Loki episode three recap: is this just Doctor Who ... with a big budget?

This Whovian episode had flirty chat, a moon about to explode and tech on the blink. Does anyone have a charger a variant can borrow?

Spoiler alert: this blog is for people watching Loki on Disney+. Do not read on unless you have watched episodes 1-3

Time lords

I’d always wondered what Doctor Who would be like if it had a bigger budget, and now I know. This third episode had everything bar a Gallifreyan wielding a sonic screwdriver: flirtatious dialogue between the leads; a key bit of tech on the blink; and the imminent explosion of a moon.

At the beginning, we saw Lady Loki – but let’s call her Sylvie from here on in, as she requested – enchant Hunter C-20 into giving her details on the TVA HQ. Then we were up to speed, picking up where things ended at Roxxcart last week, with Sylvie and Loki disappearing into time doors and appearing at the TVA. A few scraps later, and before Ravonna could do anything about it, Loki grabs his TemPad and the pair land in a closet to resume their fisticuffs.

Countdown

We’re now on Lamentis-1 in 2077, a moon which is about to have a planet crash into it, killing everyone. It’s just the kind of apocalyptic event Sylvie had previously been searching for, but now she’s on the wrong side of it, and the only means of escape has a flat battery.

Eventually, Loki and Sylvie call a truce and work together, although I don’t expect we’ve seen the last of their fighting, magic and double-crossing. “The plan you interrupted was years in the making. Years,” she tells Loki, adding that as soon as she can, she’s going to return to the TVA to finish what she started then kill Loki.

Sylvie seems way more informed than Loki about the TVA, although I don’t believe she has the whole truth. It’s clear by now that the TVA, referred to by her as “omniscient fascists” and “the boring, oppressive time police”, will be exposed as the big bad of the series. I also don’t believe the Time Keepers exist, at least not in the way Mobius outlined in episode one. I’m not entirely sure who or what sits behind the wizard’s curtain, or just how Kang (who I’m convinced will make his debut before the series is out, ahead of appearing in the third Ant-Man film) fits in. Many of you commenters have been positing theories about who might actually be pulling the strings, so please keep those coming.

The twist here was that TVA employees are all variants, not created by the Time Keepers as Loki had been told. The employees have no idea, though – are they under the same kind of enchantment spell cast by Sylvie on Hunter C-20? Are they all going through permanent brain freeze? What a terrible thought.

Departure

Plans A and B have fallen through ... Loki.
Plans A and B have fallen through ... Loki. Photograph: Disney

Aboard the train, which reminded me of Bond and Vesper sizing each other up in Casino Royale, Loki and Sylvie’s dialogue was razor sharp.

In terms of driving the plot forward, there wasn’t a whole lot to this episode: it felt like a diversion, albeit an enjoyable one, in which we learned a lot more about our lead characters, their motivations and ultimate plans.

As the episode finished, Sylvie and Loki are still trapped on Lamentis-1, plans A and B have fallen through and the TemPad is flat. Perhaps the woman in the armchair with the shotgun knows more than she’s letting on and has a USB charger they can borrow?

Further minutes

Joyous ... Loki.
Joyous ... Loki. Photograph: Disney
  • The song playing as the episode opened and in the bar where C-20 and Sylvie were having a drink was Demons by Hayley Kiyoko. “There’s something in the water” she sings, almost certainly about the TVA. The song closing the episode, meanwhile, was Dark Moon by Bonnie Guitar. Perfect choice.

  • Say what you like about Tom Hiddleston – and many of you do – but he’s exceeding all my expectations in this series. He flits from hamming it up to scrapping to looking scared to delivering emotional dialogue in the space of a line. The moment he put his hands to his hips and said defiantly, “I’m hedonistic. It’s what I do” was joyous.

  • As much as I liked this episode, particularly getting to know Sophia Di Martino, I must say I missed Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius.

  • Who is Sylvie’s postman boyfriend? Or am I reading too much into everything? Is a character allowed to have a boyfriend that’s just a boyfriend, and not actually an MCU easter egg?

  • The Lamentian homesteader, wife of Patrice, was played by Susan Gallagher. Cobra Kai fans may recognise her as Homeless Lynn.

  • “Another!” Loki smashing his glass and calling for another drink was a sweet callback to the cafe scene in Thor, where the Thunder god smashes his mug on the floor and demands more coffee.

What did you think? Too much like a mid-season episode of Doctor Who, or a perfect mix of exposition and action? Do you believe Sylvie when she says all TVA employees are variants? How will the pair get off Lamentis-1? Have your say in the comments below.

Contributor

Andy Welch

The GuardianTramp

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