Loki Episode 5 “Journey into mystery” (Review)

Jul 12, 2021

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Spoilers ahead

Loki meets lokis in the marvel show’s penultimate episode that’s excellent at times but tedious at others

Marvel’s third series on Disney Plus, Loki, is now starting to wrap up. Or perhaps finally unravel more accurately describes what the Loki series must do in its final episodes. Wandavision was the first Marvel TV show to air on Disney Plus and arguably disappointed on this front. An unimaginative twist, bland villain, and a lacklustre finale reduced what was once an inventive, unique show to just another piece of MCU content. Loki might just avoid that fate because of its focus on the Multiverse. Loki is evidently setting up the foundations for the Multiverse to become a big plot point in the MCU going forward. Michael Waldron, the head writer for Loki, is even writing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness along with Jade Bartlett. A storytelling burden is thus lifted off the show’s shoulders as Loki does not have to wrap everything up. What the show has to do is give its main character a satisfying storyline. Plot threads can be left hanging for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to pick up on but by the end of Loki’s final episode, the show needs to have given its lead a clear character arc. On that front, the show is so far succeeding. It has taken Loki at arguably his lowest and most villainous point in 2012 and now the character is on his way to redemption. Now what the show needs to do in its final two episodes is continue that arc but differentiate it from Loki’s previous redemption arc in the main MCU timeline. What better way to do that than by introducing more Lokis.

Multiple lokis

“We my friends have but one part to play. The God of outcasts.” proclaims Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki about 15 minutes into the episode. “Journey into Mystery” is at its best when it is musing about Loki’s place in the world. Kid Loki and Classic Loki represent alternate versions of Loki’s past and future respectively. Kid Loki is who Loki wanted to be in his childhood years as it is revealed early on in the episode that Kid Loki killed Thor. Classic Loki is what could have happened beyond Infinity War and this Loki is a more mature, solemn character. Both characters strayed from the course set by the TVA for them. Essentially this presses the reset button for Loki as a character.

who do you want to be?

Loki’s traditional MCU storyline is one of tragedy going from failed villain to a redeemed character to a dead one. This was Loki’s path. However, now TVA Loki can choose his path. Does the TVA therefore take away from Loki’s arc in the previous films? Not really. What these ideas about destiny and agency do is justify the show’s existence. The Marvel show is essentially assuring viewers that Loki’s storyline henceforth will be anything but predictable. He’s now a malleable character and if Phase Four has proven anything, it’s that characters can change. Wanda became the Scarlet Witch. Sam became Captain America. This is the Loki show’s way of saying that the protagonist Loki can be whoever he wants, hero or villain.

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It is the relationship between Loki and Sylvie that just might change Loki for the better. Loki could be a king in the future but he instead says he will choose a different path. Previously, you could not take Loki at his word but maybe he’s reformed now with the help of Sylvie. We will have to wait and see. On the topic of Loki’s relationship with Sylvie, it could become romantic in the future but it would be better to keep it strictly platonic. What is important is not romance but the fact that Loki is finally forming meaningful relationships with other people including Mobius and Sylvie. The show has successfully set the stage for Loki to emerge as a changed character. It would now be a wasted opportunity if the last episode did not test the character to see if he has truly reformed.

Multiverse madness vs frustrating flaws

“Journey into Mystery” has a lot of fun with the concept of the Multiverse and it features plenty of Easter eggs. For example, a frog version of Thor called “Throg” can be briefly seen when the Lokis first go underground. The Thanos-Copter from the comics also features and can be seen in The Void above ground in the background. Another notable Easter egg is a giant Yellowjacket helmet which can also be seen in the Void. There are many more for eagle eyed fans to spot. The Multiverse has finally arrived and Loki is taking full advantage of it. And this is only the beginning. Fans are surely in for even more multiverse madness when the TVA is overthrown. The Doctor Strange sequel promises this with its title and much more with legendary director Sam Raimi at the helm.

Now onto the problems with the episode. Apart from a couple memorable monologues, most of the dialogue during episode 5 is mediocre. The dialogue is even stilted at times especially during the first scene with all the Lokis . This is a problem as the whole episode is basically the characters trying to find the Big Bad so in lieu of major plot revelations, there’s a lot of dialogue. What the characters say may be interesting but how they say it often feels forced.

Another fairly major problem with this episode is that at times it feels like a filler episode before the big finale. The episode does say a lot about Loki as a character early on but about halfway in, it turns into a waiting game. All the show has left to do now is unveil the big bad and the episode drags it out. Even by the end, the show keeps viewers waiting. What is revealed is not the big bad but instead a castle. Loki gets points for building suspense but it takes it too far, leaving everything till the last episode and thus not fully taking advantage of its entire runtime. The castle reveal is not exactly promising as well. It is something we have seen time and time before. For a show that succeeds because of its uniqueness, a castle tease comes across as uninspired and could foreshadow an underwhelming final twist.

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Loki might be destined to repeat Wandavision’s mistakes. Or maybe not. Unlike Wandavision, Loki does not have to wrap things up neatly. It can leave the door open for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With Loki confirmed to connect in some way to that film, maybe the villain will carry over to that film. If that is the case, the villain twist surely cannot be underwhelming. We will have to wait and see. Loki has done a lot to set up the finale so hopefully it will not disappoint.

Conclusion

“Journey into Mystery” is both fun and tedious at times but where it really hits the mark is as a character driven episode. Episode 5 goes deep into who Loki is, what part he’s always played in society, and how he might change for the better. In the Multiverse, Loki can be whoever he wants, hero or villain. Loki is finally starting to build meaningful relationships with Sylvie and Mobius. He might be a reformed character. This time though, Loki is no longer destined to play the role of reformed brother to Thor who tragically dies by the hand of Thanos. Even though Loki chooses to be better, his future is still an uncertain one and Phase Four could really take the character anywhere. What Loki’s finale now has to deliver on is a true test of Loki’s character to show he has truly changed. Mystery shows can live and die by their finales and as Loki has built up so much anticipation for its villain reveal, it must not disappoint on that front.

Loki so far has delivered on what it promised to be. It’s a Loki show through and through. It is fun, suspenseful and chaotic at the same time and like the other Disney Plus Marvel shows benefits from a bigger focus on the main character than the films previously allowed. A lot now rests on its finale for the show to go out with a bang most importantly rewarding viewers with a completion of Loki’s arc and a great villain reveal.

Rating: 7.0/10.0

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