by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Loki – Episode 3
The mysterious Sylvie enters the fray in the latest episode in Loki, a clever, intimate, and apocalyptic change of pace for the superb MCU series. Episode 3, titled Lamentis, sees Loki and the other ‘Variant’ reluctantly team up to escape a planet on the brink of destruction.
Last week’s episode left off on a startling cliffhanger as Loki followed the Variant away from the TVA, leaving fans with many questions left to answer. Opting for Demons by Hayley Kiyoko, rather than the classic MCU entry music, Lamentis picks up in an interesting fashion. We’re finally given a proper look at the Variant, later identified as Sylvie, deftly brought to life by the excellent Sophia Di Martino. In a seemingly inconsequential opening scene, we’re given a lot of information about this character, who has previously remained in the shadows (both literally and figuratively). She’s powerful, possessing abilities somewhat akin to Wanda Maxmioff, but certainly different from the Loki we know. She’s also driven and willing to go to great lengths to complete her mission, whatever that may be. And, soon after, Di Martino infiltrates the TVA itself and let’s the audience, and Loki, know she’s a formidable foe.
From there on out, Lamentis becomes another expertly executed installment in the sub-genre of superhero and buddy cop, except this time Tom Hiddleston’s Loki trades back-and-forths with Sylvie, rather than Owen Wilson’s Mobius. Although Wilson and his banter with Hiddleston have been highlights of the series so far, Lamentis was so consuming and captivating that Mobius and the inner-workings of the TVA we’ve grown to love in the past episodes weren’t missed. This episode works because of Hiddleston and Di Martino’s dual performances. So much character development and relationship building occurs within a compact 42 minute episodes, and every second of it is investing and believable due to the commanding lead performances. Loki met his match with Mobius in episodes 1 and 2 and now meets another individual who matches him in wit and mischievousness.
The entire episode is structured around this burgeoning relationship and its reluctant necessity as the two must team up to escape the planet on the brink of destruction. This added a sense of urgency to the episode as well as the terrific sequences and dialogue that follow from a team-up neither party wants, but both parties recognize as necessary. The reveal that Loki is bisexual was delicately done, making Loki the first openly bisexual character in the MCU. And, although not strictly speaking reveals, there’s a number of hints in the episode that the TVA aren’t exactly as they seem. Should Loki continue his fight with the TVA against the Variant? Or is he on the wrong side of this battle and should Sylvie be his partner?
Special attention needs to be directed toward the closing moments of Loki’s third episode, which stuns with a manufacturing one take sequence as Loki and Sylvie try to escape the planet. Everything in this sequence was breathtaking – top to bottom. From the production design to the directing to the score to the acting to sound design, the final scene in Lamentis was meticulously put together and really highlights that the line between television and cinema is blurred now more than ever. Not to mention the jaw-dropping cliffhanger the episode concludes on that has you just begging for more. It’s a somewhat abrupt ending, but one that perfectly sets the stage into the next episode.
Mobius and the TVA take a step back as Loki hits its half-way mark in characteristically spectacular fashion. Sylvie is a welcomed addition to the show and the episode triumphs largely due to the cleverly constructed dynamic between Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino’s characters. Lamentis and its impending apocalypse truly come to life in this episode and offered a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that has us waiting on the edge of our seats for more.
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Marvel Studios