‘Loki’ Season 2 Finale Recap — A Glorious Purpose at the End of Time


Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Loki.

The Big Picture

  • Loki‘s Season 2 finale showcases the character’s growth and his willingness to make the impossible choice to save all existence.
  • Loki’s sacrifice and transformation into the person holding together the fabric of existence have significant consequences and make for a fitting ending to the series.
  • The finale ties together all the elements of the show and Loki’s life, resulting in a poetic and impactful ending. The weight of the world now rests on Loki’s shoulders.

I never thought I’d say it, but the MCU actually managed to stick the landing with Loki. When Disney first announced that they were branching out into television shows and announced projects like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki, there was excitement among Marvel fans. As these shows started to premiere, it was often hard to appreciate them on their own. Oftentimes, theyserved as a stepping stone to the wider MCU. WandaVision brought us to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Falcon and the Winter Soldier announced Sam (Anthony Mackie) officially as the new Captain America, and it seemed like, for a time, that Loki was leading to the introduction of Kang (Jonathan Majors).

And while we did get our first taste of Majors as the all-powerful Kang in the form of He Who Remains, Loki expanded far beyond that while still staying in its lane. There weren’t intrusive and distracting cameos or winks at the audience at later phases of the MCU. Loki was about Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Arguably one of the most beloved characters of the MCU, Hiddleston’s Loki stole our hearts in Thor and his charismatic performance remains one of the standouts. This remains the case in Loki Season 2, as the show closes out with its season finale, Hiddleston delivers an emotional performance that takes us through time and to the end of it.


Loki, the God of Mischief, steps out of his brother’s shadow to embark on an adventure that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Release Date
June 9, 2021

Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Richard E. Grant


‘Loki’s Season 2 Finale Forces Loki to Make the Impossible Choice

Image via Disney+

As I said in my Episode 5 recap, we’ve watched Loki grow in front of our eyes, and Episode 6, “Glorious Purpose,” showcases that growth as we watch Loki slip back and forth through time in order to try and save all existence. He spends centuries learning all about science and physics from O.B. (Ke Huy Quan) and Casey (Eugene Cordero), he tries desperately to get Victor Timely (Majors) through the doors and onto the platform in order to save the Temporal Loom, and when that fails, he travels back to the end of Season 1 to stop Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) from killing He Who Remains. When he then stares down the prospect of killing Sylvie instead, he goes back even further to ask Mobius (Owen Wilson) about how to make the hard decision.

Loki’s desperation is palpable in this episode, as he tries anything he can in order to not only save his friends but save all of time. When confronted with the inevitability that Sylvie must die, he returns to the branched timeline from the last episode, before Sylvie can spaghettify, and freezes time to tell her what he must do. It’s there that Sylvie confronts him, telling him that allowing He Who Remains to live robs existence of free will — and she’s right. Even with just a Sacred Timeline, existence is still full of death, destruction, suffering, and injustice. And in that moment, Loki understands the choice he must make.

‘Loki’ Season 2 Completes Loki’s Character Arc

Image via Disney+

As far as arcs go, it never sat well with me that Loki’s final moment would be him sacrificing himself for Thor to Thanos. Yes, it shows great development in his character, but Loki always felt bigger than that. He isn’t just a character who exists for Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) character development. Sylvie asked an interesting question in Season 1: “Do you think that what makes a Loki a Loki is the fact that we’re destined to lose?” And while Loki taking his place on the throne at the End of Time might seem like a loss for us – after all, how many adventurous jaunts is Loki going to be able to go on while holding together the strands of existence – Loki Season 2’s finale gives us the answer to that question. No, Lokis are destined to fulfill their glorious purpose.

Without Sylvie’s connection to Loki, it would have been easy to allow He Who Remains to live in order to save all of time and space. But Loki’s love for Sylvie keeps him from making the hard choice, even if it means saving literally every single life. His love for her also makes him understand that the only choice is to sacrifice himself rather than anyone else. Loki has called himself selfish and untrustworthy, but in the finale he not only selflessly takes on the mammoth task of becoming the person who must hold together the strands of time, but he also is who all existence has to thank for being able to exist. Although Kang is the villain of this era of the MCU, the impact of Loki’s transformation into literally Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life, seems like a story destined for the big screen. Nothing feels more consequential than Loki’s sacrifice, and yet the show is able to tell a contained story that neither hints at more loophole spin-offs to come, nor needs to link itself to an upcoming project to be relevant.

What Happens in the ‘Loki’ Season 2 Finale?

Image via Disney+

The finale kicks off with Loki jumping back to the point before Victor Timely walks onto the platform and gets spaghettified. There, Loki asks O.B. how they could have prevented it and O.B. says that they took too long, they needed more time. So, Loki uses his new time-slipping powers to jump back in time, going further and further to try and get Victor safely out onto the platform. Even then, it’s not enough. Loki spends centuries learning from O.B. and Casey, and attempts countless times to get Timely’s multiplier onto the machine in order to expand the Temporal Loom. However, even after all of his attempts – and we can surmise it was countless, considering how extensive his instructions are – the Temporal Loom is destined to fail.

The branching timelines will continue to branch infinitely — there’s no stopping that, and the Loom is not built to accommodate infinite expansion. The problem lies at the beginning of this whole fiasco. If He Who Remains was never killed, the timelines would never branch, the Temporal Loom would stay in place, and no spaghettification. So, Loki jumps farther back into history, going all the way back to the end of Season 1, when he and Sylvie arrive at the Citadel at the End of Time. He does his best to try and convince Sylvie to stop, to save He Who Remains, but after more attempts, he realizes that Sylvie will never stop.

It’s there that He Who Remains stops time and reveals that he’s known about Loki’s time slipping. It’s yet another seed that he planted in Loki after seeing that Sylvie would come to kill him. This has all been a part of the plan for He Who Remains. The Loom is a failsafe device, something that preserves the Sacred Timeline. He Who Remains paints his existence as a mercy, protecting the timeline and keeping everyone safe. With the destruction of the Loom, brutal war will come and nothing will survive it. All Loki has to do is kill Sylvie and that will preserve the Sacred Timeline. Unable to accept that and simply unable to kill Sylvie, Loki slips back to the very beginning of the show, back to Season 1, Episode 1 when he first meets Mobius in the Time Theater.

There, he asks Mobius about how he makes the choice to prune people. They are pruning timelines, which means they are killing countless people. How does he make the hard choice? Mobius tells Loki a story about a Hunter who was not able to prune a child who was destined to be the killer of thousands. That Hunter lost sight of the bigger picture and ultimately, his partner had to be the one to prune the child after multiple Hunters died in the process. Loki deduces that the Hunter who couldn’t prune the child was Mobius and his partner was Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Mobius then tells Loki, “Most purpose is more burden than glory.”

Hearing this, Loki goes forward in time to the end of Season 2, Episode 5, right before the universe spaghettifies and Sylvie disappears, and he freezes time in order to talk to Sylvie. He tells her what has happened and his dilemma. Sylvie correctly realizes that he has to kill her so that he can save He Who Remains. But, in a final plea, she advocates once again for free will. Even though He Who Remains’ death leads to the destruction of everything, he would be replacing one nightmare with another. “I grew up in apocalypses, Loki,” Sylvie tells him. “I’ve lived through enough of them to know that sometimes it’s okay to destroy something.” This makes Loki realize that although the Loom will be destroyed, he can replace it with something better. Time slipping once again to right before the destruction of the Loom, Loki steps onto the platform himself. The temporal radiation doesn’t affect him, and as he takes each step toward the Loom, his clothes disappear; replacing them are a cape and his signature horns. Using his magic, he completely destroys the Loom and sets all the strands of time free.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Season 2 Finale
Image via Disney+

Grabbing the branches of time, he takes them all, opening a rip in the fabric of spacetime, and steps through. He returns to the Citadel at the End of Time, now just a throne surrounded by rubble. Dragging with him all the strands of the timeline with all of its branches, he walks up and sits on the throne, which turns gold. Holding all the branches of time means that Loki can allow all of them to exist without the destruction of existence. We see him at the center of the tree of life: Yggdrasil. Loki has now become the person who is holding together the very fabric of existence.

Sometime later, we see the aftermath of Loki’s decision. The TVA is back, Hunter B-15 is part of the council, Miss Minutes has been reprogrammed, and O.B. has a new version of the TVA handbook. In Chicago 1868, a young Victor Timely continues on with his day, no TVA handbook dropped in through his window. Renslayer wakes up at the End of Time after being pruned and is confronted by Alioth. Mobius decides to leave the TVA, returning to the branched timeline to see a variant of himself with his kids. Sylvie appears next to him and tells him that Loki gave them a chance to live out their lives. The show ends with a final look at Loki on his throne at the End of Time.

It’s hard to imagine a more fitting ending for the series. And while I personally would have enjoyed a couple more scenes between Loki and Sylvie, the way the show was stitched together deserves some praise. Season 2’s finale brings together all the elements of the series and of Loki’s life. While the ending itself is poetic, it means that the weight of literally every world now rests on the shoulders of our favorite Norse god.

Stream all episodes of Loki on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *