Now halfway through the series, Episode 3 brings us along on a fairly isolated journey through another colorful apocalypse. This time, though, we see Loki tag along with his purported alternate Loki—who interestingly goes by Sylvie — after the events of the 2050 Alabama hurricane. Sylvie infiltrates the TVA briefly before Loki and Judge Renslayer wreck her plans. In their escape, Loki and Sylvie end up stranded in 2077 on Lamentis-1, a planet in the midst of an apocalypse via its disintegrating moon.
The remainder of the episode is much more of a character piece focusing on the interactions and relationship between the two leads as they navigate their path to survival. This is undoubtedly where the episode thrives, and it highlights the chemistry between the two characters. It also proves that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki may very likely have chemistry with anyone or anything, so props to the writers for taking full advantage of that aspect of the character. The connection between Loki and Sylvie, which flirts with intimacy, is buttressed by thematic conversations about what makes a Loki a Loki and attempts to describe what love is. A major moment in the latter discussion is that Loki confirms he has had relationships with both women and men, making Loki the MCU’s first canonically LGBTQ+ or queer lead character. It is a small, quick moment, but legitimately a major step for the franchise in terms of representation.
Where the episode yet again thrives in character work, it does generally lack in its advancement of the overall plot. After Sylvie turns the sacred timeline into complete chaos, we learn little to nothing about her plan or motivation. We also learn very little about her and what she does offer should very likely be taken with a grain of salt lest we fall victim to more unending Loki-type deception. There is still a frustrating amount of questions about her. The fact that she goes by Sylvie would easily suggest that she is Enchantress rather than Loki, but the episode hides the ball on that one and could be setting up for a more complex reveal on her identity. Or, to be fair, it might not. One of the few snippets of information we get in this episode that relates to the series’ overarching plot is that the workers of the TVA are actually variants like Loki and Sylvie and not created by the Time-Keepers for their sacred purpose. The TVA’s backstory and its explanation of how time works was always suspect, but this piece of information begins the unrevealing of the mythos of the TVA and the Time-Keepers.
The episode also includes a few action sequences that are very satisfying. We see some more of what Loki can do, but Sylvie’s fighting prowess stole the show. Episode 3, too, is yet another episode of the series that is visually stunning and sonically imposing. Lamentis-1 is another example of a beautiful setting, and the use of light and color in particular is incredible. Additionally, the camerawork keeps providing notoriously striking shots. A major standout is the final scene where Loki and Sylvie are racing to the ark to escape Lamentis-1—the whole sequence plays out as a continuous shot with the camera racing behind, in front of, and around the two characters amid non-stop chaos, destruction, and altercations with other people. Overall, the effect was an intense, exciting, adrenaline-fueled, and immersive scene. It is reminiscent of the ending of Episode 2, but this episode’s outro far surpassed that of its predecessor. Ultimately, the scene ends as a failure for Sylvie and Loki, and we are left with them still stranded on a planet that is about to be destroyed.
4.2 Imaginary Daggers out of 5
After the major cliffhanger in Episode 2, it is somewhat unsatisfying that Episode 3 took a few steps back from the overarching plotline it had been following up until now. Considering the series is halfway over with three episodes left, no one could be blamed for wishing there was more advancement on that front. However, this episode does pull off the episode as a character piece and ultimately it is a great piece of television even if watched in a vacuum. It takes advantage of the series’ ability to use settings broadly, brought the best action sequences of the series thus far, and utilized Loki’s charismatic character to anchor and drive the episode sans substantial focus on the TVA, the timeline, the Time-Keepers, or the established characters from the first two episodes.
- You’ve got to love a 2011 Phase One callback—“Another!” *smash*
- The idea that a piece of highly advanced technology like the TemPad needs to be charged like an iPhone is a bit absurd
- What is with the MCU’s love for monotone planets?