Ravonna prove why she was Kang’s #2—ruthlessly murdering Dox and her squad via time box when most of them refuse to align with her, but MM goes full psycho. I’ll give credit to the animators here because they expertly capture the morbid glee as it gradually takes over her face. At first she’s kind of shocked, maybe embarrassed, but by the end she’s given into it completely. It’s a chilling scene.

We finally learn what happened in the future Loki visited. Who the phone was for, who Sylvie was looking at, and who pruned him. In yet another time paradox twist, Loki (forced to take the stairs thanks to MM) comes upon himself, hears the phone, and realizes what moment this is. Yes, Loki pruned himself. Hiddleston does some great, subtle heavy lifting but Di Martino matches it with her own. Sylvie watches her comrade get pruned only to then see who did the pruning. The two of them perfectly convey the absolute insanity they can’t linger on because that phone needs answering. Who’s calling? Why O.B. and Casey to remind Loki and Sylvie of the ticking clock, but also to suggest shutting down MM.

Then there’s that ending. It reminded me of both “Lamentis” and “The Nexus Event” from season 1. The first episode mentioned finds Loki and Sylvie trapped on a doomed moon as it explodes, while the second is when Loki is pruned. Both are solid cliffhangers, and this one follows suit. Still, since we know there’s two episodes left this season it’s unlikely Loki and the gang are actually dead. The real question is where do we pick up?

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Will we see Ravonna in the land of Lokis (a potential army if she can wrangle them)? Will it be a flashback to Kang and Ravonna’s war? Maybe it’ll follow MM’s journey this far up to her reboot. It’s a juicy mystery, perfect for a thirsty audience.

Let me say that while I did enjoy this episode, there are problems with it. Firstly, what exactly is Ravonna and MM’s plan for the TVA? Renslayer’s carrot to Dox and her squad was a place on the sacred timeline (ST) if they wanted it, but that just brings me back to the issue with Brad’s episode. If being a variant is what fucks up the ST, then how do you return a variant to the ST? Also, does Ravonna know why the ST is sacred? MM made a strong case for saying nuts to the patriarchy and letting the women run the show, but wasn’t the whole point of the ST to prevent Kang variants? If that’s the issue, then once again, the easiest solution is to form a Kang hunting squad, no? I really don’t trust MM at this point, and if Ravonna is smart she won’t either.

Consider the memory she played for Ravonna, how do we know that’s not doctored? Getting rid of Kang’s #2 puts MM right back where she wants to be—by his side for all of time. Given she’s basically the system there’s no reason not to believe she altered that footage to pit Ravonna against Kang.

However, a very important flaw becomes clear here. If MM was in love with the man at the end of time why didn’t she save him? It’s clear from this season she has corporeal capabilities: she can grab things, possibly push people, so why not hulk out and save the man she loved when two rogue Lokis were gunning for him? On the one hand you can argue that maybe Kang told her to stand down, maybe he locked her out, or maybe she’s just not strong enough, all fantastic counters but the larger issue is mythology.

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

See, when you world build, you need to have a plan. In order for it to work right and please the audience, world building can’t be a seat of your pants, fly by night operation. If MM is going to be a sinister figure, to the degree that once Gen. Dox sees her it clearly causes concern, you need to set that up in the first season. Otherwise the brain goes… wait… why is the general so afraid or distrustful of the cartoon clock? Was this always a thing? Has Dox brought this concern up to anyone in the past? What happened between Dox and MM? What does Dox know about MM?

Dox is new this season, as is evil MM, and while Ravonna isn’t, her alliance with MM isn’t well established. I love O.B., I love that Casey has a better place in his world suddenly, the temporal loom is growing on me, but there are times when these changes are blatantly shoehorned in. And, while I have nothing against adding new characters or new motives to old characters, if you’re going to evolve an already conceived world, it needs to be done so it makes sense. Sequels based on high concept worlds fail for me when they ignore or break rules they’ve established in the first movie (book or season).

Ralph Breaks the Internet is a good example of this. Wreck-It Ralph established some cool rules in the first movie which the sequel promptly takes a sledgehammer to. A weak story didn’t help, but rule breaking made it worse. The first season of Loki put enough bricks in place that the second season is now clumsily tripping over as it tries to expand the TVA.

Still, I’m along for the ride. Let’s see what’s on the other side of that bright ass light.

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In a race to save the TVA from an impending temporal loom catastrophe, Loki and the gang bring Victor Timely to their side of the fight. But, Miss Minutes enlists Ravonna Renslayer's aid, luring the former judge with the promise of power. The episode is a good ticking clock drama, with fun time paradox twists, and though it is fun to watch, some of the world building gets lost in the new narrative.Something is rotten at the "Heart of the TVA"