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‘Ms. Marvel’ Episode Six Recap: “No Normal”

*Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode six of Ms. Marvel*

I’m going to stress this again: if you haven’t watched the last episode of Ms. Marvel, you really shouldn’t read this because the series ended in the most intriguing (albeit bound to be divisive) fashion. In the comics, Kamala Khan is an inhuman. Her powers came to fruition when the terrigen mists were released throughout Earth during Marvel’s Infinity crossover comic arc. But Kevin Feige doesn’t want to acknowledge the existence of the Inhumans in the MCU, save for killing Black Bolt in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and making us forget that the Inhumans series ever existed. Because of this, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is revealed to be a mutant at the end of Ms. Marvel, with the X-Men ‘97 theme playing as soon as Bruno (Matt Lintz) says that she has a “mutation.”

There are rumors (once again: rumors) that Chloe Bennet’s Daisy Johnson will show up in Secret Invasion, but will they ever mention her Inhuman origin from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Probably not, and it looks like we’ll never hear about the existence of Inhumans in 616-MCU ever again. So the creators did not only change Kamala’s powers from the comics but made her a completely different hero than what she initially was when G. Willow Wilson, Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, Adrian Alphona, and Jamie McKelvie created her. I’ll admit that the power change did not bother me as much as others, and it made sense within the context of the series, but Kamala’s “new” origins as a mutant will indeed divide fans. 

As for me, it’s too early to have an opinion on this, although it’s certainly cool to see that mutants are [officially] coming into the MCU sooner than later. This leads me to believe that X-Men ‘97, a direct follow-up to X-Men: The Animated Series, is set in an alternate timeline from the MCU. It’s the second time in two months that we hear the theme in an MCU title (when Charles Xavier arrives in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you can hear the theme) before seeing any footage from the upcoming series. Of course, that’s all pure speculation, but Marvel wouldn’t insert this theme twice were it not to hint at the series’ position in the multiple timelines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The other “big reveal” was figuring out how the series would feed into Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels. Brie Larson was bound to appear in the series in some capacity, and her inclusion during the mid-credits scene certainly sets up an exciting film, as Kamala’s bangles act up and makes her swap places with Danvers. No one knows where Kamala is, but Carol knows there’s bound to be trouble. Again, it’s unclear what will occur in the movie, but it’s a terrific setup for another potentially great crossover event from Marvel.

As for the finale itself, it’s certainly a step above last week’s episode, both aesthetically and thematically. There’s a hefty amount of emotionally powerful sequences, all of them involving Kamala interacting with Yusuf (Mohan Kapur), Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), and friends Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), Bruno and Zoe (Laurel Marsden). In addition, the series has managed to resolve the hanging plot thread of Nakia finding out about Kamala’s powers in a satisfying way, solidifying their friendship and accepting Kamala’s newfound superheroes as part of her personality. And the scene Fletcher shares with Mardsen, where Zoe reveals that Kamala saved her life, is particularly moving. Plus, it was great to see them devise a plan to distract the Department of Damage Control with a dynamic action scene, even if it ultimately fails.

After viewing the drab slog that was Thor: Love and Thunder in cinemas (of course, that’s only reflective of my opinion, but it’s Marvel’s worst-looking project they’ve ever released), it was great to see authentic visual craftsmanship for the episode’s central action sequence set in Kamala’s school. Using elements from the school at their disposal, Ms. Marvel’s Home Alone-esque climax with Damage Control is one of the better action sequences to have come out of the MCU in recent memory. And everyone has time to shine in that sequence, including Aamir, who believes his softball plan works…until DODC agents arrive behind his back. Guess he spoke too soon.

The core conflict of this episode is Kamala trying to help Kamran (Rish Shah), who gets possessed by Najma’s (Nimra Bucha) spirit. Unfortunately, none of the antagonists in Ms. Marvel were compelling. Kamran isn’t an antagonist but someone who needs guidance to harness his powers. And the final duel involving Kamran and Damage Control isn’t as visually interesting as was the school fight before. It doesn’t help that some of the CGI looks like it was plucked straight out of Uncanny Valley, especially when Kamala embiggens. The show was progressively leading up to Kamala embiggening, and to have it fall so flat (or look this disconcerting) doesn’t bode well for her future appearances in The Marvels and subsequent titles.

Still, Ms. Marvel was a great series, despite some of the flaws it has during its latter episodes. I would’ve loved to see more of Kamala’s relationship with Nakia and Bruno, but the six-episode format limits some of the character development the show needs to have for the climax to be more effective. But its mutant setup and post-credit scene directly feed into the events of The Marvels certainly makes Kamala’s future more exciting than any new protagonist introduced in Phase Four of the MCU so far. And that’s enough to pique my interest in Kamala’s arc as the series continues to expand and progressively lead into Secret Wars because that’s what Phase Four (and Five, probably) is ultimately setting up.

All episodes of Ms. Marvel are now available to stream on Disney+.

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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