DIRECTORS: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah

CAST: Iman Vellani, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Laurel Marsden, Laith Nakli, Travina Springer, Aramis Knight

RUNNING TIME: 49 mins

PREVIOUSLY, ON MS. MARVEL: Kamala Khan (Vellani) has been gifted with extraordinary cosmic energy powers after she wears a bangle that belonged to her great-grandmother. Her powers have attracted the attention of the suppressive Department of Damage Control, as well as a group of interdimensional beings known as the Clandestines, who want to use Kamala’s bangle to return to their home world, even though it will destroy Kamala’s world in the process. During a trip to Pakistan, Kamala has learned more about how her powers come from her family history, with her great-grandmother also being a Clandestine, and she witnesses the Clandestines’ leader sacrifice herself to close the interdimensional rift, but not before transferring her powers to her son Kamran (Shah), who is quickly tracked down by the DoDC and forced to go on the run with Kamala’s best friend Bruno (Lintz).

IN THIS EPISODE: Kamala sets out to save Kamran and defeat the DoDC, with the help of family and friends…

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

Inevitably, the final episode of a pretty dang good Marvel miniseries goes into full Marvel climax mode, from endless action to big displays of computer graphics. It’s something that has befallen a number of the Marvel series thus far, from WandaVision to Moon Knight, and while there are some that buck the trend (the climactic episode of Loki’s first series swapped fighting for an over-the-top Jonathan Majors monologue), at this point it would be foolish to not expect a big bombastic conclusion within the many entries of this franchise.

The final episode of Ms. Marvel (for now, hopefully) is very much that as well, but since the rest of the series up to this point has done such an admirable job with character, tone, plotting and its overall sense of fun, a big and bombastic final episode does, for the most part, feel earned.

The sixth and final episode – titled No Normal – picks up with the newly-superpowered Kamran (Rish Shah) on the run from the Department of Damage Control, alongside Bruno (Matt Lintz) who is trying to find somewhere for the both of them to hide. Meanwhile, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) has returned home from Pakistan, and upon learning of the oncoming danger that is threatening her friends, she sets out to help them – but not before her caring mother, and the series’ unexpected secret weapon, Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) conveniently gifts her with a new costume that is, surprise, comics-accurate. As the DoDC closes in on the super-teens when they hide out in their school, Kamala formulates a plan designed to stop them once and for all, which requires the help of everyone from Kamran to Bruno to her other friend Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), to even some unexpected allies like popular girl Zoe (Laurel Marsden) and Kamala’s older brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh).

As you can imagine, that plan involves more than a few action beats and a strong use of superpowers (not to mention a handful of Home Alone-inspired traps), which all add up to a reasonably satisfactory climax. We not only get to see Kamala finally don her iconic costume, but there are also some moments of superheroic display that will make most people who were initially frustrated by the change in powers from the comics rather happy as well. Not only that, but there are some nice little moments for some of the supporting cast to shine, even though some of them do come in to the spotlight rather randomly which briefly disrupts the easy flow (characters will just suddenly come in to frame, without much build-up or flimsy excuses as to why they’re even there). The episode also suffers from a lack of a compelling villain, since the DoDC are hardly effective or even as intimidating as the Clandestines were, and it just feels like they’re the bad guys only so that Kamala and her friends can have an adversary to go up against. While most of the episode manages to wrap almost everything up as neatly as it possibly can (though some aspects feel rushed in an episode which, honestly, could have used at least ten extra minutes of runtime), it more or less settles for familiar territory that, as ever, is hardly a terrible place for Marvel fans, but after the rather divisive feedback for some of the recent films, perhaps it’s time for the creatives in charge to try something fresher for the future.

While this final episode might not be a series high point (but then again, so few of these Marvel shows can claim to list their last episodes as among the best of the lot), there’s so much to look back upon with Ms. Marvel with absolute joy and wonder. The series’ focus on Muslim culture and heritage has been a true highlight of this series, as it not only opens up a Pandora’s box of awe as it fully embraces this warm and accepting community with all its heart, but it also allows for a significant way of life to shine through to the mainstream, which seriously helps to diversify this ever-expanding cinematic universe, and more importantly gives real-life Muslim superhero fans a character they can easily identify with. Speaking of whom, Iman Vellani has been an absolute treasure throughout this whole series; Kamala Khan is one of the most endearing and lovable new heroes that Marvel has introduced on-screen in a long while, and Vellani’s portrayal of the fan-favourite hero has piled on the charisma, charm, and all-around good-heartedness to make her truly shine for a whole new generation of audiences. Vellani has also been given a strong supporting cast to work with, the main highlights being Zenobia Shroff who has really given plenty of depth and soul to a character who could have easily been extremely one-dimensional, and Rish Shah has great potential as a leading man in future projects given the clear charisma he radiates here. It’s been well-cast, mostly well-written, and strongly brought to life by a series of visually creative directors, including the duo Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah who also direct this final episode, all of which has given Ms. Marvel a distinct and identifiable personality that sticks out from other Marvel projects of late.

The good news is that Kamala Khan is definitely returning, alongside her hero Captain Marvel in next year’s The Marvels (and even better news: a surprise reveal at the end of this episode may also hint toward the (re)introduction of a classic group to the MCU). The bad news is, it’s just over a year away, meaning we have to get used to a whole year without the superheroic delight that is Kamala Khan in our lives.

SO, TO SUM UP…

Ms. Marvel: Episode 6 – No Normal wraps the series up as neatly as it can with a standard Marvel climax, some of which feels rushed with some random additions as well as an ineffective stand-in villain, but mostly feels earned because all episodes prior have done a fine job with character, culture and big-heartedness to get away with most things.

AND NOW, FOR THE OVERALL SERIES GRADE:

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

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