“This issue – THOR leaps into a new secret identity!” — Cover, Thor #365
This recap contains spoilers for the first five episodes of Loki. If you haven’t seen the new episode yet and want to avoid learning what happens, leave this page now. If you’d like to read all the recaps for the show, you can do so at this link.
After the green version of the Marvel Studios logo, the penultimate episode of Loki opens on an overhead shot of the TVA offices, which then pans downwards and upside down before twisting itself right again and zooming in on the hourglass pattern on the golden elevator’s doors. Next, we see the abandoned Time-Keeper’s chamber, where the abandoned, decapitated android head lies, slack jawed. And finally, we move to the post apocalyptic wasteland where we last saw our Loki Variant (Tom Hiddleston). Filed with decaying skyscrapers and a giant cloud filled with purple lightning, the camera pulls through the ruins until we find our Loki Variant, still facing off against Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), Kid Loki (Jack Veal), Boastful Loki (Deobia Oparei), and Alligator Loki.
Classic Loki tells our Variant that they’re in The Void, the giant smoke monster entity is Alioth, and that they need to leave if they aren’t going to be eaten… and all five Lokis scurry away before we see the title card.
LOKI S1E5 — “Journey Into Mystery”
Meanwhile, back at the TVA, Sylvie (Sophia di Martino) interrogates Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in the Time Court. Sylvie notes the cyclical serendipity of confronting Renslayer in the same room that Renslayer took Sylvie’s life away. Renslayer tries to stop Sylvie by telling her that our Loki Variant is still alive, and claims that she wants to stop the TVA as well – to find out whose at the top and find out why they lied to her.
Renslayer goes on to explain that it’s impossible to destroy the matter in a branch reality, so they aren’t actually disintegrated: branch realities are transferred to a void at the end of time, where they collide and “stop.” According to Renslayer, dogma states that the Time-Keepers are still working on the Void, and that the end of time will eventually be written into utopia.
Even Renslayer doesn’t seem to believe this is true, but she tells Sylvie that the salient detail is that nothing ever returns from the Void…
From there, we cut to the Void. We see a decaying pirate ship and what appears to be a flying saucer. In the distance, more portals open in the sky.
As the five Lokis traverse the apocalyptic landscape, our Loki Variant attempts to get some information from his rescuers. Our Loki Variant insists that if his traveling partners are indeed Lokis, they must have a plan. As a bunch of weird birds that have hovering spheres instead of heads run by, our Loki demands some answers.
Our Loki Variant quickly runs down the events leading to him being stranded in the Void, noting that he didn’t even find the Alligator Variant all that strange (same, Loki)… However, Kid Loki silences him by drawing his sword and warning him that Alioth will locate them if he doesn’t get himself under control.
But Kid Loki does have some important exposition, explaining to our Loki Variant that the Void is the depository for everything that the TVA has pruned, with Alioth, a living tempest, ensuring that nothing ever returns.
“We’re in a shark tank, and Alioth is the shark,” notes Classic Loki, before confirming that the Alligator is indeed a Loki Variant. Classic Loki explains that there’s so many Lokis because what Lokis do best is survive. While our Loki Variant insists that there must be some method of escape, the other Lokis laugh at his naïvity.
As they begin to walk again, they pause beside a pile of books as our Loki Variant questions the authority of Kid Loki, who seems to be their commander. Classic Loki suggests our Loki Variant show some respect, and Kid Loki reveals that his Nexus Event was killing Thor.
After an establishing shot (which may include a decrepit giant Wasp helmet… check it out), we pull in on a busted-up missile and a crashed version of the titular Thanos-copter, first seen in Spidey Super Stories #39 (1979), “The Cat and the Cosmic Cube” by Nick Sullivan, Michael Siporin, Jim Salicrup, Win Mortimer, and Mike Esposito.
But the allusions haven’t concluded, because as the Lokis enter a hatch, we pan down through the ground and see Frog Thor, imprisoned in a jar and attempting to reach Mjolnir, which is buried nearby. The jar is labeled “T365,” alluding to Thor #365 (1985), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, or, It’s Not Easy Being Green” by Walter Simonson, John Workman, and Max Scheele, the issue that introduced Frog Thor.
Inside the Loki’s hideout, which appears to be a sunken bowling alley, Boastful Loki and Classic Loki ask our Loki Variant why he wants to return to the TVA.
In the Time Court, Renslayer consults the Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) hologram as Sylvie looks on. They determine that past the Void, there would be no Nexus Energy, since there would no longer be a Sacred Timeline to contradict. Sylvie resolves to travel to that point at the timeline, but Renslayer insists its impossible, causing Sylvie to say she’s outlived her usefulness…
But Miss Minutes chimes in with a line about the “Void Spacecraft,” and Renslayer begins searching the files for what appears to be a perfect solution to Sylvie’s problem. But perhaps… too perfect?
Renslayer and Sylvie seem to agree to work together in order to find Loki and determine who the man behind the curtain is… but when they go to shake hands, Sylvie seizes Renslayer’s hand and asks why the files are taking so long. Miss Minutes continues to stall, but that’s when several Minutemen burst in, causing Sylvie to flee.
Renslayer seems to have gained the upper hand, but her facial expression does not match someone who feels in control of the situation. Sylvie asks what happened to overthrowing the Time-Keepers, but Renslayer only responds by saying she’ll put Sylvie in a happy memory time loop… So Sylvie responds by pruning herself.
The God of Outcasts
Back at the Loki Hideout, the Variants are sharing a box of Roxxiwine (well, Kid Loki is drinking a juice box of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler Punch). In the background is a Polyibus arcade cabinet, referencing an urban legend about a government-created psychology experiment in Portland, Oregon.
Boastful Loki is explaining that after he defeated Captain America and Iron Man, he claimed all six Infinity Stones (which may or may not have later become TVA paperweights). When Alligator Loki expresses doubt in the veracity of this claim, Boastful Loki says that at least his Nexus Event wasn’t eating the wrong neighbor’s cat, causing Alligator Loki to attack him.
After diffusing the situation, Kid Loki commands Classic Loki to tell his tale. Classic Loki explains that in his timeline, the Nexus Event occurred when Thanos attacked the ship in the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War. As Classic Loki explains, he cast a projection of himself so effective that even the Mad Titan was convinced, and hid as inanimate debris before simply floating alone through space for a while (curiously, nothing in this Nexus Event contradicts what we’ve seen so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Thor Prime even questions whether Loki is truly dead in Avengers: Endgame).
Classic Loki concludes that no matter where he goes, only pain follows, and as a result, exiles himself to a lifeless planet, where he spends a “long, long time.” Eventually, he got lonely – he missed his brother. But when he began to take steps towards leaving the planet, the TVA arrived and apprehended him. Classic Loki concludes that Lokis have a single role to play: the God of Outcasts.
Our Loki Variant decides that he’s going to leave, and Kid Loki asks why he thinks he’s different than the rest of them. Our Loki Variant says that he’s no different from them, but says Sylvie is different, noting that she’s trying to take down the TVA and needs his assistance.
Our Loki Variant resolves to kill Alioth, and the other four Variants laugh at him.
However, when our Loki Variant opens the hatch, he is confronted by a cadre of Loki Variants, lead by President Loki, a Variant who bears a striking resemblance to the protagonist of Vote Loki (2016), right down to the political button.
“This is a nightmare,” concludes our Loki Variant.
Elsewhere in The Void
Elsewhere, Sylvie awakens in a molding school bus (we’ve seen a lot of busted-up buses in this show). She quickly evacuates the vehicle as Alioth, now fully channeling the smoke monster from LOST, attacks. As Sylvie flees, she is briefly touched by Alioth, affording her a vision of a castle, with a powerful energy emanating from its fortified tower…
She continues to flee Alioth, and is met by a pizza delivery car (it even has a bouncy slice on top). She gets in the Skinny’s Pizza car without checking who might be driving…
But we soon learn that the driver is Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), who is apparently the only non-Loki Variant to survive the Void… Or, could he be a Loki Variant?
Well, no time for that now, as they’ve got to escape Alioth. As Sylvie and Mobius speed past the Sphinx and a couple of pyramids, tendrils of smoke reach towards the pizza delivery car…
At the Loki Hideout, President Loki has apparently seized control of the situation. Kid Loki blames our Loki Variant for leading the wolves to their door. But that’s when Boastful Loki turns on Kid Loki (a betrayal, from Loki? NEVER).
It seems like Boastful Loki was in league with President Loki… but then President Loki turns on Boastful Loki! President Loki declares that he is now the rightful ruler of the realm… but that’s when his entire cadre turns on him…
Presdient Loki demands to know why there’s an alligator in the Loki Hideout, to which Classic Loki and Kid Loki respond, “He’s a Loki!” Then, Alligator Loki leaps forward and bites President Loki’s right hand clean off. Naturally, this leads to utter chaos, with all of the Loki Variants turning on one another in inglorious (and messy) battle.
Classic Loki casts a projection and opens a shimmery portal, providing escape for himself, our Loki Variant, Kid Loki, and Alligator Loki (the… the Lok-vengers… you know what, forget it).
On the other side of the portal, Classic Loki laments that, as Lokis, they are always willing to betray anyone around them in order to gain more power, and that they’re too broken to change. Kid Loki notes that even if they try to fix themselves, they are simply sent to the Void to die. Our Loki Variant insists that’s why they must join forces with Sylvie and overthrow the TVA.
The other Loki Variants concede, and say they will help him… to a point. Facing Alioth is a death sentence, and they won’t participate in that!
Speaking of Alioth, its now fading in the rearview mirror of the Skinny’s Pizza car. Mobius expresses his incredulity at the actual function of the TVA, and Sylvie lambasts him for erasing realities. Mobius says that when you think the ends justify the means, you can do it anyway, calling to mind the justification offered by countless authority figures that can’t admit they bear responsible for the actions they’ve undertaken in the name of an institution.
Mobius then notes that Sylvie did some annihilating herself, and Sylvie says she did what she had to… Mobius replies that he was doing the same. However, Mobius does apologize for hunting Sylvie “like a dog.”
Sylvie says that the only way out of this is to go back to Alioth, and Mobius reluctantly agrees. As the Skinny’s Pizza car makes a U-turn, more debris falls through a portal in the distance…
The Philadelphia Experiment
Meanwhile, the Loki Variants are trying to figure out Alioth for themselves. They see a portal open and the U.S.S. Eldridge falls through, the United States Naval vessel that was the subject of the Philadelphia Experiment in 1943. Alioth quickly descends on the Eldridge, indifferent to its cannons, and seemingly killing everyone on-board.
Our Loki Variant realizes that defeating Alioth may be more difficult than expected… but that’s when Mobius and Sylvie arrive in the Skinny’s Pizza car. Our Loki Variant introduces the other Variants and Mobius notes that if you throw a rock, you’ll hit a Loki.
Sylvie says that she thinks whoever they’re after is at the end of time, and that means that Alioth is essentially said person’s guard dog. In order to get through, Sylvie says that they simply need to enchant the giant, angry could entity. As Mobius notes, “She seems pretty confident.”
Back at the TVA, Renslayer enters Time Theater 38. After dismissing the Minutemen guarding the room, she opens a door to a room with red walls (similar in appearance to the Time Loop door that Mobius shoved our Loki Variant through in the previous episode). Inside is the Variant currently known as Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku).
B-15 wants to know why she’s been incarcerated, and asks to whom she was disloyal – the Time-Keepers are puppets. Renslayer states that this changes nothing, but B-15 insists that people should know the truth.
Renslayer tells B-15 that she needs to know what motivates Sylvie, and B-15 says revenge. Now that the Time-Keepers have been Scooby Doo’d, B-15 says Sylvie will be searching for whoever was responsible for creating them. B-15 concludes by stating that Renslayer only wants to find the man behind the curtain… Sylvie needs to find them.
In the next scene, Renslayer is leaving Time Theater 38 alone. She consults Miss Minutes and says that she needs all the files on the history of the TVA. Renslayer says that whoever created the TVA is in danger, so she needs to find them, and Miss Minutes acquiesces.
In the Void, the Loki Variants are now holed up in the ruins of Dom’s Cuts, a barber shop. Mobius says that he doesn’t remember pruning an Alligator Loki. Clssic Loki and Mobius discuss whether or not he’s really a Loki Variant, but Mobius points out that if he’s lying – playing the long con – that just makes him more likely to be a Loki, doesn’t it?
Kid Loki asks Mobius what will happen if he returns to the TVA, and Mobius says he wants to spread the truth.
Outside the barber shop, our Loki Variant and Sylvie reflect on their adventures. Our Loki Variant conjures a blanket for himself and offers one to Sylvie, but she just says she could use a new outfit. The pair reflects on their Lamentis-1 kiss before Sylvie admits that she isn’t used to having friends. Our Loki Variant casts a spell that expands the blanket, wrapping it around both of them.
Sylvie thanks him, which seems to take a lot of effort, before she asks how she knows our Loki Variant won’t betray her. Our Loki Variant admits that he’s betrayed everyone who every loved him, but he understands now why he did those things, and he resolves not to do them again.
The pair dares to dream about what they might do if the TVA is toppled, and even wonder if they might have a life together.
Setting the Stage in LOKI S1E5
In the next scene, our six-member team looks across a field at Alioth (a field that includes debris like a crashed version of The Dark Aster, Ronan the Accuser’s ship, seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.
Sylvie and Loki both agree to stay and do battle against Alioth, with Sylvie attempting to enchant the entity. Mobius plans to return to the TVA, while Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Alligator Loki will remain in The Void, which is their home. Kid Loki gives his golden sword to our Loki Variant before the trio heads away.
Mobius thanks Loki for the spark he needs to burn the TVA to the ground before the pair embraces one another. “Thank you my friend,” our Loki Variant says to Mobius, who is preoccupied telling Sylvie that she’s his favorite. Mobius steps through the Timedoor and our Loki Variant and Sylvie head towards Alioth. We see that Classic Loki has some misgivings…
Our Loki Variant and Sylvie approach Alioth as the wreck of S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarier #42 looms in the background.
Our Loki Variant wonders what they do if no branch reality appears to distract Alioth, and Sylvie says they’ll have to cause a distraction. Our Loki Variant touches her on the shoulder before running in another direction. Alioth’s attention follows our Loki Variant, who ignites the sword given to him by Kid Loki.
However, Alioth is torn between our Loki Variant’s flaming blade and Sylvie’s glowing spell…
Until, that is, Natalie Holt’s continually incredible score alerts us that a new contender has entered the arena. Soon, we see Classic Loki, adopting the pose of Loki on the cover of Journey of Mystery #85 (1962) by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Stan Goldberg, and Artie Simek: the first appearance of Loki!
Classic Loki summons an incredible vision of the Kingdom of Asgard – the home to which he longed to return, a home kept from him by the machinations of the TVA. Alioth is powerless to resist the incredible illusion.
“How is he doing that?” Sylvie asks.
“I think we’re stronger than we realize,” our Loki Variant replies.
A sweeping shot takes us over the ersatz Asgard (which really looks amazing – could this be a miniature?) and we see Sylvie and our Loki Variant take each others’ hands and resolve to enchant Alioth.
With Alioth distracted by the Asgard illusion, the enchantment begins. But Classic Loki has exhausted his power, and the Asgard illusion vanishes. Classic Loki turns to face Alioth and shouts “glorious purpose” as the entitly consumes him, leaving behind nothing but his rusted helm…
But there is an important difference between this defeat and other defeats we have seen Loki suffer. In the first episode of Loki, Mobius told Our Loki Variant his purpose was to help others, like the Avengers, achieve their apotheosis. The climax of this episode allows Classic Loki’s defeat to give Our Loki Variant and Sylvie the opportunity they need to rise to their own personal apotheosis.
The Season Finale
Alioth turns on Sylvie and our Loki Variant, but Classic Loki’s illusion was successful: he bought his fellow variants enough time to enchant the immense entity. The red and purple turns to green before the smoke parts, revealing a castle in a psychedelic landscape. Who’s in the tower? Is it Kang the Conqueror? Is it Doctor Doom?
We’ll have to wait until next Loki Wednesday to find out. In the meantime, I’ll be watching Classic Loki face off against Alioth a few more times… what a battle!
New episodes of Loki are available for streaming on Disney+ on Wednesdays.