‘Loki’ episode 3 slows down to lay some sneaky groundwork
Twice the Loki should mean twice the mischief, but Loki episode 3 was fairly tame. After attempting to form an alliance with his other variant self, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Lady Loki (Sophie Di Martino) ditch the Time Variants Authority and find themselves on the moon Lamentis, mere hours before its total destruction with no survivors.
Despite the promised chaos and a few densely packed fight scenes, “Lamentis” is noticeably slow. Like earlier episodes, it banks on the charm of its leading Loki — now doubled. Hiddleston and Di Martino’s chemistry is strong enough that the show might actually be holding them back, as if thousands of Loki/Loki fanfics aren’t already racking up clicks online. Not for the first time, Loki‘s pacing clouds its greatness, and with only three episodes left that may simply be the norm.
Most of episode 3 is a prolonged date between the reluctantly aligned Lokis, as they exchange witty banter and ponder existential questions like the meaning of love and “What makes a Loki a Loki?” Most of this is less interesting than it thinks it is, with the exception of drunk Loki (“Another!”), memories of Frigga, and discussions about magic.
Their actual mission is to charge the TemPad, an extraordinarily boring setup and questionable oversight when Lady Loki declares that she’s been masterminding this for years. Even the “worst” apocalypse they’ve found themselves in is somehow boring until the single-take action sequence of the final minutes, which suggests that production spent all its time preparing for that and not building out the rest of the episode.
Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in ‘Loki’ episode 3 on Disney+.
Credit: Marvel Studios
Lady Loki reveals that she goes by the alias Sylvie, which Variant Loki is thrilled with because he doesn’t have to call her by his name, even if it is a bit un-Loki-like. But in Marvel comics, Sylvie isn’t actually a version of Loki. She’s his creation, from the magic powers down to the memories — and don’t forget that TV Sylvie’s enchantment exists at exactly the cross-section of magic and memory. This also explains why Sylvie remembers so little of her past: Because it never happened.
Sylvie not being Loki per comics canon is a pretty straightforward twist for future episodes, but “Lamentis” gave us one more. In visiting the TVA soldier’s memories, Sylvie reveals that everyone in the TVA was not, in fact, created by the Time Keepers, but are former Variants themselves. Interestingly, Loki’s first reaction to that is to infer that none of the variants know they’re variants, rather than to just assume Mobius lied to him. It would be touching if it weren’t so out-of-character, but did I mention that we only have three episodes left to wrap all this up?
So, where does this leave us? Either Loki already suspects Sylvie’s true identity or he’ll find out soon enough. Either way, he probably needs her help. Since time moves differently in the TVA, it would be cool to see a future version of Loki within the show create Sylvie himself and set up her mission — but that might be a stretch here (listen, we love a good stretch). As we pile up clues for the multiverse from WandaVision, the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, and even Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the only way to keep Loki in the MCU is to crack that ‘verse wide open. The Loki of the Sacred Timeline is dead, but our Variant will do everything he can to survive. What’s a little more mischief?
Loki airs Wednesdays on Disney+.