We start the episode off where the last one ended – with Loki in control of his time slipping. His initial efforts to fix the loom fail, leading him to revisit his confrontation with Kang. It appears that death was just part of the plan for Kang. He’s been in a never-ending cycle with Loki, having the same conversation about his fate trying unsuccessfully to convince the God of Mischief to allow him to win. Trying to show Loki that killing Sylvie is the best course of action, not only for himself, but for Loki and the universe as a whole. Still, Loki isn’t one to be told what has to be.
After a few other visits to past moments the trickster god gets a solid idea of what he ultimately needs to do. Destroying something isn’t the worst outcome so long as you replace it with something better. And, while the TVA isn’t a perfect institution, the temporal loom is an inherently selfish and cruel device designed to benefit one man and one man alone. In the end He Who Remains doesn’t give a shit about the world or any of the people in it, he’s there for the glory. He revels in it, believing himself to be right above all others. But Loki knows what it is to lose, to fight, to evolve and learn from his mistakes – he understands the importance of free will. Oddly in direct contrast to his infamous speech from The Avengers.
In the end, Loki does lose, but losing is put into perspective allowing him to finally “win” as it were. Confused? Yeah, I think that’s the point.
It’s a powerful season (potentially series) finale. High concept as all hell, but well executed and better understood with a few follow up views – and some internet sleuthing. Ultimately, Loki gets the throne he so desperately wanted, then didn’t want, becoming the center of the World Tree (Yggdrasil). He is now the God of Stories – a title he picked up in the Marvel Comics – a multiversal being capable of rewriting and creating the “stories” of all those around him. In this case it seems he’s more interested in maintaining and protecting these “stories” (the timelines, I’m guessing) than creating or rewriting them. This sequence is amazing, visually. Watching Loki go from a cog in the machine of the TVA, stepping out into the temporal radiation, to transform into his full god self – complete with horns. Then, as he uses his magic to break the loom, and take hold of the branches, before vanishing with the timelines to the End of Time to take his place on the throne. My favorite image is the World Tree itself – it is beautiful.
What does all this mean for the show? Personally, I don’t think a season 3 should happen. We got a lot of questions answered here and the main protagonist got a hell of a resolution. Mobius’ past with Ravonna was revealed – he failed to kill a child variant (I’m thinking Kid Loki), which is how he got demoted to an analyst and she got promoted to a judge. We learned that Kang allowed himself to be killed by Sylvie in order to prove he’s inevitable. The TVA, as predicted, evolved into a Kang hunting force among other things. It also looks to be an agent for unification between the various timelines. Sure, questions still remain – will Miss Minutes go back to being a murderous love-sick AI? Will Mobius kill and replace his exiting self? Where is Sylvie going to go? How exactly does the TVA work now? Is Ravonna gonna survive the land of lokis? Probably my biggest one: why did Kang give Loki the ability to time slip?
Actually, the better question is how. If you pay attention to the end of the first season, the why isn’t much of a curiosity. Kang explains that he’s tired. He’s willing to give up the throne to Loki and Sylvie so long as they take up his cause. Giving Loki the ability to time slip might have just been a way to prolong the sales pitch, especially since he could see Sylvie wasn’t going to bite. But Kang is, as we know, an ordinary human being – he’s not a god who can grant powers to someone. So…how exactly does he grant the trickster god his new trick? We’ll never know, unless they do a prequel or cover it in some other MCU project. Frankly, I’m OK with the mystery.
I doubt Mobius will do any harm to his timeline self, if anything, he might find a timeline where he died and assume that life, or make a life for himself ala Sylvie on another timeline. Sylvie will also likely continue her exploration of what it is to be alive – if anyone deserves a spin-off series, I think it’s her. Ravonna should be fucked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she wrangles the Lokis and makes herself Queen of the Void. As for the TVA, that could also be fodder for a spin-off series.
The main argument against a third season would be Loki himself. Now that he sits at the center of the World Tree, how do you handle him in a new season? If a third season were to happen it would likely involve either a way for the Story God to visit the worlds he’s protecting, OR, explore the life of another Loki variant. Again, my vote would be for Sylvie, though even if it was another Tom Hiddleston Loki variant, Sylvie could easily make an appearance. Hell, you could even throw in Mobius, the TVA, and Ravonna, but honestly? This was such a perfect ending the series that it would be a disgrace to continue.
Make a spin-off series if anything, but please, greedy capitalist media moguls don’t make a third season! I hate even numbers, abhor them, but even I can admit a third season would be a huge mistake. Let Loki rest in peace. Hasn’t he earned it?