Saturday, September 23, 2023

Loki’s Big Bisexual Blunder

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I loved Loki. It was not only my favorite MCU show so far, but possibly my favorite MCU story, period. Six inventive, fun, and beautiful episodes told a captivating story about fate and love and connection and what it means to be a Loki. Whatever complains I may have had throughout the season were minor and did little to nothing to detract from my overall impression of the experience. As far as I am concerned, this is easily the standard for the MCU’s show ventures moving forward.

As I think back and reflect on the season, though, one annoyance comes to mind. Back in episode 3, “Lamentis,” Loki confirms himself to be bisexual. Even more so, he words this confirmation in a way that suggests all Lokis are bisexual, an implication Sylvie does not deny when asked. This was a big moment, the first confirmed LGBTQIA+ character in the MCU, and even more so confirms Lokis as such no matter who they were, what they’ve done, etc.

In a world of Disney movies showing two men dance together for 2 seconds to get “first gay character” cred, explicitly voicing Loki’s sexual preferences felt like a big deal. And it is a big deal.

Then nothing came of it.

His sexuality might as well have not existed as the season progressed, and I suppose in the grand scheme of thing, Loki’s sexuality was not some hanging thread demanding priority over everything else the season dealt with each week. Damn near every episode was packed end-to-end with content and finding room for anything else seems difficult without lengthening the episodes.

But then I think about the Loki/Sylvie kiss in the final episode, and the romance arc developing towards said kiss, and the lack of queer content aggravates me more.

Now to be clear, I am not claiming Loki or Sylvie’s bisexuality was erased by their kiss or their interest in each other. Bisexuality goes both ways, after all, and being in a male/female couple does not make either of them any less bisexual. I just wish we had scenes acknowledging their sexual preferences more. I wish that, with all the multiverses and different Lokis we saw, at least one of them had given fans a physical example of their sexuality, rather than just a verbal one.

There was certainly room within the show’s format to give us such moments. Think back to the D.B. Cooper scene. Why not have a flashback scene like that where Loki or Sylvie is with a man/woman? Why couldn’t we see anything of this sort with the dozen or so Lokis that show up in the Void?

They introduced a scene that made so many things possible, and I almost want to argue that not following up on those flashbacks was one of the few criticisms I have of the season.

Now believe me, I am not laying out any demands about Loki and Sylvie not being a thing or Loki and Mobius being a couple. I do not have any specific pairing in mind. While I am not at all a fan of Loki and Sylvie as a romantic dynamic, that is not some huge problem driving my complaint. I am curious to see what happens with them moving forward and am happily keeping an open mind. A visual confirmation of Loki bisexuality does not preclude Loki and Sylvie becoming a thing.

It just feels like a missed opportunity for Disney to freshen some of the stink from their ten different “first” gay characters and the criticism that comes with their lack of representation. Open confirmation about Loki sexuality is important, but the show could have gone that extra step to really address the criticisms of both Disney and Marvel about representation.

And again, it would have been so simple. Take all the Void Lokis in the gang. Let’s say just one of them is seen getting out of a bed where another man or woman was still asleep. Have one kiss another. In fact, two of them in a relationship would have been a good way to show how they will fall for each other like Loki and Sylvie do.

Speaking of Sylvie, we know she spent thousands of years hiding in various alternate universes to escape the TVA. Why not show a flashback of some sort where she hooks up with a woman? Why not place her in a memory prison like the scene with Sif, but with some relationship that went badly? Since Sylvie’s main personality trait/flaw was her inability to let herself trust or form bonds, wouldn’t a memory prison where she is confronted with some woman she hurt be a good idea?

Lady Loki

Loki did not even need to go that far, to be honest. They could have had Sylvie check out a TVA agent like B-15. They could have had her flirt with someone in an apocalypse setting. Loki could have given the seductive eyes to some random agent. Literally one explicit flirting scene would be enough.

Now, I have no idea if there were any restrictions in place. I know it easy to blame Disney, Marvel or whatever corporate figure or office you settle on. They do often get in the way of representation in our media. I have no idea if that happened here. Kate Herron’s comments certainly shone no light on the issue. I think it is most likely that they just did not bother including a scene furthering Loki’s bisexuality.

Now if we find out they did film a scene that was not included, we can ask further questions about why it was cut.

Whatever the reasoning for not including such a scene, and regardless of responsibility, it still stands out as possibly the biggest missed opportunity of the entire season. Loki did so many things right but did not quite deliver when it came to the reveal of multi-Loki bisexuality. I freely admit that I would not feel this way if the Loki/Sylvie romance did not exist. If no explicit romance took place in this season, I would not care as much.

Fair or not, having these two romantically linked to each other did change things, and specifically because the writers took two confirmed queer characters, the first in the MCU, and gave them such a blandly heteronormative romance. That is disappointing, and almost makes me wonder if they did that specifically to appease opposition to including their bisexuality in the series.

All that being said, perhaps season 2 of Loki will follow up where season 1 did not. This is another aspect of this first season that does not feel so bad since we know there is more to come. Will season 2 go where its predecessor dared not? I sure hope so.

Images Courtesy of Marvel Studios

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  • Bo

    Bo relaxes after long days of staring at computers by staring at computers some more, and feels slightly guilty over his love for Villanelle.

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