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‘Loki': Who’s in That Secret Fortress at the End of Time?

Is it another Loki? Several Lokis? Kang the Conqueror? Nobody?

(We’ve got some major spoilers here for the fifth episode of “Loki” on Disney+)

Each episode of “Loki” thus far has prompted many more questions than provided answers — meaning it feels like we still don’t know anything about what’s going on. But with the finale just a week away, that’s about to change. Hopefully.

There are three big things we know right now. We know the Time-Keepers aren’t real, and that the TVA has been using variants as its workforce, and that there’s something significant to be found in “The Void,” which is the chaotic place at the end of time that all pruned variants end up at.

It’s that last item that we’re most concerned with right now, since it seems likely we’re going to finally get all the answers when Loki Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) break into that fortress that was guarded by that big Smoke Monster called Alioth (more on that monstrosity in a moment). Thanks in no small part to the intervention of Old Loki (Richard E. Grant).

The most obvious option, of course, is that there’s yet another Loki in the fortress. The show’s director, Kate Herron, keeps hinting that Sylvie is not actually a Loki — that would line up with the comics, in which Sylvie is the creation of Loki. We’ve suspected since Sylvie first showed up in the second episode that that would also be the case here, with perhaps the Loki who created her being at the center of all this madness somehow.

The why of it is murkier. Perhaps he’s trapped there, and decided to spawn Sylvie as part of a gambit to help him escape. Maybe he somehow ended up here at the end of time naturally and secretly created the TVA to try to prevent this reality from becoming our future — the comic book version of the TVA was formed in the future, rather than the past as the show claimed.

Since very little else we were told about the TVA turned out to be true, we figure there’s probably a twist with this detail as well.

If it’s not Loki, then our next best guess would be Kang the Conqueror, a character we’ve been insisting will show up on this series since the beginning. The Void has the whiff of a big ole prison, and not just for the variants who have been pruned by the TVA. And while there’s not usually much worth in looking to the comics to try to figure out what’s going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I couldn’t help but note that this episode gave us yet another big hint toward Kang: that previously mentioned Smoke Monster.

In the comics, Alioth is extremely obscure, appearing in just a handful of issues in the ’90s. And this thing is pretty much only known for being Kang’s rival. Like the TVA, Alioth is an entity that exists outside of time, and in the comics it actually has a bigger time empire than Kang does. In other words, Alioth is a thing that Kang is actually scared of. Who better to have as Kang’s prison warden?

This eventuality would likely mean that the TVA exists specifically as a way to keep Kang contained. And since Kang is already slated to be a major figure in this new phase of the MCU, this would likely mean that Loki and Sylvie will end up being responsible for freeing him and kicking off whatever multiverse madness this franchise has in store.

Kang does have one other potential connection to this situation: he’s got a pocket universe in the comics called Limbo that exists outside of time, which he ruled while going by the name Immortus. He had a big fortress there called Tenebrae that was his base. It probably doesn’t mean anything for “Loki,” but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Only one other possibility seems potentially likely: there’s nobody in that fortress. This would be in keeping with ideas “Loki” has been playing with — the TVA having no actual leadership that anybody is aware of, with everybody just doing their jobs anyway. So it could be thematically satisfying to discover that there is really, truly nobody in charge of the time cops.

The “Loki” season finale is next week. Hopefully it will be full of real answers.