Flicking through the Yellow Pages of time and space for a Loki season 1 recap ahead of the new episodes? Makes sense, given how hard our brains had to work to understand the cosmic nuances of the first season.
The latest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Disney Plus shows has Tom Hiddleston returning to untangle the web left in the wake of the season 1 finale (or, Sylvie’s wake, more accurately), but before all of that, what actually happened?
The Marvel series, and our Loki season 1 recap as a consequence, begins following the events of Avengers: Endgame. It’s a bit of a complicated setup, but you don’t have to rewatch the Marvel movies in order, you just need to know that due to Avengers meddling in the past, the Tesseract ends up going straight into the hands of a younger Loki, just as he was being arrested for the invasion in 2012’s The Avengers.
In Loki episode 1, we see the God of Mischief using the Tesseract to escape before being apprehended by the Time Variance Agency (TVA), who we learn is tasked with hunting down runaway varients and keeping the timeline intact against disturbances by order of the ‘Timekeepers’, a mysterious presence who the audience knows nothing about.
TVA agents ‘reset’ that timeline, which Loki would have damaged by being allowed to run off with the Tesseract, and take him as their prisoner. He ends up at their headquarters, where variants are ‘pruned’ (killed, basically). Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) looks set to get rid of Loki, but Mobius (Owen Wilson), a TVA agent thinks they can use him to track down a variant who poses more of a threat. That variant turns out to be another Loki, wreaking some havoc on the integrity of timelines.
He is then made aware of how his future would have panned out — his part in his mother’s death and his own demise at the hands of Thanos during Infinity War — and, rightly, self-loathes for a little while before agreeing to help Mobius.
Loki ends up being helpful, able to think like this hunted variant and anticipate some of their moves. Eventually, the dynamic duo figures out that this variant is hiding out in apocalyptic events in various timelines. Their investigation led to a Roxxcart store in 2050, where a natural disaster is about to occur, right on schedule. We then meet one of the best Marvel characters from this new era, a female Loki variant named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino).
Loki being Loki, he’s curious and tries to strike a deal with her. Sylvie refuses and tries to run off, but Loki follows her, breaking Mobius’ trust. The pair then end up at Lamentis-1, facing down another apocalypse. Sylvie is initially quite irritated by his presence, but as they devise an escape route away from the danger of where they landed, they bond a little bit over their similarities.
Unfortunately, things go awry on their way out and their TemPad (a TVA device used to travel between timelines) is lost, leaving them on a dying Lamentis-1 with no way out. Sylvie, having a bit of an existential crisis facing her apparent end, then reveals that the TVA agents are variants themselves, plucked from their respective timeline branches with no memory of where they come from.
Loki begins to fall for Sylvie (this self-love has levels, dude) causing a branch in the timeline which is detected by the TVA, allowing Mobius to swoop in and retrieve them. Loki tries to tell Mobius about the TVA’s true nature, but he’s unreceptive… at first.
After imprisoning the Lokis, Mobius begins to become suspicious, and when Ravonna finds out, she prunes her old friend. Loki and Sylvie are then taken to the Time-Keepers, who turn out to be somewhat like The Wizard of Oz in that they don’t exist, but there’s a man behind the smoke screen.
Before Loki can progress his romantic feelings for Sylvie, who becomes sympathetic after we learn about how the TVA tried to erase her from existence simply because she is a woman, Ravonna adds him to the prune pile.
He then wakes up in the ‘Void’, opening his eyes to see several Lokis: Kid Loki (Jack Veal), Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei), Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), and Alligator Loki (CGI green boi). They invite our Loki into their hideout, where they hide from a hungry beast named Alioth who eats what is sent to the Void.
Sylvie then decides to prune herself, unsure of where she’ll end up. Mobius, (also pruned, remember?) finds her in the Void before making his way back to the TVA, while Loki and Sylvie endeavor to face Alioth to reach the other side of it and discover who’s behind everything.
They end up at the citadel of ‘He Who Remains’, a Kang variant. They’re warned and given the option to turn back, but at this point, they’re both too invested in the mystery to stop now.
They come face to face with He Who Remains, an oddball humanoid who exposition dumps some information about how a variant of his own started a multiverse-spanning conflict that he could only stop by using Alioth to seal off the ‘Sacred Timeline’ — that’s the one he’s employing the TVA agents to protect.
After centuries of keeping the hands of fate tightly bound, he presents our agents of chaos with two paths: kill him and face the consequences when his varients find their timeline, or take his place as the true Timekeeper. Loki and Slyvie disagree on the course of action, with Loki unsure of the right move and Sylvie determined to unleash the multiverse.
After a fight between them, Sylie forces Loki back to the TVA headquarters and kills He Who Remains. This results in an infinite number of timeline branches, essentially working to open the MCU up to the endless possibilities of variants and alternate timelines.
At the end of the finale, Loki lands at a very different TVA, ruled by one of the Kang variants. Uh-oh. Mobius seems to have no memory of their time together and is working hard to try to contain the timelines. Of course, there are a lot more questions, and hopefully Loki season 2 answers a lot of them.
You can read our Loki season 2 review and everything we learned in the Loki season 2 trailer to get yourself ready for the new episodes, but otherwise, we have guides on the best Marvel villains, Marvel’s Phase 5 explained, and all the upcoming Marvel movies.