The first season of Loki is done. We got some answers mixed with exposition, a lot of drama with some tears, and a lot of dangling threads (or branches, if you like) for Marvel to pull on in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and/or season 2 of the Disney+ show.
There are so many loose threads and exposition in this finale, that it really isn’t a finale at all. In many ways, the last third of the episode is more like a prologue for Multiverse of Madness and is tonally tinged with a Doctor Strange feel.
Whether that’s a good thing…different Variants can have different thoughts on that. For me, I like that interconnectedness. But I’m also someone who likes the MCU so much that I spent 30+ hours in an old theater for a Marvel movie marathon. Others’ mileage may vary. Read on for a spoiler-full breakdown of the latest episode.
Warning! Spoilers abound below for the sixth episode of Disney+’s Loki, “For All Time. Always.”
There Are Multiverses Out There Just Waiting to Fight Each Other
This episode is all about the multiverses. What are they? Why do they matter? Who’s behind it all? “For All Time. Always.” answers that, and it all starts with a new Marvel opening banner. The Marvel sequence looks similar at first. Then, however, we hear other Avengers saying some of their favorite catchphrases (We hear Steve Rodgers say “I could do this all day,” for example).
And then things get trippy. We zoom in and out of space and time in a very Doctor Strange-esque manner as quotes from IRL folks like Maya Angelou join the voiceover. Things eventually coalesce into a cosmic ring (AKA The Sacred Timeline) around The Citadel in The Void At The End of Time, and we’re back with our two Lokis (Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino).
It Was Miss Minutes All Along
Okay, not really. We do see the TVA’s animated clock (voiced by Tara Strong) when Sylvie and Loki walk into the Citadel. And in quest-like fashion, tempts our two anti-heroes with whatever their hearts’ desire.
Miss Minutes also clues us in that there’s one being behind everything, who she ominously calls He Who Remains. (It’s also here where MCU fans start screaming, “It’s Kang the Conqueror!” at their TVs.)
Sylvie and Loki decline the offer, concluding (correctly, I’d guess) that it was a lie. Or maybe it was a “test” they had to pass? Just like the kids in Willy Wonka went through to see who could take over Wonka’s factory?
There’s a lot of Willy Wonka vibes going on in this episode. (And Wizard of Oz, but we’ve seen that already in the show.) And that brings us to the MCU’s version of Wonka: He Who Remains, played by Jonathan Majors. While the show doesn’t call him Kang the Conqueror, that’s who he is! We know this not only because news of Majors’ casting has been out for months now, but because we get his character’s entire origin story.
Let the Exposition Flow
Kang (I’m going to call him that because He Who Remains is too pretentious for me, plus it takes too long to type) is a quirky guy. This version of him anyway. It turns out that he’s a human from the 31st century who discovered how to travel between multiverses. Other versions of him figured it out as well, and for a while they all got along.
And then they didn’t! Some versions of Kang weren’t so nice…they were conquerors even. (In my headcanon, however, one Kang Variant is Willy Wonka. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, let me live with this fictional fiction.) The Kangs started fighting, and we got the Multiversal Wars.
The Kang talking to Sylvie and Loki explains this all in his wacked out avuncular way (he also has little CGI figurines to help tell the tale), and then he offers the two a golden ticket. They can take over Kang’s job and stave off another Multiversal War from happening. If they did, they’d also have complete power over time and space, something that’d be appealing to many a Loki.
“You Can’t Trust and I Can’t Be Trusted”
Kang lays this all out for Sylvie and Loki just as The Void crosses some threshold and he no longer knows what’s going to happen next. It’s here where we get the only major emotional moment of the episode (except for a short one between Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s Ravonna and Owen Wilson‘s Mobius).
This scene is moving — Di Martino and Hiddleston deftly convey how they care for each other, even if their respective Loki traits threaten to create a rift between them.
It’s also not enough for me — so much of the series up to this point has been about these two characters and how they’ve grown and found a connection with each other. This finale veers away from that, something that’s arguably necessary given it has to set up whatever is coming in Multiverse of Madness. And the ultimate rift between the two — Sylvie sends Loki back to the TVA and kills Kang — also sets up good character fodder for the second season, so there’s that.
Loki? What’s a Loki?
After Sylvie successfully and anti-climatically kills Kang, the multiverse falls into madness! Just as this version of Kang warned, millions of branches pop up, causing million of versions of himself to wreak havoc across space and time.
Back at the TVA, Loki desperately tries to find his friends and tell him what’s happened. He finds Mobius and B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and frantically explains everything. Mobius and B-15, however, give him blank stares: they have no idea who Loki is. That means that they not only don’t know this version of Loki, but any of the other Variants.
The scene then cuts to one of the TVA’s monolith statues. The image isn’t one of the fake Time-Keepers — it’s Kang himself. The TVA’s timeline has veered off course, and only Loki, it seems, remembers how things were.
That’s not entirely true. Sylvie likely still knows what’s up. And then Ravonna is also out there somewhere trying to “find free will” after she spared Mobius’ life and took a time portal to somewhere/when unknown, though my guess is it’s someplace with a less-evil version of Kang. (Side note: Ravonna being a school principal on Earth fits perfectly with her character.)
And there we leave it! Lots of questions, but also the promise of a season 2 in a brief post-credit moment. Over six episodes, Loki accomplished a lot, and I’m not just talking about making a push for a Josta soda comeback.
We got to delve deep into one of Marvel’s bad/not-so-great guys, and we also got the joy that is Alligator Loki and Richard E. Grant in a Classic Loki suit. What a fast place the MCU is, and what characters live within it. I can’t wait to see more of them as Phase 4 rolls out.
All six episodes of the first season of Loki are now streaming on Disney+.
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