Warning: spoilers for Ms. Marvel episode 6 ahead – turn back now if you have not seen the latest episode of the MCU show.
Ms. Marvel’s finale brings all the pieces together. We get the suit, the name, and the embiggen powers, all wrapped up in a low-key episode that underwhelms in the villain department but sets up the MCU’s newest hero as a force to be reckoned with before her big-screen debut.
Marvel’s Disney Plus series finales have, so far, offered up a CGI spectacle that feels out of step with previous episodes and that feel more at home in a big-budget blockbuster. Ms. Marvel wisely sidesteps that long standing problem (for the most part) by condensing the final conflict down to Kamala, Kamran, her school friends, and her brother Aamir being holed out in a siege against Damage Control at their high school.
In effect, it’s Home Alone: Marvel Edition as the group concocts a series of hare-brained schemes to keep Damage Control preoccupied until Kamran can get out of Jersey City and into the waiting arms of the Red Daggers. It won’t set the pulses racing, but it’s a lot of fun to see each new dynamic that springs up, including TikToker Zoe sticking it to the man. Yet, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Damage Control and their lead agent, Deever, who has felt like an afterthought up until now, are fundamentally uninteresting, as is their goal to capture Kamran.
Ms. Marvel tackles that issue by injecting a splash of politics into proceedings. In a wave of surprisingly timely scenes, the predominantly Muslim community are understandably outraged at American federal agents storming into mosques and later shooting at kids. It’s probably about as close as the MCU will get to being political, and it’s handled with emotional maturity. The final scenes outside the high school, involving the entire community surrounding Kamala to protect her, are cut from a similar cloth and really capture both the sense of love and authenticity that has coursed through the show’s veins.
Where the episode does fall down, however, is with Kamran. His about-face into semi-villain territory after hearing about his mother’s death is rushed, while his CGI powers look comfortably worse than Kamala’s. The standoff outside the school may end with a heartwarming scene, but the moments that precede it – including Deever being reprimanded by her boss and Kamran unleashing his crystal tendrils – smack of a creative team not quite knowing how to wrap the show up without causing too much disruption in the wider universe.
That’s because Ms. Marvel’s finale is understandably focused on getting Kamala ready for her adventure with Captain Marvel and Photon next year in The Marvels. Kamala’s iconic suit, given to her by her mother, is a stunner – one of the MCU’s best in years, both thanks to its comic book accuracy and appearance. It probably requires an entire indie movie’s budget to bring to life using CGI, but it looks great, which is a relief when the potential for it to look especially goofy was very, very high.
From her father, Kamala gets her Ms. Marvel name. The name ‘Kamal’ in Urdu means ‘Marvel.’ It’s delivered in clunky, exposition-heavy fashion but it’s a sweet, tender moment between father and daughter in a series where we got very few scenes of the pair together.
Then, there’s the embiggen powers – and they’re all of Kamala’s own making. Much of the talk surrounding Ms. Marvel before the series aired was about her powers, or lack thereof. Those doubters will be silenced by abilities here, which add another notch to Kamala’s hero belt, all while paying homage to her stretchy comic book roots. Seeing Ms. Marvel in full flow also gives hope that her unconventional fighting style and crystalised abilities will work on a larger scale next to some of the MCU’s more prominent heroes.
Ms. Marvel’s finale also excites with its ties to the MCU-at-large. Bruno, just before heading to Caltech for a semester, tells Kamala that she’s an aberration in her family. Or, in his words, a “mutation.” Yes, mutants are officially a thing in Earth-616 now and, if that wasn’t spine-tingling enough, it’s accompanied by a quick thrum of the iconic X-Men theme from the ‘90s animated series. Chills.
Couple that, too, with Captain Marvel showing up in the post-credits scene and there’s every reason for The Marvels to jump straight to the top of everyone’s most-anticipated list. Though Carol and Kamala don’t meet – Ms. Marvel disappears in an apparent switcheroo – it helps seamlessly set things up for next year’s big-screen debut.
As first impressions go, Ms. Marvel’s couldn’t have gone much better. Sure, the finale doesn’t deliver an exciting Big Bad, but what it does deliver is an episode that has cemented Kamala as one of the MCU’s most endearing fresh faces. She’s been given all the tools she needs to succeed moving forward and Kamala, thanks in no small part to Iman Vellani’s exceptional performance, is on a collision course with a thrilling future. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
4 out of 5
Despite Damage Control and Kamran being disappointments, Ms. Marvel signs off with a finale that fosters the show’s sense of family and community – and equips Kamala for the battles to come.