The second to last episode of Loki did not disappoint. Answers are provided, some of the show’s mysteries are solved, and we get an Alligator Loki. What’s not to love about all of this craziness? Of all the episodes so far, episode five “Journey Into Mystery” is by far the most epic in scale, on par with some of the best sequences developed by Marvel Studios over the last decade.
Obviously, spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.
We are dropped in right where episode four left off: our Loki awakens in a strange world surrounded by four additional Variants of him: Boastful Loki, Kid Loki, Classic Loki, and Alligator Loki. Each of them is a distinctly different character, with each coming from a specific Nexus Event that caused them to be pruned by the TVA. Kid Loki has by far the most daring change when he admits that he killed Thor, which makes sense why the other, older Loki Variants respect and listen to their younger counterpart. The idea that there is an Alligator Loki is so off the wall that I didn’t even question it. Of course, there’d be a version of Loki that was an animal. In Norse Mythology, Loki was fond of shapeshifting into animals, including the instance where he became a horse and was impregnated by another horse.
Yes, that’s actually part of the mythology.
Ravonna and Sylvie are at odds, with Sylvie holding most of the cards. Ravonna reveals that pruning doesn’t kill people but sends them to the Void, a space at the end of time. This actually explains quite a bit and allows our Loki to remain in the game so to speak. Ravonna’s quick-thinking and duplicitous nature manages to convince Sylvie they can work together until it’s shown that Ravonna was just stalling for time. The course of the episode also shows that Ravonna doesn’t in fact know the origins of the TVA and who the Time Keepers really are (which shoots down my theory from my last review that Ravonna is in cahoots with whoever runs the TVA). Sylvie manages to grab a TemPad and prunes herself, sending her into the Void to search for Loki and a way to get to the Time Keepers. Ravonna’s conversation with Hunter B-15 is also an interesting one. Why she hasn’t been pruned yet is a mystery but Hunter B-15 lays it out simply for Ravonna: Ravonna simply wants to find out who the power behind the TVA is; Sylvie needs to destroy the TVA for what they’ve done to her. That need trumps Ravonna’s simple desire.
We get to spend some time with the Variants that found our Loki and discover more about them. Classic Loki is the most mature and contemplative of the group, having spent centuries on his own after fooling the Mad Titan during his version of the Infinity War story. He’s also the most accomplished with magic, hurling energy blasts and opening dimensional gateways with ease. Of all the Loki Variants introduced so far, Classic Loki (played with pathos by Richard E. Grant) shows the most regret over the seemingly inherent duplicity Lokis seem to have.
The Convention of Loki in the bunker was a great deal of fun. President Loki (also played by Hiddleston) is a great villain, much more inline with the version of Loki we knew in the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the end, Classic Loki, Alligator Loki, Kid Loki, and Loki manage to escape, intent on taking down Alioth, the devouring monster in the Void that feeds on the matter and energy of the debris sent by the TVA to this place. Kid and Classic Loki also make an observation that casts the TVA in a worse light (if that was even possible): both of them were looking to make amends for their past mistakes and were pruned as a result. The TVA got rid of any variant that didn’t stick to the “sacred timeline” sequence of events that led to the formation of the Avengers and the growing of Thor into the hero he was meant to be.
As an aside, Alioth might be the most terrifying creature introduced so far in these Disney Plus series. Granted, a cloud monster isn’t all that terrifying but then you watch it strip a displaced warship to nothing, including the crew. One order of High-Octane Nightmare Fuel, coming right up.
Sylvie’s arrival in the Void also shows that Mobius has survived as well, and manages a major heroic moment while driving a pizza truck of all things to save her. Mobius getting to interact with Loki, Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Alligator Loki is a fun bit in the story. Right before the climatic end of the episode, Mobius uses the TemPad Sylvie stole from Renslayer to return to the TVA to “burn it to the ground”, just as Loki promised he would back in episode one. Loki and Mobius’ hug cements for me that despite their differences, the two have grown rather fond of each other, something that was hinted at in the very first episode of the series. Loki and Sylvie’s scenes prior to this, seated together and sharing a blanket was heartwarming to say the least. Neither of them has the capability yet of fully expressing their feelings for each other but it’s clear they have fallen for one another. Sylvie’s concern that Loki will betray her is well-founded but Loki admits that he’s betrayed everyone he’s ever cared for and he understand now why he did it. He isn’t that person anymore and for once, I think this is Loki at his most raw and vulnerable since the series started.
The final sequence against Alioth is something straight out of an Avengers movie in scale. Classic Loki, despite protesting that he wanted nothing more than to survive, uses his prodigious magical talents to conjure an illusionary Asgard to distract Alioth, giving Sylvie and Loki a chance to enchant one of the threads of smoke-like energy Alioth produces. Classic Loki’s death is fitting for a character who showed in his brief time that he truly understood the hollow nature of the “Glorious Purpose” he once envisioned. Instead of dying alone at the end of time, he dies fighting for his fellow Variants, giving them the opportunity to set things right. If that’s not a hero’s death, I don’t know what is.
Sylvie and Loki succeed in enchanting Alioth, revealing a castle in an alternate realm (most likely the Quantum Realm). Everything is converging for a reveal of who the Time Keepers are and what the TVA’s true purpose really is in the final episode. Ravonna will definitely be making an appearance. I’m sad to see the series reach its end but I’m looking forward to what final mysteries are revealed and where this will propel the MCU forward.