Out of all the Disney+ series finale episodes so far, the finale to Loki was probably the most highly anticipated of them all. While the finale answered a lot of questions it also raised even more for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some theories (such as introducing new characters) played out, while others didn’t, and although it was only six episodes long, Loki has made a lasting impression and leads into later MCU material. As with all our recaps so far, there’s a spoiler warning ahead, and don’t forget to check out our episode five recap.
In a diversion from the usual opening theme, the finale opens with a new audio mix combined with the Marvel Studios logo. We hear clips of dialogue from across various films and even a few past Disney+ shows such as WandaVision. There are a ton of great videos on YouTube breaking it all down. The sequence also includes memorable quotes from the real world from famous people while exploring the universe.
It’s a visually stunning opening and as we leave the universe of the series so far, we end up in an alternate universe: one inside a black hole, next to ours. We’re taken to where we last saw Sylvie and Loki, what is known as the Citadel at the End of Time, surrounded by the Sacred Timeline. The two cautiously approach, but Sylvie stops, having a bit of a panic attack. She explains to Loki she’s been waiting for this moment for a very long time and needs a minute. Refusing to listen, Loki doesn’t hesitate and barges in as the doors open.
The two are on guard, brandishing their swords, when Marvel goes full horror. We get a jumpscare from Miss Minutes herself, the animated creature ominously welcoming them. She mentions how they had such a long journey to get there and that ‘He’ is impressed. And who might ‘He’ be? Miss Minutes tells them it’s ‘He who remains’, a grand and mysterious title for an as-yet unknown character. She then goes on to offer both of them a deal with the devil to get reinstated back into The Sacred Timeline if they turn back. If they obey, Loki can get what he always wanted: to be King of Asgard, have the Infinity Gauntlet beat Thanos. As for Sylvie, she can get the life that was stolen from her. They can even be together if they want. It’s a tempting deal. They exchange a look, but Loki replies to Miss Minutes, ‘we write our own destinies now.’ ‘Sure you do hon,’ she smirks as she vanishes.
Meanwhile, Ravonna is waiting in her office as Miss Minutes reappears. Explaining her long delay, Miss Minutes says she had to take care of something. Ravonna looks at the information on her Temp Pad saying it wasn’t was she asked for. Miss Minutes says she knows but that ‘He’ thought this would be more useful and disappears again.
Back at the Citadel, the elevator doors open and out pops He Who Remains: fans will be delighted and surprised to see Immortus, a Kang the Conqueror variant, and the debut of Jonathan Majors in the MCU. After all, some theories predicted his presence, but this remained speculation right up until the last minute. Now firmly embedded in the story, he welcomes them (confidently, carelessly eating an apple) and says they have a lot to discuss. He also jokes about how Miss Minutes still calls him ‘He Who Remains’, as he found it a bit grandiose for his character.
Confused, but their curiosity piqued, Loki and Sylvie follow him in the elevator, keeping their weapons on him. Sylvie is itching to kill him right then and there. He vanishes using his own Timetwister device. As he vanishes, the elevator arrives at his massive office. Sylvie and Loki cautiously enter, weapons still drawn, as they sit down across from He Who Remains.
Back at the TVA in Renslayer’s office, she’s looking at the ring stains left by Mobius on the side table when she hears a knock on the door. ‘I thought I told you I was not to be disturbed’, she snaps, but to her surprise, Mobius enters. ‘If anyone could escape the void, I suppose it would be you,’ she says. She asks if he is going to prune her, and although Mobius says it’s a good idea, he remarks his standards are a little higher than hers.
She apologies, but explains that she couldn’t let him get in the way of the mission. Impatient, he replies ‘What mission?’ After all, the timekeepers are fake, and everyone is a variant. Ravonna says it can’t have been for nothing and that’s why she had to prune him. She then proceeds to call Hunter D-90 as backup. Mobius replies that it won’t work out the way she thinks it will, now that he knows the secret of the TVA. Renslayer takes a deep breath and asks Mobius what he’s done.
He holds up the pen we saw back in Episode 3. Now we cut to 2018 in Fremont, Ohio at a high school, Hunter B-15 is being pursued by more Hunters. Hunter U-92 follows her, she wants to show him something as she enters an office.
Renslayer enters, but she doesn’t recognise the others. In fact, it’s because they’ve found a version of her before she joined the TVA: her real name is Rebecca Tourminet. The other Hunter addresses her as Judge Renslayer, but she is taken aback, demanding to know why they are in her office. Turns out she is the principal of this high school. Hunter D-90 asks how this is possible, and B-15 replies that they have a lot to talk about.
Back inside He Who Remains’ office at the Citadel, he again congratulates Loki and Sylvie for hanging on for so long, despite enduring so much pain. Loki says he isn’t sure He Who Remains understands: ‘You’ve lost: we found you.’ He Who Remains laughs (‘duh!’) as Sylvie again tries to strike him. After all, they can’t kill him because he knows what’s going to happen. He shows them a script of this very scene for proof and they are placated.
Laughing at their situation, He Who Remains even taunts them, knowing the two variants seem to have fallen for each other. Unshaken, Sylvie explains that they’ve broke out of his little game and that’s how they got there. But He Who Remains just laughs: she’s wrong. He’s paved the road for them to get to him. It brings up a really interesting argument about determinism versus free will. Cranking up the mind games a notch, He Who Remains begins to try and turn the two Lokis against each other, questioning if Sylvie can really trust Loki. He further goes on to say that there is only one way for this to end, leaving us questioning exactly how this is going to pan out.
Once again, we cut back to the TVA, where Mobius is on a mission: he thinks the TVA is ready for a little truth now, now he knows it’s all a lie. Renslayer defends the decision, asking ‘but what if it’s a necessary one?’ She explains that someone created the TimeKeepers and the TVA and that they gave them all purpose. She wants to believe they had a reason for it.
Mobius retorts that he’s seen the horror awaiting those who are pruned and that there is nothing necessary about that. Renslayer continues defending pruning the Timeline, reasoning that if they didn’t chaos and death would occur. Getting to the very heart of the issue throughout the series, Mobius questions what this means for people’s free will. After all, are they really free with a pre-determined timeline? Renslayer scoffs at this, saying there is only one person who gets free will, the one in charge.
In the middle of a full argument, Mobius says that Ravonna has betrayed him and their friendship. She’s emotional, but strikes back: it’s Mobius who betrayed her by siding with the variants. She also states she put herself out there for him. But once again, he again tells her that they can’t take away people’s free will – how can she not see that?
Renslayer soon opens a time door, while Mobius fervently tries to persude her not to, offering a solution: maybe together they can build the TVA into something better. They clearly have history, but it can’t get in the way. Mobius tries to stop her leaving with his pruning stick, but even armed he’s not a threat to Ravonna.
As he tries to prune her, she swiftly knocks him to the ground, but he goads her to get on with it. After a moment of hesitation, she turns off the pruning stick, grabs her bag, and enters the time door ‘in search of free will.’
Back at the Citadel, we’re still in a philosophical argument. He Who Remains continues to explain how, while the TVA’s methods are questionable, the mission never was. None of it is possible without him. Yet, he’s here, cowering or hiding in his tower. Loki asks what he’s so afraid of, to which Who Remains replies, ‘ me.’ He explains his origins, and his variants, and the Multiversal War that occurred because of his variants fighting with each other.
We get nods to many of Kang’s variants, including Nathanial Richards, a descendant of Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards from the 31st Century on earth. This variant discovered other universes stacked on top of his own. For a while, the variants were in harmony with each other.
He further explains how not every version of him was so pure of heart and how some of them saw new worlds as only one thing: something to be conquered. That peace between realties erupted into war. Each of his variants fought to protect their universes and destroy the others. It was almost the end until the first variant discovered Aolith created from the rips and tears in reality. He weaponized it and ended the multiversal war. He isolated their timeline and manage the flow of time preventing further branches. That’s why he created the TVA.
He Who Remains says that he keeps them safe and if he thinks that he’s evil, just wait until they meet his variants. He goes onto to say that while they may hate him if they get rid of him something worse will fill the void. Sylvie calls his bluff, saying he’s a liar. Then He Who Remains offers them a deal, have Loki and Sylvie rule the TVA or kill him. If they kill him it won’t be just one bad guy there will be an infinite amount out there.
Loki again says he’s lying, asking why he would give up being in control. He Who Remains replies he’s tired, he’s older than he looks, and that this game is for the young and the hungry. He’s also been searching for the right person to take his place and was surprised it was two variants of the same person.
Sylvie says what he did to her was personal and He Who Remains tells her to grow up, calling her a murderer and hypocrite: they are all villains here. Now they have a chance to do them for a good reason. But just at that moment, he’s interrupted by rumbling, indicating that they’ve just crossed the threshold. Although he did know how everything was going to go up to a certain point, now he has no idea.
Outside, the timeline physically starts to branch. Loki goes on to question him: “so this is what happens at the end of time? You are just going to sit there with all this freedom and let us decide your fate”. Yes, He Who Remains answers simply. ‘What’s the worst the can happen?’ Sylvie doesn’t believe that if they kill him he will just be reincarnated and the cycle will continue.
Finally, enough is enough, and she goes to attack him as he takes off his Timetwister device. But Loki intervenes and the two fight, like when they first met earlier in the series. Loki tries to reason with her and she says they should just finish what they started and kill him, talk later. He Who Remains looks on in amusement. Loki says he believes what he told them and that he may be a liar but he thinks he was telling them the truth.
The distrust finally taking root, Sylvie accuses Loki of only wanting the throne, though Loki says it’s about the universe being in the balance. Despite what the TVA did to them both, he wants them to consider what they were told. And if they kill He Who Remains they could unleash something worse. But ultimately, they’re fighting because Sylvie can’t trust and Loki can’t be trusted. At a revealing point in the encounter, Loki says that all he knows is he doesn’t want to hurt her, he doesn’t want a throne: he just wants her to be ok. The two kiss, but it’s shortlived as Sylvie pushes Loki through a time door. saying she’s not him.
Loki ends up back in the TVA time theater. At the same moment, Sylvie asks if He Who Remains is going to beg for his life and he laughs as she kills him. Even while dying, he says he will see her soon and winks. Sylvie collapses on the floor as the timeline has now branched off into multiple realities, causing untold havoc across universes.
Mobius and Hunter B-15 are watching all of this unfold on their monitor in the TVA as Mobius makes the understatement of the year: ‘no turning back now.’ Hunter B-15 replies ‘who said anything about turning back?’ Finally, using the TVA’s motto, Mobius replies with ‘For all time’ as B-15 responds with ‘always.’
Loki suddenly realizes what Sylvie has just done. He makes his way out to see all the Hunters running and the TVA in chaos. Running to the archives, he finds Mobius and B-15. They hurriedly talk about the exponential growth, that there are 63 new branches in this unit alone. How will they stop it?
Loki says to them they can’t and that it’s done. Mobius seems confused as Loki explains everything: they’ve made a terrible mistake and freed the timeline. He warns them that a dangerous person, and all his variants, are coming. They need to prepare for war.
But the climax of the whole episode peaks when Mobius asks who he is: seemingly not knowing Loki at all. Suddenly, Loki has realized what’s happened: he has ended up in a different version of the TVA and a different timeline entirely. We end with Loki gazing in horror at a new statue of He Who Remains where the three TIme Keeper statues used to be.
Well, what a way to end. This entire series has been an incredible journey and Jonathan Majors completely stole the show. To the disappointment of some, there is no notable mid-credit scene, but instead, we have a very short scene in which Loki’s file is stamped with the words, ‘Loki will return in season two.’
It will be exciting to meet all the different versions before we get to Kang The Conqueror in Ant-Man 3: Quantumania. We know that Loki will play some role in Doctor Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness which was a surprise following the finale. What he will be doing is anyone’s guess, but it will be exciting. Now comes the long wait until Season Two, but we at least finally have some more MCU Phase 4 films to look forward to until then. Thanks for reading our recaps, and if you want to find out more, don’t forget to have a look at our entire series recap to date.