I’m warning you right now that there will be full spoilers, because we can’t talk about this BOMBSHELL of a finale without talking about the spoilers. While WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier gave hints at what was in store for the MCU, Loki is the first one that actually set up the future of what Marvel can bring. It doesn’t just set up a new big bad: it allows Marvel to be freer than ever and shapes future storylines. Marvel came in with a people’s elbow and asked all of fandom if they can smell what they’re cookin’, and damn it smells delicious.
A Loki by Any Other Name
After Loki got pruned, he wound up on Easter Egg Island…I mean The Void. This is where we meet our Loki Variants of Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), Kid Loki (Jack Veal), and Boastful Loki (Deobia Oparei). And most importantly of all, Crocodile Loki. Each actor gives us a very different Loki but still a Loki at their core. They give our Loki some great character development as he has to see himself in various lights. He learns Kid Loki killed his Thor? *Chef Kiss* But through all this he can see why Lokis are Lokis and what their fatal flaw is.
At this point, he admires the uniqueness of Slyvie from every other Loki. The growth is nice to see. At the same time, Slyvie is working on her end to find the truth behind the whole TVA. Not trusting Renslayer, as she shouldn’t, she prunes herself and ends up in The Void with Mobius (shedding a tear that Mobius wasn’t dead). Together, they find our Loki and the two find a way to the end of time where the man behind it all dwells, while Mobius returns to the TVA to reveal the truth. Some great things we saw in the void, the Thanos Helicopter, Throg (Frog Thor), and President Loki. It was a good penultimate episode leading into the finale. And the finale just blew my mind with how far it went.
He Who Remains
It all led to this…
…sitting in the castle surrounded by the sacred timeline is the person behind everything, who knows everything. And I love the slow buildup to the reveal. Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) appears to offer the pair to not only return them to their timelines but give them everything they want; their life back, the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos’ head, and to be together. The way Tara Strong delivers the line is earnest, yet sinister. At the same time, Renslayer is given files by Miss Minutes that isn’t what she was looking for but that “He” thinks will be helpful. And we finally see who “He” is. Only referred to as He Who Remains, played by Jonathan Majors. (If you’ve payed attention to Marvel casting you know he has been cast as Kang the Conqueror in the next Ant-Man movie.) Yes, the one behind it all was Kang. No hint or tidbit or Easter egg pointing to Kang. It’s straight up Kang, and we get his (or this version’s) origin story.
Never dropping his name, he explains how in the 31st century he discovered the multi-verse and was able to travel and meet different versions of himself. Not all versions were “as nice” as he was, and that’s how the multi-verse war started. He was able to stop it and created the sacred timeline to keep war from breaking out. Full stop: Jonathan Majors KILLS in this role. His attitude towards everything is so matter of fact, yet psychotic and broken. A charismatic jerk. He toys with Loki and Slyvie because he knows every move they will make, paving the road of their whole existence to lead to this moment.
He’s not evil per say, at least not this version of him. And he warns them that without the timeline, other versions will arise, meaner versions, and they won’t like what comes from this. And then gives them a choice, kill him and let chaos reign, or take over for him, protect the timeline, and run the TVA. It’s a brilliant way to introduce the next cross movie big bad of the MCU. We get this fun yet oddly sinister version and are promised (threatened) more evil versions out there. While Thanos in the end was a very complex and sympathetic villain, Kang can, and hopefully is, a lot more hands on while we got him. I can’t wait to see what else Jonathan Majors brings to this role and to the MCU.
Get This Man a Jet-ski
While this is happening, Mobius is making moves. Exposing that they are all variants (with proof) and comforting Renslayer. I appreciate that Mobius had a solid plan to expose everything by showing Renslayers counterpart to proof they are variants. Mobius then has a heartfelt interaction with her. Showing that they were friends, and both feel betrayed by the other. Gugu brought a lot of nuance to Renslayer, showing that she truly believed in the cause but deep down doesn’t know what’s truly right. Is she convincing Mobius they are needed, or trying to convince herself? She then leaves to “find freedom.” Considering who her comic counterpart is in relation to Kang, I believe this journey and the info she is given that we never see plays into that.
Let Them Fight
Everything comes to a head when He Who Remains offers the choice of killing him or taking over. Slyvie wants to complete her revenge, but Loki is having second thoughts. While being berated that all he wanted was the throne, Loki is actually looking at the greater good. He’s a liar, he knows he’s a liar, but he doesn’t think Kang is lying. And probably for the first time ever, he’s honestly afraid. Afraid for what can happen to the universe and afraid what could happen to Slyvie. Tom Hiddleston really nails the vulnerability of Loki truly caring for someone else, and Sophia Di Martino nails the deep seated anger that Slyvie just can’t let go of. Slyvie sends Loki back to the TVA and does in He Who Remains who just chuckles and gives a creepy “See you soon” as his last words. This sets into motion the hugest ramifications for the MCU. Multiple timelines are created at once and as Loki resolves to warn Mobius, he discovers he’s already in a different time. Mobius has no memory of him, and he sees this TVA is run by Kang who isn’t hiding it. The fate of Slyvie is unclear, and we are left with SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! But thankfully, we are getting a season 2.
Loki became the strongest MCU show to date. While it stumbled a little bit in the middle, it had a strong beginning and an absolute beast of an ending. It had strong characters that we grew to love and some really great development for said characters. The implications for future movies and shows will have folks talking and theorizing for a long time to come. Jonathan Majors is one of the best additions to the MCU family, and I can’t wait to see what he does. Loki is definitely worth a watch and has set the tone for quality moving forward that I hope Marvel will continue to strive for.
Check out BNP’s other review of Loki here.