After two terrific episodes to launch the series the third episode struggles to maintain the momentum. Again the episode is based around two characters talking but this time one of the actors isn’t Owen Wilson. Nothing against Sophia Di Martino who plays the female Loki variant but she just doesn’t have the uniqueness that Wilson brings to the show. She hold her own with Hiddleston but the chemistry isn’t sparkling and thus you aren’t hooked.
It starts of promisingly with the female variant’s attack on the TVA. She’s fighting her way down corridors and Loki is chasing her and you are not quiet sure if he is trying to help or stop her. But this is brief and the pair fall through a portal and land on the planet Lamentis-1 which is the location of one of the apocalyptic events where she has been hiding. The two of them realise that the time pad that makes the portals is out of power and that they will need to work together to get it charged as they only have twelve hours to escape the planet.
The problem is that from this point it all looks and feels like an episode of ‘Doctor Who’, by that I means a sci-fi show that doesn’t have the budget to match its imagination. I don’t know if this was shot on the Volume that the Star Wars shows are using but there is a disconnect between the foreground and the background that those shows don’t have. It has the look of old-school rear projection or early cgi. Also, the foreground looks like a studio set (which it is) as when the two leads need to sit there is a convenient pile of gravel when the rest of the location is flat. It’s on this pile of gravel that they deliver some important exposition, the variant goes by the name of Sylvie and she has been running from the TVA her whole life. My other problem starts here as well. Loki is a god of lies therefore Sylvie is also a god of lies but Loki just believes everything she says where as she doesn’t trust Loki. Loki has always been portrayed as a smart character but here it looks like he is falling for his own tricks.
The pair end up on a train heading to the nearest city and it is here the most important part of the episode for the greater MCU takes place. Loki and Sylvie discuss their lives and Loki casually reveals that he is bisexual. It’s not a hint and it’s not so subtle that it can be missed or misinterpreted, this is who the character is, he is the lead of the show and there is nothing forced about it.
Loki drinks to much and ends up getting thrown off the train and Sylvie jumps after him but as Loki picks himself up he realises that the time pad has been broken. Needing a way off the planet they decide to try and get on the last ship to depart. On the walk Sylvie tells Loki that all of the people who work for the TVA are variants which contradicts everything that Loki has been told and again he just believes it. The Time Keepers are really being pushed as the true villains of the show but we are being asked to believe a liar without any reason to. The two fight their way to the ship but as they get there it is hit by a meteor and explodes leaving them trapped on a dying planet.
There are some big things that don’t work for my. As I mentioned, the visuals aren’t quite there for me and the fact that we should just believe Sylvie is odd. The big one for me is that the idea of the variants just doesn’t work when it comes to Sylvie. We were told that variants are someone who had stepped off their timeline, this implies small changes that could become big. But everything about Sylvie is different and it doesn’t feel like this was a male Loki that decided to take a female form. Of these problems the visuals can’t be fixed but hopefully the rest will be fixed/explained in the remaining episodes.
Not on par with the previous parts but still an important episode for what it means.