The first season of Loki saw the titular god of mischief being arrested by the TVA (Time Variance Authority) for running away from his timeline with the help of the Tesseract. He was supposed to be “pruned” because that was what the TVA used to do for variants who would deviate from their destined pathways. But due to Mobius’ kindness, Loki was employed as the lead detective’s assistant to find out who was killing TVA agents. It turned out to be a variant of Loki, i.e., Sylvie. Loki and Sylvie unearthed the lies around the TVA and how the employees in the organization were variants who were picked up from their timelines, and their memories were erased to serve a god-like individual sitting at the End of Time. Loki and Sylvie were offered a choice by He Who Remains: kill him and trigger the arrival of all of his variants, or take control of the TVA and maintain the sacred timeline. Given how Sylvie was motivated by revenge against the practice of pruning timelines, she killed He Who Remains and sent Loki to a timeline where nobody remembered him—not even Mobius and Hunter B-15.
Loki Is Slipping Between The Past and Present Of The TVA
The first episode of Loki Season 2 opens with an elaborate chase sequence as Mobius and the TVA try to arrest Laufeyson or, worse, prune him. After crashing into the control tower, Loki realizes that he is slipping through time. As in, his body is teleporting between the past, the present, and the future. But the teleporting is limited to the TVA. He isn’t getting transported somewhere outside the TVA. He just keeps showing up at different points in time at the TVA. So, Mobius and Hunter B-15 didn’t remember him because he showed up in a time period when they hadn’t met Loki yet. However, when Loki time-slips into the present, he meets the versions of Casey, Mobius, Hunter B-15, etc., who do remember him. Talking about Mobius, Hunter B-15, and pretty much the rest of the TVA, they are all still comprehending the fact that they’ve been fed with lies about the gods they’re serving and that they had lives on their very own timelines.
X-5, a prominent TVA hunter, informs Mobius and B-15 that they’ve to attend a meeting with General Dox and Judge Gamble, who are filling in for Renslayer, who was last seen walking through a Time Door along with Miss Minutes. As they proceed to the War Room, Loki continues to slip between the past and the present as he goes to the War Room, too. Luckily, this allows him to uncover the relationship between He Who Remains and Renslayer and the hidden mural of He Who Remains, which has been covered with a mural of the Time-Keepers. At the War Room meeting, Judge Gamble kind of sides with B-15’s pleas to stop pruning timelines because, in doing so, they’re essentially committing genocide. General Dox, who is a bit of a hardliner, is against that notion because the only thing she has known all her life is pruning branching timelines and variants. As soon as she learns that Sylvie is the one who killed He Who Remains and destabilized the whole universe, she tells X-5 to prepare a team that’ll find the Loki variant.
Ouroboros Theorizes How to Stop Loki’s Time Slipping
Loki brings Mobius up to speed about everything that happened at the Citadel at the End of Time and how there are infinite variants of Kang who are on their way to take the throne that has been emptied due to the death of He Who Remains. He also tries to explain how every variant that’s working at the TVA had their memories erased. That’s why they don’t ever remember working for He Who Remains. So, just to be clear, when Sylvie kicked Loki through the Time Door, he landed in a time period when He Who Remains publicized his involvement and handling of the TVA. Hence, the giant statue of himself and the multiple murals throughout the TVA. But, somewhere down the line, he gave the keys to Renslayer, propped up the Time-Keepers, covered up any evidence of his existence, and became a recluse in his citadel. Why? I don’t exactly know. Maybe he didn’t like the attention anymore. Maybe he gained some kind of self-awareness and realized he was acting like a megalomaniac. Maybe he loved the anonymity.
Coming back to the dynamic duo, Mobius advises Loki to take care of his time slipping before dealing with the broader picture because if he keeps disappearing, he won’t be able to help. That’s where Ouroboros (also known as OB) comes in, as Mobius thinks he’s the only one who can help since OB is the author of the TVA guidebook. As they figure things out, Loki keeps slipping between the past and present versions of OB, and when the past version of OB learns something, the present version gets updated in real-time. After a lot of back and forth, OB comes to the conclusion that Mobius has to use a Temporal Aura Extractor and hook it up with the Time Loom in the present. In the past or the future, Loki has to prune himself, thereby freeing himself from time itself, because we know that pruning doesn’t exactly kill someone. It sends them to a dumping ground of sorts near the End of Time. So, theoretically speaking, when Loki is “freed,” the Extractor is going to catch him and bring him into the present, thereby curing his time slipping.
Did Loki’s time-slipping stop?
OB’s plan to fix Loki’s time slipping is made all the more difficult by the fact that the Time Loom (which processes time into a physical timeline) is overloading because of the branching timelines trying to become one with the sacred timeline. So, in order to fix the time loop, OB has to close the blast doors and find a way for the cosmic device to properly process all the branching timelines. Since this is a quickly devolving situation, Loki has an incredibly small window to conduct the aforementioned maneuver and fix his time slipping; the small window is around five minutes. In those five minutes, Mobius has to hook the Extractor to the loom, Loki has to prune himself, and OB has to close the blast doors to protect the TVA. Just to make things even more complicated, Loki accidentally slips through time. He leaves with the meter that’ll indicate if Mobius has succeeded in his mission or not, but the Time Stick that he’ll need to prune himself doesn’t go with him. Loki lands inside the Time Loom’s control room and realizes that he is in the future and that he has to find a Time Stick in order to prune himself.
At the end of Loki Season 2, episode 1, OB sends Mobius out onto the bridge between the TVA building and the Time Loom. He successfully hooks up the Extractor with the Loom. However, since Loki doesn’t have a Time Stick, they are unable to complete the maneuver. OB says that he needs to close the blast doors, or else the entire TVA will be incinerated. In the future, Loki comes across a ringing telephone near the elevator. As he goes out to reach it, a familiar face emerges out of the elevator. It’s Sylvie! But before Loki can say something to her, he is pruned. For a moment, it seems like OB’s theory has failed, and that’s exactly when we see Loki hurtling out of the Loom. He crashes into Mobius, and the two make it back into the control room as the blast doors close behind them. Loki says that they need to find Sylvie.
We see Hunter B-15 in the corridor, watching Dox lead an entire army of hunters through Time Doors. She wonders why she is taking so much ammunition to catch a single variant. In Season 1, we’ve seen entire timelines being pruned with bombs, and it seems like Dox and her army are not just hellbent on recapturing Sylvie; they also want to prune the branches because that’s what they’ve been trained to do. In a mid-credits scene, we see Sylvie stepping into Oklahoma in 1982. It’s a branched timeline. She goes to a McDonald’s outlet and decides to become an employee there. It’s apparent that Sylvie doesn’t want eternal glory or anything synonymous with that. She wants to live a simple life and chill. Well, little does she know that her actions have consequences, and she can’t destabilize the multiverse and choose to ride it out in a branched timeline. Dox is coming for her, and so are Loki and Mobius. As for the version of Sylvie that Loki saw just before getting pruned, it was clearly a future version of her. Why is she in the TVA? Well, she always wanted to raze the TVA to the ground. So, it’s possible she is going to step into the institution that destroyed her life in order to kick it into oblivion.