‘Loki’ Episode 3: What Is Love? (RECAP)

Loki - What Is Love?
Spoiler Alert
Disney+/Marvel Studios
Disney+/Marvel Studios



Season 1 • Episode 3

rating: 4.0 stars

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Loki Season 1 episode 3, “Lamentis.”]

Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more… Okay, although the third episode of Loki doesn’t feature that particular needle-drop (it does, however, include part of Hayley Kiyoko’s “Demons” in its opening minutes), it might as well have. While the conflict of the TVA versus Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino) still exists, “Lamentus” pushes it to the side, leaving whatever is going on with Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius for next week. The result is an episode that feels like it’s spinning its wheels where the first two sped along — it ends with its characters in the same position where they started. But there are several notable revelations (the people working for the TVA had real lives they can’t remember! Sylvie is Lady Loki’s real name, and she always knew she was adopted!), and like the other two installments, it’s visually stunning.

After a brief battle with Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), “Lamentis” strands the Lokis on a crumbling planet called Lamentus-1. This break in the action gives the variants time to examine their philosophies on love — and, in the process, confirms Loki as the MCU’s first canonically bisexual lead character.

Love is a Dagger

On Lamentus, Loki and Sylvie have no choice but to work together. Hoping to charge the TemPad that could summon a portal to get them out of there, they wind up at the home of a survivor who tells them everyone’s on the Ark, a train/space station that’s meant to transport citizens to safety. Naturally, that’s where the duo heads in hopes of using the power from the train to get off the planet. Through the use of both of their powers — Loki uses his magic to conjure himself a guard uniform, Sylvie enchants another guard to believe they don’t need tickets to board — they get inside.

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There, they head to the bar cart and have a chat about their respective lives as Lokis. Sylvie reveals she always knew she was adopted (which shocks Loki, since finding out he was adopted was kind of the inciting incident for his whole character arc), but she never knew her mother; Loki tells her about Frigga (Renee Russo). Sylvie’s plan is to destroy the TVA, because she’s “been running from them [her] whole life,” while Loki, presumably, still craves its power. Their conversation turns to love, as Loki asks her whether she’s seeing anyone; she asks him the same, assuming there “must’ve been would-be princesses, or perhaps another prince.”

“A bit of both, I suspect the same as you,” Loki answers — which makes him the first canonically bisexual lead character in the MCU. On the whole, their philosophies regarding love are very different. Sylvie believes “love is hate,” while Loki says love is a dagger, a beautiful weapon to be wielded… but when you reach for it, it isn’t real.

The Mechanics of Enchantment

Eventually, the two opt to unwind before setting their plan to charge the TemPad in motion. Sylvie takes a nap, and Loki, true to his “hedonistic” self, gets drunk and starts singing in Asgardian. Sylvie awakens and berates him for drawing attention to himself, which it turns out she was right to do; guards arrive and toss him out of the train, and Sylvie, still needing the TemPad, dives out the window after him. In the end, all their efforts are for naught. The TemPad was destroyed on impact, leaving them no way off the doomed planet.

Except… they do still have one option. In the course of the Sacred Timeline, the Ark never takes off from Lamentus-1, but with Loki and Sylvie there, changing the course of history just might be possible. That’s what they decide to do, and as they follow the train tracks, Loki questions Sylvie about her enchantment powers (still seems likely she’s not a Loki variant at all, since so much time is being devoted to her as an enchantress). As she describes what it takes — physical connection, “reaching in and grabbing” someone’s mind and stepping into one of their memories — Loki makes a startling realization: The people at the TVA, Mobius included, were real people who had real lives they can no longer remember, from before they were put into the Time Variance Authority’s service.

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Trapped Again

Loki and Sylvie wind up in a crumbling town, fighting their way past guards and swerving around pieces of a falling planet to the ship… only to watch it explode before them. Now, it seems, they’re really, truly stuck on Lamentus. Bummer!

Loki, Wednesdays, Disney+

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