The Ms. Marvel finale is here, and as you might expect, events are coming to a head. As Kamala (Iman Vellani) returns from Karachi with her mother (Zenobia Shroff), she doesn’t know that Kamran (Rish Shah) has received powers similar to hers from his now deceased mother Najma (Nimra Bucha), and is now being hunted by the Department of Damage Control, led by Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner). As he finds refuge with Bruno (Matt Lintz), a Damage Control drone attacks them both and destroys the Circle Q. Will Kamala be able to help Kamran and drive these government agents out of her beloved Jersey City?
After seeing Deever resolve to bring Kamran in alive, we see Kamran and Bruno on the run from Damage Control; Kamran, much like Kamala at first, is unable to control his powers. After Kamala’s Ammi found out that she’s “Night Light,” it makes sense to tell the rest of her family, but the rest of them already heard from Ammi. (There are no secrets allowed in brown families, basically.) There’s expression of both amazement and concern from her Abbu Yusuf (Mohan Kapur), but as Kamala explains, “I don’t think you raised me to sit by and do nothing when I can help people.” Muneeba then expresses that she trusts her, in a very sweet moment.
After Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) calls Kamala to let her know that Bruno is missing in the wake of the Circle Q explosion, Kamala heads out in her iconic Ms. Marvel costume—made by Ammi. We then see Kamala out in daylight using her powers in her costume, making hard light platforms to traverse the city. After Bruno and Kamran find sanctuary at the mosque, Damage Control enters (with their shoes on, again) saying they’re looking for someone “Pakistani or Arab.” Deever is plain awful in her invasion of the mosque’s sanctity. Thankfully, Nakia is able to offer a distraction for Kamran and Bruno to escape... but not before he tells Kamran “Just because someone treats you as their enemy, doesn’t give you the right to treat them as yours.” Um, thanks for the lesson in respectability politics as this kid is running for his life, Sheikh Abdullah!
Kamala then finds the boys in her new costume, and they of course recognize it’s her. Suddenly, energy pulsates from Kamran’s body as we hear Najma say his name. He painfully relays the feeling of being crushed from the inside out. We then cut to nighttime as Kamala and Bruno help Kamran into the school to hide, and Kamala calls Red Dagger (Aramis Knight) asking for help. He tells her to get him to the harbor by midnight for their rendezvous.
Nakia meets them at the school, and she and Kamala can finally talk. She’s hurt that Kamala has been keeping this extraordinary secret from her; Kamala reasons that because Nakia hates superheroes, she was afraid of telling her—but she admits she messed up and apologizes to her best friend. Bruno then alerts them that Damage Control is right outside. Kamala tells her friends to leave for their safety, but they resolve to stay with her, as does Zoe (Laurel Marsden), who was apparently just hanging out in the theater department filming her TikToks and feels bad for her inadvertent role in leading Damage Control to the Muslim community, and wants to return the favor to Kamala for saving her life. This episode sure is packing in a lot.
Kamala then makes one of her trademark chalkboard plans, as Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) also shows up to help out (their parents sent him as a chaperone), and the team springs their plan into action. Deever calls Agent Clearly (Arian Moayed) who commands her to evacuate to avoid bad press (and presumably genuinely not wanting harm to come to the kids), and while Deever says “understood,” she instead calls in additional units. All cops are bad!
After we see Nakia realize that there’s more to Zoe than she (understandably) previously thought, Kamala tells Bruno what happened in Karachi, and how Najma didn’t make it; Bruno asks her to not tell Kamran until they’re all out of there. This surely won’t backfire at all! But the implication that Kamran would somehow turn on them when they’re doing their best to save his life is not great. As the team distracts the invading soldiers, Zoe sends out a TikTok imploring the community for help as part of the plan. As Kamala and Kamran hold hands as they hide from agents, they nearly kiss before Bruno interrupts them and gets captured to distract the guards. The love triangle persists in the face of mortal danger! And the guards capture the rest of the team, leaving only Kamala and Kamran.
As the two escape, Kamran relays to Kamala that he’s unsure about the escape plan, as apparently “the Red Daggers are as much a threat to [him] as those cops are out there. They’ve been fighting my family for decades.” Kamran finally asks what happened to his mother, but not before an agent interrupts them. Kamala then finally tells him the truth. Kamran then attacks guards who are attacking them, and before he hurts them further, Kamala stops him and he attacks her back and escapes. Yikes!
We cut to outside the school, where Kamran emerges to face the agents before a huge crowd assembled by Zoe’s TikTok message, decrying Damage Control’s actions. Deever orders the agents to fire on him, but Kamala thankfully jumps in to save him with a force field blocking the bullets. Deever ceases fire, but shoots a sonic weapon that disperses the force field. It knocks out Kamran and nearly takes out Kamala, but she resolves her determination, saying “embiggen” to take more control of her powers, and makes the hard light form around her body, acting as a large armor of sorts that resembles her comics form when she actually embiggens her body as a polymorph. It’s overall a cool looking effect. Kamran comes to and fights back against the guards, nearly accidentally throwing one of their cars into the crowd, before Kamala catches it with her large construct hands.
Kamran then faces Deever as she pulls a gun on him, and lets out jagged force fields around him that threaten everyone in sight (again, he’s the extreme one and we need to reinforce that), and Kamala puts a force field around the two of them to reason with him. “Kamala look around,” he says. “They’re never going to accept me and they’ll never accept you either… How can I be normal?” But Kamala reminds him that his mother sacrificed things for him, and says “There is no normal. There’s just us and what we do with what we’ve been given.” Kamala then punches a hole into the ground for Kamran to escape through, and both their constructs disappear. It’s a relief that the show ultimately didn’t make Kamran the final villain that Kamala would need to face, while playing with the idea of him being the “radical” and her being the “reasonable” one.
As Deever calls for the guards to take in Kamala, the entire crowd of people surrounds her to protect her and give her time to escape. Clearly calls Deever again and relieves her of duty. Damage Control defeated! We then see a bunch of TikToks from the community expressing their joy at their new hero in town (including a cameo from Kamala Khan’s co-creator, G. Willow Wilson!). We cut to Kamala watching the videos and looking at herself more confidently in the mirror than she did before in her new costume.
As she sits on the roof, Abbu joins her to discuss her newfound heroism, with a montage of the people in their lives as well, including Kamran taking refuge with Kareem in Karachi. He then tells her why he and Ammi named her “Kamala,” an untypical Pakistani name, because they had tried for years to have a second child, but she she came along, she was “perfect,” the meaning of “Kamal” in Arabic. But in Urdu, “Kamal” is more alike to “Marvel,” and thus she’s always been like their “own little Ms. Marvel.” We then see Kamala sitting on a lamppost overlooking New York City, recreating one of her most famous comic covers by Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson:
We then cut to “one week later” as Kamala meets up with Bruno and Nakia driving in Kamran’s car (which Bruno just decided to take). Bruno then explains that he was investigating more of Kamala’s powers, and that there’s something different in Kamala’s genes, “like a mutation.” We then hear the X-Men: The Animated Series theme play in the background. That’s right! Kamala’s not an Inhuman but the MCU’s first Mutant! Goodbye, all my Inhuman theories. It seems that the bangle somehow activated her X-gene, rather than act as a conduit for Terrigenesis. “Whatever it is it’s just going to be another label,” Kamala says as she shrugs it off. It’s ironic, in a roundabout way, that by distancing Kamala now so much from the Inhumans and the Kree (so far as we know), that the MCU may have distanced her background even more from Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau when she’s going to star with them in next year’s The Marvels. Will Kamala go to Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Ms. Marvel season two? Stay tuned!
In the mid-credits scene (there’s no after-credits scene), we see Kamala observing her bangle react to something, and out of nowhere in a burst of twirling light she disappears, with Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) in her place. Carol looks around her room at her many pictures of herself. “Oh, no, no, no,” she says in worry. What follows is a black screen saying “Ms. Marvel will return in The Marvels.” Hijinks have been done!
The episode title references Wilson’s “No Normal” comics arc, which showed Kamala’s pivotal moment of self-realization after she underwent Terrigenesis and gained her polymorphic powers. She subconsciously realized that she couldn’t be, and didn’t want to be, the blonde and blue haired white woman superhero that Carol is—she could only be her own version of Ms. Marvel. It was one of the most powerful moments in her run, and perhaps all of comics history, and to see it used here as only an apparent nod is, frankly, a huge letdown, and a reminder that Kamala won’t undergo this particular moment of self-actualization. Hopefully, however, she realizes more once she meets Carol that she needs to be her own version of a hero, and not try to copy her.
And thus, we conclude the first season of the MCU’s Ms. Marvel. In all, while a decent finale for a good series, the episode encapsulates the issues of the show overall. In a mere six-episode season, we had many introductions and establishments of the various aspects of Kamala’s life, family, friends, and powers, but lost in this was the depth of story of self-discovery and acceptance that we all know and love Kamala for in the comics. We instead had a lovely family drama, and Kamala learning the importance of her family and what they (particularly Aisha) do for each other, which clearly inspires Kamala to heroism (even if unstated).
To be sure, Kamala did go on a self-discovery journey through the series, but the six episodes crammed in so much exposition, we didn’t get anywhere near as much vocalization on what her reasoning is for heroism as we could have had. Namely, the will to protect her community from those exploiting and capitalizing off it, the inspiration from Islam (the scene with Sheikh Abdullah in episode three was great, but we should have had more), and, perhaps most importantly, standing against Islamophobia and racism. While Kamala dealt with this through the metaphors provided with the Clandestines (an exceptionally poor antagonist even by MCU standards) and Damage Control hunting Kamran, that felt a bit like a cop-out instead of addressing the real issues. Thankfully, we did see Nakia deal with Islamophobia directly, but nearly none from Kamala, whose series this is.
I hope that if Ms. Marvel gets a second season, we’ll see Kamala go on this continuing journey of gaining community-inspired resolve to be a hero, and to be the “Friendly Neighborhood Ms. Marvel” that Jersey City and its Muslim community deserve. Perhaps in The Marvels she will fully realize that attempting to be like Carol Danvers isn’t all she thought it to be, and will resolve to be her own hero—something that could also be built upon if the show returns for a second season.
In the meantime, I encourage you all to read the Ms. Marvel comics, starting with the exceptional first run by G. Willow Wilson. It’s a beautiful, deeply resonant story of self-identity and determination in the face of a world that would rather you be invisible. Kamala Khan will never be invisible. I hope that more stories in the MCU and elsewhere encapsulate more of the amazing themes of this incredible and groundbreaking comics run. Iman Vellani will have a bright future ahead in the MCU, and I hope that more stories with her take more direct inspirations from her run of comics than the show’s first season did.
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