On Loki, Friendship Really Is Magic

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On Loki, Friendship Really Is Magic
Richard E. Grant, Deobia Oparei, a CG alligator, and Jack Veal stare at Tom Hiddleston as Loki, in Marvel's Loki.
Loki, Loki, Loki, Loki, and Loki go on a quest together.
Image: Marvel Studios

As it’s woven its way through apocalypses and time travel conundrums, at its core, Disney+ and Marvel’s Loki has always come back to the central question of what makes its titular character tick. As it’s added more and more variant Lokis to its multiversal plate, that question’s only become more and more important—but this week we’re given an answer that’s less about what currently makes a Loki and more about what Loki needs to become.

Illustration for article titled On Loki, Friendship Really Is Magic

Not a lot actually happens in “Journey Into Mystery”—so named for the Marvel Comics series that introduced both Thor and Loki in 1962, and the first of just a frankly exhausting number of referential nods in the episode. The basic premise is deceptively simple, despite the layers of spectacle so heavily heaped on it you’d almost be forgiven for thinking this was the grand finale, rather than its precursor. Loki, trapped at the end of all timeline realities in what the TVA dubs “The Void,” has to team up with his new best friends—Loki (Kid, Jack Veal), Loki (Classic, Richard E. Grant), Loki (Boastful, Deobia Oparei), and Loki (Alligator, a bluescreen stuffed animal with googly eyes)—in order to somehow plot his escape and defeat Alioth, the supreme time being (another comics reference, but the important thing to know here is that it’s a large cloud, and very evil).