WARNING- This article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Loki "The Nexus Event"
Pay no attention to the lizards behind the curtain!
With two episodes still to go in Loki, the mysteries of the Time Keepers and the TVA have unraveled faster than anyone could have imagined. There was no shortage of twists, turns, or gasps throughout "The Nexus Event," but the episode was highlighted by the reveal of the true identity of the Time Keepers... kind of.
Heading into this installment of the mischievous series, audiences were taught to believe that the Time Keepers are all-powerful beings that are responsible for maintaining the flow of time. It was revealed that they are nothing more than android puppets when Sylvie beheaded one of them with a sword, showing all of the mechanical workings of the "all-powerful space lizards".
The reveal of an all-powerful entity being nothing more than an illusion of power is much like the big twist in 1939's The Wizard of Oz. This is not the first time head writer and show runner Michael Waldron has pulled from movie classics to help tell the story of Loki, and it is surely not the last.
The Time Keepers being robotic puppets behind this grand powerful illusion is the clearest parallel between Loki and the story of Oz, but are there more?
Here is a list of nods to one of the most legendary movies in history that can be found within four episodes of Loki. Some of these, like the Time Keepers, are dead on. Others are a bit more of a stretch. But all of them have merit and, when pieced together, illustrate the influence of The Wizard of Oz throughout Marvel's trickster show.
THE TIME KEEPERS AND THE WIZARD OF OZ
This comparison is the reason for this article and an excellent pull from one of the greatest twists in the history of cinema.
It would have been one thing if the Time Keepers ended up being an illusion or projection that masked the real leader of the TVA, but Waldron and co. decided to take it one step further. Actually making the illusion of the Time Keepers to be android puppets is the most Wizard of Oz thing they could have done, and it worked.
While it is still uncertain exactly who is behind this massive charade, it's clear that there is someone pulling the strings of time using this all-powerful persona to fulfill his or her motives. While whoever is controlling the Time Keepers (and therefore controlling the TVA) seems to be much better at manipulating time than Oz was at being a wizard, the veil of an omnipotent god-like creature can only be read as a direct nod to the Victor Fleming classic.
The aftermath of this twist within the show has yet to be seen, but the idea of the Time Keepers being Oz all along sparks some other comparisons to The Wizard of Oz in the rest of the show. Most, if not all, of these comparisons, work under the context of the great and powerful Time Keepers being the fraudulent puppets of someone behind the curtain.
THE TVA IS THE EMERALD CITY
One thing that Marvel Studios has done so well over the years is creating locations and cultures that feel lived in and fleshed out. The TVA is another incredible example of that in Loki.
This is a magical land of make-believe that exists outside of time and space full of people who follow the rule of the all-knowing Time Keepers. And while The Emerald City was much less mundane and bureaucratic than the TVA has been, it still holds true for a world that is too good to be true for an outsider.
The real comparison here is the aesthetic of the TVA and the Emerald City.
Larger-than-life structures and shine surround both worlds as there is a mystical glow around every corner. This is really one of the telltale traits of the man behind the curtain. The giant android figure being the puppet is the main event, but surrounding yourself with a golden (or green) palace makes any illusion easier to pass off.
LOKI IS DOROTHY
For this comparison, the definition of "home" needs to be addressed. No, Loki is not on a hero's journey to get back to where he came from because where he came from was the shackles of Thor on the way to an Asgardian prison. However, after discovering his fate in Episode 1, he has been on a journey to get back to his mantra, back to his roots, back to his home of "Glorious Purpose".
Much like Dorothy, Loki's life was turned upside down, and he was forced to question everything he thought he knew about himself, the worlds he lives in, and even the literal flow of time. The goals of these two protagonists are different, but their trials of searching for the answer is very similar. That being said, fans would surely be upset if this series ended with everything just being a dream.
SYLVIE IS THE TIN MAN
Now for the legendary cast of characters from The Wizard of Oz and their Loki counterparts. In story, these characters are not similar in the fact that they are not friends, and seemingly don't even like each other. But their wants and needs in relation to the secret of the TVA match the goals of the classic trio of the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion.
Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie has been the breakout star of this show. A benefit to the great writing and character development given to her, she has taken advantage of her opportunity and is becoming one of the best new characters seen in the Disney+ era of the MCU. Sylvie draws parallels to the Tin Man. Fans learned in Episode 4 that Sylvie "grew up in the ends of a thousand worlds". Needless to say, that is the recipe for a rather heartless personality.
Once she discovers Tom Hiddleston's Loki, she realizes that all she needed was someone to care for her to form the alliance that allowed her to unmask the robotic Time Keepers.
HUNTER B-15 IS THE SCARECROW
Hunter B-15 was nothing more than a brute for the first three episodes of Loki, but in The Nexus Event she was able to step into the spotlight as the enchantment she received in Episode 2 unlocked suspicion about her existence and role in the TVA.
Hunter B-15 is the Scarecrow in this story. They are polar opposites from a physical and athletic standpoint and Hunter B-15 managed to subdue the God of Mischief instantly, and Scarecrow has trouble walking down the street.
Hunter B-15, however, did need the knowledge of her past (a brain) in order for her to do what she felt was right. Loki claims that everyone in the TVA is the only people with actual free will. Hunter B-15 showed the best side of that as she instantly started fighting back against the corrupt TVA.
MOBIUS IS THE COWARDLY LION
Mobius, played by Owen Wilson, has transformed the comedy legend into an internet darling over the past month.
The Loki team did such a great job positioning this character on the fence between the TVA and loyalty to the Loki fans know and love. That came to fruition in Episode 4 as Mobius finally decided to act on his suspicions and trust his gut about who is telling the truth. Mobius gained courage, much like the Lion in The Wizard of Oz.
Mobius's death took the air out of living rooms across the world. The door is still open for a return but if fans don't see Mobius again, at least they know he went out sticking up for what he felt was right.
With two episodes left of Loki, it can be expected that Waldron, Director Kate Herron, and their team will continue to draw from history, much like the characters within the show. There are more stretches to be made with this comparison (the TVA portals being yellow bricks taking you where you want to go, Renslayer having a wicked arch, and even the use of color based on what the audience is meant to believe), but that is another article for another multiverse.