If one thing’s exceedingly clear about Loki, it’s that nothing is as it seems in this Disney+ series — especially where Sylvie is concerned.
After spending two episodes exploring the Time Variance Authority’s influence over events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki Episode 3 went in an entirely different direction: specifically, to Lamentis, a far-off planet on the verge of its own apocalypse. The episode was a departure from Loki’s normal fare, but was that because of a grand illusion?
According to a fan theory put forth by Redditor ajg92nz, the entire Lamentis adventure could be little more than an illusion projected by Sylvie in order to get inside Loki’s head. Such mind tricks worked on the TVA Agent in the episode’s cold open, so perhaps they would also work on the God of Mischief. There’s all sorts of evidence to back up this theory, so let’s break it down.
Exhibit A: Complex realities
Sylvie tells Loki that, in order to get control of those with stronger minds, she “has to create a fantasy.” From Sylvie’s point of view, such a fantasy would ideally be a situation in which Loki would learn to trust her (very chaotic) personality, in the process letting down his guard and allowing her entrance to his psyche.
As the two flee the TVA, what better to accomplish this goal than a life-or-death situation that could spell the end of both of these characters while simultaneously bringing them together? Sylvie has every motivation in the world to try to manipulate Loki. Such a maneuver would take a lot of work, but, as we’ve seen, she’s incredibly powerful.
Exhibit B: The Force is With Him
At the climax of the Lamentis apocalypse, Loki uses telekinesis to defend himself from a falling building. But hang on: if Loki can use telekinesis all the time, why wasn’t he using it to ward off agents, or even Sylvie (as various Roxxcart employees and patrons), in the episode prior?
While Loki does technically possess telekinetic powers, they’re rarely seen within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, the last time they were used on screen was in Thor: The Dark World, when he was behind bars and used these abilities to trash his holding cell. But is his power strong enough to defend against a building falling down around him?
Possibly, if he’s actually inside an illusion engineered to specifically manipulate him.
Exhibit C: ~Aesthetics~
While the previous points underlining this theory have focused on the substance of Episode 3, it’s also worth looking at the hour’s unique stylistic touches. So far in Loki, the entire series has been tinged orange and blue, from the mid-century decor of the TVA headquarters to the harsh neon lights of the Roxxcart building.
Episode 3 could not be further from this color scheme. All of a sudden, Loki and Sylvie are cloaked in pinks, purples, and blues, perhaps not coincidentally the colors of the bisexual flag.
Is this color scheme Loki signaling to us that the episode exists in an entirely different dimension from the previous hours? Yes, Lamentis is a different planet, but even settings like Alabama and France, centuries apart, reflected the series’ otherwise consistent orange and blue motif.
Exhibit D: Cliffhanger
To say Loki Episode 3 ended on a bang would be an understatement. To recap, the hour ends with a giant explosion. But why end everything there? Well, if this whole episode is an illusion, the end of the episode would signal the end of the illusion.
Yes, Episode 4 beginning with Loki snapping out of the enchantment with a sigh of relief would be aggravating, but it’s worth remembering that showrunner Michael Waldron used to write for Rick and Morty. That’s exactly the kind of rug pull we’d expect from him, given that background.
Exhibit E: What’s in a name?
Lamentis is peculiar in that it’s a planet we’ve never seen before in the MCU. Perhaps the reason why is hiding in plain sight, via the planet’s name: Lamentis.
Any linguist worth their salt will tell you the -mentis root means “mind” in Latin, as in the term “mental” or the legal term “non compos mentis.”
Lamentis literally translates, more or less, to “the mind,” meaning Loki and Sylvie didn’t escape to another planet. They literally escaped into Loki’s head, where Sylvie can learn “what makes a Loki a Loki” in a controlled crisis environment. Still, she can’t resist a little wordplay.
This may seems like just an Easter egg, but don’t forget that just last week we saw Loki rattle off Latin like it was his Starbucks order to the people of Pompeii. Giving a “mind-planet” a fictional Latin name is definitely something he would do, which means it’s naturally something Sylvie would one-up him at.
Was Episode 3 an illusion? Either way, investigating the evidence further proves there’s no way to tell if we can trust Sylvie at this point. Episode 4, we hope, will shed some light on this fascinating turn of events.
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.