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Loki Episode 3 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode three of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. How does it compare to the other recent MCU series? Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

The Superior Loki

We’ve already seen great energy and pace in the first two episodes, as well as some stunning cinematography. Happily, the pace, energy and visuals haven’t let up in Episode 3 either.

We learn so much about Loki and Sylvie aka ‘The Superior Loki’ in this episode. I’d suggested their relationship would be set up very much as a sibling rivalry, and their interplay is very much in that oeuvre.

We pick up from them jumping through the time door in the supermarket at the end of Episode 2, which lands them in TVA HQ. Sylvie’s mission is the Sam as Loki’s – meet The Timekeepers. They’re the supposed guardians of The Sacred Timeline, although we’ve yet to see them behind their gold door. This leads me to suspect that in true Marvel fashion, a twist about them will be coming our way before the final three episodes of this series are done.

In the meantime, Loki and Sylvie are embroiled in a battle, not least to best each other. Loki is also working with the TVA to stop her from destroying their headquarters and wrest control back of the TVA technology she stole. That TemPed is allowing her to jump through time and space to evade capture.

Loki under threat

Having killed a few TVA soldiers with their stun batons, Sylvie attempts to bluff Renslayer by threatening to kill Loki. Realising that Renslayer doesn’t care, they quickly realise their best bet is to use the tech to create another time door and escape.

They land on a desolate rock called Lamentis-1 in the year 2077. Lamentis-1 featured in the Marvel comics and is a moon of Lamentis, a planet in clear planetary distress. The stolen TemPed is annoyingly running low on juice and in need of a quantic recharge. After initial opposition from Sylvie, she realises their best bet of escaping this other world is to work with Loki.

Bladerunner

There’s a strong Bladerunner thread running through the visuals of this series, and it’s in evidence again especially during the final act of the episode. This episode and the look of Lamentis-1 is clearly influenced by Paul Verhoeven’s original Sci-fi classic Total Recall. Although thankfully this series has much less blood and violence. Lamentis-1 is a mining colony, as Mars was in Total Recall. It’s also a look into a dystopian future where people are forced to live away from Earth, on a planet not naturally suited to supporting human life. That is a plot thread central to Total Recall and Bladerunner.

Loki and Sylvie use their abilities to make their way onto a train, where they discuss their respective pasts and we learn more about what makes these gods of mischief tick. Loki’s emotional reaction to discussing his mother, who he has discovered he sent to her death, much to his shock and upset. Loki then hilariously follows in his brother’s footsteps by getting drunk and singing on the train, which results in both he and Sylvie being thrown off it. This altercation breaks their TemPed, much to Sylvie’s annoyance.

They are then forced to head to the nearest town, a neon-doused conurbation awash with signage written in Kree. They are trying to board an ark that will allow them to escape Lamentis-1. But Lamentis is breaking down and bedlam has broken out as it fires meteorites indiscriminately at its moon. One of them destroys the ark and leaves Loki and Sylvie looking lost and forlorn as the realisation sets in that they may be stuck on a moon that is about to be destroyed by the planet it orbits.

All variants

This episode was entirely focused on fleshing out the story of Loki and allowing us to get to know Sylvie. Mobius did not feature at all and there were only brief glimpses of Renslayer and Hunter C-20. The latter in a slightly existential scene in a bar explaining how Sylvie managed to inhabit her to get her hands on a TemPed in the first place. The major moment of this scene was Loki discovering that everyone working for the TVA is a variant, which means that their whole reason for existing seems to go against the notion of them acting to keep The sacred Timeline pure on behalf of The Timekeepers. Whether these TVA variants know this or not remains to be seen.

We’re now halfway through this series and Marvel finally seems to have cracked it with Loki. This is so much more even than WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which had elements that were superb but had major flaws as well. So far at least, Loki hasn’t disappointed. The characters are well-drawn with plenty of opportunities for development. The performances have been helped by this, although we have some major talent in the cast. I’ve already discussed the visuals at length but the story underpins all of it and it is a strong narrative. Let’s hope the second half of the series brings us to a searing climax. So far, things are LOKI-ng good!


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 8/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode three. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our Loki episode two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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