‘Loki’ Episode 5: “Journey into Mystery” Review

Sylvie makes a bold move, Loki tries to fight his destiny, and Old Man Loki rocks the house in Wednesday’s Loki.

We start off in the void, where the three er, four Loki’s have rescued our Loki from “the monster in the sky.” Loki prime, let’s call him, wonders what the plan is, while Classic Loki (aka Old Man Loki), Kid Loki, and Boastful Loki explain that survival is the plan.

Meanwhile, Ravonna and Miss Minutes try, unsuccessfully, to stall Sylvie long enough to capture her. Weirdly, this works out in Ravonna’s favor as Sylvie self-prunes to escape death. You may be thinking this is a strange strategy on Sylvie’s part, but the conversation with Ravonna beforehand adds perspective. See, Ravonna claims that Loki isn’t dead yet, that pruning can’t delete matter or energy from nexus events it just…moves them to somewhere “safe.” And by safe, I mean, a temporary stay at the end of time where a living tempest will inevitably consume them out of existence. Unless of course that matter/energy is a Loki.

We return our attention to the makeshift fallout shelter the four Loki’s call home as they regale Loki prime with stories of their lives – specifically their nexus events. Boastful Loki lies, naturally, Kid Loki took out Thor, and Alligator Loki ate the neighbor’s cat, but Old Man Loki has a much more interesting tale. Loki prime is curious about it because, according to the timeline at least, all Lokis are meant to die at the hands of Thanos, right?

Let’s recall how Loki prime dies, shall we? He makes the noble decision to eschew illusion in favor of a tricky frontal assault with a knife but winds up with his neck snapped by the purple menace. Now, the way OM Loki tells it, blades are silly when compared with magic, and in fact stunt that magic – this is a line that can go ignored quickly but really shouldn’t be. While Boastful Loki espouses how cool blades are, you can tell the ignorance of youth shining through here. OM Loki doesn’t bother standing against the Mad Titan, he’s no fool. Instead he does what all Loki’s tend to do, he survives. He casts a realistic projection and hides himself away until he can escape and live in exile.

This is where the story gets a bit sad, because OM Loki exiles himself after realizing that everywhere he goes only pain follows. Eventually, though, solitude and curiosity gets the best of him and he finally decide to leave his planet to check up on his loved ones. Sadly, as soon as he tries, he’s scooped up by the TVA and pruned. Ouch.

Loki, tired of listening to old stories, decides to do something. Attempting to recruit his fellow brethren doesn’t go so well, and when he goes to leave more of him show up to crash the party.

We get a brief respite from the inevitable Loki infighting, by checking on Sylvie, who has woken up in the void. She manages to escape being eaten by the smoke monster, Alioth, and has enough luck to run into Mobius, who has also avoided consumption by way of a pizza delivery car. Backseat driving aside, I have to think Mobius is glad he’s with a Loki because if anything can survive this unknowable place, it’s a Loki!

Back in the bunker we discover Boastful Loki has betrayed his king (Kid Loki) to Presidential Loki, who is soon betrayed by his own army. It’s enough to give Loki prime the best “really???” face I’ve seen in a while. We don’t have to watch the fight for long, however I am left wondering how many of these variants are actual Lokis and how many are just other variants smart enough to stick by a Loki’s side to avoid Alioth. Also, in that same vein of thought, why the hell has there only ever been one female variant of Loki??? Perhaps the answer to that lies further in the future…In any event, OM Loki creates projections that allow himself, Alligator Loki, Kid Loki, and Loki prime to vamoose.

Here we see another Loki who isn’t afraid to use his magic. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Loki prime really doesn’t use magic much after his time in the TVA. He uses it a lot when he first gets there, well, tries to, and once he has access to it again, but later on, he seems to stop. Now, one instance where he noticeably used magic was on Lamentis, to stop a building from crushing himself and Sylvie – it was the basis for many internet theories that speculated the events on Lamentis weren’t real (because in the past Loki has never shown such power before). Well, those doubters are in for a surprise, because the magic OM Loki wields is top notch. We’ll get to that, I promise.

Outside, OM Loki laments loudly how frustrating it is that Lokis always turn on the people who trust or love them. Kid Loki adds that anytime a Loki tries self-improvement the TVA scoops them up. I really do wish more attention was paid to Kid Loki. After all, he’s a kid. My guess is his take down of Thor was more than likely an accident. Or, perhaps his temper got the better of him. Either way, I can’t imagine he’s very pleased with the outcome. First of all, it lands him in the void. Secondly, he doesn’t jump at the chance to leave said void. That, to me, is very telling.

After all, if Loki’s true desire was to usurp Thor and Odin and rule Asgard, then why wouldn’t Kid Loki be chomping at the bit to do so? Granted, we have no idea how long these Lokis have been trapped here (although their hideout looks fairly lived-in). There’s also what he says here about self-improvement that makes me wonder what did he try to do? Killing Thor, I doubt, was what he meant, but did he actually regret felling his brother to the point of transformation? Was he going to try and become a more benevolent ruler to make up for his sin? Oh well…

Back in the car Mobius and Sylvie have a fun conversation about how it turns out he was the bad guy the whole time. I’ll give it to Sylvie, when she puts the truth in perspective (without any of the TVA storytelling) it does sound bad, even to Mobius. Who, mind you, is still blown away by what he’s discovered about his work, his life’s purpose, and the place he used to call home. Sylvie, to her credit, is planning her next move. She’s got way too much motive to get caught up on the small fry when she could take down the head boss.

Speaking of the TVA, we take a little peek back at Ravonna, who visits Hunter B-15 in a weird red cell. The judge asks B-15 about her connection to the variant, but it only brings about more questions. B-15 makes a very fitting observation: Ravonna wants to learn the truth but Sylvie needs to.

In the void, the Lokis meet up with Sylvie and Mobius. Loki prime is intent on killing Alioth, but Sylvie wants to enchant it. During her earlier escape she happened to briefly connect to it, so she believes she can do so again. Loki prime, while not convinced, doesn’t argue with her plan. As they wait, for no reason clearly given, it provides them some bonding time. It’s sweet and it allows them to build their budding…romance? Friendship? Whatever it is. These Lokis finally learn to trust, share, and even thank one another.

OM Loki, Kid Loki, Gator Loki, and Mobius hang back having their own bonding session. While Mobius is taking in the unimaginable truth that is an Alligator Loki, Kid Loki wonders what the former minute man will do once he returns. He doesn’t mince words, he plans to take the TVA down, which leads OM Loki to express surprise at Mobius’ about face towards his former employers, to which Mobius simply replies it is never too late to change.

Once all the bonding is out of the way, Sylvie offers the temp-pad she stole from Ravonna to Loki prime; he declines. Mobius and Loki prime hug it out, before Mobius returns to the TVA to wreck house. OM Loki and Kid Loki also decline escape. So now it’s just Sylvie and Loki prime facing off against Alioth.

It doesn’t go great until OM Loki goes against his better judgement and finally gets to have “glorious purpose,” creating an illusion so massive and realistic it fools Alioth into attacking fake Asgard instead of the two very real variants. Sylvie wonders how he does it, to which Loki prime replies: “I think we’re stronger than we realize.” This might be what inspires Sylvie’s next plan – have Loki prime help her enchant Alioth. Loki says he doesn’t know how to do enchantment, but she assures him if she knows how to do it, then he does too.

In the face of death, OM Loki finally fulfills his glorious purpose by giving Sylvie and Loki prime enough time to enchant the angry cloud. It’s a noble death indeed.

Under their influence it parts giving them access to a castle in the distance.

Overall, what an amazing episode. You’ve got themes of self-worth, self-determination, bucking destiny, even standing up to authoritarianism. It’s also a fun experiment on the old saying “the only person I trust is myself!” Would you trust yourself if you were a Loki? Do you know yourself well enough to trust yourself, to trust that you can change? Can you change? OM Loki gives up on himself, exiling himself in outer space, and losing any will to fight when the TVA shows up to capture him, yet he manages to put his faith in Loki prime and Sylvie to the point of self-sacrifice (assuming it wasn’t another amazing projection). I mean, if you think about it, OM Loki was already fighting his nature when he decided to serve Kid Loki. He even uses his magic to provide an escape for himself, his king, the gator, and this new Loki. His actions, by the end of the episode, actually aren’t that surprising.

So, what’s in the castle? Or who? I’m wondering if it isn’t another female Loki. I’m very excited to see how this all ends. What a fantastic penultimate!

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