Time loops are a popular trope in science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories. Recently, they’ve been in the Dr. Strange movie, an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, and the season finale of Supergirl. Now, it’s Cloak and Dagger’s turn in “The Lotus Eaters.” The title is a nod to Greek myth, where an island of people were drugged into peaceful stupors by eating the narcotic plants.
The show opens with a flashback to the fateful day of the Roxxon rig disaster. Young Mina bakes a cookie for her father, and they talk about work and superstition. It’s a cute scene that shows they had a great relationship. Father Ivan has a much less good day as he gets to work, and we hear a bit more about what probably led to the explosion. As the power goes down and alarms sound, we also get a bit more insight into what the present-day Ivan keeps humming.
At Our Lady of Teenage Runaways and Superheroes, Tandy tries to comfort Tyrone, who is freaking out about Duane’s death, both because he saw someone he knew killed and because it was another chance to prove what happened to his brother. Tandy quotes an old saying of her father’s, that “Failures are the steps we climb.” She at least acknowledges the bad timing, but says she needs Tyrone’s help.
They get in to Ivan’s hospital room, probably not that hard for someone with Tandy’s talents. Tyrone is a bit freaked out by this whole thing, which I don’t blame him for. Tandy explains what’s going on, and agrees she’ll owe Tyrone, not that I think he’s the type to collect. She’s been thinking about this a lot, and has an idea she wants to try. It works, and they both end up on the rig the night of the explosion, or a version of it. They quickly learn the normal rules for their visions don’t apply here.
They end up in Ivan’s office, and he has a very odd reaction to meeting them, that gives you an idea of what’s been going on with him these past eight years. Tandy and Tyrone get what amounts to a quick rundown of the strange situation they’re in and make an effort to fix it. They try hard but don’t end up getting to the goal, and then there’s a flash of light and the situation resets back to Ivan’s office.
Ivan shares some of his insights and they realize how horrifyingly long he’s been in there. Ivan’s calm, even humorous, acceptance of his bizarre situation is enough to make you feel bad for him and see how bleak his situation is. Tandy tries to talk him out of his state, and he laughs her off. Not only does Tandy not talk him around, he drags her into his delusion by mentioning who is on the phone that keeps ringing. Tandy gets sucked in and Tyrone makes a run at trying to fix things himself. He doesn’t manage it, but shows he is getting a better grasp on his powers.
After reality resets again, Tyrone tries to at least talk Tandy out of this unreal realm. Things don’t go as planned, and Tyrone shows he’s a good friend to her. When he returns, we see how far Tandy has fallen but that she’s honed her powers in the interim. As Tyrone tries to get through to her, she pours out her sadness and desperation of her life in the real world. After their fight goes past the level of words, Tyrone figures something out to get her to snap out of it, and makes a sad admission of his own. Tandy, heartbroken, realizes what’s going on.
Emotionally raw, Tandy tries to find a way to get through to Ivan, and finally comes up with something from her time with Mina. It’s an appeal that’s both emotionally charged and has some good logic behind it, and Tandy finally prevails. Working together, the three of them do what they have to in order to end Ivan’s eight year long nightmare. When they do finally snap back to the real world, they don’t exactly get the reaction they hoped for from Ivan, but there is a great reunion with Mina.
Later, Tandy goes back to her church, alone and starts to lay down for the night. There’s an exchange between her and Tyrone that addresses some of the regrets they both expressed in the time loop, and it’s a scene with some good humor and is actually kind of sweet. By the end of this episode, they not only have become closer, but they have started to work well as a team and gotten a better grip on their powers.
What I liked: It was a clever variation on the time loop idea. Olivia Holt, who plays Dagger/Tandy, manages an impressive mix of sadness, regret, and enjoyment in her smiles. Tim Kang, who played Ivan, did a great job as a cheerfully happy man trapped in hell. Tandy’s way of getting in Ivan’s head showed how clever she is, and Tyrone’s way of saving her was fairly brilliant too. I liked the final scene a lot. I’m glad they’re both getting better with their powers.
What I didn’t: My only real complaint about the episode was the general concept behind it. Roxxon has been tying up so many loose ends, why would they leave a witness alive, even one that was catatonic? It would have been very easy for them to get someone in his room and change his meds or pull the old inject an air bubble in his veins trick.
I’m really liking this series, and this was another great episode. I’ll give it a low 4 out of 5.