MODOK Season 1 Ending Explained — How The Time Travel Works

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for MODOK season 1.

The final episode of M.O.D.O.K. season 1 ended with a dynamic meeting of the minds, as the would-be world conqueror faced himself in a battle across time. This ended in a climactic fashion, with MODOK being forced to choose between his family and the technological utopia he’d dreamed of building since childhood.

Set in a reality similar but distinct from Marvel’s MCU canon, MODOK focused upon the titular supervillain and his struggles to balance his family life and managing the scientific think-tank AIM and all its treacherous underlings. The ten-episode first season detailed MODOK’s fall from grace, as his wife, Jodie, filed for divorce and he lost control of AIM after selling it to tech firm GRUMBL. By the season’s end, however, MODOK had bonded with his children like he never had before and made peace with his chief rival at AIM, going on to form a new company devoted to science for science’s sake.

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The season finale, “Days of Future MODOKs,” highlighted how MODOK had changed, seeking his daughter Melissa’s advice on how to get people to attend the bar mitzvah of his weird son Lou and Lou’s equally weird robot duplicate. While the resulting party was less than stellar, the Lous didn’t mind much as the one girl they cared about attending showed up and MODOK seemed to be on the road to patching things up with Jodie. Unfortunately, the moment was ruined by the arrival of MODOK’s past self, kicking off the final battle of the episode, as the past MODOK tried to murder his future family.

MODOK Time Travel & Past Self Explained

Anomaly and MODOK

The past MODOK had a been recurring threat throughout MODOK season 1, seeking to destroy Jodie, Melissa and Lou after he learned that his future self would become more worried about saving his broken home than fulfilling his dreams of taking over the world. This MODOK, who had taken on the name of The Anomaly, gained the power to manipulate time after shards of the Celestial Chrono-Crystal which powered MODOK’s time machine became embedded in his head after their first fight. He held this power in reserve, however, first trying to kill MODOK’s family with the assistance of the murderous mercenary Arcade. The Anomaly seemingly died during this battle but this was revealed to be a robot duplicate – unsurprising, given how all of his plans to that point had involved robot duplicates.

Having become unstuck in time after his timeline was made redundant, the Anomaly began exploring potential futures, like Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War, trying to find one where some version of MODOK succeeded in taking over the world and building a utopian society. The Anomaly discovered that there was only one timeline where this occurred, one in which MODOK’s family died tragically and their memory spurred him to finally defeat the Avengers and build a better world. This led the Anomaly to do what he knew the future MODOK couldn’t and become the villain who killed Jodie, Melissa and the Lous so that MODOK could fulfill his destiny.

The finale ended in the not-too-distant future, with MODOK having become Emperor of the Earth. Despite ruling the world from a throne made out of Iron Man’s armor, he was not happy and tortured the Anomaly in his lab trying to find a way to use the Anomaly’s powers to go back in time and save his family. Unfortunately, the best he could manage was to temporarily open small portals showing him his family in the past, as the Anomaly smugly told MODOK that there was no way for him to have it all, before finally dying as the Chrono-Crystal shards lost the last of their power. The episode ended with a vengeful Emperor MODOK swearing he would find another way to time travel and save his family, bringing them forward to the perfect future he’d built in their honor.

Related: Marvel’s MODOK Show Will Ruin The Iconic Villain For The MCU

MODOK Is Literally His Own Worst Enemy

The Anomaly and Emperor MODOK

The final battle of MODOK took the subtext of the first season and transformed it into a literal battle between the best and worst versions of its protagonist. As the Anomaly himself noted, their battle was “a glorious metaphor” in which MODOK had to defeat himself and the Anamoly, in order to fulfill his own dreams of world conquest, had to become the villain in his other self’s life. This conflict ultimately proved to be as self-destructive for the Anomaly as the many alternate futures where MODOK died on the toilet while eating lasagna fresh from the pan like Garfield. It also created a wonderful encapsulation of the show’s central conflict and MODOK having to overcome his own worst impulses to secure the happiness and safety of his loved ones.

MODOK Learns The Real Value of Family

MODOK and family facing The Anamoly

MODOK’s journey over the course of the Marvel show’s first season was focused on his learning that he needed to consider the feelings of his family outside of what he wanted. By the finale, he had learned to accept his sons despite their unconventional hobbies and respect his daughter’s ability to be an effective villain, even if her gifts were geared more toward social manipulation than super-science. He also learned to consider Jodie’s wants and needs along with his own and promised to try and work with her on being more considerate in the future with the hope that maybe their marriage could be saved. The cruel irony of the conflict between MODOK and the Anomaly was that the time-remnant MODOK managed to secure a Pyrrhic victory that didn’t benefit him at all, apart from what little joy he could find in destroying MODOK’s family. The final twist of the season was that the Anomaly may have succeeded in making MODOK into an emperor, but that accomplishment meant nothing to MODOK without the loved ones who made the world worth ruling.

How the MODOK Season 1 Finale Sets Up Season 2

Empermor MODOK in throne room

Presuming that MODOK is renewed for a second season, the first question the show must address is how MODOK can save his family. While there are ample avenues for time travel in Marvel comics that the show could explore, it seems the most obvious answer is for Emperor MODOK to get Monica Rappaccini, who built the original AIM time machine, to construct a new one. This presumes, of course, that their alliance has still held into the future and that she’d be willing to chance MODOK screwing up their present by altering the past. It seems more likely, however, that Emperor MODOK will endeavor to tackle the problem on his own and ultimately be forced to choose between his dream and his family, resetting the status quo of the show after the season 2 premiere. Another humorous possibility is that MODOK might succeed in saving his family, only for them to be as miserable in his utopia as he is, leaving them needing to address the problem of how to restore the imperfect world that MODOK saved. This scenario could fill all of MODOK season 2 and allow the show a chance to parody the many alternate futures of Marvel Comics.

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