Spoilers for the Season 1 Finale of Loki follow!
The Season 1 finale of Loki has arrived in all of its glory. The sixth episode in the series sticks the landing, bearing a degree of essential emotional closure while creating an infinite amount of new questions in the process. Loki may not be the first entry in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the show has just given fans everywhere the first real taste of what may be in store for the imminent future.
Clearing these pivotal hurdles through the season finale allows Loki to be crowned as some of Marvel’s most compelling work to date, but of course, this is also thanks to its reinvention of the franchise’s most beloved villain. The immense support behind the series is a testament to the achievements of director Kate Herron, showrunner Michael Waldron, and all their cast and crew, with cinematographer Autumn Durald being another obvious MVP throughout. By the end of this episode, Loki proves to stand as a profound storytelling extravaganza – one that isn’t over just yet.
Balancing the right amount of gratification with mystery has been one of the show’s crucial building blocks, and it’s nailed here on several occasions. By far, one of the most astounding elements of the finale is Jonathon Major’s introduction to the MCU. Majors was reportedly cast as the Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror in the upcoming sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, last September, leading many fans to assume that he would either be first seen in a prior post-credits scene or in the feature itself. However, several clues from last week’s episode, including a depleted version of what looks to be Stark Tower but bearing the letters ‘QENG’ (a nod to Kang’s comic past), all pointed to the iconic time-traveling villain.
As the Kang name is never actually said in the finale, this version of the ultimate conqueror mainly goes by “He Who Remains,” a nod to his ability to prevail even in the most adverse of universes. Jonathan Major’s outstanding performance is full of charisma, radiating a cheeky, chaotic nature – the perfect foil to Loki’s own traits. This huge character is only just getting started and is likely to be the big bad at the center of the multiverse-driven Phase 4. When he won’t be facing veteran Avengers like Ant-Man and the Wasp, he’ll be the new thorn on Loki’s side, which is frankly quite insane to even ponder. But if this episode is any indication, Kang’s dynamic with Loki will further flesh out new sides to the God of Mischief, especially given his experience with Thanos and always being able to cheat death.
Loki and Sylvie’s relationship has only grown stronger in the build up to this conclusion. Their bond is one strengthened by mutual experiences of loneliness, making their timeline shattering romance full of passion. When initially considering that the protagonist of this series was villainous Loki as seen during 2012’s The Avengers, his journey in growing his ability to empathize feels even more impressive given the astonishing pace of the show. In making it clear that he would choose her over Kang’s offer of the throne he desired so badly just days ago, his arc takes a turn and brings out a far more affectionate side in both characters who were previously hard shelled.
While many may view Sylvie’s decision to go through with her original plan (e.i. killing whoever is responsible for the TVA) as an act of betrayal against Loki, it’s emphasized to be a “spur of the moment” decision in which she is not able to fully put aside the trauma of her past. In fact, this moment can be seen as a betrayal of herself and her own progress. Acting on her impulse is simply met with hollow eeriness from Kang’s promise to see her again soon, leaving Sylvie’s journey to closure far from over.
The episode is paced perfectly and never feels rushed to completely tie up loose strings, instead allowing for a natural progression of events to occur. To go even further, as opposed to the previous finales from WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this one is much more reserved in huge action set pieces. It instead chooses to tackle its conflict mostly through character to character communication, still creating the same kind of desired chaos but through more unexpected, unique scenarios.
Effortless is perhaps the best way to describes the visual craft within the finale, as well as Loki as a whole. The set design for Kang’s citadel at the end of time itself is intricate enough to provide grand backdrops that keep a sense of intimacy. The show’s vision remains cohesive and allows for a enjoyable viewing experience, as fans have come to expect from the latest true MCU standout. Although, as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t end here.
A short post-credits sequence officially confirms that a second season of Loki is already on its way and is sure to explore the endless possibilities posed here. Beyond the series, this introduction to what is sure to become this phase’s key villain is already teasing the potential for upcoming films like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But as shown here, Loki definitely shines with its own merits. It’s heartfelt in how it commits to its own story and agenda, even amidst the MCU’s overarching schemes. A prime quality seen throughout the best of Marvel.