delivered a phenomenal ending on Wednesday, with the finale revealing who the show’s big villain is. We didn’t just learn who was pulling the TVA’s strings all along in episode 6. We got to see Loki (Tom Hiddleston) complete another redemption arc just as impressive as what we saw in the Avengers movies. But more importantly, the Loki finale explained the multiverse rules for what’s coming next in the MCU. In the process, it made us question everything we had learned in more than a decade of Marvel adventures.
Loki will make you see everything in a completely different light. Even Avengers: Endgame has now drastically changed. Loki turned it into a big “lie” — and that is amazing news. Before we explain the Loki ending and its relationship to Endgame, we’ll give you the customary warning that big spoilers lie ahead.
When looking at the massive revelations in previous Loki episodes, I told you that Loki might have uncovered Marvel’s biggest lie from Endgame: the Infinity Stones are the foundation of reality. They need to exist to keep reality in check. Even after Thanos destroyed them in Endgame, the Stones still exist as cosmic dust.
What the Loki ending tells us
But then came Loki and we found out that TVA agents use the Infinity Stones as paperweights around the office. They have no powers while at the TVA. They’ve been extracted from timelines that might be pruned. We wondered at the time whether some realities lack Infinity Stones because of various Nexus events. We had no idea early in Loki how many realities are contained in the Sacred Timeline.
The Loki ending clarified all the multiverse rules beautifully. The Sacred Timeline is only one. It’s the one the mostly-good version of Kang (Jonathan Majors) allowed to exist. Under his micromanagement of time, the TVA ensured the Sacred Timeline lived on and that no significant branches passed the point of no return. The TVA pruned everything to ensure a particular sequence of events. Even Loki and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) reaching Kang’s office was a carefully orchestrated event. It’s a formidable thing that the two reached Kang’s castle, but it’s all because of Kang’s doing.
The minute Kang relinquishes control, the Sacred Timeline starts branching off. And the whole thing is so fast that it might lead to the beautiful dance with Steve and Peggy in Endgame. That event happens in an alternate reality, one that Kang wouldn’t have allowed to co-exist with the main Sacred Timeline.
The big Endgame lie
is Marvel’s best MCU work yet, the culmination of more than a decade of superhero stories. Its legacy is tremendous, as the events in Endgame will impact everything in Phase 4.
But now that we saw the Loki finale, we realize that everything in Endgame is a big lie — for the audience. The Avengers were never in any real danger of losing. Sure, some of them had to die to beat Thanos (Josh Brolin). But Thanos was never going to prevail.
No matter what, Kang was in complete control of everything. That one future where the Avengers beat Thanos — the one Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) saw in Infinity War — is Kang’s version of the Sacred Timeline. Strange might have seen alternate possibilities, branches of reality that the TVA would probably prune. It was this particular turn of events that would go forward.
For the characters, the events they experienced in the MCU until Endgame are very real. The stakes were very real. The danger was imminent. They had no idea if they’d win or lose. And they’d have to endure five years of grueling torment after Infinity War. The Loki finale won’t change any of that.
Why it’s all great news for the MCU
As far as the Avengers are concerned, the Infinity Stones are still the biggest power in the universe. Even if they’re gone in this reality. But we, the audience, know better than that. It’s Kang’s ability to control and twist time, to harness the power of Alioth, that’s the biggest threat in the MCU.
From now on, we won’t have to care about Infinity Stones any longer. We won’t have to worry about Marvel reusing them to move the plot forward towards another Endgame. Loki practically ensures that the Infinity Stones are history. The only thing we need to worry about after that great Loki ending is Kang.