This episode follows Tandy and Tyrone as they explore the recesses of Ivan Hess’s catatonic mind. They both battle inner demons (and each other) as they help Ivan break the cycle of reliving the oil rig explosion. Even though this episode is rather self contained, and doesn’t do much to move the overarching plot along, it managed to maintain a compelling narrative without becoming repetitive.
The cold open with Mina and her father was really sweet. In a lot of way it mirrored Tandy’s relationship with her father, which continues throughout the episode. Mina and her father talk about the difference between science and magic ,which explains why she quoted Arthur C. Clarke in the last episode. Once Ivan goes off to work he gets increasingly concerned about the safety measures on the rig. Then, as we knew it would, things go south and the rig explodes. Cutting to Ivan years later, humming along to the same song, was pretty powerful and a great use of music.
We then meet up with Tandy and Tyrone in the church. Tyrone tells her what he found out about Duane and Tandy tries to support him as best she can. But she soon asks Tyrone for help unlocking the door in Ivan’s mind. They go to the nursing home, open the door, and quickly find themselves in immediate danger. Once their attackers are defeated they run into a rather disturbed Ivan Hess, played brilliantly by Tim Kang. Ivan is very friendly and surprised to see them, but he’s also acting very strange. It quickly becomes apparent that he’s been stuck reliving the oil rig explosion for all these years. It also has to be mentioned that Tim Kang is incredibly charming in every scene he’s in. The casual acceptance of his predicament was both hilarious and quite sad.
Most of what Ivan says is a bit nonsensical. But he does have a few comments that could be alluding to a crucial event in the MCU. Early on Ivan mentions that they’re “halfway to the end” and then goes on to say, “All of reality, time, space, you, me…” Now, this isn’t necessarily a direct link to Avengers: Infinity War, but it could be referring to the end of the film. It’s very possible that this dialogue was just to show he’s a bit disturbed and happens to align with the events of the film. It could also be a similar coincidence as “homecoming” being used as a code word in Civil War and later the title for the MCU Spider-man movie. But it’s definitely something to pay close attention to in the next few episodes.
When Tandy mentions her father, Nathan Bowen, Ivan remarks that that’s the man who always calls his phone. Tandy is instantly quite shocked because she realizes it’s a way for her to talk to her father. When he calls she picks up gets very emotional hearing his voice again. Tandy quickly disregards her initial goals and is solely focused on talking to her father again and again. She and Tyrone agree to let go of Ivan together, but when Tyrone wake up alone he realizes Tandy lied. He goes back in and finds that Tandy has now relived the same moment hundreds of times. She’s also acting very angry and aggressive, but Tyrone insists that she’s unwell.
He keeps unplugging the phone so that Tandy can’t talk to her father which really pisses her off. Tandy then lashes out and says that if Tyrone was in her position and his brother Billy was calling, he’d be doing the same thing. They both end up saying some pretty mean things to each other and eventually begin fighting. It’s clear that Tandy has been there for a while because she’s had a lot of practice using her powers. And in order to avoid them, Tyrone teleports around the room. This episode was also a great way for them to naturally get better using their abilities. Especially since they can theoretically spend days “training” when only seconds or minutes pass in the real world.
Things are resolved when Tyrone gives Tandy an ultimatum. He says he’ll leave her alone if she asks her father a question that only he would know. This was a really smart move on Tyrone’s part because he recognized that they were experiencing Ivan’s memories, not interacting with the past. Tandy agrees and is heartbroken when her father says nobody was in the car with him during the call. Unfortunately, this emotional turnaround did seem a bit rushed.
It makes sense that when Tyrone reenters Ivan’s mind that he’d find Tandy a bit disturbed since she spent so much time there. But she very quickly gives up hearing her fathers voice and honestly, that’s what she seemed motivated by in the first place. Just hearing his voice. That’s then reinforced at the end when she and Tyrone listen to the recording of Billy. It’s just nice to hear the voice of a loved one, whether it’s real or not. So it seems a but quick that Tandy would give that up even after she realizes she isn’t actually talking to her father. She’s still hearing his voice.
Now that Tandy and Tyrone are on the same page, they work with Ivan to figure a way out. They use Mina’s secret cookie ingredient to force him to remember and then make their way to the valves. Once he wakes up, Ivan doesn’t remember Tandy, Tyrone, or anything that happened. When Mina gets to his room and they embrace, Tandy looks happy to see them reunited. But she’s also incredibly sad because she knows she’ll never experience that. And Olivia Holt did a great job conveying exactly how Tandy was feeling without any dialogue. When Tyrone gets back home he finds the recording of him and Billy free styling and solemnly listens. He calls Tandy and they joke for a bit and listen to the recording making for a sweet ending to the episode.
4 klaxons out of 5. Despite it being somewhat of a bottle episode, Lotus Eater introduced a great addition to the show with Ivan Hess as well as exploring the emotional baggage Tandy and Tyrone continue to carry. And although some of the emotional beats seemed a bit quick, the episode was very engaging (without becoming repetitive) and maintained a strong sense of tension.
- The names that Ivan gave to his attackers (Axie and Chainey) were great!
- Tandy throwing the daggers was cool every time!
- In recent months with Ant-man and the Wasp, Gamora and Thanos, and now Cloak and Dagger, the MCU has had a very strong focus on exploring father/daughter relationships.
- Hopefully we’ll get more of Ivan in the next few episodes!