‘Loki’ Season 1 Finale: Loki & Sylvie Unleash the MCU’s Next Big Bad (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Loki Season 1 episode 6, “For All Time, Always.”]
Marvel fans know that one project tends to set up another; think Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) talking to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about the Avengers Initiative, or, of course, Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) vowing to “do it himself” in the post-credits scene of The Avengers. So certain assumptions were being made heading into Loki based on Marvel’s upcoming slate of films, which all involve the multiverse — namely, that the TVA wouldn’t survive, the timelines would be set free and Kang the Conqueror, a formidable foe from the comics, might even make an appearance (he’s set to star in the next Ant-Man venture, with Jonathan Majors playing him).
Turns out, all of those assumptions were true, to some extent. As of Loki’s end credits, the TVA no longer exists, there are innumerable branches in the Sacred Timeline and we’ve been introduced to a variant of Kang — who seems destined to be the MCU’s next Thanos-level big bad. Here’s how it all happens.
The Man at the End of Time
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) enter the dilapidated castle, and — with a jump scare — Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) appears. She congratulates them on reaching the Citadel at the End of Time, and says “He Who Remains” is quite impressed. So impressed, in fact, that he’s made space for them in the Sacred Timeline, and they can now live the lives they always wanted. They turn the offer down, saying they write their own destinies.
Back at the TVA, things are going wrong for Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). She has asked Miss Minutes for some files, but she gives her the wrong ones, saying “He Who Remains” thinks they’ll be more useful. On top of that, Mobius (Owen Wilson) barges into her office with a prune stick… but he doesn’t seem inclined to use it on her, saying his “standards are higher than hers, where close, personal friends are concerned.” Turns out, Mobius has turned the guards on Ravonna by sending B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) to a school in 2018, where they found Ravonna as a high school principal.
Part of the Game
Ravonna and Mobius fight, as he argues people deserve free will and she says the only person who should have it is whoever’s controlling everything. Mobius loses, and for a second it looks like Ravonna might prune him again — but instead, she uses a TemPad to open a portal and says she’s going to look for free will.
The Lokis wander into an abandoned chamber, where, eventually, He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) appears. He says he wants to chat in his study, so they enter an elevator… and Sylvie tries to kill him. Instantly, he vanishes; she tries to kill him when he reappears, and he vanishes again. When they arrive in his study, he explains how he can do that — he already knows everything that’s going to happen, and Loki and Sylvie have been part of his game the whole time. “I paved the road,” he says, “and you simply walked down it.”
He explains that he once lived on Earth as a scientist and discovered that there were universes stacked on top of each other; those other universes discovered the same, and for a while, there was peace. Then war broke out between those timelines, and everything was nearly destroyed, but he weaponized Alioth, the beast from the Void, and ended the war. Hence, he’s watched the timeline ever since to ensure no branches form. (He also says he’s been referred to as “a conqueror,” so this guy is a variant of comics villain Kang).
I’m Not You
He makes the Lokis an offer; kill him and unleash the timelines and start another war, or kill him and take over. Loki says he’s lying — why would he voluntarily relinquish his power? — but he says he’s tired, and he’s been searching for the right person to take over. As he talks, other branches in the timeline begin to form, and he says he was bluffing earlier: He doesn’t know everything that happens, and now they’ve passed the threshold.
Loki and Sylvie have a disagreement about how to handle this. Sylvie wants to kill him and set the timelines free, while Loki says they should think about it and ensure nothing awful happens as a result of their actions. Loki begs Sylvie to stop, saying he doesn’t care about the throne, or being a ruler, or having power. He just wants her to be okay. They kiss, and Sylvie betrays him, shoving him through a portal. “I’m not you,” she tells him. He winds up back at the TVA, and she kills He Who Remains. “See you soon,” he says as he dies.
What’s Your Name?
Frantic and heartbroken, Loki sprints through the halls of the TVA until he finds Mobius and B-15. He tells them that he and Sylvie made a terrible mistake, and countless versions of a variant set on war are coming. That’s when things go horribly wrong. Mobius asks Loki what his name is and assumes he’s an analyst. It hits Loki that this isn’t the TVA he remembers, and as he looks around in horror, he sees the statues of the Time-Keepers have all been replaced with He Who Remains: Kang, The Conqueror. And thankfully, the story’s not over — a mid-credits scene reveals Loki will return for a second season.
Loki, All Episodes Now Streaming, Disney+