Need to catch up? Read our most recent Loki recap here.
Loki and Sylvie have reached the end of the yellow brick road, and it’s time to meet the wizard.
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Wednesday’s Loki finale — which was confirmed during the end credits to only be a season ender, not a series finale — at last brought Loki and Sylvie face to face with the person responsible for the TVA’s creation. And this guy isn’t some bumbling Wizard of Oz type who’s going to ride off in a hot air balloon; he’s actually quite dangerous, knows everything that’s about to happen before it happens, and his death could incite a catastrophic, multiversal war. Fun!
When Loki and Sylvie finally enter the castle that lies beyond Alioth, they’re greeted by Miss Minutes, whose Southern accent has never sounded quite this foreboding. She welcomes them to The Citadel at the End of Time, adding that He Who Remains — the man who “created all and controls all” — is impressed by their journey. Through Miss Minutes, He Who Remains makes the duo a deal: The TVA will keep operating as usual, and Loki and Sylvie can get reinserted into the timeline in a way that won’t disrupt the proper flow of events. Loki can get the power he’s craved, Sylvie can wake up tomorrow with a lifetime of only happy memories, and they could both exist together in the same timeline. But Sylvie counters that He Who Remains’ offer is “fiction,” and Loki adds, “We write our own destiny now.” Miss Minutes is skeptical of that claim, but she disappears anyway.
As they journey further into The Citadel, Loki and Sylvie eventually encounter He Who Remains himself, played by Lovecraft Country‘s Jonathan Majors. (Majors is set to appear in the 2023 Marvel flick Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, playing villain Kang the Conqueror; in this finale, though, Majors’ character is only ever called He Who Remains, though he mentions he’s had many names in the past.) Wearing a long, purple robe and a circular bracelet that serves as a TemPad, He Who Remains is easily able to dodge Sylvie’s initial attempts to stab him, disappearing and reappearing in a new place every time she lunges at him.
In fact, as He Who Remains informs his guests, he’s responsible for paving the entire road that was their treacherous journey to reach him. “You just walked down it,” he taunts. He even presents them with a hard copy of the very conversation they’re currently having, in an effort to prove this is all preordained, and they only survived this far because he wanted them to. Without the TVA and the order that he’s brought to the Sacred Timeline, “everything burns,” He Who Remains explains.
He goes on to reveal his origin story: A scientist variant of himself, who lived in the 31st century, discovered other universes stacked on top of his own. (This stacked-universe notion was also depicted at the very beginning of the finale, as sound bites of different moments throughout history played in quick succession — including WandaVision‘s Vision saying, “What is grief, if not love persevering?”) As these universes collided and the variants met each other, their initial peace and harmony gave way to an all-out war for power and control; the battle only ceased when He Who Remains weaponized Alioth and used it to end the multiversal war. Now, he says, the TVA and Sacred Timeline exist to prevent such chaos from happening again — and were he to be killed, infinite variants of He Who Remains would appear, and another multiversal war would surely start.
Loki and Sylvie are presented with a choice: Kill He Who Remains, and risk bedlam on the timeline, or return to the TVA and become its benevolent rulers. But then there’s some curious rumbling in the distance, and He Who Remains suddenly looks worried. “We just crossed the threshold,” he says. Outside, swirling ribbons of color in the sky begin to branch off from one another. And He Who Remains divulges that, actually, he doesn’t know everything that’s going to happen: He only knew everything up to about 10 seconds ago. But Loki and Sylvie’s decision is anyone’s guess, really!
Sylvie once again lunges to stab He Who Remains, but Loki tries to talk her down, saying they should simply take a minute and think about their choice. Loki’s disinterest in immediately killing He Who Remains is puzzling to Sylvie, and she suggests he’s merely been conning her all this time so he can finally take his throne. Loki is devastated by her theory, and they fight with their swords for a while, even as Loki is begging Sylvie to stop and think clearly. Eventually, Sylvie throws a blast of green light at Loki, and he vanishes — but just as Sylvie is about to bring her blade down on He Who Remains, Loki reappears right in the sword’s trajectory, and he finally gets Sylvie to pause.
“I’ve been where you are,” Loki tells Sylvie through tears. “Don’t ask me how I know. All I know is I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want a throne. I just want you to be OK.” An emotional Sylvie finally drops her sword, and they kiss… but when Sylvie pulls away, she remarks, “But I’m not you.” And having secretly grabbed He Who Remains’ TemPad bracelet from his desk, Sylvie opens a time door and pushes Loki through it, sending him back to the TVA. (Editor’s note: NOOOOOOO)
With Loki gone, Sylvie doesn’t hesitate to follow through with her plan, and she drives her sword into He Who Remains. “See you soon,” he tells her with a wink, and after he dies, Sylvie sits on the floor looking conflicted about what she just did — and for good reason, since the colorful timeline outside is branching like crazy. You could even call it a multiverse of madness, if you like.
Meanwhile, a lot’s been going down at the TVA during Loki and Sylvie’s quest. Mobius returns to headquarters to confront Renslayer, and she’s determined to believe the TVA’s work had some kind of purpose all along. To that end, instead of pruning Mobius once again when she gets the opportunity, Renslayer opens a new time door instead, telling Mobius that she’s going “in search of free will” before stepping through it.
And Hunter B-15 has journeyed back to Fremont, Ohio, circa 2018. She’s at Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School — a school name we once saw on a pen that Renslayer owns — and when a fellow TVA hunter finds B-15 and tries to take her into custody, they’re interrupted by a woman who looks like Renslayer but clearly isn’t. (A diploma on the wall bears the name “Rebecca Tourminet.”) “Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my school?” Rebecca asks the hunters, and B-15 tells her colleague, “We have a lot to talk about.”
The next time we see B-15, it’s after Sylvie has killed He Who Remains, and she and Mobius watch from the TVA as the Sacred Timeline branches off in countless directions. “No turning back now,” Mobius remarks, to which B-15 replies, “Who said anything about turning back?”
And then there’s poor, poor Loki, who’s sitting alone in silence after Sylvie betrayed him. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, and when he opens them, he looks more determined. Loki then rushes around the TVA — where all employees are in a similarly frantic state — until he finds B-15 and Mobius in the archives. He lies that he and Sylvie freed the timeline, then warns that countless versions of a dangerous person are coming, all of them set on waging war.
But as Loki learns seconds later, neither Mobius nor B-15 — at least, these versions of them — seem to recognize Loki, asking him who he is and where he works in the TVA. Loki looks a bit confused and terrified, and when he steps away to catch his breath, he notices an enormous stone statue of He Who Remains towering over the bureau.
That’s a wrap on Loki‘s first season! What did you think of the finale? Grade it in our poll below, then drop a comment with your full reactions!
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