In the “Loki” recap for the season finale, Loki and Sylvie finally discover who is behind the TVA and why the sacred timeline is so important…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There were more than a few surprises in the “Loki” season finale but perhaps the post credits scene is where we should actually start.
The big reveal at the end of the end of the episode is that “Loki” will be back for season 2!
As the third Marvel Studios series on Disney+, “Loki” is the first that’s actually set up for another season after both “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” were ultimately limited event series that would then roll directly into films. Wanda Maximoff will eventually appear in “Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness” and there will be a film presumably called “Captain America and The Winter Soldier” after Sam Wilson took up the mantle of Captain America.
But “Loki” is different because not only did the show manage to unleash the multiverse as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the show also introduced a major new villain, who will by all accounts serve as a huge part of the television series and films moving forward into Phase 4.
The season finale also ended on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, which probably would have left most fans irate about not knowing what comes next but the good news is now that “Loki” season 2 is happening and many of these questions will almost certainly be answered then.
Of course, the big bad who was introduced in the “Loki” season finale — more on his true identity later — will also be appearing in at least one upcoming movie — “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” so it will be interesting to see how he is integrated into the larger MCU moving forward.
With that said, there’s plenty to dissect from this episode so let’s recap the “Loki” season 1 finale titled “For All Time, Always”…
He Who Remains
After defeating Alioth and crossing the void, Loki and Sylvie stand on the precipice of the answers they’ve been seeking after arriving at the citadel at the end of time.
The great castle sprawling across the nexus of the universe at both Sylvie and Loki are taken back by the gravity of the situation after finally reaching what they hope will be the conclusion of this epic journey. Just as Sylvie is ready to kick in the front door to demand answers, the gates open and both variants are welcomed inside.
Before they can search for answers, Miss Minutes arrives to offer them both a deal from “He Who Remains” — the nameless ruler who guards over the sacred timeline and ultimately controls the Time Variance Authority.
Miss Minutes tells Loki and Sylvie that if they give up this quest, He Who Remains will grant them both the opportunity to return to the timeline together where they can rule the world if that’s what they desire. Loki can return to the Battle of New York except this time he’s victorious over the Avengers and he can also kill Thanos and claim the Infinity Gauntlet for himself if that’s what he wants.
Sylvie can do the same or she can just return to her former life on Asgard and live out the rest of her days happier than she’s ever been before.
While there’s a moment of hesitation, Loki and Sylvie scoff at the offer and decide to move forward with their search for the person behind the TVA and the sacred timeline.
As Miss Minutes disappears, she then reappears at the TVA where Ravonna Renslayer is packing up her belongings and going on a similar search for the person behind the sacred timeline. Miss Minutes hands over some files to Renslayer but not the exact ones she originally asked to retrieve. Miss Minutes informs her that “he” thought these files would be more useful to her on the journey she’s about to take.
Before Renslayer can make a clean getaway, however, Mobius makes his reappearance in the TVA determined to stop her once and for all.
When she tries to call security on him, Mobius reveals that he’s employed Hunter B-15 to expose the truth about the TVA and how all of the people working there are nothing more than brainwashed variants captured and forced to do their bidding. He then holds up that pen from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School that we saw early in the series that Renslayer said she kept as a keepsake but didn’t remember where it came from.
To help her realize that even she’s a variant, Mobius has Hunter B-15 take the Minutemen on a chase through time and they arrive in Fremont, Ohio in 2018 — and Franklin D. Roosevelt High School.
There the Minutemen observe Ravonna Renslayer as a high school teacher, completely unaware of the TVA or the mission of the agency. In that moment, the Minutemen realized that even Renslayer is another variant and everything that Mobius has been saying is true.
From there, Mobius is trying to figure out what best to do with Renslayer and he tries to convince her that if they work together, perhaps they can make the TVA a better place. She disagrees because Renslayer is a true believer — she truly expects the world to fall into chaos if the TVA is dismantled and the man behind the curtain is killed.
Mobius attempts to stop her but then Renslayer gets the better of him in a brief fight, takes away his weapon but doesn’t kill him or attempt to prune him back to the Void. Instead, she says she’s going on a search for free will and with that she travels through a portal opened with her TemPad and she disappears to somewhere in time.
Back at the Citadel where Loki and Sylvie are trying to track down He Who Remains, an elevator arrives and they are prepared for battle but when the doors open they are greeted by a man.
Dressed in purple and carrying an infectious smile, He Who Remains never actually introduces himself to Loki and Sylvie but he invites them into his office where they can have a discussion.
Now viewers will recognize He Who Remains as Jonathan Majors, who was just nominated for an Emmy for his role on “Lovecraft Country” but even before that was announced, he was cast as Kang the Conqueror for a role that was supposed to start with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” but obviously his first appearance will now be in “Loki.”
For the sake of clarity, we’ll refer to him as He Who Remains for the remainder of the recap but his actual real name is Nathaniel Richards and he’s said to be a descendant of Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four, as well as related to Doctor Victor Von Doom as well.
In the comics, Nathaniel Richards lives in the 31st Century where he’s an accomplished scholar, who discovers time travel technology that was previously developed by Doctor Doom. He then uses that technology to travel back in time where he lands in Ancient Egypt and he eventually takes on the role of a Pharoah so he can rule. Nathaniel then travels back to his own time but overshoots the 31st Century by more than a thousand years but then he discovers that his new world is even easier to conquer so he takes over there as well.
Through hundreds of time jumps and splintering the multiverse, Nathaniel Richards eventually takes up the moniker of Kang the Conqueror as he travels from world to world, attempting to amass an even bigger empire that he can rule. Of course, Kang jumping backwards, forwards and through the multiverse also results in him running into a number of different versions of himself and they all have different goals and plans for the multiverse.
Back to the episode — Sylvie and Loki soon realize that He Who Remains is just a man built of flesh and blood, which means he can be killed. Sylvie then attempts to take his life but He Who Remains is just too quick for her as he uses his time watch to jump and move out of the way before she can strike him down.
When they finally make it to his office, He Who Remains calmly asks Loki and Sylvie to sit down as he explains to them why this is all happening and how the TVA was created in the first place.
Before he can get there, He Who Remains details to Loki and Sylvie how he’s been watching every step of this journey from their time on Lamentis to the moment they shared together on the doomed planet as well as a second such encounter in The Void just before conquering Alioth to get to him. He Who Remains then reveals that he was watching and helping lead them down this path every step of the way to ensure they would eventually reach him but not before both had been changed by the journey.
Sylvie is understandably skeptical that He Who Remains is some puppet master just pulling the strings of every living being in the universe but then he provides her with further proof. He Who Remains pulls out a book with papers inside that actually contain all of the dialogue that they’ve been sharing— word for word— as well as what will happen next and into the future.
He Who Remains then tells the complicated duo that for all the ways they despise the TVA and how the organization manipulates time and eliminates variants, they have to understand that it’s all for the greater good no matter how much they may not like it.
That’s when He Who Remains reveals the truth behind his identity and how the TVA was founded.
Back in the 31st Century, a variant of He Who Remains was a brilliant scientist, who discovered that there were many worlds across the multiverse, stacked on top of one another. It didn’t take long for variants from across those many universes to make the same discovery and then intiate contact in order to crossover between worlds.
From there, He Who Remains and his variants accomplished great things, shared technology and attempted to help each other make the entire multiverse a better place. But unfortunately over time, the many variants of He Who Remains started to splinter off and become vastly different versions of the same person. Many of these variants were brilliant yet dangerous because they only saw each world as a new place they could conquer.
An epic multiversal war then broke out with variants of He Who Remains battling it out and each of them trying to protect and save their own timeline from destruction. Eventually, He Who Remains was able to encounter the great creature Alioth, who was spawned out of the rifts and tears made throughout the multiverse thanks to the fighting going on between all these versions of Nathaniel Richards from across time.
He harnessed this power to put an end to the multiversal war and create the one true timeline where everyone has been living ever since. But He Who Remains is tired of running the TVA and serving as the ruler over the sacred timeline and he’s looking for a replacement.
That’s where he offers Loki and Sylvie the opportunity to take over for him.
He Who Remains believes they are the best possible candidates to rule the sacred timeline and stop the nexus events from splintering apart, which would then open the doorway to more of his variants returning in an attempt to gain power and conquer new worlds.
But he’s also giving Loki and Sylvie free will over their decision — they can either take him up on the offer to rule over the sacred timeline or kill him and risk absolute chaos and destruction when his variants start to reappear and wreak havoc across the multiverse.
“If you think I’m evil just wait till you meet my variants.”
~ He Who Remains
Sylvie doesn’t believe a word of what he’s saying because she can’t trust anybody but Loki feels differently. He knows liars and he doesn’t believe that He Who Remains is actually fabricating this story about the multiverse much less his own variants who could soon invade and cause mass destruction across numerous worlds.
That puts the two Loki variants at odds with each other and soon enough swords are drawn.
As the fighting commences, Sylvie believes that this has all been one big trick by Loki so he can once again claim a throne — this time over the TVA and the sacred timeline. Loki argues that he’s not trying to take over anything but that doesn’t necessarily mean the mysterious time traveler from the 31st century is wrong with what will happen should he fall.
Despite the connection they’ve felt all this time, Loki realizes that they were doomed to never really work together for the simplest of reasons, which has defined both of them as variants.
“You can’t trust and I can’t be trusted.”
Eventually the fighting stops long enough for Loki to throw down his sword and declare that all he really wants is for Sylvie to be OK. He doesn’t care about ruling the TVA or taking over for He Who Remains — and then he finally shares a kiss with Sylvie — as odd as that might sound for two variants of the same person locking lips.
The kiss is short lived, however, as Sylvie then tells Loki that she’s not him — and with that she shoves him through a portal opened by the TemPad bracelet that previously belonged to He Who Remains. Loki arrives in the TVA but the portal closes before he can walk back through again.
At the Citadel, Sylvie finally has her chance at revenge and damn the consequences as she tosses a desk out of her way to confront He Who Remains. He can only smile at her choice of free will while also refusing to beg for his life as Sylvie plunges her sword through his heart.
Before dying, He Who Remains offers her one final warning of what’s to come when he says “see you soon” because his variants will be arriving after he’s gone.
Back at the TVA, Loki gathers himself after the split with Sylvie and he notices the entire place has devolved into chaos as agents and Minutemen are rushing to the scene of a thousand different splits in the sacred timeline. As the multiverse starts to be recreated, new worlds are coming together and the splinters fracturing off are from the sacred timeline are too many to handle.
Loki begins running through the building when he finally reunites with Mobius and Hunter B-15.
He tries to explain to them that they’ve made a grave error after seeking out the person behind the TVA only to discover that he was a madman but also a genius who was able to stave off his variants and create the sacred timeline in order to prevent a cataclysmic event across the multiverse. Now Loki is determined to try and fix the problem but he’s not sure where to start.
That’s when he’s faced with an all new reality — Mobius doesn’t recognize him and calls Loki an analyst while asking what division he’s with. Loki is stunned because Mobius has changed but then he begins to look around and he finds that the entire TVA has been transformed.
Loki then spots the giant statue that was once erected to the so-called Time Keepers but now the image resembles He Who Remains or some variant version that has now returned and conquered this particular timeline. Just as He Who Remains warned, his variants were far more evil than him and now at least one of them has already altered the timeline.
As previously explained, the variants — as least some of them — will go by the name Kang the Conqueror and it won’t be long before we are revisited by Nathaniel Richard in some form or fashion. This undoubtedly sets up the next major villain arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kang the Conqueror and his many variants seeks to rule over every timeline in the multiverse and this will have far reaching consequences that will likely begin to play out with the upcoming film “The Eternals” as well as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
Kang is also set to serve as the primary antagonist in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” but it’s unclear which variant might appear in that movie.
We’ll surely begin to find out just how disastrous Sylvie’s decision was to kill He Who Remains with several more Marvel projects coming soon and Kang the Conqueror officially arriving in the MCU.
Stay tuned for more information on “Loki” season 2 as it becomes available!