Despite MCU’s production machine and Disney+ churning out new media adaptations every month over the last couple of years, the miniseries Loki, remains their strongest, arguably most original work in the context of their interconnected storytelling. As the series returns with a new season after two years, fans are getting hopeful that it will be able to change the lackluster course the franchise has veered towards for the last couple of years, and if the first episode of the second season is any indication, they can hold on to that hope, though with a moderate dose of skepticism.
In the previous season, viewers learned about the Time Variance Authority (TVA), stationed outside time and space, an organization under the control of timekeepers that protects a central sacred timeline against threats like variants, whose existence can cause the timeline to branch out. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, a timeline-displaced Loki becomes a similar threat and is brought to judge Ravonna Renslayer by TVA enforcers known as Minutemen. However, after being saved by another TVA agent, Mobius, and meeting with one of his own variants, Sylvie, Loki learns that the numerous TVA agents were taken out of their human lives, memory wiped, free will compromised, and condemned to forever serve the autocratic organization.
The branched timelines were getting pruned, resulting in the extermination of entire universes. Loki and Sylvie also learned about the entire TVA being operated by false propaganda, as timekeepers are mere animatronic mouthpieces of the one in control of the entire thing—He Who Remains. As the duo traveled to the Citadel at the End of Time, they met the aforementioned prime controller, who stated his reason for creating TVA and spreading the propaganda was to stop his own many variants from emerging. The first season ended with Sylvie killing He Who Remains and inadvertently causing the sacred timeline to branch out in an infinite direction, putting the existence of TVA and the multiverse in peril. The second season picks right off from that point onward and sets the stage for the upcoming action by taking viewers through the past and future.
Loki Of The Future Past: Where In The Timestream Does Loki Find Himself?
The first season of Loki ended with the titular trickster god returning to TVA, meeting with Mobius and Hunter B-15, and warning them about an upcoming cataclysm now that the nefarious variants of He Who Remains have been let loose with the branching of the sacred timeline. However, neither of those aforementioned TVA agents is able to recognize Loki, who sees that the statues of He Who Remains have already replaced those of Timekeepers’ in the foundations of TVA. The first episode of the second season begins with Loki being chased by Mobius, B-15, and a number of Minutemen who seek to get him pruned, and despite his repeated pleading, none of his past associates can remember the slightest thing about Loki.
While getting chased, Loki stumbles across Casey (the TVA clerk whom he saw using infinity stones as paperweights in the first season), and he is unable to recognize Loki either. All of a sudden, Loki disappears from the scene, only to reappear in the same exact spot, with the only difference being that this time Casey is able to recognize him. A perplexed Loki looks at his surroundings and realizes that he has gone way, way past across time and has now arrived in the present. This clarifies the mystery regarding Kang/He Who Remains-related artifacts around TVA and also answers the question as to why no TVA members were able to recognize Loki. Unlike what we previously assumed, Loki didn’t go to a future where variants of He Who Remains remodeled the TVA. Instead, he went so far back in time that he arrived at a time when He Who Remains didn’t feel the need to use the guise of Timekeepers and haughtily showcased his supreme control by erecting his effigies across the TVA. It is presumably after Loki’s sudden arrival and warning to Mobius that he must have felt the necessity to make a cover-up propaganda story and brainwash the denizens of TVA once again.
New Time Authority: Who Are The New Characters In The Second Season?
Ravonna Renslayer, the former TVA judge, had already escaped from the organization in search of free will by the end of the first season, and at present it is being governed by characters whom viewers meet for the first time: Judge Gamble and General Dox, who summon Mobius, a B-15, to the war room for questioning. Although the governing bodies have seen and heard everything about the TVA’s conspiracy they question Mobius and B-15 as to why they didn’t prune branching timelines. While B-15 desperately tries to show Dox and Gamble the error in TVA’s ways—the fact that despite having separate lives of their own, they were eternally being used as puppets by He Who Remains—and pruning branch timelines only meant the destruction of universes that were full of lives—convincing Dox seems impossible. Gamble, on the other hand, feels a moral dilemma as her understanding of the reality she lived in completely falls apart, but still, she agrees to B-15’s proposal of not pruning.
At the same time, Loki is once again transported to the future, this time in the War Room, where, from a past recording made by He Who Remains, he learns of Ravonna Renslayer’s close relationship with the despot. Warping again, Loki arrives at the war room in the present and shows all the present members the reality of the situation by using the time stick to prune a Timekeeper mural to show the effigies of He Who Remains within.
Who Is Ouroboros? How Did He ‘Fix’ Loki?
Taking leave from the war room, Loki brings Mobius up to speed with everything that has happened since the two last met—the threat of He Who Remains and Sylvie killing him, which resulted in a timeline crack and the entirety of it. But Mobius is of the opinion that they need to ‘fix’ Loki’s warping through time situation first, and to do that, he brings Loki to Ouroboros, the sole operator of TVA’s repairs and advancement department.
As Mobius explains the situation, Ouroboros, shortened O.B., recognizes Loki to be time-slipping but finds himself lacking in means to fix the situation. A funny exchange between Mobius and O.B. takes place as the former struggles to recall their previous encounter, and Loki time slips once again, this time approaching O.B. in the future. In a temporal loop kind of way, Loki explains the problem in the past and helps O.B create a temporal aura extractor that can get him out of the time-slipping problem, which allows O.B in the present to provide Mobius with the solution. However, to make the thing work, Mobius has to get exposed to dangerous temporal radiation and extract Loki from Temporal Loom.
Viewers learn that the Temporal Loom harvests timeline from raw time, which is getting unstable and leaking temporal radiation as the timeline has branched into indefinite ones. O.B. states he can try to retrofit the loom to adapt to multiple branches, but that will require closing the TVA blast door. Before that happens, Mobius has to launch the extractor to pull Loki, who needs to prune himself within the small window of time. To make the already convoluting and daunting task even harder, Loki slips to the far future—a period that marks the end of TVA. Loki starts looking for a timestick to prune himself with, to no avail, and Mobius launches the extractor by going out in the temporal space and waiting for Loki to do his part on the other side.
Just as it seems that the duo has run out of time, Loki in the future spots a ringing telephone at the bottom of an elevator. Curious, as he proceeds towards it, Sylvie is seen to be coming out of the elevator; seeing Loki in front of her, she seems relieved, and at the exact moment, someone unseen prunes Loki, sending him flying back to temporal space and crashing with Mobius. The duo re-enter TVA just in the nick of time, and Loki expresses urgency in finding Sylvie.
Where Has Sylvie Ended Up After Branching the timeline?
Speak of the devil, and she shall appear. As the episode ends and credits roll, in a mid-credit sequence, viewers are shown that after killing He Who Remains, Sylvie has arrived in Broxton, Oklahoma, during the year 1982. The place is of certain importance, as in comics, Thor once re-established Asgard near Broxton, and a battle with Galactus took place here as well. Anyway, Sylvie arrives at a local McDonald’s and gets acquainted with the leading fast food chain’s customers by the server. She finds herself relieved at the sight of people enjoying each other’s company, which possibly reaffirms the necessity of her actions in her mind (killing He Who Remains). Little does she know, the effects of her transgressions have already left their mark in the MCU omniverse.
The first episode of the second season begins with an ominous, tense undertone and packs the narrative in a dense format, all the while giving the viewers an overview of all the key players. The upcoming episode will focus on furthering the misadventures of Loki and Sylvie outside TVA. As the season trailer has already indicated, much of the narrative is going to take place on Earth across several points in time. If Quantumania was any indication, Kang and his variants are all about temporal shenanigans, which is going to be the focus of the second season of Loki.