Episode 4’s Timekeepers Twist Explained

The big reveal of the Timekeepers in person has come, but…nothing’s as we expected: All three Timekeepers ended up being robots! Mindless androids! Why introduce this giant twist? Here, I explain why the Timekeepers aren’t even real, and who could actually be running and putting together the vast organization that is the TVA.

Throughout the course of the first three episodes, the Timekeepers were the ultimate rulers over the Time Variance Authority, said to have created the TVA themselves in the first episode. But now that we’ve finally seen the three “all-powerful” beings in person, talking ominously in echoey voices in a spacious room billowing with blue-colored dry ice (for dramatic effects), they’re not exactly what we thought they were: instead of even being living things, they all turned out to only be robots. This was revealed by Sylvie throwing her sword towards the center Timekeeper, chopping off his head, and sparks flying out of the wires inside of it. Shocking, right? 

So why did such important characters turn out to be nothing but some brilliantly engineered machines anyway?

Okay, here’s the answer: if the Timekeepers are even more sacred than the Sacred Timeline itself, getting to their secret chamber so easily by taking the elevator or going through Renslayer’s special door in her office isn’t a great way to protect them. Even Sylvie destroyed some minutemen in the hallways and was heading on her way to the Timekeepers all by herself! If it wasn’t for Renslayer arriving with a couple of guards and Loki teleporting them to Lamentis-1, Sylvie would have already reached the Timekeepers and discovered their secret early.

The TVA has also been shown to be all about lies, telling agents and variants alike lies about the Time Variance Authority’s origin and the Timekeepers being the supreme beings shaping the Sacred Timeline into whatever they wanted it to be. The Timekeepers could be all fake on purpose, not only so that the real Big Bad can stay hidden as the “Timekeepers” are mechanically operated, but also to fit the rest of the TVA’s “lie” theme: there may actually be no truth to the entire establishment at all by the end of the series. Hiding the fact that all of the agents are abducted variants is already a large enough deception!

Who Could Be Running the TVA

Easy peasy: everybody everywhere has this theory that Kang the Conqueror is orchestrating multiversal madness, creating the Timekeepers and putting the TVA together, and he could have appointed Renslayer to the position of judge and mission approver because of his love for her. He also could have designed the center Timekeeper to resemble himself, hinting that he really is behind everything going on, on top of pruning variants that haven’t even done anything wrong, like Sylvie, who was just playing with some Asgardian toys as an innocent little girl, torturing normal people arrested for no reason like the guy reset in Episode 1 due to him forgetting his ticket (and the helpless guy struggling out of a minuteman’s arms in Episode 4’s flashback as Sylvie yells, “Help him!”). 

However, Kang may not really be part of the story: Renslayer may be the main villain of the series as she already reset Loki and ordered one of her security guards to painfully – and sadly – prune Mobius, along with being the only known one able to coordinate with the Timekeepers without anybody else allowed in the chamber with her. The story may even go farther to give Renslayer a comics-based Terminatrix outfit! Wouldn’t that be cool to see Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character wearing a high-tech suit allowing shapeshifting, plus holding functional weapons like vibro-knives and concussion blasters?

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