Wednesday, July 7, 2021

REVIEW: 'Loki' - Loki and Sylvie Team Up with More Variants to Go Beyond the End of the Timeline in 'Journey Into Mystery'

Disney+'s Loki - Episode 1.05 "Journey Into Mystery"

Loki tries to escape The Void, a desolate purgatory where he meets variant versions of himself.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s Loki.

"Journey Into Mystery" was written by Tom Kauffman and directed by Kate Herron

The Marvel Cinematic Universe enjoys special effects-heavy final confrontations across its various projects. It can be a typical move for stories set in this world. However, this episode isn't the conclusion of the series. More mysteries still have to be solved. It's all about people marching forward and demanding the clarity that has long tried to dictate what they were capable of being. Even Renslayer has become curious about the true nature of the TVA. Her understanding went as far as the Time-Keepers being deities within the building. She would report to them. However, her position as judge offered her so much power and control. She was aware of the nature of this reality. She lorded that over everyone else. She delighted in it. And now, her world is shaken as well. The beings she ascribed power to where nothing but an illusion. They weren't the true source of power. Now, it will certainly be convenient if all the answers she seeks are available in the files that Miss Minutes can find for her. That will prove that the only thing that has long prevented her from the truth is her own incuriosity. She never needed to know. She was fine believing this power was all that she could obtain. That isn't the end of this story. Moreover, death isn't what happens when someone is pruned by the TVA hunters. That was the expected conclusion based on the visuals. However, it merely serves as yet another teleportation device. They are sent to the end of the timeline. The Void is the place where all life comes to an end. As such, it's a way to deal with any problem without deviating from the sacred timeline. It means the hunters themselves don't have to be killers even though they are sentencing these variants to their deaths. It's an elaborate way to convince everyone of their own morals. Mobius always thought that he was the hero in this story. He was protecting the timeline from the various threats. In reality, he was kidnapping children and brainwashing people to follow the orders of some entity whose identity has yet to be fully revealed. He was willfully blind. He hopes to set things right. That amounts to burning the TVA to the ground. He has to confront Renslayer. That deception was personal. It also takes a strong will for him to admit his profound love and gratitude to Loki for opening his eyes. These Loki variants have long tried to be more than what the timeline dictated them to be. It's always delightful to see the many versions of how this story could have played out. This story is so serious. And yet, it frequently cuts away to an alligator in order to alleviate the situation. It's just fun. This show knows exactly what is is and what it is trying to accomplish through this exploration of identity.

Loki and Sylvie were incredibly hesitant to admit that their empathy for and connection with each other created a Nexus event that allowed them to be found. That doesn't make any sense. Moreover, it further cements the narcissistic tendencies that dictate all Loki's. But that relationship is so critical to the overall development of the story. They have to admit that their time together has changed them and allowed them the opportunity to be better. In the Void, all of the variants are reduced down to their basic survival at all costs directive. That has long been the pattern they can reliably stick to no matter what. All other matter may be destroyed by the massive smoke monster crashing down on reality. However, the Loki variants know how to survive. That's what they do best. That's all that they can do here. And yet, they have the capacity to change. That's clear long before Loki inspires them to act to break down the illusion over the end of time. Classic, Kid and Boastful Loki find the latest addition to their ranks and bring him to safety. They genuinely care about one of their own. Sure, they are still all seemingly driven by betrayal as well. It's hard for all of them to look past themselves. They must do so because the larger picture is so much more important. It takes true awareness and humility to access those thoughts and put them into action. Loki is motivated by Sylvie. He is inspired by her and sees her as the variant who can open everyone's eyes to a better, more hopeful future. That has driven her for so long. She doesn't know what life has in store after she accomplishes that mission. She simply knows that she must do so. Loki stands by her side as she heads into this confrontation as well. He creates a distraction for her. Classic Loki does the same. He does so as a showcase of the profound scale of power that resides within each incarnation of this character. They have all been limited for far too long. Classic Loki fulfilled his duty to the timeline. That wasn't the end of his story. He removed himself from it but yearned for those connections once more. That was his Nexus event. That changed everything for him. But now, his powers provide the necessary scale for Sylvie and Loki to accomplish their mission. They lose parts of themselves in this conflict. However, they are strengthened by the resolve they find in each other. They always fear that a variant will ultimately betray them in the end. They will only use each other to get what they want. They each seek out power. They are each driven to survive no matter what. Loki and Sylvie may aspire to build a future though. This isn't the end for them. They see the mystery that lurks beyond this grand unknown. It may still not provide all the clarity they need. They found each other though. That provides them with meaning that is absolutely transformative while revealing new depths necessary to further enrich their lives moving forward no matter what.