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What the heck happened at the end of Loki season 1?

A brief recap ahead of Loki season 2

Loki and Sylvie at the Citadel in Marvel Studios’ Loki Photo: Marvel Studios
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Loki season 2 is here, but after a two-year break, the events of Marvel Studios’ Disney Plus debut series may be a little hazy. While the new season of Loki starts with a light recap of season 1 and its big cliffhanger, the frenetic events of season 2’s premiere might throw viewers for a loop. Part of that seems intentional; Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), and the rest of the TVA seem pretty confused about what’s happening to Loki and the Sacred Timeline in the first episode of Loki season 2.

If you’re looking to remember what happened to Loki, Mobius, Sylvie, He Who Remains, and the TVA employees at the conclusion of the show’s first season, we’ll try to catch you up to speed quickly.

[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for Loki season 1, naturally.]

What happened at the end of Loki season 1?

Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the Citadel holding swords in Loki season 1
Loki and Sylvie face down He Who Remains
Image: Marvel Studios

At the end of the first season of Loki, the god of mischief and his variant/romantic interest Sylvie travel to the end of time to find answers about who’s really pulling the strings at the TVA. Remember, the Time-Keepers who were purportedly the masterminds behind the Time Variance Authority were actually a fabrication. There was a man behind the curtain.

When they reach the Citadel at the End of Time, Loki and Sylvie encounter Miss Minutes, the cute cartoon clock AI who runs a lot of TVA systems. Miss Minutes offers them a chance to return to the Sacred Timeline together, where they can live out an idyllic life.

They decline, and the two Lokis confront He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), who explains that, eons ago, he and variants of him discovered the multiverse, and more importantly, how to travel between overlapping universes. While initial meetings between universes were cordial, some of his variants were aggressive and warlike — conquerors. He Who Remains’ variants were ultimately responsible for a Multiversal War and the near-annihilation of reality. He Who Remains, who describes himself as “pure of heart,” created the TVA as a means to snip more dangerous timelines and their variants out of existence to protect “cosmic harmony.”

Faced with two sword-wielding Lokis, He Who Remains explains that if they kill him, they’ll soon face an “infinite amount” of his variants and a new Multiversal War. An alternative option he proposes is that Loki and Sylvie take over his duties, running the TVA “as its benevolent rulers” and telling the workforce there who they are (people kidnapped from the Sacred Timeline and conscripted to prune rogue timelines) and why they do what they really do.

He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) stis in his citadel at the end of time in Marvel Studios’ Loki
He Who Remains explains why killing him is a bad idea
Image: Marvel Studios

Sylvie favors killing He Who Remains, but Loki intervenes, believing that killing the man at the end of time will unleash chaos. But Sylvie doesn’t trust He Who Remains or Loki in the moment, believing that the famous trickster wants to claim the throne in the Citadel at the End of Time and assume power. Loki attempts to convince Sylvie of his good intentions, but she kicks him through a time door using He Who Remains’ unique TemPad device. Then she stabs He Who Remains through the heart.

As forewarned by He Who Remains, the splintering timeline of the multiverse branches uncontrollably. We are led to believe that He Who Remains’ variants will soon run wild across time and space.

A distraught Loki finds himself back in the TVA. Coming to grips with losing Sylvie and reckoning with the timeline branching uncontrollably, Loki goes to warn Mobius and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) of He Who Remains’ dire warning of an invasion of infinite variants. As he attempts to explain himself, Loki faces a twist: Mobius has no idea who he is or what Loki’s talking about.

Perplexed, Loki looks out the windows of the TVA offices and sees something alarming. Instead of the Time-Keeper statues previously seen in the series’ backgrounds, Loki sees statues of He Who Remains. It appears that Loki has been transported to a different version of the TVA. What’s actually happening is quickly explained.

Who works at the TVA

Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) stand in the library at the TVA in Marvel Studios’ Loki
B-15 and Mobius are very confused by Loki, for good reason
Image: Marvel Studios

Over the past two years, you may have forgotten some of these TVA characters. Here are the major players and where we left them at the end of season 1.

  • Mobius M. Mobius — The TVA agent with a hankering for a hunk of key lime pie was the guy who interrogated and enlisted Loki into tracking down his variant Sylvie in season 1. Over the course of that season, Mobius was pruned by TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer, sent to the Void at the end of time (where pruned folks go), and returned to the TVA to confront Renslayer about the reality of the organization and who’s behind it.
  • Ravonna Renslayer — Mobius’ former friend and superior at the TVA bails at the end of season 1 after thwarting the agent’s attempts to apprehend her. Despite knowing that workers at the TVA were manipulated into doing horrible things in the name of timeline purity, she still believes in its mission. When we last saw her, she had ducked out through a time door in search of what she called “free will.”
  • Hunter B-15 — An agent of the TVA who is a brainwashed time variant, B-15 remembers that she has a family in season 1. She uses her new knowledge to prove to other TVA hunters, specifically minutemen U-92 and D-90, that they had lives on the Sacred Timeline by visiting Renslayer in her former life as a high school vice principal.
  • Casey — This TVA employee was a relatively minor character in season 1. Casey (Eugene Cordero) was a receptionist memorable for a few moments in the previous season, including showing that the TVA had a bunch of Infinity Stones just stuffed in drawers or serving as paperweights (a truly humbling moment for Loki). He’s also the guy who said “What’s a fish? I’ve lived my entire life behind a desk.” after Loki threatened to gut Casey like a fish.
  • Miss Minutes — We last saw the clock at He Who Remains’ place at the end of time, trying to bargain with Loki and Sylvie — and protect He Who Remains. Prior to that, she had been asked by Ravonna to provide her with information about the TVA’s creator. Presumably, Miss Minutes obliged.
  • New folks — There are some fresh faces in season 2, so don’t be alarmed if they don’t look familiar, at least in a Loki context. Newcomers include O.B./Ouroboros (Ke Huy Quan), an inventive TVA tech support worker; Brad/X-5 (Rafael Casal), a TVA hunter/actor; and Dox (Kate Dickie) and Gamble (Liz Carr) as new TVA judges.

What about Kang’s plot in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania?

Kang sits in his multiversal space ship throne in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
That’s Kang
Image: Marvel Studios

You don’t need to remember much from that movie, other than that Jonathan Majors’ Kang is a variant of He Who Remains and that Victor Timely (another Kang/He Who Remains variant), who appears in Loki season 2, was teased in a post-credits sequence.

In the first post-credits sequence, Kang’s destruction in Quantumania brings together hundreds (or thousands) of variants for some sort of meeting, but three important Kang variants — Iron Lad, Immortus, and Pharaoh Rama-Tut — get the spotlight. Whether any of those three will show up in Loki season 2 is unknown.

The second post-credits sequence is simply a teaser for Loki season 2. You can catch up on what those Quantumania teasers mean in this quality Polygon breakdown.

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