Loki 1×05 “Journey Into Mystery,” throws ‘the calm before the storm’ out the window in favor of pure Variant chaos. This trip into mystery (and a little bit of insanity) is just as extravagant and wonderful as the prior episodes due in part to Kate Herron’s direction and Natalie Holt’s composing. This cast continues to elevate every piece of material they’re given making longer episodes fly by instead of drag on. It’s a shame that there is only one episode left (for now) on Loki. Even with the impending downfall of the TVA’s originators, it feels as though there are still so many stories left to tell. Whether or not Loki gets another season, “Journey Into Mystery” sets up what could be a very satisfying finale.
All the Variants
That infinity in Loki‘s storytelling has a lot to do with the expansive time travel elements ingrained in the show. It also has plenty to do with the various Lokis and their stories through space and time that have yet to be explored. Initially, it feels futile to invest too much in these new Variants, even Alligator Loki, because it’s easy to deduce that not all of them will be around forever. This clarity stems from knowing Loki may very well be a limited series, and if that is the case, there is only one hour left. That hour should not be spent letting us into the hearts and minds of Variants who will only fade away when the credits roll. That hour should be spent letting us see Loki and Sylvie finish this journey and tease their future in the MCU.
Loki knocks down my skepticism (and maybe yours, too) by offering us both humor and heart in the forms of Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, Alligator Loki, and the glorious-as-ever President Loki. This meeting between Lokis lends itself to Loki as he reaches a massive milestone (that he’s been avoiding for quite some time) in his personal development. Without that connection, though, Loki is able to make my cynical self believe it’s not in vain to care about these Variants. More specifically, “Journey Into Mystery” makes it especially worthwhile when it comes to Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki.
Loki introduces Classic Loki as a version of himself from the future, which imparts this character having a level of wisdom that hasn’t been bestowed on Loki yet. We see that when we learn how Classic Loki used his magic, not his knives or swords, to outsmart Thanos and live in solitude. It is only when Classic Loki reaches out for a companion, for Thor, that the TVA steps in and deems him a threat to the Sacred Timeline. Then, Classic Loki makes the ultimate sacrifice with an immense display of magic when he recreates Asgard to distract Alioth. He died (?) a hero. Classic Loki’s past could be a harbinger for Loki’s dark future or foreshadowing a brighter one than Loki could ever imagine.
The latter is more likely now that Loki has the hindsight that is virtually impossible to imagine for The Avengers version of this character. We are so far from that iteration of Loki that it’s almost a compulsion to lean forward when President Loki appears on screen since he’s the only Variant who resembles that deranged leader. Still, President Loki is more likable than Whedon’s take on the character. Regardless, Grant’s Classic Loki offers vital information to Loki. Some of it he’s heard a handful of times by now, like the fact that Loki doesn’t have to be alone. It’s okay to need and want people. The other is something that matters just as much to me. Loki can be more powerful with his magic than he can be with a sword or knife.
A Whole New Magical World (and Loki)
Loki’s knives are a part of him if there isn’t a love affair between the trickster and the inanimate objects. It’s a blast to watch him basically salivate at the sight of one earlier in the series. However, Loki’s magic is something is still incredibly insecure about possessing because he doesn’t quite know his way around his powers yet. That uncertainty in himself is part of what makes Sylvie so intriguing to him and us. Sylvie is in command of her enchanting abilities and then some. She’s the superior Loki, and Loki eventually stops denying that fact. Now, Loki starts to believe in himself more because he sees her greatness and wants to match it. After all, they are the same.
One of the exciting parts about all of this is that Loki now has the opportunity to use his powers unlike ever before. We see that in “Journey Into Mystery” when Loki uses Kid Loki’s sword as a wand. Are we not supposed to geek out about that? He could’ve thrown the sword at Alioth or used it as the man weapon, but Loki uses it as the vessel for his magic. This decision is a logical continuation of Loki’s building confidence in himself and his powers, and it’s so good. It makes me all the more excited to see Loki team up with Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But that’s getting ahead of myself and Loki.
First, Loki has to believe that he is worthy of commanding such power. Sound familiar? A good first step is realizing the error of his ways and taking accountability for the awful things he’s done in the past. That responsibility extends into a vow that he’s no longer that man, the one we saw try to rule Midgard back in 2012, and I believe him. It’s easier to do so because Sylvie and Mobius are on Loki’s side. Loki explores the former in a very vulnerable scene in which Loki and Sylvie admit they need each other. Of course, they don’t actually say those words because that would be too easy for both of them, but it’s all there. Self-love is there.
Loki doesn’t stop there. It’s monumental for Loki to see himself in this new light that isn’t entirely built on an arrogant facade. But, like Classic Loki shares, Lokis may be able to survive in spite of what should be insurmountable circumstances, but that isolation leads to incurable loneliness. Loki needs people, just like any of us. When you boil it down, Loki having Sylvie as a friend reflects more on his relationship with himself. Then, that vision of himself extends to how he views relationships with others, with Mobius, for example. It’s after Loki admits all of these things to himself (or to Sylvie, which is the same thing) that Loki hugs Mobius and calls a friend.
Can you imagine The Avengers Loki hugging anyone and calling them a friend without it being a way to stab them in the back? That’s what we like to call growth. All of that in the span of five episodes. Imagine what will come next.
What Comes Next?
Since next week is the series finale, now is as good as time as any to spiral into some theories. We totally understand if you want to skip this section to avoid any references to the comics or read any theories that could tamper your viewing experience of the finale.
For starters, some part of me still believes that Mobius is a Loki Variant. He’s the only one who understands Loki that isn’t a confirmed Variant. There’s still time for this reveal, but it’s starting to feel less likely. I would actually prefer it if Mobius wasn’t a Loki Variant. I want Loki to have a genuine connection with a character that isn’t a version of himself or Thor.
Secondly, there are plenty of Easter eggs in “Journey Into Mystery,” but the one that may become more than that appears during the episode’s finale minute. After Loki and Sylvie succeed in enchanting Alioth together, the smoke splits to reveal a building that looks a lot like Avengers Tower. Upon closer inspection, it’s actually Qeng Tower. The CEO of Qeng Enterprises is none other than Kang the Conqueror. That name may sound familiar to fans who keep up with MCU news because Jonathan Majors has already been confirmed to play Kang in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. If Loki and Sylvie are stepping into the end of time, then who’s to say Majors’ Kang won’t make his MCU debut next week?
Finally, the most obvious theory is “Journey Into Mystery” isn’t the last time we’ll see Kid Loki. The MCU is collecting Young Avengers like Infinity Stones as the franchise advances into Phase 4. We already know about Kamala Khan, Kate Bishop, Cassie Lang, Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Eli Bradley, and America Chavez. One could even add Yelena into that mix depending on how Black Widow goes. Now, with Loki, Kid Loki joins the Young Avengers ranks. If the MCU isn’t building to a Young Avengers property, then what is this all for?
Other Glorious Moments:
- Mobius speeding a car throughout the Void isn’t a reference to Lightning McQueen. But it is. Ya know?
- Loki being fed up of the Variants after five minutes is hilarious.
- “He’s overly sensitive like the rest of us.” – Classic Loki calling out Alligator Loki and the rest of the Variants.
- Did everyone see Mjolnir?
- I don’t trust Miss Minutes. I haven’t trusted her from the beginning.
- “It’s never too late to change.” – Mobius
- “Thanks for the spark,” is Loki‘s “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
- Natalie Holt’s score is incredible.
- President Loki screaming when Alligator Loki bites his hand off is perfect.
What did you think of “Journey Into Mystery?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Loki stream Wednesdays on Disney+!