This article contains spoilers for Loki.
With a flash of golden horns and the wave of a TVA baton, director Kate Herron delivered the most shocking episode of Loki yet.
If timeline trickery and Sylvie enchanting us all wasn’t enough, The Nexus Event lifted the lid on the men behind the curtain and gave us a TVA twist.
Dishing up some serious The Wizard Of Oz vibes, the omnipotent Time-Keepers were exposed as being nothing more than some Sesame Street-inspired androids. As Sam Wilson correctly posited in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, it’s always androids, aliens, or wizards.
While Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer looks to be the woman in the know, it’s doubtful that she’s the series’ big bad. So, just what’s going on with the TVA and who is the puppet master pulling all of the strings?
From the moment we first stepped inside the TVA, something was off about this Terry Gilliam-inspired office space. As things have slowly unravelled, Loki has already dealt the blow that the organisation’s agents are just mind-wiped variants.
Why the TVA has selected the likes of the jet ski-loving Mobius M. Mobius and Wunmi Mosaku’s stoic Hunter B-15 is still up for debate, but either way, they’ve been tricked into thinking they’re protecting the mythical Sacred Timeline to stop the multiverse bursting out.
In terms of who is at the top of the TVA, there are several options. From time-hopping big bads that could rock Phase Four and beyond, to malevolent mascots that are a little too happy for our liking. Here’s a rundown of who could be behind the TVA’s ulterior motives.
First things first, Tara Strong’s southern tones as Miss Minutes might be hiding a sinister edge. Even the writers themselves can’t seem to decide whether the TVA’s seemingly helpful guide is a sentient creation.
Strong told The Hollywood Reporter there’s more to come from Miss Minutes, and given that there are just two episodes left, it suggests she has a part to play in Loki’s endgame.
Speaking to the site, Strong explained: “There’s much more to be revealed, and it’s fun to watch that unfold. The beautiful thing about this character is you don’t really know who she is, where she’s from, what her origin story is, how sentient she is, if she has a horse in this race at all, and what her intentions are, if any.”
Added to this, the idea that Miss Minutes is a rogue AI intent on destroying time for her own gain is one that’s gathering steam.
For those unconvinced, there was a clever Portal Easter egg in episode three. In Valve’s Portal series, the games are played out with a villainous AI called GLaDOS that ran a facility after her creators had died.
Now that we know the Time-Keepers are just “mindless androids”, the origin of Miss Minutes is also up for debate.
Kang The Conqueror
This season’s possible Mephisto fake-out has been Kang The Conqueror.
Everyone knows Lovecraft Country’s Jonathan Majors is playing the time-hopping villain in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, but is he already waiting in the wings?
More than just looking like one of the Time-Keepers, Kang has some serious comic book credentials that back up his potential appearance.
First things first, Ravonna Renslayer has a long comic book history with Kang as his on-again-off-again girlfriend. Given that Renslayer is apparently the one with the answers on who is running the TVA, it’s not a massive leap to assume Kang is her boss.
Interestingly, there was an actual incident where Kang killed the Time-Keepers in 1998’s Avengers Forever arc.
Others spotted a clever nod to Renslayer’s comic origin thanks to her TVA agent number being A-23. She first appeared in 1965’s Avengers #23, which (you guessed it), also included Kang.
Importantly, Kang has the potential to be the franchise’s next Thanos – with ties to everyone from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four.
Finally, what about the big man himself? The TVA clearly has an obsession with removing Lokis from the timeline, with episode four’s big twist revealing a Loki dumping ground in the ruins of New York City.
Early theories guessed Richard E. Grant would be playing a villainous Old Man Loki, but his reveal as Classic Loki alongside Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, and Crocodile Loki (?) seemingly debunk that.
Still, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a Loki at the top overseeing things. Sylvie’s main aim is to topple the TVA – for kidnapping her from a happy childhood – and in her flashback, it looked like the TVA was running smoothly.
An unknown amount of time later, Ravonna Renslayer has been promoted to Head Judge, the Time-Keepers are playing robots in disguise, and we don’t know who is in charge.
The various promos have shown off President Loki, which many assumed was “our” Loki playing dress-up. However, seeing the Loki variants trapped in their New York nightmare hint that they’re currently marooned in a reality where Loki won the battle of New York. If this is the case, where is this victorious Loki?
With the unthinkable, could there be a Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart scenario where a winning streak Loki got his wicked way and moved to take over the TVA next?
It would be a bit of a cop-out considering we just had Vision vs. White Vision in WandaVision, but it’s also easy to imagine.
As Loki heads into its endgame, fans are ready to chuck out their theories like Infinity Stones in a drawer, thanks to Hiddleston’s promise that episodes four and five are the big ones.
Aiming to top THAT big Time-Keepers twist, the next episode will hopefully lift the veil on the show’s sinister scoundrel in the shadows.
Who knows, maybe it was Agatha all along?
Loki airs weekly on Disney+.