DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Loki season finale episode “For All Time. Always.” is riddled with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, variants! We’ve reached the season finale of Loki, and holy motherforking shirtballs is it glorious! For starters, Jonathan Majors makes his official Marvel debut. While he doesn’t go by Kang the Conqueror in this outing, he does appear as one of the countless variant versions of himself. “He Who Remains” has been behind the whole shebang whilst sitting in the Citadel at the End of Time.
Not gonna lie, this gives me major Doctor Who vibes a la Ashildr sitting alone at the end of time. Anyway, Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino deliver the goods, churning in their best performances of the season. That fight! That kiss! The ending!
I’ll shut up now so we can get to the recapping part. Let’s dive into “For All Time. Always.”
Now, we open with voices — an amalgam of voices from various MCU characters. In addition, we hear voices from our current reality melding together with the Marvel world. We see two universes side-by-side. After zooming in, we see the ominous castle looming beyond Alioth. Loki (Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Di Martino) are standing outside of it.
Sylvie’s trying to muster the courage to kick down the massive door. However, it opens of its own accord. Loki and Sylvie are greeted by Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong), who explains to them that “He Who Remains” lives here. He’s omnipotent. Omniscient. Omnipresent. He’s all the omnis. Oh, and he can return them both to the sacred timeline without further bungling the events therein.
Not only that, but they can remain there together. Loki could finally beat the Avengers, kill Thanos and sit atop the throne in Asgard. Sylvie could wake up with a mind chock full of happy memories, finally at rest after a lifetime on the run. Our heroes aren’t buying it, though. I knew something was amiss with Miss Minutes!
Then, Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is waiting impatiently for Miss Minutes to return to the TVA. Miss Minutes gives Renslayer some reading material, but it’s not what the latter initially asked for. But He Who Remains thinks this will be “more useful.”
Next, our titular god of mischief and Sylvie are roaming the desolate corridors of the Citadel at the End of Time. How formidable! Suddenly, a door opens. Out walks the man of the hour — He Who Remains (Majors). Admittedly, this moment made my jaw drop. Loki is bewildered to see that it’s just a regular dude. HWR ushers Sylvie and Loki into his office.
But while they’re en route, Sylvie tries to kill HWR. Several times. HWR seamlessly dodges every attack. HWR makes them tea and asks them to sit. It’s time for a chat! Naturally, both of our variants are reticent to do so, but they oblige, brandished blades in hand.
Meanwhile, Mobius (Owen Wilson) surprises Renslayer in her office. He made it back from the Void! Renslayer wonders aloud if Mobius plans to prune her too. They bicker over who’s really guilty of betrayal. Mobius insists that there’s no TVA to continue — the Time Keepers are fake and everyone’s a variant. However, Renslayer asserts that the work they do is still vital.
Then, Renslayer tries to summon a hunter to her office to dispose of Mobius. Mobius procures her pen from his pocket, and we see it’s connected to who she really is. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) is in Fremont, Ohio (as an Ohioan, this made me happy) in 2018. One of the TVA hunters finds her in the office of a high school. Suddenly, a woman who looks identical to Renslayer emerges. She emphatically asks the TVA folks what they’re doing in her school.
So, this version of Renslayer is existing in tandem with the one we know? It was initially established that all TVA agents were plucked from their respective former lives. Unless our Renslayer is a shapeshifter of sorts…
Next, HWR discloses that he really does know everything. He reveals a series of transcripts that dictate the course of their conversation. It’s how he’s able to avoid dying by Sylvie’s hand. Loki dismisses this as a parlor trick. A manipulation. Funny how a god who thrives on manipulation and mind games assumes that everything is just that — a trick.
Apparently, HWR has orchestrated everything that’s happened to Loki and Sylvie. Lamentis. The Void. All of it. Their journey has led them to the Citadel because HWR made it so.
Meanwhile, Mobius and Renslayer discuss free will. Pruning timelines and people certainly don’t allow free will to exist. Emotions are running high. Renslayer almost prunes Mobius again … until she opens a portal. She tells Mobius that she’s off in search of “free will.” Then, she vanishes through the said portal.
Now, HWR delves into his own backstory. He tells our Lokis that he’s gone by many names: one of them happens to be “conqueror.” The not-so-subtle hints are sending me. HWR utilizes his bracelet to create an animated projection of his variant as a scientist on Earth in the 31st century. This variant discovered that there were universes stacked on top of each other. At the same time, other variants of himself were learning the same thing.
Inevitably, these variants from different universes made contact. Shared knowledge. However, not all of them were amiable. Some of them thought that new worlds needed to be “conquered.” Thus, an all-out Multiversal War erupted between these HWR variants.
Next, the first variant encountered Alioth, who was created from all of the tears in reality. He’s capable of consuming time and space itself. So, HWR (who’s obviously the original variant) harnessed the power of Alioth, conducted experiments and installed the beast as a guard dog of sorts.
HWR isolated the sacred timeline and proceeded to manage the flow of time. He implemented the use of the TVA to ensure that no further branches in the timeline were created. The Time Keepers were fabricated out of the fake dogma needed to keep the TVA on task.
Now, HWR presents our pair with a pair of choices. Either they kill him and face the wrath of his countless variants, including the not-so-nice ones a.k.a. Kang the Conqueror, or they take his place in the Citadel at the End of Time. Loki and Sylvie would have to continue his life’s work and protect the sacred timeline. “Stifling order or cataclysmic chaos.”
Then, Sylvie accuses HWR of being a liar. HWR asserts that the TVA works and that he’s gone over every scenario that could possibly exist. That’s very Dr. Strange of him. Sylvie doesn’t believe him.
Suddenly, something happens. Something unexpected. The timeline that encircles the Citadel begins to branch. HWR didn’t see this coming. So, whatever decision Loki and Sylvie make, they have to do it quickly. Kill him or take his place. If they choose the former, then an infinite amount of HWR variants will rise up and start another Multiversal War. Sylvie chooses the former.
However, Loki blocks Sylvie’s attack. He urges her to stand down and think about this. They can talk it out. But Sylvie’s done listening. She assumes that he’s preventing her from killing HWR because he wants the throne. He wants to sit in the Citadel and rule. The pair duke it out.
Finally, Loki confesses that he doesn’t want a throne. He doesn’t want to rule. He just wants Sylvie to be okay. Then, in a rush of adrenaline from battle, Sylvie kisses Loki. The heavens part. Angels sing. A thousand doves triumphantly circle overhead. Nah, I’m just kidding, but that’s what this moment feels like.
Unfortunately, the smooching moment passes. Sylvie shoves Loki through a portal that transports the latter back to the TVA. It was a trick! Now, it’s just Sylvie and HWR. She promptly kills him. Prior to plunging her blade into his body, HWR tells her he’ll see her again soon. He’ll be back. After the act, Sylvie bursts into tears.
Outside, we see that the sacred timeline has more branches than ever before. It’s like a tree. Back at the TVA, Mobius and Hunter B-15 are studying the branching timeline. Both of them look aghast. Loki is sitting in utter shock. He finally opened up to someone. He was vulnerable. And then she shoved him through a portal.
However, it’s time to get down to business. He gets up and searches for Mobius. He finds that the TVA has been thrown into chaos. Loki encounters Mobius and B-15 in the library. Apparently, there are now 63 new branches from the sacred timeline. He hurriedly explains to them that Sylvie killed the one in charge of everything, and now a Multiversal War is on the brink of eruption. Multiple variants of HWR are coming.
But Mobius and B-15 don’t recognize him. Mobius asks Loki if he’s an analyst. B-15 calls for “boots on the ground in Archives.” They clearly have no idea who he is. Loki spots the statues that used to depict the three Time Keepers. Now, it’s only one. We see a massive statue of He Who Remains. Sh*t has hit the fan.
The end-credit scene for this episode reveals a fun surprise: there’s going to be a second season! Huzzah!
“For All Time. Always.” is Marvel’s strongest season finale to date. Jonathan Majors’ performance rocked the multiverse to its core. He really shone here. I’m so stoked to see him as Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania!
This may be unrelated, but the Citadel window behind He Who Remains is reminiscent of the window in the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York. We know that Dr. Strange is all too familiar with the Quantum Realm as well as Ant-Man. It’s all connected, y’all!
Overall, Loki exceeded my expectations and set the bar incredibly high for future Marvel Disney Plus shows. Loki’s arc and his evolvement as a character were so well written. I loved seeing him grow. Sylvie’s also a wonderfully nuanced character, and Sophia Di Martino absolutely killed it.
Do you think that Loki was deposited in an alternate timeline with the TVA, or is it the same one that’s now overtaken by He Who Remains’ variants? Maybe Kang the Conqueror himself? The alt timeline would explain why Mobius and B-15 didn’t recognize him.
Where did Renslayer go? In the comics, Kang falls in love with her. It’s possible that this variant of Renslayer went through that portal to meet with Kang. So many possibilities! Thank the Asgardian gods we’re getting a Season Two.
All episodes of Loki are now streaming on Disney Plus.
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