The opening scene of the final episode of Loki’s first season is amazing. It is peppered with various lines of dialogue from previous MCU films spliced in with historical figures such as Nelson Mandela.
Visually we are in the midst of a universe, then a sun, then possibly a black hole and we pop out seeing what we can only assume to be the flow of the time…The Sacred Timeline. Within all of this is a meteoroid where we center on our Lokis staring at a fortress like castle.
Post title card we return to our, heroes? Anti-heroes? Uh, the Loki’s are walking up some stairs to a large door. Sylvie hesitates, hoping that Loki will ask her to temper herself. However, he does not. As she preps to bum rush the show, the door opens on its own and shuts itself upon them entering. Miss Minutes in all her orange glory appears to welcome them to “The Citadel at the End of Time”.
Playing the “pronoun game” Miss Minutes refers to a “he” who is impressed by our dyad of Lokis. She goes on to say he created, controls, knows everything and essentially this guy is “He Who Remains” (Like out of Harry Potter or something). Minutes is there to offer a deal: reinsertion to a timeline together in a way that won’t disrupt things. But Loki counters with “We write our own destinies now,” a statement that will shape the future of the MCU to come.
Ravonna is in her office downloading files when Miss Minutes appears. Ravonna says the files she sees are not the ones she requested, Miss Minutes retorts that “he” thinks the files she has are more useful. But Ravonna doesn’t know who “he” is.
Loki and Sylvie stalk through the citadel in search of He Who Remains. Entering an impressive room of statues (one is destroyed) another large door opens revealing a figure dressed in something out of the Joker’s closet. Turns out this figure is He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods) and he invites our duo to converse in his office. On the elevator ride up Sylvie attempts to assassinate him but he is one step ahead of her, phasing around the elevator and finally disappearing. Arriving in the office, where he has reappeared, he courteously pours Loki and Sylvie tea and offers them a seat.
Ravonna is packing up her office as if she feels the heat coming (30 seconds style ala De Niro) when Mobius shows up. There is some banter but Ravonna summons Hunter D-90 to her office to dispose of Mobius. He tells her everyone knows her secret and things aren’t going to go the way she thinks. Mobius and B-15 have discovered one of Ravonna’s variants and shown others at the TVA.
He Who Remains explains to Loki and Sylvie that he already knows what is going to happen. Therefore, they should stop trying to kill him and listen to what he has to say. Our Lokis are hesitant. Nonetheless, he finally convinces them he’s telling the truth. He also explains that they only got to him via a road he himself paved. Then he goes on a psychological attack, assaulting the flaws both Lokis possess.
Meanwhile, out of some sort of misplaced trust, Ravonna defends the TVA and its mission to Mobius. They discuss free will, and her response is almost biblical when she says the only person who gets free will is the one in charge. Mobius stands his ground and prepares to prune Ravonna if she doesn’t
comply. She tells him he is of no danger to her and disarms and subdues him, subsequently escaping through a time door. She is off in search of free will.
At the Citadel, He Who Remains agrees that he has used deceptive methods but it has all been in the name of saving the multiverse. The TVA has been doing the work that keeps the multiverse safe, irrespective of what anyone thinks. He then goes into detail around the fact that he is a ruler, a conqueror, an all-around villain and the TVA has been protecting the timeline from…him.
Sometime in the 31st century a variant of He Who Remains lived on Earth. He was a scientist that discovered there were other universes stacked on top of his own. The multiverse. Around the same time, his other variants were deducing the same thing. For a while they worked together, collectively using their knowledge and technology to better the universes. But not all of the He Who Remain variants were “pure of heart” and saw the multiverse as more worlds to conquer and rule. Hence the multiversal war started, until the variant we now know as He Who Remains weaponized Alioth and used it to create the universal timeline as we know it today. At that point all he had to do was trim the branches to ensure the war never started again; therefore, the TVA was created. He pauses to give our Lokis a choice: stifling order or cataclysmic chaos.
He details that they can kill him and create an infinite amount of devils (versions of him) or they can go on and run the TVA keeping the Sacred Timeline intact. You see, He Who Remains is old, and probably very tired of being alone with no human contact. Apparently he’s been looking for someone to take his place for a while now and it looks like he has two in our protagonists. The main point he raises is that they are all three of them bad people, they just are the best of an infinite possibility of worse options. And it is at that moment when the man behind the curtain ceases to have clairvoyance of the future, time has caught up with him so to speak. He mentions that he knew everything that was going to happen up until a certain point and they just passed it. He has decided to let Loki and Sylvie to decide his fate.
It is worth noting that Jonathon Majors’ performance is awesome.
Sylvie has had enough and lunges forward with her blade but Loki intervenes. He doesn’t think He Who Remains is lying and asks that Sylvie takes a few seconds to consider that possibility. Again, she is not having it, only she also thinks that Loki wants to rule instead of finishing what they started. But it is clear Loki has changed over the course of this season, he wants to proceed cautiously, as he should, in light of everything they now know. Ultimately they determine she is unable to trust, and he can’t be trusted; leaving them one option, to fight. Using both blades and magic they have a showdown while Loki tries to reason with Sylvie. Loki finally gets her to stop, they share a passionate kiss but it’s a ruse as Sylvie pushes Loki through a time door sending him to the TVA.
Now alone with He Who Remains, Sylvie asks him if he will beg for his life before she delivers the coup de grâce. He doesn’t. She stabs him in the chest and he laughingly replies that he will see her soon. Outside, the Sacred Time line sprouts a multitude of branches.
Inside the TVA control room, Mobius and B-15 witness the event on their monitor and vow to press forward. Elsewhere in the compound, Loki is heartbroken. He has a real moment of reflection before looking up with a renewed determination. Charging through Minutemen, Loki makes his way towards the control room. He encounters Mobius and B-15 en route blurting out that he and Sylvie have “freed”
the timeline and they need to prepare for what is coming. But they don’t know who Loki is or what he’s talking about. Looking off over a balcony, Loki sees what used to be statues of the timekeepers is now a statue of He Who Remains ending the first season.