Following episode 2’s grand reveal of evil Loki’s identity, the excitement for episode 3 was palpable. The sacred timeline blown to shambles, alternate timeline branches spreading like wildfire. The universe on the verge of an irreversible nexus event and expanding the multiverse. The implications of Lady Loki’s actions are enormous, following her disappearance through a portal and 2012 Loki reluctantly close behind. Surely, the story is picking up at an exciting pace!
It practically comes to a stop after the variant – revealed to be named Sylvie – arrives at the TVA to reach the Time Keepers. This quest does not last long, as our Loki thwarts her attack and transports them to another apocalypse in time. They end up on Lamentis, a planet about to be destroyed in one of the most catastrophic apocalypses ever. Naturally, they arrive with a dead TemPad on them and no way out of impending doom. With stakes high and little choice but to trust each other, Loki and Sylvie spend the entire episode trying to escape imminent death and return to their respective missions. On paper, it is a pretty eventful episode. Why did it feel like we barely got anywhere?
Episode 3 boasts the shortest runtime of the series so far, merely 36 minutes of the variants dancing between killing each other and “bonding”. Though their time on the train to the evacuation “Ark” is brief, we do get to know a little more about Loki as a character. We learn about his fluid sexuality as well as his magical education from his mother. Sylvie reveals little about herself and her motivations through constant deflection. Aside from learning how her magic works, we only learn that the TVA has been chasing her whole life. Sylvie remains a mystery, Loki is recklessly drunk, and the two have to survive on an abandoned mining planet. I’m not saying there isn’t any progress, but the story really slows down right after it just picked up.
Kate Herron’s direction continues strong, giving us Blade Runner 2049 like visuals and a fun one-shot scene that concludes the episode. Loki and Sylvie bounce off of each other well enough, their embellished fighting styles harmonious as they try to survive. The TVA continues to seem like the true shady villains. In fact, it’s especially apparent now with the revelation that everyone who works there is also a variant rather than a Time Keeper creation. Furthermore, getting to the elusive Time Keepers seems to be the endgame for both Loki and the series.
However, anticipation and high expectations have killed Marvel Disney+ series finales before. Loki has had a strong start, but this episode seems to fall into the same weaknesses as its predecessors. Hopefully, with such a creative concept, the series finds its footing again and ends its run as the top Marvel limited series to premiere thus far.
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