This article contains spoilers for Loki season 2 episode 1.
For every remaining season 1 question that the Loki season 2 premiere “Ouroboros” has answered – such as where Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) ended up after killing He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) and why Mobius (Owen Wilson) didn’t recognize Loki after he was sent back to the TVA – there are just as many new mysteries left to be solved. While we still don’t know exactly why Loki was stuck slipping through time after his run-in with He Who Remains or how he was able to do so in the TVA, he was able to remedy the situation with the help of Mobius and TVA engineer Ouroboros (Ke Huy Quan).
To do so, Mobius had to extract Loki’s temporal aura directly from the time stream at the same time that Loki “violently” rips himself from “every thread of time and space” aka pruning. According to Ouroboros, this would bring Loki back to the “present” TVA, which already operates outside of normal time and space. The thing is, Loki time slips into the future TVA just as Mobius begins to approach the temporal loom to start the extraction, leaving Loki on his own to find a way to make sure the pruning still happens on time.
Luckily for Mobius and his skin, Loki is pruned just in time, but he’s not the one to do it. As time is running out, Loki sees Sylvie in the nearly abandoned TVA for the first time since she sent him through the portal. But before he can say anything, Loki is pruned from behind and pulled through the temporal aura extractor back to the present. We can’t see anything behind Loki other than the glowing tip of the pruning wand, so that begs the question – Who pruned Loki?
One of the prevailing theories currently online is that a future version of Loki is the culprit, and I’ll admit that this was my first instinct too. Sylvie’s “there you are” could be directed at the “present” Loki, but it feels more familiar, like she’s expecting a different version of him that she’s spent more time with, or someone else entirely. There’s also the whole being violently ripped from every thread of time and space thing that Ouroboros mentions as part of the time aura extraction process.
Does this prevent future Loki from interacting with or pruning himself? Is this the only Loki that exists now? Obviously this Loki is going to progress through time and someday end up in the “future,” but what does that mean now that the timeline is broken? Honestly, trying to think too much about how time travel works in the MCU now hurts my brain, but I wouldn’t totally rule out this future Loki theory just yet.
The future pruner could also be one of Loki’s many allies in the TVA, such as Mobius, Casey (Eugene Cordero), or Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku). They are the most likely to know about Loki’s time slipping issues and be prepared to meet him at that specific moment. Casey especially had a fairly prominent role in this episode, being one of the few consistent people that Loki was able to interact with across the different TVA eras he kept slipping through. But Sylvie doesn’t necessarily know him like she knows Mobius, and would be far more likely to be working with the latter to save Loki, who is important to both of them.
Ouroboros is another possibility given his intimate knowledge of the plan and the likelihood that he would be one of the last TVA agents to leave even as the timeline grows more and more volatile. His knowledge of the temporal loom and how it works could mean that he volunteered to stay behind and keep things running for as long as he could to let everyone else save themselves from the crumbling realm.
Regardless of who pruned Loki, hopefully this question is answered soon so I can go back to wondering when Mobius will finally get to ride a jet ski.
The first episode of Loki season 2 is available to stream on Disney+ now. New episodes premiere Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET.