The finale of Ms. Marvel season one, titled ‘No Normal’, featured a bunch of developments that have understandably caused a commotion in the Marvel fandom.
Even though chances were slim, I still hoped that the writers would somehow stick the landing during the finale. But, alas, it was not meant to be. While I like the cast, I can’t say the same for the overall writing in the first season of Ms. Marvel. There was just too much happening, and a couple of plotlines couldn’t be handled well. The show should have been 8 or 10 episodes long. If not that, then TPTB should have stepped in to limit the scope of what the writers were trying to do in a sparse 6-episode run.
If you think about it, the writers had to introduce a Muslim Pakistani-American superhero, which meant they had to have scenes featuring Muslim Desi culture (done as authentically as possible). On top of that, they had to explore the Partition, the Djinn, the Noor dimension, and also the two “revelations” at the very end of ‘No Normal’. Too many narrative components were swirling around and the writing suffered for it.
I kind of noticed the signs quite early, but I decided not to think too much about them because again, I had hoped the pacing would course correct itself as the season progressed. A major sign was the writing team fast-forwarding through Aamir and Tyesha’s relationship, which was handled quite well in the comics, to give viewers a Muslim Desi wedding ASAP. After that, the story jumped to the Karachi segment. It felt like the writers were more interested in ticking certain cultural boxes instead of allowing the story and characters to develop organically.
And then, for some reason, ‘No Normal’ decided to give us two developments that further convoluted Kamala Khan’s story. The first one was Bruno mentioning that Kamala might be a mutant. The scene took Twitter by storm with many fans jokingly wondering about what the Inhumans franchise ever did to Kevin Feige for him to change Kamala’s backstory to such an extent, especially after how Black Bolt recently appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
While some fans are theorizing that Bruno made a mistake, I think the theme song from X-Men: The Animated Series playing during that scene made it quite obvious that Kamala was indeed going to be a mutant in the MCU. Also, it’s kind of ironic that Kamala wouldn’t have experienced her level of popularity (solo comics, game appearances, merch, etc.) if she had debuted as a mutant in the Marvel Comics Universe all those years ago.
Making Kamala a mutant also raises questions about her actual superpowers and origins. Similar to Storm, is Kamala supposed to be a different kind of mutant? For those who might not know, Ororo Munroe has ‘Godhead‘ while also being an Omega-level mutant. So, is Kamala a Djinn linked to the Noor dimension and also a mutant? If that’s the case, then is Kamran a mutant too because he’s able to also tap into Noor energy to create crystal-like constructs? Hmmm.
At this point, in the MCU’s goal to not make Kamala an Inhuman, she’s basically a Djinn, a mutant, and quite possibly connected to the Ten Rings and Kree technology. That’s way too many “origins” to put onto a single character. It feels like a desperate attempt to make a character appeal to as many fans as possible. And that never works in the long run.
The end credits scene for ‘No Normal’ had Carol Danvers show up in Kamala’s room. There’s some conflict between what that particular scene was supposed to show. Certain viewers feel that Kamala shapeshifted (like she does in the comics) while others think that she swapped places with Carol, likely due to Carol trying to learn more about the possible signal being emitted from Kamala’s bangle, similar to the ten rings currently in possession of Shang-Chi.
With Ms. Marvel continuing to be an MCU show with low viewership numbers, I highly doubt it will be renewed for a second season. So, here’s hoping we get some answers in the upcoming The Marvels movie.
For me, ‘No Normal’ shone when it allowed Kamala to interact with those around her without any links to the larger MCU. I liked seeing Bruno, Kamran, Nakia, Zoe, and even Aamir working together with Kamala to help Kamran escape from the Department of Damage Control. The scene where the entire community stood with Kamala made for a powerful moment.
We also got some heartfelt moments between Kamala and her parents. I liked how Muneeba gifted Kamala her new superhero suit and her father helped her decide on a superhero name after explaining the reason behind her being named Kamala in the first place.
Kamala Khan’s a street-level hero. And trying to have her connect to the wider parts of the MCU just didn’t work in the live-action series. Let’s see how The Marvels does when it comes to Kamala’s development.
As for the queer representation during the finale, we did get a scene between Nakia and Zoe where Zoe shared why she didn’t reveal Kamala’s superhero identity. Zoe mentioning to Nakia how it was Kamala’s decision to share her secret when she felt ready was reminiscent of how it should be a queer person’s decision to come out to the world or those around them.
I mean, I get the sentiment behind having such a scene, but it is 2022 for crying out loud. Queer representation shouldn’t be hidden in metaphors. Frankly, in my opinion, Zoe should have been written as a character who was out and proud in school from the start. While having Zoe be in the closet in the comic series made sense (due to the persona she portrayed at school), it doesn’t in the live-action adaptation.
Unless… stay with me on this… unless the writers are cooking up something between Zoe and Nakia and both young teens will figure out their queer sexuality together?
But then again, we have no confirmation about when Zoe and Nakia will ever show up again and if they will be given the time for such a development to properly occur. Sigh!
All in all, while the first season of Ms. Marvel boasts a likable cast and some emotional moments, I can’t, in good conscious, give it a good score due to the wiring and pacing issues.
What did you think of ‘No Normal’? Are you excited about The Marvels?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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