After its six-week run, Disney+ and Marvel Studios have wrapped the first season run of its original series Loki, leaving fans asking many questions about what the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will hold. Unlike its Disney+ and Marvel predecessor series in WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki has been renewed for a second season and ended its first season with a cliffhanger that has many fans on the edge of their seats for the next run of episodes.
Loki’s first season finale episode “For All Time. Always.” picks up after the conclusion of its fifth episode with Owen Wilson’s (Wedding Crashers) Mobius returning to the TVA from the void of time and Loki and Sylvie arriving at the gates of Chronopolis to confront the unknown that stands behind the construction of timelines. The finale episode acts as the first instance of the introduction of the well-known Marvel comic book villain Kang the Conqueror, portrayed by Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country). Upon his introduction, a conversation, essentially reliant on game theory, provides the two heroes of the series an ultimatum, defeat him or just replace him as the throne of the timeline and the TVA.
The introduction of the newest major villain into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was far from the introduction of Ultron or Thanos. Majors’ Kang the Conqueror arrives at the MCU in a moment of relief that he has constructed an opportunity to bow out from his current control of the timeline. However, this relief also masks his other variant versions of himself that are more mischievous and destructive in comparison to him, the sole survivor of his incarnate self. The peak of the episode is the confrontation between Loki and Sylvie that saw the duo discuss, although most fight, over the ramifications of their impending actions.
Ultimately, Sylvie elects to murder the existing Kang that they meet after reciprocating feelings towards Loki and Loki returns to the TVA, where Kang has replaced the Time Keepers in statue form and Loki is now unrecognized by his friend Mobius. This climactic moment of the episode and season one saw a dynamic change within the well-established self-motivated and selfish character of Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s (The Night Manager) version of Loki has come around to accepting others into his life, particularly Mobius and Sylvie, and engaging with the idea of placing trust within someone else. Previous characterizations of Loki would have jumped at the idea of taking the throne or a vindictive killing, however, this version after his trials and tribulations begins to engage with the consequences of actions for both options presented by Kang. While Sylvie demonstrates her love for Loki, she still maintains her stubborn intentions and does not adapt to the changing environment around her, unlike Loki.
“For All Time. Always.” displays a change in heart and mind of Loki as he is putting others’ interests before his own and not recklessly acting upon his interests, an ideology that ironically plays into his desire for free will and subsequent arrest at the hands of the TVA in the series. A shift in his characterization creates an interesting approach to what might come in the newly established TVA, a more calculated Loki and less self-interested individual that viewers can find themselves rooting for instead of rooting for his devious and chaotic approach to life.
The season finale episode introduces the next obstacle for the MCU to take on in the form of Kang the Conqueror in addition to placing forth the strongest effort in the series’ six episodes. Similar to a time loop, the series has now fleshed out emotions, character arcs, and actions and has reversed it by simply pressing reset on the TVA and Loki’s imprisonment of being alone once more – without Sylvie and Mobius on his side.