By the horned helm of Loki, this week’s episode of that selfsame Disney+ series wasn’t just monumental, it was gargantuan. The penultimate episode, entitled “Journey into Mystery,” gave us a metric buttload of Easter eggs and references which we’re here to break down for you! But before we do, we have to remind you that this void is full of spoilers. If you haven’t seen the episode, don’t keep reading. And if you do keep reading, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
All right! Let us begin, shall we?
The Dang Title!
We didn’t even hit play on the episode before we got an Easter egg. The episode’s title, “Journey into Mystery,” is a reference to Loki’s very first comic book appearance. Journey into the Unknown started as a horror comics anthology in June 1952 at Marvel’s predecessor Atlas Comics. Later it became more sci-fi-oriented and in 1962, it introduced Thor and Loki in issues #83 and #85, respectively.
A World of Easter Eggs
The episode proper begins with a soaring flyover shot of various locations. After flying through the TVA—where the camera literally spins upside down—we see the Sacred Timeline monitor with more place names like Zimbabwe, Vormir, and Oak Island, Nova Scotia. That last one is the rumored location of Captain Kidd’s hidden pirate treasure.
From there, we fade into the Time Keepers’ chamber (one of them minus a head); then we fade to the terrifying nightmare realm that ended episode four. We soar past an intact version of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It’s not there in our timeline, because it was actually pruned… by several earthquakes.
Next, we fly over the ruins of the city where we spot Avengers Tower with the Qeng Enterprises logo. This is the company to whom Tony Stark sold Avengers Tower in Avengers: Ultron Forever #1. However, in All New All Different Avengers #6, we learn Qeng’s CEO, Mr. Gryphon not only reprogrammed the Vision, but is secretly a version of Kang the Conqueror trapped in the 21st century. Don’t worry though, like all good Kangs, he is ultimately sucked into a temporal paradox.
All Them Lokis
Eventually we arrive at a gaggle of Lokis catching our variant, L1130, up to speed on what’s going on. As mentioned last week, we have Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki rocking his costume straight out of Journey Into Mystery #85; DeObia Oparei as the Agent of Asgard-inspired Boastful Loki; Jack Veal as Kid Loki from Thor #617; and Gator Dunne as the newly minted Lokigator. They’re standing next to a bus displaying the words “Calum Ross,” which is a reference to one of Loki’s editors.
Alioth Among Sheep
We quickly learn from the other variants that Loki is in a place called “The Void,” or the place at the end of time where the TVA sends its unwanted variants. Most of the time, the variants die pretty quickly due to a giant murdercloud monster called “ Alioth,” which you maybe thought was “Goliath” because that’s an actual word. Alioth eats pruned variants once they arrive; a nice clean way for the TVA to rid itself of undesirable elements.
Created by Mark Gruenwald and Mike Gustovich, Alioth first appeared in 1993’s Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective. Alioth is a massive, matter-destroying cloud that Ravonna Renslayer accidentally released while trying to expand Kang the Conqueror’s empire of Chronopolis. Needless to say, it is incredibly powerful and bad news bears for our heroes. Are you sensing a theme? It’s a lot of Kang, yo.
As we learn later in the episode, when someone or something gets a TVA prunin’, it falls from the sky onto the barren landscape of the Void. Because of this, we see the wreckage of a ton of vehicles. For example, a pirate ship—maybe Captain Kidd’s—and what appears to be a UFO. The Loki variants walk past the Hydra Parasit aircraft that Red Skull escapes in from Captain America: The First Avenger. Later, a sea of giant stone heads that remind us of the ones from Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok.
We see a giant Yellowjacket helmet which may belong to an alternate reality Darren Cross from Ant-Man. There’s another Kang connection in the comics: in Avengers Forever #7, Hank Pym as Yellowjacket betrays the Avengers to Immortus and the Time Keepers before ultimately helping his friends. And who is Immortus? Another version of Kang!
Why yes, that does mean “the greatest Easter egg of all time,” why wouldn’t it? And it’s true. The Lokis walk past the Thanos copter. This comic book legend first appeared in 1979’s Spidey Super Stories #39; Thanos uses it to try and steal the Cosmic Cube from Hellcat. Our band of Brokis walks past the chopper and a massive black-and-yellow rocket to take shelter in their secret bowling alley base.
A Second GEEOAT?!?!
Our minds had only just finished reeling from the Thanos copter when we got yet another greatest Easter egg of all time! Panning down through the ground, the camera rests on Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and a jar labeled T-365. Inside the jar is the frog version of Thor. T-365 is a reference to Thor #365, a story called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, or, It’s Not Easy Being Green” in which Loki turns Thor into a frog.
This is technically a different character than Throg, who was a college football player named Simon Walterson, a malapropism of longtime Thor writer Walt Simonson. Ol’ Si Walt became a frog after an altercation with a witch. The other frogs in Central Park renamed him Puddlegulp. Wouldn’t you know it, he becomes imbued with the power of Thor when he picks up a sliver of Mjolnir. Maybe the most obvious storyline in comics history.
Polybius? Hardly Knew Us!
When the Lokis reach their bowling alley base, we see all manner of bric-a-brac and ephemera. One of these is a stand-up Polybius arcade cabinet, which is a reference to one of the greatest urban legends of our time. Named for the Geek philosopher, Polybius was an arcade game that was supposedly part of a government psy-op in Portland, Oregon in 1981 to induce addictive, psychoactive effects in those who played it.
Reed Richards Confirmed!
Just kidding. But it’s a fun Fantastic Four reference. In the TVA, Sylvie seemingly convinced Ravonna to help her find out who’s in charge of the TVA now that the Three Who Rule are gone. For a brief moment it seems like they might work together, but Renslayers gonna slay rens. Miss Minutes (oh hello again) buys Ravonna some time while Ravonna calls in the guards and talks about a Void spacecraft, a spaceship designed to withstand the temporal void. This feels to us like an oblique reference to the Raft, the ship that Reed Richards designed in 2015’s Secret Wars to do the exact same thing.
Drinks and Japes
Just a couple fun things inside the bowling alley. While everyone else drinks wine (even Gator Loki), Kid Loki drinks a Hi-C Ecto Cooler. Ecto Cooler was the Slimer-themed juice box every kid drank in their school lunches in the early ’90s. We were all very sad when Capri Sun ended up winning the school juice war.
Gator Loki lounges in a kiddie pool next to a copy of the 1930 book The Mystery and Lore of Monsters – With Accounts of Some Giants, Dwarfs, and Prodigies by Charles John Samuel Thompson.
We learn what Nexus Events caused these Lokis to go variant. Kid Loki says he killed Thor; perhaps a version of the snake-stabbing prank from Ragnarok. Boastful Loki, true to his name, claims to have killed Thanos and taken all six infinity stones. As if. And Classic Loki—the episode’s MVP, by the way—talks about removing himself from the world when Thanos came a-calling. He created a projection of himself for Thanos to kill. He then went off to live totally alone on a barren world. It was only when he decided to go look for Thor that the TVA came for him. Sad.
We saw him all the way back in the first trailer, but now we finally know who President Loki is. It seems Boastful Loki is also Backstabbing Loki and gives away the goodies’ hideout. He thinks this will make him king of the Lokis, but the gang’s leader is literally a Loki version of a politician. Dude is of course lying. But that doesn’t last too long and the gang soon turns on President Loki and a fight ensues. Classic Loki creates illusory versions of himself, Kid, Gator, and Hero Loki to escape.
President Loki comes from the 2016 Vote Loki mini-series. Creators Chris Hastings and Langdon Foss are thanked in the credits, along with cover artist Valerio Schiti, and writer Tom King. Evidently, it was King who had the original idea for said story, according to Hastings in an interview with Comic Book Resources.
The gang all look distinct, but it’s very likely they’re all Loki variants also. The one with the sunglasses is identical to one we see pruned in episode one when Mobius explains the fate of other variant Lokis.
Some More Kang Stuff
They really aren’t being subtle about this series’ ties to Kang. But whether it’s the Jonathan Majors Kang or another version is up for debate. After Sylvie prunes herself, she wakes up in the Void. Sylvie accidentally makes contact with one of Alioth’s smoky tendrils and uses her enchantment magic to get a glimpse of what appears to be a strange Gothic mansion on a floating asteroid in a multicolored space. It looks an awful lot like the Quantum Realm. Gee, I wonder who would hang out there…
Could this potentially be Chronopolis, Kang the Conqueror’s domain outside the normal flow of time? You may remember it from a brief glimpse in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Only time will tell if it is that. Another theory points to Doctor Doom’s castle from 2015’s Secret Wars but that seems like a stretch to us.
When we zoom in even further to the door, it appears to be the strange fractured temple that was teased in Loki trailers. Speaking of Strange, the tower of the castle is glowing with a yellowish light we usually associate with the Sorcerer Supreme. Maybe a variant?
Another Kang Thang
During Sylvie and Mobius’s (hey, he’s alive!) daring escape, we see a few things in the background. One is a small theater marquee too with what looks to be the words “Oswald” and “Marina,” which might be a story about JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, both of whom canonically exist in the comics. We see a Pyramid and Sphinx, probably pruned from a timeline where ancient aliens actually did build them instead of actual people. Or perhaps from Rama-Tut’s rule. You know, Rama-Tut? The ancient Egyptian pharaoh version of Nathaniel Richards, a.k.a. Kang the Conqueror?
The U.S.S. Eldridge
Stuff just will not stop falling from the sky. The TVA clearly works a lot. As our Lokigang marches toward Alioth with Loki’s plan to… kill him somehow, they see a massive WWII-era battleship fall from above. This Cannon-class destroyer escort was a real ship used during World War II, but this variant is likely one where it actually was part of the Philadelphia Experiment. Conspiracy fans will know the Philadelphia Experiment was a rumored procedure where they turned the ship invisible, teleported it to New York, then to another dimension where they met aliens, then through time where a couple sailors wound up getting fused to the ship’s hull. Like ya do.
Here, however, the Eldridge serves as bait for the eldritch devouring of Alioth. When its smoky mass overtakes them, the sailors turn into skeletons. Very not cool, friends. Very. Not. Cool.
More Crashed Crap
Boy, this wasteland sure isn’t a wasteland for Easter eggs! When the Band of Lokis finally reunites with Sylvie and Mobius, and are about to make their play for Alioth (Sylvie wants to enchant it; a much more reasonable plan than Loki’s), we can see a familiar wrecked-ass ship behind them. It’s Ronan the Accuser’s Dark Aster, his three-mile-wide flagship from Guardians of the Galaxy. Loki pledges to stay behind with Sylvie, giving the Tempad to Mobius who takes a page out of Loki’s book in episode one by pledging to burn the TVA to the ground.
Kid Loki gives Loki a golden sword like the kind he wields in Agent of Asgard. As Alioth sweeps forward, we see the head of a massive statue of the Living Tribunal, the three-faced cosmic being who first appeared in 1967’s Strange Tales #157. The Living Tribunal maintains balance in the multiverse and was also invoked by name back in Doctor Strange. Baron Mordo wields the Staff of the Living Tribunal to train Doctor Strange. It’s a long staff that breaks down into a three-section staff/chain whip made of energy.
Behind Classic Loki as he absolutely owns by creating a distracting new city of Asgard for Alioth to chase, we can also see the ruins of a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, potentially with a Hydra logo on it.
Classic Loki saves the day, crying out “Glorious Purpose” before Alioth gobbles him up. This last ditch act of heroism allows Sylvie and Loki to combine their Mischievous energy to enchant the giant evil smog. And how do we know it worked? Because he used to glow purple and now he glows green. Typical Loki stuff.
But what will they find in Alioth’s mind? Who is actually behind the TVA? Is it Kang or is it a Loki or is it Miss Minutes somehow? After all, she seems to know way more than she’s letting on when Ravonna asks for everything about the TVA’s creation. Tara Strong who plays Miss Minutes did allude to the cartoon character being more than mere exposition. So who knows?
One thing we do know is if the finale of Loki has anything approaching the level of Easter eggs as this episode, we’ll never sleep again.
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