Per Marvel fashion, Loki has become an instant hit, utilizing our Wednesdays for streaming parties and of course trying our best Marvel theories. Just like Loki‘s predecessors WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the geniuses at Marvel once again delivered thought provoking content dressed as comic book legends. Kevin Feige does it again. With each episode of Disney+’s hit show, it dives deeper into themes such as identity, self-reflection, self-forgivness and redemption. Loki, whose charm and sarcasm enamored legions of stans prior to his self-titled show, must ask the painfully hard question: can I change for the better or will pain continually follow me?
Episode 5 is not only extremely multilayered, it’s also even more deeply meta (is that even possible for Marvel?). Loki finally realizes he has a choice in becoming who he wants to be, but before anything can happen, he must witness the worst parts of himself. After being pruned, Loki wakes up in the Void, a world where branched timelines and their variants go to die. If our Loki has any hopes to return back to Sylvie, his other variants such as Classic Loki, Boastful Loki, Kid Loki and Alligator Loki (a source of comedic gold) are his only hope. The theme that kicks off this episode is self-reflection; while Loki tries to cook up a plan, he attempts to get to know his-selves better and he doesn’t like what he sees. Classic Loki escaped Thanos through sorcery, but having grown lonely in isolation afterwards, he tried to seek out those who might miss him and was nabbed by the TVA. Not to be outdone, Kid Loki seems to be the most mature…even though his nexus event was killing Thor; while Boastful Loki proves true to his name and seems full of hot air. At some point in our lives we’ve all wished to have a doppelgänger, whether to perhaps get some extra work done or maybe cause some good trouble. To be stuck in a room with different versions of ourselves couldn’t be described as anything else besides chaotic.
Being forced to confront your inner demons, shortcomings, the ghosts of your past and frankly what makes you human, isn’t a stroll in the park. After being in a room with himself, for a few minutes Loki was cringing harder than seeing a Facebook memory. And we’re not even going to tackle President Loki or Alligator Loki.
A large part of adulting takes looking at your past self (no matter how painful or cringey) and realizing that’s not who you have to be. Coming into your own means acknowledging your past faults and recognizing not only the chance to grow from them, but knowing your identity is what you make it to be. Even though the various Lokis are just as frustrated with themselves as they are with each other, this doesn’t deter our Loki. He’s determined to return back to Sylvie and be the best version of himself he can be; he may share the Void with the other Lokis, but he’s never been in a more different place emotionally or mentally. Even when the team drags their feet in helping, Loki reminds them that they are stronger together. Loki serves as a metaphor for damaged people finding their inner strength, and Loki realizes that all of them are more powerful than they thought, including him. We see this when Loki put all of his trust in Sylvie during the enchantment or Classic Loki finding the purpose in the face of death.
Marvel focusing on a character who is struggling (and at times failing) to come into his own, mirrors the struggle of anyone battling the worst parts of themselves while on their way to becoming who they actually want to be. So anybody to ever exist. Everyone fantasizes of being Thor, Black Panther or Captain America, but what if we were actually more like Loki, Killmonger or Bucky instead? Life is filled with disappointment, hurt, chaos and frankly more L’s than we’d like. It’s hard being the hero that always wins, when that’s not how life works. Growth can take time, it can even be hard at times because it’s not a linear experience. Loki reminds us that it’s not about the number of times we fail, but one’s resilience to never stop trying. Now that’s a Demigod worth fighting for.
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