Let’s Talk about Loki Episode 1-3
What’s worse than one God of Mischief? The answer is obviously a God AND Goddess of Mischief.
That’s what we’re facing this week on Loki. Let’s talk about episode 1-3, the fittingly named Lamentis.
Loki Meet Sylvie
The episode begins with Hunter C-20 doing just that, meeting Sylvie. They’re apparently friends who are rocking out at a nightclub.
As Hayley Kiyoko sings Demons, Sylvie interrogates innocently asks her dear friend about security vulnerabilities at the Time Variance Authority (TVA).
That’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask if they’re working together on Ocean’s Nine.
After a moment, the huntress recognizes that Lady Loki has invaded her mind and tries to trick her into revealing the equivalent of state secrets.
C-20 cannot help but comply, as the enchantment proves too powerful to resist.
Moments later, Sylvie warps into the TVA and starts wrecking soldiers. Notably, her hypnotic abilities don’t work on them.
That’s a fascinating side discussion. Are the professionals here better equipped than the ones she has lured into a trap?
If not, has she reached a place (or time?) where her powers no longer function properly?
Either way, Loki ports in after the Variant disintegrates a few security guards.
The rest of the episode plays out like that scene in Die Hard, where Hans Gruber pretends to be Bill Clay to hang out with John McClane.
Yes, we’re in buddy comedy territory again, only we’ve swapped out Owen Wilson for Lady Loki. I’m much more okay with this trade than my wife.
We do learn some things during their initial encounter. Sylvie doesn’t like being called Lady Loki, but I will ignore that request in these recaps.
For his part, Loki asks about her “enchant” abilities, which makes all those conspiracy theorists tingle. They think she’s really the Enchantress instead.
I rule nothing out at this point.
He Said/She Said
We’re not going to play the pronoun game in this episode, as the differences in the two Lokis have little to do with gender.
They apparently experienced entirely different upbringings, although the show does work in one clever joke.
Sylvie proves immune to brain freeze, as she would…as a FROST GIANT!
Overall, the God and Goddess of Mischief seem similar, although she’s the more competent version.
The proof of this stems from Loki’s ill-considered decision to port them anywhere, as long as it’s away from the TVA.
He picks Lamentis-1 in 2077, a planet that will soon collide with its moon, thereby destroying all life.
Sylvie refers to this extinction-level event as the worst apocalypse of them all. So, that’s par for the course for the MCU’s Loki, who has the worst luck.
At one point, they’re fleeing debris from the sky when Lady Loki saves her counterpart, whom she had just said she wanted dead.
I’m ready to complain right up until she explains her actions. Loki has pocketed a TemPad, meaning she’s stranded on a dying planet.
For the moment, if Loki dies, Lady Loki dies, which apparently isn’t the rule otherwise. Good to know.
The purpose of this week’s story involves the twin Variants picking each other’s brains. They want to know what makes the other tick.
Importantly, Loki dismissively describes Sylvie as a “faded photocopy” of him, which ties into the show’s opening credits.
The style reflects a copier technique wherein each additional image bears less resemblance to the original.
In this parallel, Lady Loki bears little semblance to the Loki we know since she’s far down the line as the Variant.
A Man and Woman Board the Ark
Symbolically, the wealthy residents of Lamentis take a luxury Ark that will transport them to safety while the poor people gaze in frustration.
The underlying theme here is that the man and woman functioning as protagonist and antagonist get onboard a train to the Ark. It’s Biblical.
Both prove valuable in their own ways during their stealth entrance, as Loki forms a “plan” that requires Sylvie’s enchantment to work.
The serenity of the train allows them to talk and share about their parentage, as they apparently had different mothers.
Of course, it could be that Sylvie has lived for so long that she’s forgotten the details. Also, she knew she was adopted.
Please remember that she could be lying about any of this. They’re both unreliable narrators.
Still, something vital comes from this conversation. We learn that TVA members were NOT created the way that Mobius M. Mobius believes.
Sylvie reveals that they’re Variants as well. It seems that they’ve either worked for the TVA so long that they’ve forgotten their origins, or their memories got wiped.
Whatever the explanation, we’ve just learned that pretty much everyone we’ve watched on the series thus far is a Variant. Seems important.
Perhaps the highlight of the episode involves the twin Lokis trying to define love. One of them does it drunkenly, but that’s irrelevant to the point.
This series plays with the notion that many have suggested since Thor’s release in 2011.
Perhaps the only person Loki could love is…another Loki. Also, they’re both bisexual, a somewhat delayed reveal for a character we’ve known for a decade.
Apparently, Sylvie is currently seeing a postman when she needs some fun. Meanwhile, our Loki remains very much alone.
Perhaps that’s why he compares love to a dagger. It’s the bitterness and loneliness talking.
Loki, How Long Are 12 Hours?
I won’t lie. Some parts of this episode bugged me. In truth, it’s my least favorite MCU episode on Disney+ thus far.
While I quite liked (dare I say loved like an invisible dagger?) the Loki/Lady Loki conversations, much of the story felt muddled.
Loki gets thrown off the train, a Snowpiercer-style train carrying guests to the Ark spaceship.
Loki gets tossed first, while Sylvie follows soon afterward since she still needs that TemPad. Somehow, they wind up only a few feet apart.
That triggers my Bad Physics button. During the whole episode, they’ve remained on a 12-hour timer before the planet blows up.
Thus far, they’ve had enough time to walk to an abandoned shelter, encounter a bitter widow in her home, hop a train, get drunk, and get kicked off.
Now, they’re walking to the city where the Ark will sail into outer space. Folks, that’s a full day.
I did three loads of laundry and the dishes today and felt pretty good about my effort.
Also, earlier in the episode, Sylvie promised that the exploding sky situation would devolve from there.
Somehow, they sit in a quiet, gorgeous desert and enjoy some blue sky during a chat. Why isn’t the ground shaking more?
The MCU is rarely this sloppy, and I’m disappointed by it.
Eventually, the full day ends with them trying to fight their way onto the Ark. The duo beats up a LOT of security guards and town randos.
The whole thing feels like a cheap excuse to pay tribute to Firefly’s set designs.
Then, there’s a Children of Men aspect to fighting during the final moments of civilization.
The Two Variants battle their way to the ship just in time to watch debris from orbit shatter it.
That’s the same debris we weren’t seeing just outside the city. Ignoring my gripe here, the poignant moment occurs immediately afterward.
Sylvie has no more use for Loki now that all hope is lost. She walks off without a word, only moments after they’ve made a great team while fighting strangers.
The two of them appear trapped on Lamentis, and the temporary alliance has ended. At least, that’s how Sylvie acts.
Meanwhile, we learn nothing else about what happened with the TVA attack that seemed likely to bring down the entire system.
The only character from the TVA that we saw at all this week was Ravonna Renslayer. Everyone else, including Mobius, took this episode off.
For a six-episode series (or season?), that’s a strange decision. I feel like this episode doesn’t work as well as a standalone.
Many of the complaints about WandaVision suggested that the first four episodes should have aired together.
The same may prove true here when the second half of the Lamentis cliffhanger airs. So, I’m withholding judgment.
Right now, I’d only give the episode a grade of a B, though. It’s the first time I’ve really felt let down by a new MCU episode on Disney+.