Loki’s time-hopping adventure reached its end Wednesday, with the sixth and final episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe show hitting Disney Plus. The season finale, entitled For All Time, Always, picks up with God of Mischief Variants Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) after they uncovered the path to the castle hideout of the mastermind behind the Time Variance Authority. It also leaves us with a little post-credits scene to hint at the MCU’s future.
Separately, former TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) returned to his old workplace, determined to reveal the truth that he and his former co-workers are all Variants who were snatched from their old lives and had their memories erased. It’s unclear if TVA Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) will help or hinder Mobius in his quest.
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Let’s dodge the SPOILER Variance Authority and dive in one last time (or maybe not).
The villain revealed
Stepping into the Citadel at the End of Time, Loki and Sylvie meet He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), who appears to be a version of time-hopping comic villain Kang the Conqueror. We already knew this guy is meant to make his MCU debut in February 2023 movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Since he’s never referred to as Kang in this episode, it seems like the Kang has yet to appear. He Who Remains claims to be the last survivor of a multiversal war that broke out when multiple versions of him made contact after the multiverse was discovered in the 31st century.
He tamed and weaponized Alioth, using the trans-temporal being to end the war (presumably by gobbling up the other timelines). To stop it happening again, he created the TVA to manage the Sacred Timeline.
“Once I isolated our timeline, all I had to do was manage the flow of time and prevent any further branches,’ He says. “Hence, the TVA. Hence, the Time-Keepers and a highly efficient bureaucracy. Hence, ages and ages of cosmic harmony. Hence, you’re welcome.”
He Who Remains presents himself as benevolent, but Sylvie rightly points out that his approach results in countless innocent Variants and timelines getting pruned. However, he implies that his own Variants are “far worse.”
The timeline dictator presents them with a choice — kill him and let multiversal war break out again, or Loki and Sylvie take his place. He’s lived a million lifetimes and has become tired (despite looking very fresh-faced indeed).
In the comics, Kang is a baddy from the 31st century who’s faced off against the Avengers many times (and in many incarnations) since his ’60s debut.
Loki and Sylvie have a pretty epic fight over He Who Remains’ fate, with the latter coming out on top (after a little Variant kissy time). She flings Loki back to the TVA and slays He Who Remains, which lets the timeline branch like crazy — apparently letting many versions of Kang run amok across the multiverse.
“See you soon,” He says creepily before his death.
“Someone is coming. Countless different versions of a very dangerous person,” he tells them. “And they’re all set on war. We need to prepare.”
However, they can’t remember Loki, and he turns to see a statue of Kang wearing his comic costume towering over the TVA — it seems the God of Mischief has been sent to a different timeline’s version of the agency, one that a Kang Variant is openly controlling. And he’s told his agents to let the timeline branch.
This presumably leads directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is due out March 2022, and ties into the WandaVision finale, where Wanda heard her lost sons calling out from some plain of reality — her search is likely to continue in the Doctor Strange sequel. Loki is also expected to show up in that movie.
It also most likely kicks open the doors for What If…? to slot into canon. The animated series, which kicks off on Disney Plus on Wednesday, Aug. 11, explores alternate realities based on events playing out differently in the MCU. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll tear down the walls between realities for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
A stamp hits Loki’s TVA case file, revealing that “Loki will return in season 2” — the timeline tomfoolery will continue.
It’s the first Disney Plus live-action MCU show to be confirmed for another season, since WandaVision was designed as a miniseries and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s story will reportedly pick up in the next Captain America movie. So, congratulations Laufeyson.
Beyond the live-action shows, the animated What If…? will also get a second season.
The Menace of Miss Minutes
When Loki and Sylvie arrive in the Citadel, Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) appears with the most sinister “Hey y’all” in history. Turns out she was a puppet for He Who Remains all along.
She brings them an offer: They can be reinserted back into the Sacred Timeline “in a way that won’t disrupt things.” Instead of suffering so many humiliating defeats, Loki can beat the Avengers at the Battle of New York, kill Thanos, take the Infinity Gauntlet and seize the Throne of Asgard. Sylvie can forget all her time on the run from the TVA and “wake up tomorrow with just a lifetime of happy memories.”
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The Variant pair could be together on the timeline, the TVA mascot claims, but they reject it. Probably a wise move — they’d probably have been dropped in front of murder cloud Alioth and gotten eaten up together (RIP Classic Loki).
Miss Minutes also gives Ravonna some files to read, likely setting up He Who Remains’ backup plan in case Loki and Sylvie kill him. Another good idea.
In search of free will
OG Mobius confronts Ravonna in her office, but she easily avoids getting pruned and overpowers him. She rejects his offer to rebuild the TVA into something better, and vanishes into a time portal to an unknown destination.
We also discover that Ravonna’s pre-TVA life was as the principal of Franklin D. Roosevelt High School — previously hinted at by the presence of a pen from the school in her TVA office. The Ohio State University diploma hanging above her desk reveals her name to be Rebecca Tourminet. The original Hunter B-15 leads a group of Minutemen to Rebecca’s office in 2018, proving that all the TVA workers are Variants.
In the comics, Rebecca Tourminet was an alias used by Ravonna.
It seems like we get one last glimpse at these versions of Mobius and B-15 at the TVA, as they watch the timelines split and go beyond the red line on a monitor. The pair agree that there’s “no turning back.”
“For all time,” says Mobius, leaving B-15 to finish the agency motto. “Always.”
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As the Marvel Studios logo appears at the start of the episode, we start hearing lines from various points in the MCU timeline and real life. Here are the clear ones:
- “Way to go, Tic-Tac.” — Sam Wilson in Captain America: Civil War.
- “That’s how you punch.” — Hope Van Dyne in Ant-Man.
- “Wakanda forever!” — T’Challa in Black Panther.
- “You wouldn’t have heard of me.” — Scott Lang in Ant-Man.
- “Let me put you on hold” — Natasha Romanoff in The Avengers.
- “Dance-off, bro.” — Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- “He’s a friend from work.” — Thor in Thor: Ragnarok.
- “I can do this all day” and “Yeah I know.” — 2012 Steve Rogers to 2023 Steve Rogers in Avengers: Endgame.
- “I’ll show you ferocity.” — Hank Pym in Ant-Man.
- “Higher, further, faster, baby.” — Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel.
- “We have a Hulk.” — Loki in Avengers: Infinity War.
- “We’re gonna jump on that spaceship and get out of here. Wanna come?” — Korg in Thor: Ragnarok.
- “We think of time as a one-way motion.” — philosopher Alan Watts in real life.
- “One small step for man…” — Neil Armstrong in real life.
- “How dare they!” — Greta Thunberg in real life.
- “My dream…” — Malala Yousafzai in real life.
- “We have fought for the right to experience peace.” — Nelson Mandela in real life.
- “Glorious purpose!” — Classic Loki in Loki episode 5.
- “Motivated by women throughout the world.” — Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in real life.
- “What is grief, if not love persevering?” — Vision in WandaVision episode 8.
- “I will rise.” — Maya Angelou in real life.
- “Open your eyes.” — Sylvie in Loki episode 5.
We also hear the 1945 song It’s Been a Long, Long Time (specifically the Harry James Orchestra version, with vocals by Kitty Kallen), which you might remember Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter dancing to in their alternate timeline marital bliss at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and Kylie Minogue’s 1987 debut single I Should Be So Lucky. Oh look, it’s the glorious ’80s.
Observations, WTF questions and Easter eggs
- Years visited: The End of Time, 2018.
- The name Kang doesn’t appear in the international credits either — Sylvie’s real name was previously revealed early in those.
- It feels like the smashed statue in the Citadel must symbolize something. They resemble the Time-Keepers, but there were only three of them and there are four statues. Cue the Fantastic Four theories.
- He Who Remains’ stylish purple cloak mirrors the purple on Kang’s comic costume.
- His TempPad looks different from the ones used by the TVA — its aesthetic reflects the design of his Citadel. I applaud his attention to detail.
- When Ravonna knocks Mobius to the floor, he says “Back here again.” Whatever happened on the floor of Ravonna’s office?! My pearls, I am clutching them.
- We still don’t fully understand the significance of Loki and Sylvie’s timeline-muddling bond.
- What would have happened to He Who Remains if Loki and Sylvie had taken his place?
- It seems likely that Loki and Ravonna will team up in an effort to restore order to the timeline. Maybe?
- What’s Sylvie going to do next? Hang out in He Who Remains’ creepy office?
- Will Miss Minutes endure as an extension of He Who Remains’ will? She Who Remains?
Loki’s Disney Plus adventure is done for now, but there’s plenty more Marvel coming in 2021. Next up on the streaming service is What If…? on Wednesday, Aug. 11, followed by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hitting theaters on Sept. 3.