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I’m Not Mad About That Big Nexus Event in This Week’s Loki

Loki holding a dagger

**Spoilers for Loki episode 4 “The Nexus Event” lie within.**

Loki finally realized what it feels like to fall in love with someone on this week’s episode of Loki. Well, sort of. That someone also happens to be a variation of himself, which is fitting for the character who also called himself a narcissist in the same hour. When breaking this down, it’s an interesting rumination on self-love, but it’s also a bit strange because … well, Loki has feelings for Sylvie and so, by extension, has a crush on himself. Sort of. Loki having feelings for Sylvie is an event that has divided fans and fandom, with some happy to see it and others upset about the “problematic” nature of this plotline.

When Loki and Sylvie are still stuck on Lamentis-1, the two are watching the world end around them and reach out to one another for comfort. That hand-holding sparks a Nexus Event that alerts the TVA as to where Loki and Sylvie are, and they are brought back into the TVA as prisoners. And so that Nexus Event leads to Mobius realizing what was happening with Loki and his burgeoning feelings for Sylvie.

Sure, I guess in a way you could call their relationship “problematic,” though it’s not yet a “relationship” and may never be. Some people are upset about the idea of Sylvie and Loki being together and have been muttering against shipping Loki and Sylvie on social media for weeks. With the show actually making Loki’s feelings canon, there’s been some uproar. Not that we’re surprised in the least. Remember that one reviewer who predicted “perverse fanfiction” (LOL) about Loki/Sylvie—now known as “Sylki”—after the second episode?

But there’s a lot more to look at here beyond some viewers’ policing of any kind of questionable pairing. Loki and Sylvie may be variants of the same being, but they are very different and have had wildly different lives. I also think, for now at least, that we’re supposed to see any romantic feelings between them as one-sided. I think that Sylvie is just happy to have someone who understands her journey but doesn’t have a real romantic connection to Loki, whereas this Loki is a narcissist to the highest degree so of course he fell in love with himself.

It’s also telling that Mobius (while seeming very jealous, I might add) called out Loki for his “crush.” In fact, he says to Loki: “Two variants of the same being, especially you, forming this kind of sick twisted romantic relationship? That’s pure chaos! That could break reality. It’s breaking my reality right now! What an incredible seismic narcissist! You fell for yourself!”

Writer Michael Waldron talked with (along with the rest of the creatives behind Loki) about the “love story” of this episode and whether or not it was too wild to have Loki fall in love with a version of himself:

“That was one of the cruxes of my pitch [for the series], that there was going to be a love story. We went back and forth for a little bit about, like do we really want to have this guy fall in love with another version of himself? Is that too crazy? But in a series that, to me, is ultimately about self-love, self-reflection, and forgiving yourself, it just felt right that that would be Loki’s first real love story.”

We don’t know the extent of Loki’s “feelings” or where it’s going to go. While Loki looked on the verge of confessing love to Sylvie, Sylvie didn’t seem to be feeling the same way, so again, this is probably one-sided. What was important about that moment for Loki’s character evolution is that he’s come to care for someone and won’t betray them. Fans who are mad about Loki having romantic feelings for Sylvie should probably take heart in the fact that the show itself, through Mobius’s lines, deems it “sick” and “twisted.” Everyone on Twitter trying to cancel Loki creatives for “self-cest” should probably calm down.

Waldron went on to explain the branching of the timeline and the terror that filled the TVA from it:

“The look that they share, that moment, [it started as] a blossoming friendship. Then for the first time, they both feel that twinge of, ‘Oh, could this be something more? What is this I’m feeling?’ These are two beings of pure chaos that are the same person falling in love with one another. That’s a straight-up and down branch, and exactly the sort of thing that would terrify the TVA.”

But Tom Hiddleston makes a good point:

 “I don’t think Loki’s relationship with himself has been very healthy. Trying to accept those aspects of himself, which he’s been on the run from, was a way of thinking about that in a really interesting way. Also, Sylvie’s not Loki. Sylvie is Sylvie. That’s interesting, too. I’m really excited to see what people make of it.”

Hiddleston also talked about how Sylvie and Loki, while variations of each other, are different:

“When Loki meets Sylvie, he’s inspired solely by curiosity. He wants to talk to her and understand her and try to discern what was similar about their experiences, and what was different. He keeps asking her questions because he wants to see if his experience was also her experience. I think he realizes, and she realizes, that while they’re the same, they’re not the same.”

Director Kate Herron also chimed in, talking about how the show explores identity and uses the difference between Sylvie and Loki to show Loki things about himself:

“Who’s a better match for Loki than himself?. The whole show is about identity. It’s about him, and he is on a very different path, and he is on a different journey. He sees things in Sylvie that he is like, ‘Oh, I’ve been there. I know what you feel.’ But she’s like, ‘Well, I don’t feel that way.’ And I think that was the kind of fun thing about it. She is him, but she’s not him. They’ve had such different life experiences. So just from an identity perspective, it was interesting to dig into that.”

Personally? I think that Loki is exploring this feeling for Sylvie, and that’s stopping him from being completely selfish. It’s character growth. As he says, this is all very new for him. Instead of abandoning her or throwing her under the bus to save himself, he knew he had to protect them both and even tried to protect Mobius by telling him the truth about the TVA. This is a different Loki than the one we started the show with.

Loki is experiencing emotions that are somewhat foreign to this version of Loki. Sure, the Loki we watched sacrifice himself in Infinity War had grown and was willing to do something for the safety of his brother and not just to save himself, but this Loki hasn’t gone through Ragnarok and more. He was just plucked from the Battle of New York.

So seeing him learn these emotions and figure out how to handle his feelings? It’s a lot, and if Sylvie helps him grow and understand himself and he does the same for her right now, I’m okay with it. Sylvie could also use someone who cares about her and her well-being, as she’s been alone and on the run for so long. Do I think it’s romantic love? I’m not sure yet, but I think there’s something there that is making Loki look inward, and I’m excited to see where it takes him.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.