Loki and Sylvie come face-to-face with the real power behind the Time Variance Authority that ripped them from their lives -- but what to do next.
After pulling back the curtain (named Alioth) in the penultimate installment of "Loki," the two Variant Gods of Mischief came face-to-face with the real power behind the Time Variance Authority and finally got the answers even the TVA doesn't know.
What perhaps surprised them most, though, is that they took this information in very different ways. Much like the Loki of the Cinematic MCU, this version of Tom Hiddleston's trickster god has done a lot of growing since stepping out of the timeline after the Battle of New York.
It turns out that heroic trajectory for Loki wasn't just a fluke, as this marks our second Loki to take a heroic turn. After everything he's seen and done through the course of this series, this Loki experienced his own redemption arc, and came out of it a very different man (and that's not all that changed).
Interestingly, it was a pretty quiet episode, with Loki and Sylvie striding together into the Citadel at the End of Time, the massive castle teased at the close of the last episode. There, they found that the structure is almost completely abandoned, save for one being and one room.
The Great and Powerful
Miss Minutes showed up, and we discover that she's not really been working for the TVA at all in the way that we thought. She's been really working for He Who Remains, the true architect of the TVA who set up the Timekeepers as figureheads and organized the whole thing.
HWR was played by Jonathan Majors in a delightfully playful performance that still managed to evoke a tragic depth and sinister undertone. That casting was so key, because so much of the episode was exposition delivered by him, explaining everything to Loki and Sylvie as they just sat there and glowered at him.
But it was such an important information dump, as it not only shapes the next season of the renewed "Loki" series -- and how exciting is that news?! -- but it also has a catastrophic impact on the future of the MCU.
Phase 3 saw the beginning of magic being incorporated into the larger MCU, which had been driven more by science and aliens to that point -- with the occasional Norse god thrown into the mix.
With the close of this episode, Phase 4 is definitely going to have its hands full, just as the TVA is.
Once he'd convinced the Lokis that they couldn't kill him, because he could anticipate their moves as he knew everything that was going to happen, He Who Remains explained that the original version of him was a scientist on Earth in the 31st Century who discovered parallel realities.
As he was making this discovery, so were variant version of him, though not all of them were wise and benevolent. Thus, the Multiversal War erupted. Only by weaponizing the creature Alioth was HWR able to end the War. In its wake, he established his great lie, the TVR, to keep the multiverse from emerging again.
He wiped out entire alternate timelines to prevent another Multiversal War, to prevent alternate versions of himself from trying to take over every other reality out there. He killed countless people to do this, which is why somewhere along the way, he decided that maybe these two Lokis could take over.
What he didn't take into account, though, is that Sylvie is so broken by her experience being ripped from her timeline as a child and then a life in hiding from the TVA, that she is blinded by her need for revenge, blind to the big picture, blind to Loki's pleading, blind to everything but her rage.
So, in the final moments, she pushed Loki through a gate back to the TVA and finished what she started. And as she plunged her dagger into HWR's abdomen, he told her, "See you soon."
He'd already told them this ends one of two ways. Either they take over, because he's tired of it at this point, or they kill him and his Variants begin to wreak havoc throughout the timeline again until he again weaponizes Alioth and it all starts again.
It's a good thing our post-credits scene was a stamp telling us that "Loki" will be back for a second season, because this one left us with a ton of questions. It's fair to say that the emergence of a multiverse, growing quickly out of control, will be picked up in "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness," but there is far more story here to tell.
Before Sylvie killed HWR, Mobius confronted Ravonna and tried to convince her there was another way, that the TVR was a lie and they didn't have to serve it anymore. But she overpowered him and went through a gateway of her own.
Before that, Miss Minutes had downloaded files for her, but not the ones Ravonna had requested. Instead Miss Minutes told her "he thinks this will be more useful," referring to HWR. Ravonna doesn't even know who's really in charge of things, but she nevertheless went off somewhere to do something. Where is she going, what info did HWR give her and what's she going to do now?
The most tragic moment of the entire episode came in the final scene, and that's when Loki finally resolved himself to do something and made his way through the familiar halls of the TVA to find Mobius. But once he did, Mobius didn't know who he was, thinking him just another analyst.
Their incredible bromance was obliterated just like that. At the same time, Mobius didn't even recognize him as a Loki, which is interesting. Perhaps the most sinister, though, is that the Timekeepers are no longer statue out the window. Instead, it is HWR looking very much like Kang the Conqueror.
So is Loki in a different timeline? We get that there's a multiverse now, but does that mean there are multiple TVAs, or is there still just one. If so, in what other ways has it been altered from the TVA we've been following? And how do we get our bromance back?
Mobius and B-15 were basically vowing to get back to business before Mobius revealed that he had no idea who Loki was, so is that the plan at the TVA? Are they going to try to continue pruning alternate timelines to salvage and protect the Sacred Timeline?
Is such a thing even possible at this point with He Who Remains dead? If they're not answering to anyone anymore, who takes charge of the TVA? Or is it that this version of the TVA is actually fully functioning and in operation under HWR's Kang variant?
If that's the case, then is it possible they could actually restore things down to one timeline again, as the original TVA did? And if so, would it be a different timeline than the one we started on? Would that mean the entire MCU timeline would be different, or is "Loki" now existing in its own timeline ... outside of time.
And what does this mean for Miss Minutes, who reported to HWR and appeared to be his creation to keep an eye on things at the TVA? Would we be dealing with an alternate Miss Minutes, too? Or perhaps as she exists technically from the end of time, is she outside of this and perhaps aware of the change in the timeline, and even all other realities?
What Happens at the End of Time?
He Who Remains is just remains now, so what happens to his citadel? What happens to Sylvie, now there alone? She didn't get the satisfaction she wanted in killing him, and it's quickly becoming clear that HWR wasn't lying, after all. Does she have remorse over what she's done? Can she get out of the Citadel?
Perhaps she's about to have company, if there are variant version of HWR, or Kang the Conqueror as they're probably going to be called. If HWR can find the end of time, surely his Variants can as well.
Is Alligator Thor Alive?
What happens to the world just outside the void? Alioth may have been enchanged, but it wasn't destroyed. What happens to it with HWR's death? He'd weaponized it, so is it now free?
And what of all those warring Lokis running around? Are they still running around surviving, and if they are, what kind of future do they have if Alioth stops hunting them? Could they make this wasteland New York their home? Would they even want to? Can they get a spinoff?