Hi, it’s Liz Coopersmith, I’m filling in for Cindy White to recap Loki’s Episode 3, “Lamentis.” She’ll be back from a hard-earned vacation to finish the rest of the season next week. In the meantime, the recap below contains spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode, you’ve been warned.
Pulling back the curtain
MCU TV has developed a pattern with their third episodes. The third episode of WandaVision showed how loose Wanda’s control over her fantasy was while revealing Monica’s Rambeau and SWORD’S roles in the background. Episode 3 of Falcon and the Winter Soldier revealed the origin of the super soldier serum, and Karli’s growing megalomania. The third episode of Loki also pops the hood on the background of the story. In “Lamentis,” Loki takes a closer look at the inner workings of the sacred timeline, and Time Variance Authority’s increasingly disturbing relationship with the Variants in it.
Days of Future Past
The episode opens with a flashback of Sylvie (that’s what she calls herself, so I’m calling her that) and TVA minuteman C-20 in a beachfront cafe. The two, dressed in civilian clothes, banter and laugh about the horrible food, and C-20’s brain freeze due to the margarita she’s drinking. Suddenly Sylvie asks her a direct and unrelated question: how many people are guarding the Time Keepers? C-20 blinks in confusion. Cut to the same scene at night, as Sylvie laughs with the other woman that they’ve known each other forever, right? She tries a new question: Where are the Time Keepers hidden? Cut to the Roxxcart’s security room, Sylvie’s green magic dangling over C-20’s head, as she answers that the Time Keepers are in the TVA, just look for the gold elevator. It’s an excellent misdirection. First, we’re led to believe that the two have or had a relationship, only to find out that it’s just Sylvie’s spell. Or … is it? More on that in a minute.
Let the Buddy Travel Comedy Commence!
The previous scene explains why Sylvie entered the portal at the end of the last episode and exits into another hallway in the TVA, in front of a golden elevator, much to Loki’s surprise when he follows her a few seconds later. She sneers at him for making the case to work together, but that becomes moot when Judge Renslayer shows up with guards. Sylvie’s threat to kill Loki if they don’t let her go is met with a shrug; she’d be saving the judge the trouble. As far as Renslayer is concerned, it’s inevitable that Loki and Sylvie will have to be reset to serve the greater good of the sacred timeline. It’s her casualness that’s chilling. That attitude is mirrored from the previous episode when the guard roughs up the refugees in Roxxcart. Who cares? They’re going to die anyway. Mobius admonishes that they’re still people, but the TVA doesn’t see people, it sees pieces moving across a board. But again, more on that later.
Loki grabs the tempad on Sylvie’s arm and activates a portal that he and Sylvie fall through. They land hard in a basement somewhere. Sylvie emerges with the tempad, intending to leave Loki behind, but it’s out of power. Loki snags it back, and refuses to give it up, even if the apocalypse they’ve randomly arrived in is, as Sylvie says, “one of the worst.” Lamentis-1 (what a name huh?) is 12 hours away from being destroyed by debris falling from its dying moon. If they can’t get the tempad operational, they’re dead, too. Loki and Sylvie’s fighting skills and wits are evenly matched, so they aren’t able to truly overpower each other physically or mentally. His mind is too strong for her to enchant him. But she has the knowledge about the TVA and the tempad that Loki needs to return to a time and place where he can at least pretend he has free will. That’s pretty much all the freedom he’s looking for right now. Until they find enough power to turn it back on, they’re stuck with each other. And are growing intrigued by each other.
What Makes a Loki a Loki?
Sylvie refuses to say much about herself, so in the beginning we don’t know more than she has a big, bitter chip on her shoulder when it comes to the Time Keepers. She’s Loki’s shadow reflection, a way to assess himself while he’s trying to get through this experience and off Lamentis before it’s destroyed. They banter about how different they are, but she shares his ego, his arrogance, and a trickster/con artist outlook, and they’re equally amused by this. Aside from being—or presenting as—a woman, Sylvie seems younger than he is, more prone to lead with her fists instead of her mind. He chides her for that, like he wasn’t trying to take over Earth with an alien army a few weeks ago.
But in the short time he’s been at the TVA, Loki has undeniably grown emotionally. Finding out that your life only served as the evil that made good people greater, while you caused the death of the only person who truly loved you—along with 9971 other people—will slow you down some. When Sylvie rages that she’s going to destroy the Time Keepers and burn the sacred timeline to the ground, Loki asks her the same question that Mobius asked him last week: “Then what?” She can’t win. Why not just use what power she has to stay out of their way?
On a train headed to the “Ark,” a spaceship of overprivileged survivors headed for outer space (also doomed, Sylvie says), they finally share their stories. They’re both orphans, although Sylvie grew up knowing this and Loki did not. Loki learned his magic from his mother, and Sylvie learned hers on her own, but she won’t tell him how she enchants people. They’re both bi-sexual (I love how that was a throwaway line), but neither is romantically involved with anyone, which is fine, because neither believes that love is real. They doth protest too much, I think. I’ve found that most people who don’t believe in love just don’t believe they’ll ever get it, or that they deserve it. My BA in psychology take, for what it’s worth.
Sylvie claims that the Time Keepers have been after her since she was born, which could explain why she hates the name “Loki.” They relax enough around each other for Sylvie to fall asleep on the train, only to wake up to a drunk Loki leading the bar car in a rousing Asgardian song! Unfortunately, that draws the attention of security, and they’re violently thrown off the train.
Sylvie’s furious that the plan she’s been building for years was ruined by Loki. But, Loki’s accustomed to improvising quickly when a scheme fails, and comes up with a new plan: Sure the Ark gets destroyed, but if they could get on before that, they can save it long enough to get all the power they need. As they head to the Ark on foot, Sylvie softens and shares her enchantment secret with Loki. It’s not just about targeting the weak-minded, sometimes you have to tap into a memory to make them feel safe enough to bend to your will. With C-20, she tapped into a hundred-year-old memory to get her to give up the Timekeeper’s location. Loki frowns. You tapped into a memory? He was told that everyone who works at the TVA was created by the Timekeepers. Nope, Sylvie says, they’re all variants, just like us.
Record scratch! And “Ohhh…”
The worker bees, the guards, aren’t aware of this, Loki tells her. But it makes sense, specifically why they bother with trials. Smaller infractions to the sacred timeline are bound to happen, where death is too harsh a punishment. Given how large the TVA complex is, it takes a lot of people to keep it functioning. Why kill everyone when you could just wipe their memories and re-purpose them for all time. You know, Always. Like I said, pieces on the board. Oh, the TVA is SO going doing over this!
But first, they need to get to the Ark and get off Lamentis. Running through the streets, they’re only a few feet away when the spaceship rises through the air…and gets torpedoed by a chunk of the disintegrating moon.
Whoops. Man, that Sacred Timeline is a bitch…
- I loved the Mobius-Loki team up, but I love Loki and Sylvie more. In the end, whose company would these two enjoy more than their own?
- They even have the same posh English accent. I wonder which actor is faking it?
- One note: Renslayer heard the alarm and headed right to the golden elevator, knowing full well where the pair was headed. Got there quick, too.
- Loved, loved, LOVED the reveal that the TVA is filled with mindless, perky zombies. It explains why that one guy doesn’t know what a fish is. Or maybe he doesn’t remember. Creepy.