So far, Loki has gotten a lot of mileage out of two characters just talking to each other about life. In the first couple episodes, those conversations were between our titular trickster and Owen Wilson’s Mobius.
Our latest serving of Loki gives Tom Hiddleston a new dance partner – Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie – and it’s just as compelling.
This review contains spoilers for Marvel’s LOKI episode 3.
Loki’s sexual preferences
While on the train, the two talk about love, with Loki asking Sylvie if there is a special someone waiting for her at the end of her mission.
Sylvie jokes that there’s a”postman” waiting for her and then asks Loki, the God of Mischief and the Prince of Asgard, if there are any princesses waiting for him.
“How about you? You’re a prince. Must have been would-be princesses? Or perhaps another prince?” Sylvie asks.
Loki then replies: “A bit of both. I suspect the same as you.”
Loki is bisexual – confirmed! Is this a good thing? Yes. Would I like to be shown this instead of just told it? Also yes.
Margaritas and interrogations
After the bonkers ending to Loki’s second episode, you might have expected the next chapter of the story to immediately pick up where we left off. Instead, we’re thrown right into an initially odd scene: Hunter BC-20 (Sasha Lane) having drinks with Sylvie.
Even though it only lasts a moment – it soon becomes clear that we’ve gone back in time to see Sylvie probing the minuteman (minutewoman?) for info on the timekeepers – it’s a clever way of wrongfooting the audience. It also yields a ton of questions: How does Hunter BC-20 remember the place where they’re having drinks? How much of what we’re seeing is illusion, and how much of it is memory?
Our suspicions are confirmed later in the episode when Sylvie says that everyone who works for the TVA are unknowing variants, and that she had to “pull a memory from hundreds of years prior” to trick Hunter BC-20 into revealing the TVA’s secrets. It’s the biggest hint yet that the Loki’s aren’t the bad guys here – the timekeepers are.
Guile vs. brawn
After the title card, we see where Sylvie and Loki disappeared to at the end of episode two and they’re… back at the TVA. This is another smart surprise that also doubles as a showcase of Sylvie’s cunning: she bombed the Sacred Timeline knowing that the TVA would deploy their agents to stop it, leaving her free to roam the halls of their HQ.
Well, mostly free: a few stragglers – whom Sylvie is unable to enchant – means the Loki variant has to use brawn to get the job done. Just as she nears her goal – an elevator to the Timekeepers’ location – our Loki intervenes, and the ensuing scuffle sees them fall through a time door land on Lamentis-1 in 2077, a planet that is hours away from extinction. Making matters worse, the TemPad which they’ve just used for interdimensional travel needs charging before it can be used again.
What follows is a fun few minutes that sees the Loki’s go back and forth with each other over the best ways to handle their predicament. In the end, it takes both of their skillsets to board a train that will take them to the Ark, the last hope for inhabitants of the planet to escape as well as a suitable power source to charge the TemPad.
This leads to the episode’s standout sequence, in which Loki and Sylvie reminisce about their respective mothers and being adopted. Loki’s connection with Frigga is one of my favourite things about the character, and something we didn’t see nearly enough of in the Thor movies. Hiddleston does some of his best work in Loki’s most vulnerable moments, and this sequence is no different. On the flipside, Sylvie is still being very cagey, and there are many questions that still need answering: how much of her upbringing was similar to Loki’s? Does she have a Thor for a brother? Was she raised on Asgard?
Loki doesn’t seem especially interested in those answers as of yet, as he decides to revel in his more hedonistic side and get drunk (“another!!!” is a fun callback to Thor). Unfortunately, his antics attract unwanted attention from some train guards, leading to another cool fight sequence and culminating in Loki being thrown out of the train. Sylvie jumps after him, but there’s a problem: the TemPad which Loki had been holding onto was destroyed in his fall. Their only option now to escape the forthcoming apocalypse is to board the ark.
Stranded on Lamentis-1
Unfortunately for our duo, things once again don’t go to plan. Although they manage to fight their way through a host of guards (the camerawork in this scene is ambitious if not always effective, and the neon visuals are pretty), the ark is destroyed before they can do anything about it. With all current means of escape destroyed and the planet hours away from destruction, it will be a challenge for the two Loki’s to get out of this unscathed. I, for one, can’t wait to see how.
More low key observations
- This episode is bookended by two great needle drops: ‘Demons’ by Hayley Kiyoko, and ‘Dark Moon’ by Bonnie Guitar. Music supervisors Shannon Murphy and Dave Jordan earned their monies this week.
- Even on an alien planet like Lamentis-1, the rich white folk get to board the train to salvation while others are left to suffer. The more things change…
- Sylvie says she’s not a variant of Loki anymore. Given the name she’s taken on and her powers, it’s likely we’re looking at the MCU’s version of Sylvie The Enchantress, a longtime ally of Loki in the comics.
- Ravonna Renslayer knew exactly where Sylvie was headed when she came to the TVA. I’m betting that she is working with the Timekeepers somehow to make sure that all of the presumably brainwashed agents keeps in line. When I spoke to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, she mentioned that “things start to get really juicy around episode four and five” for her Judge. Can’t wait.
By Amon Warmann