Ms. Marvel: No Normal

The future looks bright for Ms. Marvel

I have enjoyed all the Marvel/Disney+ series, and I’m impressed that the writers are covering such a variety of genres under the superhero umbrella. They’re all part of the MCU, but very different types of stories. Ms. Marvel is the one that I’d say has the most elements of the modern era in it, likely helped by the main character and most of her allies being high school kids. Last episode resolved most of the story in Pakistan and the ties to Kamala’s family history, but ended with a major development back in Jersey City. Things get wrapped up, with plenty of surprises along the way, in “No Normal.” Just like all the other episode titles, this one is one of the trade paperback collections of Ms. Marvel’s adventures in the comics. With this being a season finale, there will be a few spoilers below.

Last episode ended with the surprising explosion that leveled the Circle Q. In the comics, the store is a major hangout spot for Kamala and her friends, and here it seems to be Bruno’s job and home. Apartments over businesses don’t do well in the MCU, if you recall Luke Cage’s place over Genghis Connie’s. Damage Control has shown up, and Agent Deevers is blaming the destruction on “the wrong people getting powers.” The fact that it was an armed Damage Control drone that launched the missile apparently doesn’t matter to her. Deever orders her agents to track down the new “enhanced,” and use non-lethal weapons. The second part of that order gets ignored almost at once. Bruno and Kamran, who was injured in the blast, are trying to get some distance and hide in the subways, but Kamran’s powers, which aren’t really under his control too well, aren’t helping them on that front.

Kamala and Muneeba have returned home from Pakistan (what do the Khan’s do, anyway? That seems like it’d be a pretty expensive spur of the moment trip) and Muneeba is giving out presents and there’s a lot of family bustle. Kamala makes a big announcement, but it falls a bit flat due to some amusingly explained family dynamics. Yusef is very proud of his daughter, and the whole family seems very supportive, and even tosses a few questions her way. This bit of cheerful chaos gets interrupted when Nakia tries to Facetime Aamir. Kamala seizes his phone and tries to apologize again to her friend, but Nakia brushes it off and fills her in about the Circle Q.

Kamala is about to rush out to try and find her missing friend, but her mom stops her. Not for any of the reasons you’d think, and they get another great scene together as Kamala gets a great gift. While I’m all for nice family moments, the stopping to do this right at that point grated on me a bit. Your best friend is missing, and you’re stopping to cuddle up with mom? Kamala finally gets going and races through the city, using her powers in a way that sort of mimics some of her comic book stunts. Bruno and Kamran manage to find Nakia, who sends them somewhere else with some really well-reasoned points. Nakia is a sharp one. Agent Deever and her entourage of Damage Control agents arrive at the mosque, and find some unexpected cooperation, or at least preparedness. Deever continues to be unpleasant, and gets shown up nicely by the Imam, who hits her with some quotes from an unexpected source. That was fun to watch. Nakia also delays and distracts Deever in another fun scene, and the Imam helps Bruno and Kamran get away. It’s a great scene of teamwork, and I don’t blame anyone for siding against Deever just on general principles at this point.

Once more on the run, Bruno and Kamran finally meet up with Kamala, who has something new to show them, and it’s a great reunion scene. Kamran is clearly not doing well with his new powers, or possibly the injuries he suffered, or both. Maybe the combination is too much for the kid. It takes the trio quite a while to get where they’re going, as it’s gone full night by the time they arrive. Kamala makes a call, trying to arrange some help for her friend, and then they start a series of unexpected meetings. In short order, the run into Nakia, she and Kamala sort of patch things up after some explanations, and then Zoe pops up out of nowhere. Zoe actually has a decent reason for being there, no matter how unexpected it is, and she shows a lot more character depth than she seemed to have before. It’s sort of a very compacted version of her character arc from the comics.

Kamala comes up with a plan that lends itself to some more of the cartoon animation mingling with the live action, like the first few episodes did. The plan has some funny twists and everyone gets a few entertaining moments, and they also get joined by Aamir. Outside, Damage Control arrives, Deever gets some orders, and decides she’s going to do things her way. I kept hoping they were going to explain why she was so driven and generally difficult. I don’t know if she’s anti-Muslim, anti-super, or just a big control freak. Nakia and Zoe do some unexpected bonding, Kamala and Bruno get caught up, and Aamir asks Kamran some important questions. Damage Control arms up and comes in, showing a distinct indifference to property damage, which makes their name really ironic. There’s a very complicated plan, and for a bunch of kids versus government agents, they do pretty well, although they’re very outnumbered, which really starts to sway things against them. It would have been great if our heroes could have gone all Home Alone against Damage Control, but things aren’t quite that unrealistic.

Kamala’s real plan is actually fairly brilliant, and plays to one of her allies’ strengths. It was a clever idea. Kamran, meanwhile, has somehow figured out Kamala is working with the Red Daggers (this is never explained and was a bit mystifying to me), and freaks out, saying that they are enemies of him and his family. Things get even more complicated, as Damage Control moves in, Kamran fights everyone in sight, and Kamala tries to keep things from getting worse. A huge crowd has gathered, thanks to Kamala’s plan, and Damage Control is having problems keeping things under control. Kamran makes a dramatic exit and faces down the agents. A sort of three-sided struggle continues, and poor Kamala is in a really bad place. Finally, Kamala manages to get Kamran to listen to her. He flees, she gets ready to make a stand, and then gets a major assist with an outpouring of support from a lot of different places at once. Deever finally gets brought to heel and the Damage Control agents bug out. I’d say Deever isn’t going to have a good day. Or career. Agent Cleary is clearly not happy with her.

After all this excitement, there’s a great montage of people commenting online about what they saw and did. Let’s just say Kamala has an extensive fan base at this point. There’s some great lines from the kid in the mosque tower a few episodes back, as well as Ruby of the Illumin-Aunties (I still love that name). Kamala has a great chat with her dad and we finally see her codename come together. She takes off, and I’d say her dad is definitely in that fan club. One bit that was a slightly unrealistic in their conversation: her dad doesn’t know who Carol Danvers is? The woman whose picture is all over his daughter’s room? I don’t buy that one. We see a lot small plotlines getting resolved, some unlikely friendships starting (which mirror a big development in the comics eventually), and some people finding each other. There’s a shot that’s right out of the comics, and then we skip to one week later. Our wrap-up features Kamala, Bruno, and Nakia, a lot of friendly banter, and a bit of a disagreement over the spoils of war, more or less. Bruno has time to talk to Kamala about something important, and it turns out Kamala might be the key to a major development in the MCU. There’s even a musical sting. They take off to get a snack that ties in to the Avengers movie, and we’re done. Sort of. There is, in fact, an after credit scene that is going to have a lot of people talking. While it’s hard to say exactly what happened, to me, it appeared to be a nod to some old stories with the first Captain Marvel and Rick Jones.

And of course, the last thing we see is “Ms. Marvel will return in The Marvels.” That is a movie coming next year, which will feature Nick Fury, Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and even Muneeba Khan, as well as her daughter. I’m very much looking forward to that, and seeing how they develop what they tied to Kamala at the very end.

What I Liked: Pretty much everything. Kamala looked amazing when she got her final look. The plan near the end was clearly the best they could do, and everyone got some moments to shine. The tide turning against Damage Control made perfect sense, the way Deever was acting. I wonder if they’re going to get a bill for the damage they left in their wake? I’m excited about the end scene, and even more thrilled with what Bruno told Kamala at the end and the music underscoring, just to make sure we all knew that was exactly what we thought.

What I Didn’t: Not much. I’m not sure how Kamran made some of his leaps in logic, and his powers were ill-defined. Bruno, Zoe, Nakia, and Aamir should have criminal records now, I’d think, which isn’t great.

I loved this series and this finale. I’ll give the final episode a rare 5 out of 5, and the season a 4.5 out of 5.

I look forward to seeing more of Kamala, and hope she gets a second season (which so far, only Loki has done).

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