[Spoiler] This is How “Loki” Ends
I have tweeted extensively about my dissatisfaction with Marvel’s Loki TV series. It’s not just the choppy dialogue from the extras, abysmal performances from everyone except Owen Wilson, or the poor choices that were made in terms of plot and locations. It’s also the sheer predictability of the writing.
I predicted from the very beginning that the Time Keepers would get the Oz treatment. And now I’m predicting that Sylvie will die.
The Marvel Origin Formula
Marvel is following their own well-tested origin formula. At the beginning of the series/movie, they beat down the main character and take away their powers. Then over the course of the series/movie, they build the character back up.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor lost first his hammer and then his eye before awakening sparkly lightning powers. That was the price he paid to overcome his demons and become stronger. In Black Panther, T’Challa loses his father, his throne, and perhaps even the continuation of the Black Panther line.
In Loki, the price he’s paid is clear. His powers are taken away from him in the TVA. He loses his freedom. He’s humbled again and again.
The problem is, characters always lose at least two things in the Marvel universe before awakening their final form. Thor lost his hammer and then his eye. Black Panther lost his throne and then his cultural heritage, the garden.
It’s clear from Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther that losing just Loki’s freedom isn’t enough, especially since it’s something that’s so easily reclaimed.
Which leaves us with the questions: Is Loki going to get a power-up? And what’s the second price that he’ll pay?
With Great Power Comes Great (?) Sacrifice.
The answer to the first question is pretty clear. Classical Loki was extremely strong. We even saw a glimpse of Loki exerting a similar level of power when he blew back a skyscraper* in “Lamentis.”
One of Loki’s last lines in E05 is literally “I think we’re stronger than we realize.”
There’s also the fact that his ally and love interest, Sylvie, is passing on her own abilities. (But for some reason he isn’t passing her his abilities. Toxic.)
So we can be pretty sure that Loki is going to get a power-up in the last episode of season 1. But what’s the price he’ll pay?
Not like this. Not like this.
Sylvie will die. Or be handicapped. Or Loki will have to sacrifice her. Or she’ll sacrifice herself. Or she’ll get the Lich King treatment. No matter what the case might be, she’ll be removed from the equation.
His burgeoning relationship with Sylvie is the only thing Loki really has left to sacrifice in the series. Another possibility would be his relationship with his brother, but that would be the ass-pull of the century given that their relationship is barely touched on at any meaningful level in the series thus far.
I suppose there’s also the chance of some physical scarring as the second price he pays.
But one reason I know that Sylvie will be pushed out of the equation is because of how little the show invests in her as a character. Yes, they invest in her back story. Yes, they give her moments to shine. But unlike her counterpart, there’s no investment in her future growth. Her motives never change. Her base stats are static. Sylvie’s growth is the very small character arc of becoming more vulnerable and open to Loki, but there’s no sign thus far that her arc will continue.
And shitty though the general writing of the series is, I refuse to believe that her character arc will culminate simply in she and Loki sharing true love’s first kiss.
Whatever the writers are planning for Sylvie, it’s certainly not a spin-off series or placing her as a part of the larger series. Doing anything less than making her a major character wouldn’t be honest to her better-than-Loki setup. But they’re not setting her up for an independent series, and they’re not building up her powers.
So why do the writers of Loki invest so little in Sylvie’s future?
Because she doesn’t have one. Because her purpose in the series is to serve as fodder on Loki’s rise to further power and prominence in the hero-led Marvel universe.
And because the writers decided to telegraph that punch from miles away.
It’s time for writers of the Marvel Universe to take a page from the GRRM book of writing. First you build up the character. You give them evolving ambitions and plot relevance. You give them a future, and you set up readers’ and viewers’ expectations of where that future might lead the character and the plot as a whole.
And then you kill them.