Loki 1×05 Review: Journey Into Mystery

Journey Into Mystery Loki Episode 5
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment and Disney+

After last week’s post-credits scene, we knew this week was going to be something special- and it is! “Journey Into Mystery” is beautiful both in special effects and in story beats.

There are so many storylines woven into “Journey Into Mystery” that it’s an incredible feat of storytelling that none of them seem rushed. Each gets enough space to make an impact, which really speaks to the care the showrunners are taking with Loki as a whole.

First up is Ravonna Renslayer’s looming heel turn. She’s is such a good liar that I didn’t believe her little speech to Sylvie for a second. Such a glib and passionate monologue immediately felt like a potential double-cross, and I couldn’t believe how long it took Sylvie to see through it. Maybe Sylvie’s weak point is that she needs revenge so badly that she’s willing to believe others might as well.

Journey Into Mystery, Loki Episode 5
Miss Minutes obviously has more self-awareness than we thought if she can come up with schemes. Good to know. [Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment and Disney+]
That scene, added to her later scenes with Hunter B-15 and Miss Minutes, paints a pretty clear picture. Ravonna is playing a game that no one else at the TVA is in on, not even Miss Minutes. She asked the AI (or ghost, or whatever Miss Minutes actually is) for what are probably restricted files under the justification that this was a life-or-death situation. As she turned away there was a tiny, satisfied smile on her face.

So clearly, Ravonna’s plans are coming along nicely. But what are those plans?

In the comics, Ravonna’s storyline is heavily intertwined with Kang the Conqueror. Through a lot of it, she hated and actively opposed him, though there were times they were A Thing. She even posed as Kang for a while to protect his empire after he was nearly killed (in a fight with her, because their relationship is all kinds of toxic). There’s no real way Marvel can replicate her storyline, but it’s also unlikely that they’ll rewrite things completely. So how much are they going to pull? Is she going to enter the MCU as someone working with Kang? Maybe she’s with the Time Twisters?

Kang is the safe bet. I don’t want to be safe, so I’m going to guess this is a Time Twister situation that Doctor Strange will have to sort out in his upcoming movie. 

Besides the Ravonna situation, “Journey Into Mystery” gives Loki an opportunity to continue his own personal growth by confronting him with alternate versions of himself. Some of them were very, very strange. At first, I took that at face value, but then… wait a minute, the reason all of these Lokis were pruned is that they caused a Nexus event which could split from the Sacred Timeline. That means they should all be the same up to the point where they were pruned.

Unless there is already a multiverse, and the TVA enforces the Sacred Timeline of major events across all of them? That would match what The Ancient One said during Doctor Strange, but we haven’t gotten any indication that the TVA agents see things that way. Then again, they aren’t surprised by weird variants (like the alligator), so maybe I’m overthinking this. 

I did get a kick out of how many of the Loki Bunch were pure chaos. They’re just intrinsically incapable of coexisting for long without betraying each other. Only the Lokis who have learned to subdue their lesser instincts can work together. Out of every Loki variant who’s ever been pruned, there only seem to be 5 who’ve achieved that epic feat:

  • Classic (old man) Loki, who had centuries alone to work through his nonsense.
  • Kid Loki, who was pruned young and has presumably been raised by Classic Loki since then.
  • Alligator Loki, who as an alligator needs to rely on the others to survive here and has learned to trust through that.
  • Our Loki, who has come to realize the need to work together and also is nursing a crush on himself-as-Sylvie.
  • Sylvie, who trusts our Loki and thus the rest.

Marvel has done the “power of friendship” theme with great success. They also used a theme of self-confidence and rebelling against oppression during Captain Marvel. It looks like they’re repurposing those for Loki, plus a little added emphasis on how change is possible if you’re willing to put in the work on yourself. We could use that awareness in the outside world right now.

I had a hope that Mobius wasn’t really dead, but I was STUNNED to see him pop up in the Void. How did he survive so long? From what we’ve seen, everyone except Lokis gets eaten by Alioth pretty quickly. My guess would be that as a TVA agent, he has insider information on how this works… but then again, none of the others seem to know a lot about what happens after Variants are pruned. Ravonna said outright that Sylvie is dead and no one questions her. Maybe it’s senior-level knowledge?

However he escaped, he’s done a full 180 on the TVA. He takes the TemPad Sylvie brought with her (because she plans much better than he does) and heads back, presumably to rally the other agents with the knowledge that they’re all Variants and the TVA messed with their heads. With one episode left, I’m wondering what that means for how that episode will be divided. It seems like there’s a lot to wrap up in less than an hour.

Given this episode, though, I feel confident it’ll work out all right. The pacing was outstanding. I didn’t feel like we got shorted time with the other variants, even if the “let’s trade stories about our nexus events” scene was a little rushed. Part of that is due to some really outstanding performances. The core team of variants made the most of their screen time, and it really added a lot to the show.

You know what else added a lot? Those killer special effects. These Marvel mini-series have budgets like blockbuster movies, and that investment pays off big time in “Journey Into Mystery”. From Alioth’s churning menace to Alligator Loki’s oddly expressive face to Classic Loki’s breathtaking display of magic, the visuals are just gorgeous. I watched a second time just so I could enjoy the effects without being distracted by waiting to see what happened next.

There are some story beats that deserve extra attention:

  • Journey Into Mystery
    Here it is: the hug that launched a thousand (more) fanfics. [Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment and Disney+]
    Loki and Sylvie both acknowledge and awkwardly dismiss Mobius’ theory about what their Nexus event was that led the TVA to them on Lamentis. I’m curious now- if they had kissed or declared feelings then, would they have discovered some new kind of power that would have let them save themselves? That does fit with their realization in “Journey Into Mystery” that their powers are stronger than either of them knew. Still, it’s a bit frustrating that every time they get close to recognizing that spark between them, they’re diverted.
  • I’m obsessed with Loki’s fascination with the old version of himself. Loki is always after an angle. Seeing that the only version of himself that lives to a ripe old age is one that removed himself from causing trouble could have a major impact on our Loki.
  • Kid Loki killed Thor. Thor isn’t much older than Loki, which means that kid fully killed his brother as a child. I’d love to get a backstory comic for this. Was it an accident? Was that timeline’s Thor an insufferable jerk? WHAT HAPPENED? I was hoping we’d get Kid Loki for Young Avengers, but I’m worried that might not happen now.
  • That Mobius-Loki hug is one of the very few times Loki has hugged ANYONE in the entire MCU. I think it’s the only time Loki hugged someone other than his direct family. Loki hugs so rarely that I was briefly convinced one of them was going to stab the other. It was a really, really nice moment, and I love that Mobius also understands how special that moment was.
  • Classic Loki proved that the Lokis are more powerful than they knew. Our Loki and Sylvie have now discovered that they can join their power together or even lend abilities to each other. Very excited to see where they go with this! Hopefully, they’re a match for whoever lives in that land Alioth was guarding. (My personal guess: it’s the last director of the TVA who created the Time-Keepers. It would be very Wizard of Oz.) 

Next week’s episode is the last of this season. As far as we know it’s the last episode of Loki entirely, though there are rumors of a Season 2 filming some time next year. We’ll have to wait on Marvel to officially confirm that. 

In the meantime, what did you think of “Journey Into Mystery”?

Share your thoughts with us!

Author: Khai

Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.

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