Why an Alligator Loki? Easy. Because he’s green. As for the other Loki variants our Loki met at the end of The Nexus Event, their stories are both unique and share common elements. The central mystery of Loki thus far has been about the TVA, though we don’t journey too far into that question in this episode. Still, that question does drive everything that happens, while also giving us more insight into the TVA and their whole deal, specifically how they do their “job.” We also touch base with the two most intimidating TVA members, Ravonna Renslayer and Hunter B-15. With only one episode left (in the first season, at least), we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s truly going on here.
Now, we know that most folks don’t wake up and immediately run to Disney+ to watch the latest episodes. So, we try to keep these reviews as spoiler-free as possible. However, like with last week’s episode, there really isn’t much to talk about that isn’t a spoiler. What we can say for those averse to diving into the details of what happens is that the Journey Into Mystery episode of Loki still focuses on what the show has the entire time: Loki and his internal struggle rather than external threats.
This episode’s name is a nod to the comic series that originally introduced Thor and, two issues later, Loki. Again without giving too much away, Loki and his origins play a huge role in this story. However, a theory that we posited in our last Loki spoiler podcast is confirmed to be true and explains why the TVA has it out for so many Loki variants.
Spoilers to follow.
Why Journey Into Mystery Is My Favorite Episode of the Loki Series
Image via Marvel Studios.
First and foremost, this episode features Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki, meaning the Loki wearing a stunningly Silver Age comics-accurate outfit. This is a personal bias, but I’ve just never not enjoyed a performance by Grant. Yet, he’s ultimately the “hero” of this episode along with providing confirmation that the “nexus event” for all Loki variants is the attempt to be happy. His timeline, apparently, saw the same thing happen as in the Sacred Timeline: Loki seemingly dies at the hands of Thanos. Only in this case, Classic Loki fled to another planet and hid out, alone. It was only after growing so terribly lonely and missing his brother that he ended up getting dinged by the TVA. Kid Loki even says it aloud. As soon as any of them try to better themselves, the TVA snatches them up.
What makes this episode so enjoyable, at least for me, is that we get to see multiple points-of-view on what it means to be “a Loki.” They are all schemers, betrayers, and (most importantly) survivors. Yet, as this episode shows at least via the central group of Loki variants, is that this is a choice they make in order to survive. If the TVA tries to destroy them for becoming heroes, then their survival instinct makes them act like villains. It’s as if all versions of Loki have been conditioned throughout the multiverse to be “bad” because that is what they are “supposed to be.”
Again, this growth is shown via Classic Loki and his last-minute save of Sylvie and our Loki. Not only that, he uses his massive conjuration and illusion power to create a replica of Asgard. It’s his home and he missed it, complete with lightning strikes in honor of his brother, Thor.
What’s Next for the TVA and Who Is the Person Behind the Curtain?
Image via Disney Plus.
The going theory, especially because of the inclusion of the Ravonna Renslayer character, is that somehow Kang the Conqueror will be revealed to be behind it all. This is clearly a possibility. However, just like Mephisto in WandaVision or whoever people speculated the Power Broker would be other than Sharon Carter in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, that character would mean nothing to anyone but us Marvel nerds. The lesson of these series is that while they are definitely MCU stories, the focus is more intently on the central characters than the larger universe. So, the person behind the TVA is far more likely to be either another Loki variant (who’s gone full dark side) or, and this is my latest guess, an alternative version of Mobius.
Either way, whatever the climax of this series will be, it will be one that resonates not just with the audience but the characters themselves. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was not about the Power Broker or John Walker or Zemo, but rather Sam accepting he is worthy of the shield. WandaVision was about Wanda not just dealing with her grief but also accepting her true power. So, whatever happens, it will likely be about Loki accepting that he can be good and heroic and worthy of love and friendship. Anything else hinting at Kang or Eternals or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will just be incidental.
Also, unlike the other series thus far, Loki is possibly going to have a second season. This means that the character’s journey through the weirder side of the MCU and towards self-actualization is only just beginning.
The season finale of Loki will debut on Disney+ Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
What did you think of the Journey Into Mystery episode of Loki? Share your thoughts and theories about where things are heading in the comments below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he’s loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book “What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More” is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.