Loki has been an exciting new series for Disney+ as it has taken one of the most familiar movie characters and given him a new spin. Episode 1 established Loki’s new predicament as the evil Loki from Avengers got to see how his life ends up while episode 2 set Loki up as a temporary TVA agent. Now in the third episode, the show is taking a whole new turn to focus on Loki going it alone to figure out who this variant of himself is and what she’s up to. This episode continues to revel in Tom Hiddleston’s new and evolving take on the character while the larger MCU continues to be developed.
A touch on the shorter side at 42 minutes long, episode three is called “Lamentis” because the episode takes place on a doomed planet by the same name. After catching us up on how Loki and his variant get on this planet — which takes a quick pitstop at the TVA — the two are at each other’s throats but must work together to get off the planet before everything is destroyed.
The true focus of this show remains on Hiddleston’s character, who went from pure villain to something a bit more akin to a hero in the main MCU timeline. It’s interesting to see him consider the evil options and pick the smarter option — he has much to learn — but this journey keeps him on course to always be growing and be a better Loki. It’s also fantastic to see him use his magic, which is featured a lot more in this episode. Little visual tricks and pulling out daggers aside it’s a nice reminder Loki’s abilities go beyond whipping out a dagger.
This episode uses a lot of green screen and CGI effects, but it’s never too jarring. You can certainly tell they are on a set with a bit of gravel at times, but the background beyond that is lush and interesting-looking. The purple world of Lamentis is rather pretty and fits within the bright cosmic side of the MCU we’ve seen in Guardians of the Galaxy. The costume design and design of aliens and the world around them is rather well done and very high-scale stuff, too.
There are also multiple fight scenes, starting at the TVA, but also later midway through on a train, and near the end of the episode. It’s nice to see a mix of slower actor-focused scenes with hand-to-hand combat. It’s also fun to see a drunk Loki attempt to throw a knife.
Sophia Di Martino gets her first chance at playing the Loki variant for an extended period and she doesn’t disappoint. There are multiple scenes that allow her to show her take on Loki, her abilities, but also her heart. In one scene she shares a heart-to-heart with Hiddleston’s Loki that reveals there’s a warm and empathetic character underneath the tough exterior. Having different paths they aren’t the same, but they’re clearly curious about one another too.
In a sense, Di Martino’s Loki helps inform Hiddleston’s Loki about how things can go wrong. It’s like the two characters are looking in a mirror and pinpointing bad things and good things. Both seem to come out a bit better, with more kindness and patience. It’s touching to see Loki attempt to give a “love is a knife” metaphor and fail, or when Loki tries to make amends by cheering Martino’s Loki up. Very quickly it’s clear they have an interest in one another. Whether that’s a brotherly and sisterly love remains to be seen.
The last five or so minutes are devoted to our two Loki variants attempting to make their way through utter chaos as a city falls apart and its people flee. The special effects in this sequence are incredible starting with a frightening giant moon crashing down on the planet above them, to the neon-drenched city around them. Sets have a slightly alien quality that seems to mix a few familiar Earthly cultures. You get a good sense of the city and the surroundings thanks to a continuous shot as they fight and run about the crashing buildings. It’s clearly not one single shot in camera, but it’s well done with digital compositions and good editing.
The episode ends in an unfortunate way, however, as it seems to just stop without much explanation on where it goes from here. Likely episode four will carry the story forward directly where this episode ends, but as far as television programming it takes all the energy out of the moment. We know there will be more and that Loki will get out of this situation since there are multiple episodes left, but we have no way of knowing what is to come next.
The only other gripe is the lack of plot development for the larger TVA story. There’s a major reveal of sorts near the end thanks to Di Martino’s Loki revealing something about her mind control abilities, but aside from that, this episode is all about our two Loki characters meeting one another and forming a connection. That’s fine in some respects, but when you take away the immediate threat of the world ending around them it’s lacking.
Loki continues to probe the once one-note villain turned hero character in a way that shows infinite possibilities. Hiddleston shows Loki is growing, learning how to be better, and even how to do new things with his powers, and it’s an exciting thing to see the character evolve ten years after we were first introduced to him. This show is also slick as hell to look at and continues to be of the highest quality TV for its visuals alone.
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