After getting very worried that Loki had jumped the shark in Episode 3, it’s with great relief that I can report that Episode 4 brings it fully back on track and we can now excitedly look forward to seeing how things will wrap up in the final two episodes. Episode 3 was practically a two-hander between the Loki we know and love (Tom Hiddleston) and one of the Loki variants – a woman named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). This all took place on a purple planet called Lamentis and even though I love bisexual lighting as much as the next guy, the episode was extremely visually samey and boring, certainly in comparison to the gorgeously designed TVA. Being away from the TVA also meant that Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and especially Mobius (Owen Wilson) were sorely missed.
However, delving into the depths of Loki’s character and what makes him tick has been the real joy of this TV spin-off and the many, many contradictions within him have been explored in some very fun ways. Episode 4 sees a fan-favourite Thor character return and she gets to hit Loki exactly where it hurts – targeting his loneliness, his need for attention and approval which is at the root of much of his ‘acting out’ as the God of Mischief. We also get to see more of Ravonna and Mobius’ friendship explored – Wilson and Mbatha-Raw’s shared scenes have been a real highlight of this show. Mobius now, understandably, has even more of a major trust issue with Loki, but they clearly have a bond that it’s difficult for either ‘man’ to shake. Like the classic younger (adopted) brother that he is, Loki can’t help pushing boundaries with the older mentor figures in his life, but also gets genuinely crushed at the thought that they might leave him. Hiddleston, as always, does an amazing job at quickly conveying the complex mess of emotions that are always raging inside Loki. Even in brief scenes with a lot of CGI and other noisy background nonsense, Hiddleston’s facial expressions always communicate Loki’s ambivalence towards every person and situation he meets.
In the most hilariously Loki move of all time, he appears to be developing feelings, or at least an attraction towards the female version of himself and if anyone were to fall in love with their own reflection, of course it would be Loki. While Sylvie isn’t a stand-out character of the show thus far, on a personal note, Sophia Di Martino being from Nottingham and Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Erin Kellyman being from Tamworth means my home region of The Midlands is well represented in the MCU at the moment and hearing those accents in this context is amusingly delightful (homesickness may be driving me doolally, go easy on me). Sylvie has successfully sown seeds of doubt in Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane), as well as Hunter B-15 and Mobius – shaking their loyalty and faith in Ravonna, The Time Keepers and the entire philosophy behind the TVA.
The final scenes and the mid-credits tease in Episode 4 will have many jaws-on-the-floor, although the MCU’s overreliance on meaningless deaths (Infinity War/Endgame have given me major trust issues) is now a frustrating feature that permeates everything they do, it would seem. It’s hugely gratifying that Mosaku, Mbatha-Raw and Wilson all get their moments to shine in this episode and that we get a further deep-dive into Loki’s psychology. It is worrying that we have only two episodes left, but let’s hope and pray that they don’t screw the pooch and instead nail the landing. Loki is a character who absolutely deserved to have this extended expansion and exploration and six episodes does not feel like nearly enough. While WandaVision definitely felt like a self-contained story that should not be belaboured, Loki is a show that feels like it could carry on. Let’s hope they don’t shoe-horn other MCU characters and plotlines into Loki in its final stages and make it have to service other things. Loki deserves for this story to focus on him and only him, as he’s the most multifaceted, complicated character in the MCU.
Review of Episodes 1-2 of Loki can be found here.