Loki Season 1 Episode 6, “For All Time. Always.,” brings Loki and Sylvie to the end of time to meet the man behind the curtain and learn the cost of free will. Oh, “For All Time. Always.” does this other really small thing; it confirms that the Multiverse is real, and it’s here. This combination allows for an explosive season finale that wouldn’t be possible without a key player who only joins the show in this final hour. It is rewarding to see Loki follow through on plenty of Easter eggs that pointed us in this direction. However, it’s disappointing that it comes at the expense of Loki being the major focus of the season finale of a show named after him.
In that regard, the saving grace of this season finale is that it’s just that. The mid-credits scene reveals that Loki is the first of the Disney+ series to be renewed for a second season, meaning there are plenty more stories about Loki to be told on the small screen. That renewal makes the general lack of Loki sting a little less. On another level, it’s exciting after WandaVision‘s understandably limited run. Loki‘s renewal bodes well that Marvel Studios understands some of its properties could benefit from catering to the small screen instead of using them to tell full stories that ultimately launch future films, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does.
“For All Time. Always.” positions itself as a turning point for Loki, Sylvie, the TVA, and the MCU as a whole. Those pivotal changes make the wait for Season 2 quite frustrating, which is exactly the right energy to keep fans interested during Loki‘s hiatus. By doing so, Marvel makes this series a must-watch for fans of Loki but also fans of the MCU who want to have a better understanding of the fabric of the universe, now multiverse, moving forward. Depending on how you understand the MCU’s timeline and Loki‘s place in it, it could also be critical viewing for anyone still trying to make sense of the most convoluted parts of Avengers: Endgame.
“He Who Remains”
This season is a blast from start to finish. When it comes to this finale, Jonathan Majors’ introduction as “He Who Remains,” aka Kang, is its brightest spot. Majors steals the episode by showing up and having an absolutely great time. He makes so disarmingly charming and funny by leaning into his zany side and free-moving physicality. He comes across like the Wizard of Oz. It’s hard to imagine that “He Who Remains” is capable of all the things he mentions. Though “He Who Remains” spends most of his time seated at his desk, Kang is still everywhere all at once. He fills up all of the space because from the second we meet him alongside Loki and Sylvie, it’s obvious that he is a major player — the biggest player.
Kang’s key role in the preservation of the Sacred Timeline and also the chaos of the multiverse is why this episode spends most of its time revealing Kang’s backstory. This backstory is interesting because it offers one Kang’s story in a multiverse of infinite Kang’s. It’s already confirmed that Kang the Conquerer will be the main villain of the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania so that Variant of Kang will require his own backstory. There is sure to be a difference in perspective between a Kang who wants to preserve and protect a timeline compared to one who wants to control and conquer it.
This Kang’s perspective is crucial in understanding the stakes of Loki and Sylvie’s decision, one way or the other. But, on the other hand, now that he’s dead (only to reincarnate later), it’s a shame that Loki spends so much of this episode on his exposition. The end of the episode shows that Kang the Conquerer rules over the TVA now, so it’s questionable that we’ll ever see Majors as “He Who Remains” again. Unless Season 2 of Loki will see “He Who Remains” and the titular character team up to restore order to the timeline. Though, like Loki, the MCU gave me trust issues so it’s difficult to trust that “He Who Remains” could be a hero when he so obviously set Rensalyer on a journey of her own that will likely benefit him before his demise.
The Chaotic Beauty of Free Will
With “He Who Remains” being the main focus of this episode, Loki and Sylvie’s confrontation with him moves to the backburner. It’s only towards the final minutes of the episode that Loki and Sylvie rise from their seats to assess the issue at hand. It results in a fantastic yet brief action sequence that features both characters’ experience with swords and their magic. It’s still exhilarating to watch Loki learn to choose magic over a physical weapon. Though, it comes crashing to a halt when Sylvie takes Loki (and me) by surprise by kissing him. Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino have excellent chemistry without it ever needing to become physical.
Some fans are more than okay with this pairing becoming romantic. In my opinion, it serves a much greater service to both characters for it to be a deeper connection built on a fundamental understanding they can only get from themselves, aka each other. There are epic love stories that remain platonic, and Loki and Sylvie could have been that. Thankfully, the kiss doesn’t appear to mean much of anything to Sylvie other than a tool to distract Loki long enough to kick him into an alternate timeline. Unfortunately, for Loki, it appears to be much more than that.
Even with such fantastical elements, Loki is able to capture the nuanced nature of free will. “He Who Remains” gives Loki and Sylvie their first real chance to exercise that fundamentally human expression, if we take him for his word. Loki’s plan to spare Kang in favor of avoiding a Multiversal war is the correct choice, but doing so would deny Sylvie the choice to avenge all the years she lost running from the TVA. Denying her that would deny the very thing Loki and Sylvie fought for the entire season. Loki learns the hard way that even though Sylvie is a Variant of himself, she doesn’t have to make the same decisions he does. That’s the beauty and chaos of free will.
Loki gives himself and Sylvie time to prove Kang wrong about all of them being villains. It’s their chance to be more than what was always destined for them, to be heroes. In making herself the hero of her own narrative, Sylvie becomes the villain of the Sacred Timeline by endangering it with the Multiverse. Altertainitvely, Sylvie indirectly gives Loki the opportunity to redefine himself on his own terms in a new timeline. There is great detriment awaiting everyone in the Multiverse, yet Loki now has more free will than ever before. Loki has a fresh start to be a hero, though it may be difficult with no one in his corner. It’ll be more satisfying to watch his continuous fight for that (and fight to get back to his Mobius) rather than revert to his old ways.
Into the Multiverse
Loki stresses the importance of free will in connection with personal autonomy, but its final moments reiterate the effects people’s decisions can have on the entire Multiverse. That’s right; the Multiverse is finally here. With its introduction, plenty of Phase 4 projects start to make a lot more sense. We knew it was coming before or with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but I never expected it to come like this. Now we know that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be affected by Loki, as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home. In retrospect, this could clarify certain events in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Sylvie really opened Pandora’s Box.
Plenty of people, myself included, believed that Wanda Maximoff would be the one to crack the Multiverse wide open. That’s how I believed WandaVision would end. That series does end with the introduction of the Multiverse, but we didn’t know it then. Now we know that Sylvie is the one who created the Multiverse by killing Kang. This development reframes the mid-credits scene of WandaVision by suggesting that the reason why Wanda can hear Billy and Tommy’s voices is that they are lost in the Multiverse. It’s scary to think of the dangers that await our favorite heroes, but I am grateful there is more hope than ever that Wanda can reunite with her boys.
We know that Wanda Maximoff will appear alongside Doctor Strange in the sequel. It only makes sense to add Loki to the mix as he’s becoming more knowledgeable about magic and the Multiverse. Thankfully, The Hollywood Reporter already revealed as much. Until we get to see the wizard, witch, and trickster team up, we’ll get to see some of what awaits us in the Multiverse through Marvel Studios’ first animated series What If…?. Phase 4 of the MCU doesn’t slow down for a second, and I am loving every second of the ride.
Other Glorious Moments:
- That Miss Minutes jump scare got me.
- Henry James and Helen Forrest’s “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” took me right back to weeping in my seat at the movie theater during Avengers: Endgame‘s opening weeked. That was an affective way to start the episode.
- You bet I teared up hearing Vision say, “What is grief if not love perserving.” That line crushes me even when it’s out of context.
- “No, because I’ve seen the horror waiting for people when they get pruned, and there’s nothing necessary about that.” – Mobius
- Slyvie saying, “It was personal to me,” reminded me of Yelena saying, “It was real to me,” in Black Widow.
- I love that Mobius and Hunter B-15 are going to work to fix everything and reform the TVA.
What did you think of the season finale of Loki? Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Loki stream Wednesdays on Disney+!
Sylvie didn’t make the wrong choice. Kang is only interested in his own machinations and preserving his own life. The “sacred timeline” was just his plaything. So he works all the levers and finds the only two forces of nature who can match his will and offers them f’d up choices: Be trapped upholding the horror Sylvie has been fighting her whole life to stop, or destroy the universe. Kang has been playing with them tho, offering choices that will protect himself. He was done being He Who Remains. The other Kangs would have been freed regardless. Sylvie just didn’t buy into the gaslighting of maniac. At least that’s how it should have read. Instead with Disney’s typical over simplified moralizing, Sylvie… the only Loki with guts and integrity, and with the drive to actually complete a plan… Sylvie who made it possible for Loki to evolve… becomes the villain who risks the universe for revenge. And Loki “the hero” actually choked and ignored the only true thing Kang said… Together he and Sylvie were unstoppable