Review: Loki’s “Journey Into Mystery” inches us closer to answers

(Center): President Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
(Center): President Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

The penultimate episode of Loki, “Journey Into Mystery” inches us closer to the answers we’ve all been looking for. And there’s an alligator.

With just one episode to go after this week’s “Journey Into Mystery,” like its titular character, Loki is running out of time to bring us the answers we all seek. But also like Loki in the episode’s final moments, I’m hoping my blind faith will be rewarded before the series comes to a close.

On its own, “Journey Into Mystery” (a clever nod to Loki’s comic book debut) is a fine episode, packed with Loki-on-Loki mayhem, mountains of timeline “What If’s?”, and the coolest alligator you’ve ever seen. There are a few moments that feel a bit like filler, but not every moment can be perfect, right? Loki remains wildly entertaining television.

When we pick up from last week, Loki is getting acclimated with his new surroundings, which we come to learn is a TVA dumping ground dubbed the “Void.” The TVA is running yet another deception: variants pruned from the timeline are not actually killed, but transferred to the Void, which is located at the end of the timeline. There, variants like Loki and the trio we met last week attempt to survive Alioth, a massive cloud monster that consumes variants like I eradicate a box of Oreos. Like every locale in the show, the Void looks downright gorgeous, and raises the bar for what should count as premiere television. Thanks, Disney.

Loki and his fellow Loki variants (which include that alligator) encounter even more Lokis, all of which have double, triple, and quadruple crossed each other, leading to a wonderful brawl. All of this highlights how much our Loki has changed, as his only real desire appears to be returning to Slyvie. It’s a drastic change from the scheming and conniving Loki we’ve grown used to, and I’m still not one hundred percent sold on the evolution, but at the least it’s a different side of the character, and an entertaining one.

As for Slyvie, she holds Ravonna hostage as she looks for answers, which honestly felt like a bore. The only fun bit was another appearance by Miss Minutes, who helps buy Ravonna time for reinforcements to arrive. When they do, Slyvie prunes herself to be reunited with Loki, as well as to finally find out who is really behind the TVA.

Upon her arrival in the Void, we are reunited with Mobius, and eventually with Loki as well. Before enacting a wild plan to enchant Alioth, Loki and Slyvie share a pretty endearing moment; they’re both falling for each other, but having both spent lifetimes deceiving others have no idea how to be honest about their feelings. This felt very genuine to the characters. Whether or not the two will end up happily ever after remains in doubt, but it would certainly be fun to watch down the road. If there is a road.

All of this leads us to the episode’s closing moments where Mobius head back to the TVA to “burn it down” while Loki and Slyvie attempt to enchant Alioth so they can pass through him and discover who really created the TVA. The plan works thanks to an assist from Richard E. Grant’s Loki variant, and we get a glimpse of some sort of fortress beyond Alioth. Where things go in the final episode is anyone’s guess, although Alioth’s presence might provide a clue.

In the comics, Alioth is a foe of Kang the Conqueror, a villain who establishes his empire across timelines instead of worlds. Fans are wondering if Kang might show up in the same way they were hoping to see Mephisto in WandaVision, but given Kang’s reputation as a time traveller an appearance from him seems more likely.

But unless Kang is set to play a larger role in the MCU going forward, I’m far more interested in seeing Loki and Slyvie’s relationship explored. Sadly though, unless there’s a Loki and Slyvie movie on the horizon, this might the end of the road for the multiverse’s oddest couple. Loki has always surprised me with its focus on exploring Loki’s psyche as opposed to simply having fun with a charismatic and established character. It’s been a long and twisty road to the series finale next week, and regardless of who ends up being the wizard behind the curtain, having one more final ride with Loki (and alligator Loki) has been a blast.

Grade: B+

Next. House of the Dragon casts younger versions of key characters. dark

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