‘Loki’ Gives Us Loki vs. Loki in Episode 3 (TV REVIEW)

“Lamentis”

Rating: B+

The introduction to Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino), or Sylvie as she prefers to be called, represents the next step in Marvel’s evolution towards the multiverse. Conceptually, they’ve been building to this for some time—arguably since at least Doctor Strange—but never as clearly as they’ve done here.

Of course, the issue of where they’re going with this is, for now, dwarfed by the question of where they are. By now, there can be no doubt that Marvel is utilizing their television arm to dig deeper into the mythos that has guided the MCU but which has, so far, remained woefully unexplored. Who better than the God of Mischief to lead us on our journey?

This week’s episode, “Lamentis,” picks up immediately following the shocking reveal of last week, with Loki following Lady Loki through the portal and leaving his new…uh…friends?…at the TVA behind. Where better to go than where he started? Unbeknownst to Agent Mobius, Loki follows Lady Loki to the TVA headquarters, where she plans an all out assault on the Time Keepers—fascists, as she describes them later.

Loki vs Loki is a setup steeped in potential. After all, who’s a better foil for Loki than Loki? Who might be equal to history’s greatest narcissist than a narcissist of equal power? It’s all very fun, mostly due to how much Di Martino seems to revel in showing up Tom Hiddleston. Or trying to, at least. After all, this is a role that Hiddleston has owned for over a decade. By now, I imagine Loki is as second nature to him as breathing.

That Lady Loki feels so immediately equal to Loki is a testament to Di Martino, who somehow manages to embody the same chaotic energy as Hiddleston while putting her own spin on the character. Pedants, of course, will note that this is not the same character. The now-verified existence of the multiverse is proof enough of that, and a heartfelt conversation between the two Lokis on a train hammers this point home.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Lady Loki’s assault on the TVA is obviously the impetus of some shenanigans. Shenanigans which, once ensued, land both Lokis on the planet of Lamentis, currently undergoing an apocalypse of cosmic proportions as a moon is crashing into it. To make matters worse, the stolen tempad Lady Loki was using is now completely drained of power, forcing an uneasy truce as both Loki and Lady Loki head out to see if they can’t find some power.

Which I guess is kind of a low key hilarious Loki pun, now that I think about it. After all, what has Loki ever done except search for more power? The stakes this time are somehow both higher and lower, however, leading to an interesting extended conversation between our God and Goddess of Mischief.

The philosophical framework of the show thus far has been the contention between fate and free will. How much of either exists? Is one more powerful? Can an individual free will themselves out of fate? The additional Loki gives us a new platform from which to view this ongoing discussion the show is trying to have. Despite their similarities, the two Lokis are different enough (beyond their gender) to allow the series to explore just how much nature and nurture have to play with.

While of course we know little about Lady Loki, their biographies do seem to intersect in interesting ways. Both were adopted. Both know magic. Both have an abiding interest in both mischief and power. And yet, these similarities aren’t enough to make either Loki exactly the same. They each have their own experiences molding them into the Loki they are today. This idea is deepened as Lady Loki reveals that she learned Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane), the hunter whose mind was scrambled as Lady Loki tried to find the whereabouts of the Time Keepers, was, several hundred years ago, just a regular girl living her life and loving margaritas.

This runs contrary to Agent Mobius’s assertion that the Time Keepers created the TVA and the people who run it. They were people, with lives and interests and families. So why are they know TVA agents? And what does this say about Mobius, with his bizarre interest in the 1990’s and jet skis?

“Lamentis” unfortunately raises more questions than it answers, but we do seem to have passed an important threshold. We’re now officially at the halfway point of the series, and the plot just keeps getting twistier and more interesting. For now, we can only wait and see just how Loki and Loki will avert the apocalypse and, perhaps, takedown the TVA.

New episodes of Loki premiere every Odin’s Day Wednesday on Disney+.

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