Spoilers below for episode 5 of Loki.
No episode of Loki deserves the series title more than Episode 5, “Journey Into Mystery,” which features more of Loki than the God of Mischief himself can count. They come in all shapes and sizes now, including a child and yes, a real alligator. And despite their distinctive connection events and dramatically different lives, even these new Loki provide a glimpse into the enigmatic figure at the heart of the series.
Along with the many Variant versions of itself, Tom hiddleston‘s Loki manages to escape Alioth, the cloud-lion entity devouring all inhabitants of the Void. In a charming bunker that provides them with temporary shelter, Loki’s mismatched group slowly get to know each other, sharing the connection events that led to them being picked up and banned by VAT. The revelation that Kid Loki (Jack Veal) killed Thor is sobering, especially when compared to the Alligator Loki story of eating the bad neighbor’s cat. But the most telling story comes from Richard E. Grant‘s Classic Loki, who ultimately lives the closest life to the Loki we know and love.
The tragic story of the classic Loki
As classic Loki says, everything went according to plan until Thanos attacked. These are the events we witness at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, when the Mad Titan intercepts the survivors of Asgard, dominates Thor and crushes the Tesseract to extract the stone from space. In the original timeline, Loki offers his services as a guide, committing to Thanos as a deception before making a last ditch effort to stab the Titan. In order not to be fooled, Thanos catches him red-handed and kills Loki on the spot.
But when it came to figuring out the backstories for a new set of variants, Loki editor-in-chief Michel waldron told Marvel.com about a thought experiment he had: “What if Loki actually survived the events of Avengers: Infinity War?” He added:
“I was like, ‘Well, what if that happens? And if that was the case, in fact, how could he have aged? How could he live his years in a way that VAT would never find him?
In the episode, Classic Loki explains that instead of attempting to stab Thanos himself, he used a projection. He disguised himself as “inanimate debris” and as the projection died in its place, he wandered through space in solitude. As he floated, he found time to reflect and considered the harsh reality that pain seemed to follow wherever he went – so he chose to be left alone.
Classic Loki lived many years in seclusion and may have been spared from TVA and his obsession with sacred chronology, if not weak emotion. His loneliness became too strong and tried to leave his planet of loneliness, in the hope of finding his brother, only to be stopped dead by the VAT. Waldron said,
“It was that tragic thing where he finally realizes’ I’m supposed to be alone. “It’s so sad. There is a real lesson here for our Loki in that he will reject this notion – that this tiger can change his stripes, and he refuses to be alone. [Loki] wants to do the right thing. [He] wants to see if he can have real company in his life.
Loki’s Hidden Potential
Classic Loki is full of life lessons, as are our older us always. But thanks to this mess of timeline, he’s able to share them directly without Loki. One of his lessons even takes root at the end of the fifth episode. As he tells the story of escaping the grip of Thanos’ death, our Loki is surprised to learn that this version of himself did not attempt to stab the Titan. Here, the classic Loki conveys a key wisdom: “Blades are worthless against the sorcery of a Loki.”
He proves it throughout the episode: First, he saves our gang from attacking President Loki and his gang of Loki’s backstory traitors. The bunker erupts into chaos as the fighting begins, and with a projection of itself and a helpful portal, Classic Loki orchestrates their escape. He later provides Alioth with immense distraction, in the form of a projected but very convincing Asgard. He not only saves Loki and Sylvie from consumption, but reminds the couple of their strength. Together they enchant the beast-like entity.
But power isn’t all Classic Loki has to give. By sacrificing himself for their plan, he displays yet another change of heart – comparable to his decision to search for his brother after spending years living alone. He has so much to prove about Loki’s potential, but most of all, that the God of Mischief can change his ways at any point in his journey.
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