In our last episode, we saw the Lokis trapped in the Void at the end of time, as they brought their powers together to gain a chance to finding out who and what the Time Keepers were. And with the oldest Loki sacrificing himself, Loki and Sylvie combined powers to enchant the Alioth creature and see beyond the Void.
So who or what exactly are they going to find?
Recap of Loki, Episode 6: “For All Time. Always.”
So, the truth on this episode is you need to buckle up. Because this episode goes all over the place very quickly. Does it do it well? Let’s hold that until we get the run through of what happens.
After the recaps of previous episodes, we get the Marvel Logo we are now used to, except it isn’t with the theme music we are all used to. Instead it is a mash-up of famous lines from all across the MCU.
And then we get a symbol of time as it is. But at the same time, again, we have quotes from all across the our real world. (Closed captioning is helpful here because it at least highlights what the filmmakers want to stand out.) But the end is clear, as we see a disintegrating piece of a planet or asteroid, as the timeline runs near and through it. And it becomes clear, this is where Sylvie and Loki are.
We watch as they approach what looks like an enchanted castle, but it has cracks, almost designating to them and us as the audience that there are deep flaws. Sylvie hesitates at the door, asking if Loki will try and stop her and, barring that, she needs a few minutes to collect herself, as she has been waiting for this for a long time.
But just as she is going to push in, the door opens and the animated Miss Minutes appears welcoming them to the Citadel at the End of Time, saying that he is impressed with their efforts, before naming “He” as “He Who Remains”, the otherworldly creator of everything and who controls everything.
She says that he is willing to offer them both a deal. The TVA can continue to do its work and they each get what they want. For Loki, it is the chance to be what he wasn’t: To win the Battle of New York, to rule Asgard, to kill Thanos, to be on the throne, even with the Infinity Gauntlet if he wants. For Sylvie, it is a lifetime of normal, happy memories that she had robbed from herself since she was pruned from the timeline. They decide to move forward instead.
Our attention switches to Ravonna’s office, where Miss Minutes shows up and says that she has the files Ravonna needs, bring what He Who Remains thinks will be more useful.
Loki and Sylvie have advanced into a large room where several of the large statues around it have been toppled. When Loki sees the amount of dust in the room, he questions if He Who Remains is even alive. But that is when the door opens and we get our first real glimpse of the powerful being behind it all.
And He Who Remains is just, well, a normal seeming guy. He invites them into his office and while on the elevator ride, he admits that he was not what they were expecting. Except when Sylvie takes her swings at him, he moves away, easily dodging the blows. Once they arrive at his office, he offers them cups of tea.
Back at the TVA, Ravonna is stunned to see Mobius show back up, carrying a prune stick. Mobius is bitter that she had him killed and let’s her know when she calls for back-up it won’t be coming. Because B-15 has taken others back and they have seen what she was before, a leader at Roosevelt High School in Fremont, Ohio. (You may have remembered we saw a pen from that school in an early episode.)
Back at the Citadel, He Who Remains is talking with our two variant Lokis. Sylvie attacks again and He points out that He knows how everything is going happen, as he shows them a print out of time. So, he has programmed a TemPad to save him. And then He reveals that he has seen all of what they have done, all the steps that they have taken to get to where they are. He claims to have paved the road and they have just walked down it. And then he plants the idea that they cannot trust each other.
At the TVA, Ravonna and Mobius are arguing about what happens if they quit pruning the timeline. It is a deep philosophical discussion about free will. Ravonna feels betrayed by Mobius when he turned to the Lokis in his crisis of faith. But Mobius is steadfast that he cannot let her keep doing so. But when she goes to jump using the TemPad, Mobius fails in his attack. But she doesn’t prune, claiming instead to go in search of free will.
He Who Remains is unpacking his story for Sylvie and Loki. He was a scientist, eons ago, on 31st century Earth, who discovered that there existed other universes, similar yet distinct. When he managed to connect with the others, they were all peace loving at first, sharing technologies and making things better across all the timelines and multiverses.
But not every version turned out to be so pure of heart. And those decided that the new worlds meant to be conquered. And they all turn on one another to fight to save their universe. And while the dogma says that this is where The Time-Keepers came in to save us all, the reality is that one of the variants discovered and used Alioth, who could consume time and space itself. Turns Alioth into a weapon meant that he could end the multiversal war. Then the TVA was created to keep ages and ages of cosmic harmony by maintaining the one timeline, keeping everyone safe.
So Loki and Sylvie have to decide between stifling order or cosmic chaos. He offers for them to run the TVA together or they can kill him and see if he is lying. After a bit more arguing they reach a place where He Who Remains says that they have crossed the threshold, meaning he doesn’t know what happens from here forward. Outside the Citadel, we see the timeline begin to spread out into multiple timelines, as He Who Remains confesses to not knowing what happens now.
He Who Remains has decided to let them decide his (and their) fate.
This sets off both discussion and debate, as Loki thinks the He Who Remains may indeed be telling the truth, where Sylvie thinks he is lying in order to maintain a hold on everything through the TVA. Sylvie accuses Loki of wanting the throne but Loki is trying to help her see another perspective.
They are stuck, as Loki points out Sylvie can’t trust and Loki cannot be trusted.
The fight carries on, as does the debate. Loki ultimately steps in front of the sword, right as Sylvie is to make her deathstroke on He Who Remains. He reaches out to her and confesses that he understands her hurt and pain. But he doesn’t want a throne. All he wants is for Sylvie to be okay. They kiss deeply and she confesses that she is not him, then pushes him through the TemPad portal she made back to the TVA.
Then she kills He Who Remains, as he winks and says “I will see you soon.”
Sylvie is left in the Citadel alone, seemingly still in pain, as she watches out the window as the timelines begin to explode, a few at first and then more and more and more.
And at the TVA, they see the same thing, as Mobius and B-15 confess there is no turning back now. “For all time. Always.” Loki sits in the pain of being betrayed for a few minutes at the TVA before getting up and going to the TVA library.
The TVA soldiers are all scrambling. When he finds Mobius and B-15, they don’t seem to know who he is, as they just see him as an analyst. And when he turns to look at the sculpture of the Time-Keepers, it is no longer a masked group of 3 large statues. Instead it is only one, and he looks exactly like He Who Remains.
Thoughts on Loki, Episode 6: “For All Time. Always.”
Well, you cannot say that they aren’t willing to take chances with this show. In 6 short episodes we have had a little of everything and this one serves as a weird cake topper for them all. In just a few short sequences we got the love story, the philosophy discussion on free will, and a launching point for something.
I really liked the change-up on the opening, using the key quotes from all the various films. If it was to have some deeper meaning other than reminding us all what is at stake, then I missed it but still thought it was a nice change up.
The early sequences that pair off Loki and Sylvie in their debate and Ravonna and Mobius in theirs is a really well done piece of storytelling. The juxtaposition of the two conversations on top of one another strengthens and heightens both conversations in an unexpected way.
And the later argument between Loki and Sylvie about what to do was mesmerizing. It felt like there was no way to get out of this season without one of them betraying the other and even with that, it felt honest and genuine to me. It doesn’t mean that Sylvie didn’t or doesn’t love Loki. It just meant that revenge was far more important to her.
He Who Remains. So, clearly, the showrunners are invoking Kang the Conqueror. And we know that Kang is supposed to show up in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February 2023, portrayed by the same actor we saw play He Who Remains. So, who is Kang?
Honestly, it is incredibly complicated, maybe the most complicated part of the MCU. In comic lore, Kang is often seen as one of the big bads, especially for the Avengers, probably just behind Thanos and Ultron in terms of their major villains. But he is a time traveler and there have been various iterations of the character over time. And some of those iterations have other names like Immortus.
Like I said, it gets very complicated. To know that he is going to be in Ant-Man does give me pause to how they are going to work him comedically. A “new to time traveling” Kang, who seems to be as befuddle as Scott is as Ant-Man might work. But I also think we may see him as part of the Dr. Strange movie that is going to deal with multiverses. (Something about the windows behind He Who Remains desk seemed to echo the iconic window in Dr. Strange’s house to me.)
Finally, and this would be a long shot, Kang is related to the Fantastic Four and it may be a very weird back door way to write them into the MCU as well.
Of these first 3 Marvel series, Loki is the only one that has said there will be a second season, with WandaVision feeling like a one and done and Falcon and Winter Soldier feeling like it is moving over to the big screen, with Sam as the new Captain America. Did the cliffhanger work for you or is it leaving a bad taste in your mouth for this first season of Loki?