Loki (2021) s01e05 – Journey Into Mystery

Journey Into Mystery is simultaneously the cheapest “Loki”—though not the special effects, the CGI composites are solid (for most of it; oh, and the fight scene is profoundly bad), but narratively speaking (it entirely cops out on last episode’s big moves)—and the best, because it guest stars Richard E. Grant as a Loki variant.

There are a bunch of Loki variants in the episode, which takes place at the end of time (sadly no cameos from John Simm or David Tenant). The end of time is apparently the planet Earth with a bunch of slightly aged trash on it. Working cars—even though the gas wouldn’t work but whatever—and then moss-encrusted buses. Basically Tom Cruise’s Oblivion movie or WALL-E to keep it in house. There are rival gangs of Lokis (Tom Hiddleston plays a couple of them but the majority are either named guest stars or dialogue-less extras) trying to survive a giant cloud demon. The end of time is where you go after the TVA prunes you from existence and then the giant cloud demon eats you. Giant cloud demon does not eat, for example, cars, buses, bunkers, or battleships. Just the little people populating them.

Sadly I think next episode is going to explain it all and I’m curious if my prediction’s going to hold.

Anyway. So while Grant, the couple Hiddlestons, kid Loki Jack Veal, and warrior Loki Deobia Oparei try to survive everyone betraying everyone else because they’re Lokis, Sophia Di Martino is busy maybe teaming up with Gugu Mbatha-Raw to figure out the big secret after last episode’s reveals. They’re delaying the explanation—Mbatha-Raw might be a villain (and, even with Tom Kauffman’s profoundly insipid writing, a good one) but she wants to know how it all works too. Can’t she and Di Martino be friends long enough to figure it out?

Di Martino doesn’t really get anything to do in the episode, playing sidekick to various Lokis and surprise returning cast members; though given Kauffman’s dialogue it’s probably for the best. There’s a decent farewell scene for a bunch of people, but it too will probably get invalidated in the finale. Wunmi Mosaku is back for a single scene and gets the absolute worst writing. The show wasted her worse than anyone else.

Even with the bad writing, the complete flop of a silly fight scene (Joel Schumacher did them better), and the narrative cop outs, Journey is probably the most entertaining episode. Because Richard E. Grant’s in it in what appears to be a Loki costume rental from 1987 and he’s wonderful.

There’s also an alligator Loki, which is apparently comics canon accurate but not worth the Google. Cute as hell though.

Also—no spoilers—but Kauffman’s even worse at character motivations than dialogue and his dialogue is tripe. The first act of the episode is everyone acting in absurd ways just to gin up a plot.

But that alligator’s cute as hell. And funny.

And Richard E. Grant.

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