Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched Loki Episode 4 in its entirety! You have been pruned. Er, warned.
OMFG, Loki's fourth episode completely shattered everything into pieces, and I mean everything, from Mobius and B-20's faith in the TVA to Mobius and the Time Keepers themselves! (Proof that "check your neck" is useful advice anywhere in existence.) Episode 4, titled "The Nexus Event," was the first Loki installment to feature a post-credits scene, which dropped a humdinging doozy of a reveal for both Tom Hiddleston's semi-protagonist and for everybody watching on Disney+.
Not all MCU post-credits scenes are created equal, but Loki's is definitely in the upper echelon. Despite being such a quick capper to the episode, those final moments were full of narrative importance and comic book references. So let's take a much closer look at everything we saw, and what it all means (probably).
Loki Seemingly Revealed TVA Pruning Isn't Necessarily Deadly
Having seemingly killed off Owen Wilson's Mobius earlier in the episode, Loki admittedly fooled me into thinking no other major characters would get zapped, only so I could be bamboozled by Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Renslayer using her pruning rod on Loki himself. Before any riots could occur, however, the final scene began, revealing Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief was still alive, though in an unfamiliar area.
Viewers technically weren't privy to what happened between the pruning and the reawakening, but it would appear that the TVA isn't 100% definitely killing people by pruning them. Unless the four Loki variants that were there when the O.G. trickster woke up were somehow able to intercept him during the pruning process - or some other similarly instantaneous tactic - then it might be safe to believe that Mobius and the other zapped variants (Loki and otherwise) were all transported to other locations. And if not all of them, at least the ones that are most important to this show.
Loki's "Hel" Reference
Upon first retaining his consciousness after the pruning, Loki wonders aloud if he's in Hel, and he's not talking about the religion-based metaphysical realm, but rather the soundalike realm of death from Marvel Comics. First referenced in the MCU by Tom Hiddleston's Loki back in Thor: The Dark World, Hel is the dominion controlled the Ruler of the Dead, Hela, though there are definitely differences between the comic version and the live-action villain portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok.
Considering Jaimie Alexander's Lady Sif had already made a return appearance earlier in the episode for Loki's Asgardian memory jail, I admittedly became hopeful that Loki might pull a similar move by bringing Cate Blanchett back into the fold at the last second. Alas, that didn't happen, so it seems like Hel getting namechecked was merely incidental. But what came next was thankfully even more mind-blowing, with Loki meeting four completely distinct new variants in a completely obliterated setting.
Richard Grant's Classic Loki
Fans have speculated the hell out of who Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Dispatches from Elsewhere star Richard E. Grant would be playing in Disney+'s Loki, and now we have confirmation that he is Classic Loki, which appears to be a take on the comics' Old Loki. Grant is donning what I think everyone would agree is this series' most comic-book-looking costume yet, but it doesn't distract from his message to Tom Hiddleston's character that his Loki will die unless he joins this new variant foursome.
While Richard E. Grant doesn't necessarily look hyper-evil in that costume, it's speculated he's playing the deadly and devious God Butcher iteration of the character. And now that we know the Time Keepers are basically the TVA's version of Showbiz Pizza's The Rock-afire Explosion, it's all the more likely that this eldest Loki is responsible for some of the chaos going on.
Jack Veal's Kid Loki
On the opposite end of the age spectrum is Jack Veal's pubescent Kid Loki, who is rocking a very comic-friendly costume. Not to mention his confident stare that says "Sure, you can TRY and fuck with me." Of course, Loki didn't really give viewers a whole lot to think about when it comes to Kid Loki, beyond just how perfect he looks, so it's hard to gauge where things could go from here, considering all the other changes made for live-action.
DeObia Oparei's Boastful Loki
Similarly, fans don't have much to go on, speculatively speaking, when considering what to expect from DeObia Oparei's Boastful Loki. (Fun fact: Oparei also played a character named Loki in Santa Clarita Diet.) Clearly he's further proof of variant diversity, and he's not quite as into eye-catching fashion choices as his cohorts are. The fact that he's wielding a Mjolnir-esque hammer makes it seem possible this variant is a take on the comic's Loki, God of Heroism and Truth from the AXIS arc in the comics.
Hells to the yeah, Loki gave the world a reptilian version of its central character, and it's awesome in the strangest way. While I would have been sli-i-i-i-ightly more impressed had they brought in the comic's unicorn Loki, I cannot deny how giddy I become when seeing surreal moments like this within the MCU. Part of me can't wait to hear how in the hell this scaled-down version came into existence - pun intended - while the rest of me hopes that it remains a total mystery.
Avengers Tower And All Of New York Got Destroyed In This Timeline
While the appearance of four new Lokis likely drew a lot of viewers' attention away from the surrounding scenery, the totally decimated New York City surrounding them provides some insight into what's going on here. Given what we know about the tactics Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie used to avoid being detected by the TVA, it would appear as if this multi-species quartet of variants have been hiding out in the aftermath of a major disaster, as opposed to living in the midst of everything going haywire. Seems like a way safer and quieter move, though it's not automatically understood why Sylvie couldn't have just gone this route instead of how she handled things.
In any case, Classic Loki and the Gang are quite obviously standing in the vicinity of a demolished Avengers Tower, but it's not confirmed exactly where the characters are in the overall timeline. Clearly, it's not the 1800s or anything, but is this the result of a alternate version of the Battle of New York where Thanos won? Or is this Armageddon-esque environment the result of some other event entirely? The cause might not be important for the future, as it will presumably be reversed/eradicated, OR it might be the most important factor in Phase 4. Fans will have to wait at least one more week to see how things shake out.