Loki 1×03 “Lamentis,” is a prime example of a great bottle episode and how useful it can be in a shorter season. The Marvel Studios shows on Disney+ keep coming up against time constraints on such massive stories. Some end up handling the issue better than others, and Loki is in the former category with “Lamentis.”
Frequently, people brush bottle episodes to the side as filler episodes that don’t contribute to the larger story at hand. That assumption is too generalizing for a commonly used tool that pushes characters to a particular conclusion. It’s these episodes that trap characters with themselves or others. Bottle episodes can make you root for a character you never thought you would have sided with before.
It lets us experience characters’ perspectives more intimately than we may get to outside of this environment. Loki uses this to its advantage as a marker for halfway through its season. This episode sticks the titular character and Sylvie on a planet that’s doomed to crumble and them with it.
Those life or death circumstances bring out new sides of both characters that make them more appealing heading into the second half of the season. All of the events and revelations in this episode don’t have to cater to the overarching plot for it to be a meaningful episode of TV.
Redefining Loki (Again)
It’s the character development that makes this episode a standout amongst the three episodes of Loki so far. It matters that Loki takes the time in an already fast-paced, time-twisting journey to sit with these characters longer than we will likely ever be able to again before the finale.
The reveal that Loki and Sylvie exhausted all of their resources to get off Lamentis and still can’t leave the moon wouldn’t matter if we didn’t care about these characters. Likewise, nothing that’s coming would hold nearly as much weight if we didn’t get what “Lamentis” gives us.
It’s also relevant because so much of Episode 1, “Glorious Purpose,” and Episode 2, “The Variant,” are world-building episodes to tee up the actual journey. “Lamentis” lets us sit with all of that information with Loki and Sylvie, but it’s also the time we need to catch our breath and latch onto this new (and improved) version of 2012 Loki.
Tom Hiddleston is a top-tier actor who brings so much to Loki at every opportunity, but it’s fun to watch those emotional beats come through more during this episode. Yes, Loki drunkenly sings on a train, which is a must-see moment. However, there’s a scene just before that one that is so good there are literal fireworks.
This Loki is from The Avengers, but he’s so much better because he’s not a domineering dictator, but a curious trickster. That curiosity leads him to offer up intimate details about his life to see if he can trust Sylvie and get information from her. The anecdotes about Frigga are heartwarming and humanizing for someone who constantly boasts about being a God.
Loki becomes even more identifiable when the show does something many of us have been waiting years to see on screen. Loki confirms that he is bisexual with the perfect lighting for such an occasion. It’s overwhelming to see this moment on screen after all this time, and it is during Pride month, which makes it even more incredible.
These parts of Loki are so meaningful to his history and future in the comics and on-screen. It’s overwhelming to know they are now a part of his canon story in the MCU. Representation matters. It’s a relief that his sexuality isn’t met with any pushback, but rather a mutual understanding of what it means not to know real love yet. Loki’s bisexuality isn’t a topic of concern or debate because it is a part of him, just like his magic.
Learning these things about Loki in his own words and through Hiddleston’s earnest performance provides some actual distance between the previous 2012 Loki and the one before us now. It’s easier to want this version of Loki to succeed because we know more about him than the MCU explored before he took a turn as dictator.
Is Sylvie Truly a Loki Variant?
Sylvie is very adamant not to be called a Loki because that’s not who she is anymore. That’s fine, and Loki respects it by calling her by the name she chooses. However, it is interesting that Sylvie wishes to distance herself from that persona. She’s not very forthcoming about details from her personal life, which is understandable considering her present company’s history.
Her enchanting powers beg the question of whether she is a Loki Variant or someone else from the comics entirely. There are plenty of rabbit holes for theories, but Loki presents such an intriguing character regardless of either that the journey is exciting within itself.
The MCU has come a long way since Black Widow’s introduction in Iron Man 2. We love Natasha Romanoff, and she deserves better than she got with that. It’s honestly still exciting to watch female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have fight sequences that aren’t overly sexualized. Sylvie wears a practical costume that she uses as a weapon when she needs to protect herself. She uses her horns and her cape at different points to fight off people.
Of course, it helps that Marvel is starting to broaden who is in front of and behind the camera. There aren’t only male directors for these massive projects anymore. Kate Herron exceptionally directs Loki, and she catches moments that deserve to be on camera. For example, you can bet that we saw Sylvie put her hair up in a ponytail before she fights the Minutemen at the Time Variance Authority. It’s such a tiny detail but so meaningful.
Regardless of who Sylvie ends up being, we are fans of hers as of now. Sophia Di Martino is an excellent addition to the cast, and it’s a thrill to watch her go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with Hiddleston’s Loki. Their rapport is captivating. She’s someone who is unafraid to walk into a fight and wants to take down what she describes as an “omniscient fascist” organization. So how are we supposed to not rally behind that mission?
Someone Save Mobius
My theory, as mentioned in my review of Loki Season 1 Episode 2, “The Variant,” is, unfortunately, shaping up to be a reality. If we take Sylvie for her word (and there’s no reason not to at the moment), the TVA employees are Variants themselves who the TVA traps to do their bidding. This “twist” isn’t an entirely shocking one in the narrative, but it does complicate Loki’s mission. There is some part of Loki that cares about Mobius, no matter how much he denies it. There is too much chemistry there for Loki to pretend they aren’t at least friendly acquaintances.
That’s the exciting portion of Loki learning this information. It’ll be interesting to see what he does and doesn’t do with this information. This could be the beginning of his new hero origin story. The way that Hiddleston delivers the line, “They don’t know that,” holds a level of desperation that could mean he wants to relay the truth to his new pal. That may be wishful thinking, but it wouldn’t be the first time.
Unfortunately, this twist with the TVA is obvious because it aligns with the typical MCU pattern with big organizations. We’re not optimistic that the TVA will differ from SWORD on WandaVision and the literal government on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There’s still time for everything to shift and for Loki to break free of this tiring cycle. Loki always has another trick up his sleeve, so maybe we shouldn’t give up hope yet. For that to happen, though, Loki and Sylvie still have to find a way off of Lemantis-1.
Other Glorious Moments:
- Starting this episode with Hayley Kiyoko’s “Demons” is *chef’s kiss*!
- I’d be okay if Loki ditched the knives and only used his magic for the rest of the season.
- Loki’s inability to sit backward on a train is a detail I don’t need to know about him, but I’m glad that I do.
- “She was the kind of person you’d want to believe in you.” – Loki about Frigga
- Could I write an essay about Loki’s metaphors about love? Yes. Will I? Maybe.
- Loki mimicks Thor’s iconic “Another!” moment from Thor without realizing it. It’s such a sweet reminder that those goofs are brothers.
- This episode was written by the Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali.
What did you think of “Lamentis?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Loki stream Wednesdays on Disney+!