Now that we have two pithy English aliens running amok through time and space, Loki is starting to look a lot like the big budget Doctor Who series we always knew was hiding somewhere in the MCU – and that’s no bad thing.
Last week’s episode gave us our first glimpse of Lady Loki/The Variant (Sophia Di Martino) as she turned up to outwit the TVA (Time Variance Authority) and thoroughly confuse regular Loki (Tom Hiddleston) by giving him a female version of himself to bicker/flirt/fight with in the show’s closing moments. This week, she’s drinking dodgy margaritas in a bar. Except it turns out she’s not really in a bar at all, and the opening scenes are really set inside one of the TVA guard’s own memories, with Lady Loki trying to gather intel for her planned time heist.
Back in the (real?) timeline, Lady Loki steps through a portal into the hallways of TVA HQ and starts beating her way towards the timekeepers – before Loki stumbles through the portal after her and tries to stop her. It’s still not clear what Loki’s endgame is here (does he really think that helping the TVA will win him enough brownie points to stop him being sent back to his own reality/death? Or does he just want to take on the timekeepers on his own terms?), but his interfering ends up sending both Lokis crashing through another portal right in the middle of another apocalypse event.
We’re now on Lamentis-1, 2077, somewhere on a desolate blue mining moon that’s about to be crushed by a colliding planet. To make things worse, the TemPad (that’s the TVA’s stolen time-travelling remote control thingy, not some kind of menstrual hygiene product…) doesn’t have enough battery to open another time door, so the Lokis have to work together to find a power source before the world explodes.
Di Martino and Hiddleston make a great double act for most of episode three, too similar to ever get along properly and too different to ever see each other’s point of view. Lady Loki (now calling herself “Sylvie”) favours brute force and aggression at all times, whereas Loki just wants to have fun – getting a great drunk scene where he recites a poem about love, sings a rollicking old Viking song and mumbles about which bar snacks pair best with figgy port. She calls him “a clown” and he calls her “some faded photocopy of me”, and both Lokis start subtly bonding over a long train journey that’s heading towards the planet’s last remaining escape ship.
Crucially, a casual conversation about girlfriends and boyfriends also has Loki telling us he likes “a bit of both”, which is a huge moment for the show to finally confirm Disney’s first bisexual lead character. Already talked about in press interviews leading up to the show’s release, it’s great to see something so momentous (and so long overdue) handled in such a casual way, with all credit to Hiddleston’s perfect delivery and director Kate Herron’s smart use of blue and pink lighting.
And then Loki gets dropkicked out of the window of a speeding train. Sylvie quickly follows, and the pair realise that the TemPad is now completely broken. Covering the rest of the distance on foot, the Lokis now only have minutes left to try and fight their way through a city riot, hijack a spaceship and escape before the planet blows up. Arriving just too late, the episode ends as the world (and the spaceship) starts crumbling, leaving the Lokis stranded in a seemingly inescapable apocalypse. Even for a series that plays so fast and loose with all concepts of time, space and high stakes, that’s a pretty decent cliff-hanger to leave us on…
- Bonnie Guitar’s 1957 country hit ‘Dark Moon’ plays over the end credits, along with some fairly apt lyrics (“Mortals have dreams/Of love’s perfect schemes/But they don’t realise/That love will sometimes bring/A dark moon”)
- Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘Demons’ plays in the bar where we first see Lady Loki, putting the prologue somewhere around the year 2020.
- The year of the bar scene/memory gains extra relevance when we learn that all TVA employees are actually human variants themselves with amnesia for their past on Earth. What does this mean for Mobius (Owen Wilson), Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku)?