July 11, 2021

Streamin' Meemies: Loki Season 1 Ep 5, "Journey Into Mystery"


We've reached Loki's penultimate episode, and this one is a heady, funny romp over a blasted dreamscape. We're following what seems to be the series' established formula: action at the beginning and end, and in the middle, at least one scene where Loki sits and talks to someone--either Sylvie or Mobius--and has an emotional epiphany. In this particular case, as he and Sylvie work up their nerve to face down the purple smoke monster, Sylvie asks if Loki will betray her. Loki admits he's betrayed everyone: his father, his brother, his home. "I know what I did and I know why I did it. That's not who I am anymore. And I won't let you down." 

That remains to be seen, of course, especially if the person behind the curtain proves to be yet another Loki Variant. People are undecided if that's what's going to happen, or if, as is rumored, we're going to see another Marvel bad guy, Kang the Conqueror. In one way, it would make more sense for the ultimate baddie to be Really Evil Loki, as this entire show (and especially this episode) has been exploring just how many variations on the character can be shown. And one must also remember the central question of the series has not yet been answered: "What makes a Loki a Loki?" The show has danced around a definition, but nothing has been pinned down. Obviously that's waiting for the finale. 

With this episode, however, getting there has been a helluva lot of fun. In fact, I laughed my way through the entire first half, with the chaotic, hilarious set pieces of the Loki variants. Richard E. Grant stole the show as Classic Loki, with the 60's yellow-and-green costume that he owned like a boss. Kid Loki provided a somewhat chilling reminder of how ruthless a Loki can be, with his confession of what caused his Nexus Event: "I killed Thor." Boastful Loki bragged how he defeated both Thanos and the Avengers and gathered all six Infinity Stones, which was bullshit. But the Loki sweeping the internet, maybe on a par with Baby Yoda, was this little guy: 

He didn't have any lines (and apparently on set he was a bright blue alligator plushy that got CGI'd in later) but he inspired some of the funniest moments in the episode, especially the underground confrontation with all the Lokis when he jumped up and chomped "President" Loki's (also portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, as a particularly smarmy ass) hand clean off. (And not only chomped the hand, chewed and ate it. But according to Kid Loki, cannibalism must be a thing in the Void at the End of Time. Which would make sense, since running from Alioth the Smoking Purple Variant-Eating Machine doesn't leave any time for a garden or a greenhouse.)

That scene, in which all the variant Lokis fell to squabbling, fighting and backstabbing, also provides some evidence that our Loki has indeed changed. He is thoroughly embarrassed by all his other selves' conniving goings-on, standing there watching with folded arms and a cringeworthy expression on his face. He also dances and twists his way through the fighting hordes to reach the escape gate Classic Loki has created. And finally, at the very end when he and Sylvie try to enchant Alioth, he voluntarily takes off running to distract the monster so Sylvie can get close enough to use her enchantment, yelling and waving the flaming sword Kid Loki gave him. 

In the finale, undoubtedly everyone will be converging on the Castle at the End of Time: Ravonna Renslayer, who has Miss Minutes searching for a hypothetical spaceship that can ride the temporal waves to the end; Mobius, who has vowed to burn the TVA to the ground; and Sylvie and Loki, who in the mid-episode talking scene danced around the subject of, and kinda-sorta-maybe admitted, that they might have feelings for each other and could possibly want to solve the problem of what they will do after all this together? And, of course, whoever is inhabiting the Castle at the End of Time. 

The way things have been set up, I am in hopes they will be able to stick the landing with this one. I don't know if it's the best of the Marvel series to date--that title still goes to WandaVision, I believe--but it has been the most fun. And for the first time ever, I have been seriously considering buying a Funko Pop. 

(Available for pre-order now. Heh.)

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