REVIEW: Loki – Season 2, Episode 4, “Heart of the TVA”

There’s a moment in “Heart of the TVA,” this week’s episode of Loki, where Loki tells Sylvie, “I promise, this will all make sense.” He’s talking to us as much as he is to her, assuring the audience that there is an explanation for the weird, confusing events of the episode. But after several years of poorly constructed, unsatisfying Marvel content, I don’t believe him. And even if the show’s plot manages to hang together in the end, it won’t make up for the journey it took to get there, full of rushed storytelling, poor characterization, a boring pace, and a severely undermined lead.

Loki, Mobius, and Sylvie bring Victor Timely back to the TVA, where he helps OB fix the Temporal Loom. B-15 tries to convince an imprisoned General Dox and her henchmen to help her stop Ravonna Renslayer, who is pursuing her own agenda with Miss Minutes. Entirely too much time is spent on hot chocolate, which is something I never thought I’d say.

“Heart of the TVA” opens where the climax of season 1 happened. Miss Minutes shows Ravonna the remains of He Who Remains, a decaying corpse in his office chair. She shows Ravonna a lost memory, where Ravonna conspired with Kang to create the TVA, then left to lead the armies that would conquer time and space for him while he sits back and lets them. As Miss Minutes puts it, she and Ravonna were the real power behind He Who Remains, and they can finish what he started. This scene is the perfect encapsulation of how the MCU has screwed up its next big villain. They undermine Kang at every turn, and now, they’ve made him an ineffectual coward, one who tricked more capable people into giving him his power, which was taken from him in an instant by Sylvie. There is no reason to fear Kang, no reason to be impressed by him, and absolutely no reason to want to see more of him. And the worst part is, the episode isn’t done denigrating him; not by a long shot.


Loki Heart of the TVA

Victor Timely, the Kang variant we met last week, is a big part of “Heart of the TVA,” and he’s as annoying here as he was there. He’s goofy and theatrical, grating while doing things like obsessing over hot chocolate or contending with kidnappers. Just like He Who Remains, he never feels like an arch-villain or even just an actual person. He’s just another clown, here to be what the writers seem to think is amusing. And, just like both of his predecessors – He Who Remains and the Kang from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania – he dies! Marvel has killed three versions of Kang so far, each one more unceremoniously than the last, while still assuring us that we’re in for it when the next Kang gets here. It’s become a joke, only we’re the punchline. And on top of how reductive it is for Kang as a villain, Victor Timely’s death means nothing because we don’t know him well enough to care.

That’s something that’s been holding all the Marvel series back: they rush character development so much that there’s never a reason to care about anyone. In “Heart of the TVA,” General Dox and her co-conspirators are locked in a TVA holding cell, and B-15 tries to secure their help against Ravonna by promising them leniency. Later, Ravonna and Miss Minutes come to them and make a similar offer, which escalates to a threat. Dox and her men – except for Brad – decline, and Dox asks Ravonna how it feels to know that almost everyone in the room chose death over helping her. This should have been a great moment for Dox and Ravonna, but Dox has had maybe four full minutes of screen time, and nothing we know of Ravonna indicates that she would care whether anyone was loyal to her. So, when Miss Minutes kills them all in one of those boxes Loki used to threaten Brad in “Breaking Brad,” it’s just another thing that happens, no more impactful than Mobius eating another piece of pie.

Loki Heart of the TVA

“Heart of the TVA” has a few moments like this, twists it wants to be shocking but that elicit nothing but a shrug. Timely’s death is one; it’s not surprising so much as ridiculous. Another is a series of prunings, first of some TVA agent whose name I forget if we’re supposed to remember (like any of these people are actual characters anyway), then of Loki by another Loki, and finally of Ravonna by a mind-controlled Brad. Now, the Loki one, we know about; this is the one we saw in the season premiere, where Loki was pruned by another Loki and deposited back to the present (which is now the past). But as for the others, prunings aren’t death, right? Don’t you get sent to that wasteland where He Who Remains lived? So Ravonna and the random TVA guy are still around, their disintegrations just throwaway moments that ultimately mean nothing. The same is true of that “shocking” ending where Loki and friends fail, the Temporal Loom explodes, and time itself collapses. We know that’s not really what happened, first because there are two episodes left, and second because they’d never have the nerve to do something that big. So, it’s just another phony attempt at giving the show stakes.

Other than all that, “Heart of the TVA” is another boring episode with stupid plot points. While trying to stop Miss Minutes from turning the TVA’s security system against them, OB warns them that the only action he can take would undo the TVA safeguards against magic. To be honest, I forgot this was even a thing, but it raises a question: why wouldn’t they have already done this? You’ve got a Norse god on your side – two, counting Sylvie – and you’re inhibiting their ability to use magic. It’s stupid, and it makes them all feel like they deserve to lose. And while they’re trying to fix the Temporal Loom and save time and the multiverse, Timely demands to be taken to the hot chocolate machine because he’s a caricature of a cartoon of an idiot. And all this happens at a snail’s pace, with these scenes dragged out to eliminate any sense of urgency the crisis with the Temporal Loom created (which, admittedly, wasn’t much).

Loki Heart of the TVA

Then, there’s Loki himself, who is undermined as well. As always, he’s arguing in favor of the TVA, and he actually makes a good argument at one point. It’s just so out of character that it’s hard to take seriously. And, as always, Sylvie is the one who drives the plot, with Loki just following her lead. There is another indication that Loki may be playing everybody, but the show has changed this great character so much that I wonder if it was even intended or if it’s just wishful thinking on my part. When he and Sylvie get their magical abilities back, “Heart of the TVA” sets the stage for a confrontation between Loki and Brad, but like everything else in the MCU nowadays, it’s a bait and switch so Sylvie can do everything. There’s a lot of promise but no follow-through, no fun, and nothing meaningful about Loki, just like the series itself.

Loki – "Heart of the TVA"

Plot - 5
Acting - 7
Progression - 6
Production Design - 9
Entertainment - 4



“Heart of the TVA” is another boring Loki episode that undermines important Marvel characters and makes everyone else look stupid with a series of meaningless twists that will surely be undone next week.

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