Loki, Episode 3, "Lamentis" | The Adventure Zone: Balance, "Petals to the Metal"
The God of Mischief slows to a crawl as the Tres Horny Boys go full speed ahead.
TV REVIEW /// Loki, Episode 3, "Lamentis"
Episode summary: Loki finds out The Variant's plan, but he has his own that will forever alter both their destinies. (IMDb)
I feel for Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino, who are so effortlessly brilliantly in their roles, that they had to spend so much time together in what was ultimately a 'nothing' episode. The pair of them are great together as alternate Lokis (or Loki and Sylvie, as the latter would prefer), but so little happens and we get almost nothing from their interactions other than two actors having a good time - which can only carry an episode so far.
We do get a little more of Loki's background, including a confirmation that there were princesses and princes as romantic interests in his past, which I've seen has already been very well-received, but we've already spent two episodes and multiple movies learning about Loki, while we start and end this episode without much more information on who Sylvie is or why she's doing whatever she's doing.
This could've been a great moment to really set up 'Lady Loki' as a major MCU figure going forwards, but so little is given away that I'm left hoping later episodes can retroactively redeem this one and that key lines or actions may have had more importance to the series' larger narrative than it seems to - because it doesn't feel like it's had any effect yet.
Also, being stuck in the single time and place for almost the entire episode feels like a mistake too, with the previous episode having not only multiple locations and time periods, but an ending that set up travel to many, many more. The next episode now has a huge amount of pressure to deliver as another episode like this could sink Loki completely.
"Lamentis" is a real let-down after the great first two episodes, feeling very much like filler as it does little to advance the overall story arc nor provide us with much greater insight into the characters. We gain a little more info about Loki (and his confirmed bisexuality), but not much about Sylvie, and a minor reveal at the end does little to provoke any enthusiasm about where the series goes from here.
[4/10 - Disappointing]
PODCAST REVIEW /// The Adventure Zone: Balance, "Petals to the Metal"
Story summary: Merle, Taako and Magnus are in hot pursuit of a master criminal in the metropolitan city of Goldcliff. Can they stop The Raven before her crime spree tears the town apart? (The Adventure Zone)
When the McElroys did a retrospective podcast after the Balance story was finished, Clint brought up "Petals to the Metal" as the first time he thought they really had something special with what they were doing, and I have to agree completely. The first two chunks of the story were enjoyable enough, but got by solely on the brothers and their dad clowning around with each other.
That's not the case here - although the clowning around still happens on a regular basis - as the world is opened up a lot more, which is a blessed relief after "Murder on the Rockport Limited", and we get introduced to some new characters that are almost all more enjoyable and memorable than the others created before - even if the antagonist feels a little forced in their villainy, the relationship they have with another new character makes up for it.
This is also the time when Taako really comes into his own as a character, with Justin now fully embracing the role and making use of his character's abilities to make all kinds of weird shit happen that Griffin, the DM, couldn't possibly have taken into account for the story. It makes for some funny moments outside of the general joking around as Griffin has to figure out how to combat the spanner in the works provided by his older brother.
That said, there are multiple moments for every character to shine, including a hilariously disgusting scene between Merle and some vines that is brilliant to listen to if only for the horrified reactions of his sons to what he's saying. But yeah, "Petals to the Metal" is genuine fun from start to finish and where the podcast feels like it's transitioned from being a Dungeons & Dragons adventure into something more.
"Petals to the Metal" is the first great arc of the story so far, with an interesting premise, brilliant new characters, progression of the grand narrative and - as usual - a lot of fun and jokes with the McElroy clan as they shine like never before since The Adventure Zone began. It all just feels bigger and more 'complete' an experience than the first two arcs, setting up high expectations for the piece of the action.