Banter is probably my favorite thing in the MCU, and we get a lot of it during “Lamentis”. We also get some fairly major lore drops and a lot of character development through the clever use of a bottle episode.
Within a few minutes of “Lamentis” it becomes clear this is more or less a bottle episode. It’s the perfect time for one, too. Only by trapping Loki and Sylvie (because according to her Loki “isn’t who she is anymore” which we’ll get back to later) can we explore who she is and what their dynamic will be over the second half of this season.
So far the dynamic seems to be a really, really fun one. Sylvie was openly antagonistic in the beginning, with Loki constantly trying to slide past her defenses and figure out what her deal is. He made a point last episode: Loki would never treat himself the way Sylvie treated him in the Roxxmart. He would (and does) spend a lot of time aggravating himself to tease out all the hidden bits of personality and motivation.
It’s an effective technique both for Loki’s purposes and for us as the wildly curious audience. We get a couple of massive reveals in “Lamentis”.
First, this variant, Sylvie, doesn’t call herself Loki anymore. Sylvie is Enchantress’ name, and her powers are a lot like Enchantress’ powers. So… is Marvel bringing Enchantress into the MCU as a Loki variant who remade herself?
That would be pretty interesting, given that in the comics Loki actually created Enchantress himself to sow chaos (in other words, for the lolz). At least, he created the Sylvie Lushton version of Enchantress, not the Asgardian villain Amora who originally held the title of Enchantress.
There are some obvious differences, though. That Sylvie was a teenager who as far as I remember had no real background. She was created with false memories of her past. This Sylvie seems to have had a real upbringing, one where her parents were always open about her adoption and (from her attitude) also not the best parents. She didn’t have a loving mother around, as Loki did. Instead, she had to teach herself magic.
Loki is doing his best to interrogate Sylvie, but she’s a pretty closed book. We still don’t know what happened in her timeline to make her develop such strong feelings about the TVA. She’s got the green magic and the Asgardian lifespan, but as I said last week she’s a lot more aggressive than Loki. She doesn’t improvise or goof around for the fun of it. Even her magic is described as “grabbing control” of someone’s mind.
Sidebar- Sylvie says when she grabs control of someone’s mind but they’re strong, “they’re right there with her”. Anyone else wondering if “Lamentis” might be taking place inside Loki’s head? Why else would we have that particular opening sequence where she interrogates the TVA agent? I could see that as a “look, here is how her power works” trick, but… why? Unless someone else will be experiencing the same thing, why show that?
As an alternative, this is Sylvie trying to enchant Loki but struggling because he’s too strong. So it might be taking place in her head after he pulled an Uno Reverse on her, or both their heads, or some subliminal space between heads, or… or maybe I’m reading too much into this, and the writers were just laying the groundwork for later.
The thing is, after WandaVision I’m pretty primed for unreliable narration. I’d love to see it used in a show like Loki.
Moving past Sylvie and all those fascinating questions, we have two more big reveals. The first isn’t really a reveal so much as a bold confirmation of what we already knew, but it’s fantastic nonetheless. Given Disney’s general dance around openly labelling anything LGBTQ+, we assumed that one glimpse of “genderfluid” in Loki’s file would be the only nod to Pride we’d get.
Nope. “Lamentis” gives us a Loki who is so intrinsically bisexual that when faced with another version of himself, they have their first moment of connection over, “Oh you’re still bi though right? Yeah, me too, cool.” Sylvie doesn’t even want to be called “a Loki” anymore, but she’s also like, “Yo hey I know we’re fighting here but just checking in, every single version of us is super gay, correct? We’re on the same page about that? Awesome, okay, let’s go back to this ‘wary cats meeting for the first time’ thing we’re doing.”
The conversation is brief but it’s more than, “Oh I tried it once, nice.” Loki doesn’t even express a preference between the two and simply says he’s had “a bit of both”. It makes my pink, purple, and blue heart sing.
Does it also add an extra dimension to the Loki-Mobius dynamic, which fans are already rhapsodizing over on ao3? Yes, it does, though I doubt Disney would be brave enough to make Mobius a damsel to be rescued by Loki in a romantic context. (Though it would be a masterful stroke to give Loki a boyfriend during Pride. Keep the dream alive, Lokius shippers.)
Speaking of Mobius and by extension the TVA, Sylvie’s casual note about TVA agents being variants is probably the biggest lore drop for me. The TVA used clones in the comics. They were all clones of a former continuity director, in fact, making it a meta in-joke. There were some faceless monitors who appeared whenever a timeline was created to watch it. I think they did also pull people from the timeline right before they died sometimes, but that was for limited purposes. The main TVA agents were all clones.
We did know that was different in Loki. I just didn’t know how much Marvel was planning to change things. In my opinion, it’s a really, really good idea both practically and story-wise. Practically, it lets the showrunners add diversity and subtract the complexity of using one actor for every agent. Story-wise, it gives the TVA some menace and creates a reason for the agents to potentially defect once they understand.
It also makes Mobius’ contentment with serving the sacred timeline a little sad. I am not looking forward to watching his “glorious purpose” dissolve. Maybe he will get that jet-ski ride, though?
You may have noticed I haven’t really addressed the framework or cliffhanger ending of “Lamentis”. As a bottle episode, the exposition and character development are more important than the actual events. I did appreciate the rich trying to escape at the expense of the poor and dying first instead (nice).
I’m not too worried about Loki and Sylvie though. Even if they’re not in either of their heads, the TVA can’t afford to just let them die on the planet even if it seems certain. Now that they know they have a blind spot around apocalypses, they have to go collect both Variants for a proper dissolution just to be sure. That’s the opportunity the two will use to escape.
Or they both die and the last three episodes are all Agent Mobius jet-skiing. Who knows?
Final note- it did not escape me that this episode was almost ten minutes shorter than the first two. It made that ship explosion extra jarring, because I hadn’t thought to check episode length before hitting play. Marvel is really playing with the format in a lot of ways, and I love it!
What did you think of “Lamentis”? Is this all in someone’s head, and if so whose, and if not how do you think they’ll escape? Let us know!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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