Each week, as new episodes of Loki release on Disney+, LTN writers will reflect on each episode. You can find what we think about the Sacred Timeline here. Spoiler warning for Loki Episode 3.
Loki just can’t seem to catch a break. The old adage “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” seems to be one that defines Loki’s present circumstances. One moment, he’s doing his best to worm his way into the good graces of the TVA in order to manipulate them, and the next he is forced to work together with a world-class manipulator in order to survive. The fact that this world-class manipulator is an alternate timeline version of himself is the icing on the cake; his “best-laid plans” are going awry due to his own fault. The same could be said for the Loki Variant as well.
Even as we get to know Sylvie, the Loki Variant, we really don’t get to “know” her. She keeps everything close to her chest, in surprising contrast to our Loki who is open to a fault (“Thanks for the tactical advantage,” as Sylvie quips in response). We see that her plans tend more towards “brute force” as Loki tends towards “diplomacy and guile”, in his own words. It takes them until literal moments before the world is destroyed before they are finally willing to fully trust each other, and even then, calling them allies is a stretch.
While Loki and Sylvie do have some similarities between them (they are technically the same person, after all), what truly marks the difference between them is the way that love, or the lack thereof, has defined their lives and how they perceive love. Loki still holds great love for his mother Frigga, the lessons she imparted on him, and how she believed in him, while Sylvie shares that her years on the run have eroded away the memories of her own mother. Their discussion on the train further brings these differences to light: for Sylvie, love is equivalent to “hate” or “mischief” while Loki sums up his thoughts a little more eloquently:
“Love is a dagger. It’s a weapon to be wielded far away or up close. You can see yourself in it. It’s beautiful until it makes you bleed. But ultimately, when you reach for it…. “
“It isn’t real. Love is an imaginary dagger.”
While Loki and Sylvie’s views on love are admittedly warped, I believe love is the defining force for all of our lives. We are shaped by the love we experience from others and it affects how we interact with the rest of the world. I know that I have been made a better person not just by the love shown to me by my friends and family, but also by the love shown by our Heavenly Father. I can look back on my life and see how His love has carried me through difficult seasons and into exciting new opportunities and how He has brought people into my life to echo His steadfast faithfulness when I needed and wanted it most. I am very aware of how things could have turned out very differently if I hadn’t had that constant consistent love, much like a certain God of Mischief and his Variant.We are shaped by the love we experience from others and it affects how we interact with the rest of the world. I know that I have been made a better person not just by the love shown to me by my friends and family, but also by the love shown by our Heavenly Father.
The episode closes with “Dark Moon” by Bonnie Guitar playing over the credits, and I just couldn’t help but notice how perfect the lyrics were, and how it echoes Loki and Sylvie’s desires for that true love, the one that defies their perceptions of it:
Mortals have dreams of love’s perfect schemes
But they don’t realize that love will sometimes bring a
Dark moon, a way up high up in the sky
Oh, tell me why, oh, tell me why you’ve lost your splendor
Dark moon, what is the cause your light withdraws?
Is it because, is it because I’ve lost my love?
We can find comfort in the fact that love isn’t “hate”, “mischief”, or an “imaginary dagger”, but that it’s something that “never ends” (1 Cor. 13:8) and is trustworthy. I don’t know if Loki or Sylvie will learn to appreciate what love truly is (or how many opportunities they will have to do so, after the ending of this episode) but we can hope for them to allow true love to define their lives.