Loki Episode 5 features an open and surprisingly vulnerable conversation between its two central variants: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). Preparing to take on a malevolent temporal entity known as Alioth, Sylvie asks Loki if she can truly trust him to not betray her when they inevitably take on Alioth and attempt to bring down the Time Variance Authority.
“I betrayed everyone who ever loved me,” Loki says. “That’s not who I am anymore. Okay? I won’t let you down.”
It’s a major moment for Hiddleston’s Loki, and it showcases just how much he’s grown over the course of Loki’s first five episodes, from a scheming traitor to a dependable ally. But what if Loki isn’t the untrustworthy one this time?
Sylvie’s TVA Plan — One interesting Loki fan theory speculates that the series’ upcoming season finale will reveal that Sylvie has been manipulating Loki the entire time they’ve been together. The theory argues that the castle seen at the end of Loki Episode 5 may not be Castle Doom or even the home of the TVA’s secret leader, but a prison designed to keep Kang the Conqueror from wreaking havoc upon the multiverse.
The theory goes on to speculate that Sylvie knows this and that the TVA’s actual purpose is to keep Kang locked up, but she intends to free him and tear down the TVA anyway. Her desire for revenge against the TVA could, in other words, be what lets Kang finally run wild in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A Tale of Two Lokis — So much of Loki has been about the God of Mischief learning to grow and mature out of the treacherous trickster persona that he’s always embraced. It’s forced him to question his place within the greater universe and start to look a little more critically at how he views and treats others. Sylvie has played a huge part in that, which is what makes this twist so heartbreaking to consider.
If Sylvie were to truly betray Loki, then it would force him to question nearly all of the growth that he’s undergone since being captured by the TVA. In fact, one could argue that a betrayal of this magnitude could result in him becoming his most paranoid, nihilistic, and villainous self — one incapable of ever truly trusting again. That doesn’t mean he’ll actually revert to his old ways, but it would present an existential crisis that tempts him to.
From another perspective, this option would essentially satisfy two of the leading theories about the Loki finale — namely, the belief that the series’ villain will turn out to be either an evil Loki variant or Kang. If this theory turns out to be correct, then that means both those predictions will also be right. That is to say that, if Sylvie has manipulated Loki all this time and goes on to knowingly free Kang, then that means both a Loki variant and Kang could technically be classified as the series’ villains.
The Inverse Analysis — There are a lot of different directions that the Loki finale can go, and it’s hard to know right now if it’ll manage to live up to fans’ expectations or fall slightly short like the finales of Marvel’s previous Disney+ originals have.
To Loki’s credit, the series has consistently found new and compelling ways to force its titular character to grow and evolve over the past five episodes. It’s been as much a character study as it has been a rollicking MCU adventure, and we have to imagine that Loki will continue to ride that line in its finale.
That means Loki will likely have to face at least one major moral challenge before Loki Season 1 comes to an end, and it’s hard to think of a revelation more difficult for the God of Mischief than discovering that the person he’d put more faith in than anyone in his whole life has actually been manipulating him all along.
Loki is streaming now on Disney+.