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Yep, that just happened: 'Ms. Marvel' finale 'mutates' entire MCU in unexpected ways
"If you saved one life, you saved the world."
In the premiere of Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan says, “Let’s be honest, it’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world.” The finale of the latest streaming series from the Marvel Cinematic Universe proved that she was wrong about that. She has donned her official costume, she’s adopted a new title, and she has saved the world. At least in her father’s eyes, she has. His wisdom is what brings us full circle.
Fans of this Kamala Khan have surely been waiting for certain signature moments and lines, and this finale episode does not disappoint. All of it feels earned, because the heart of the series remains intact.
The finale may have also just officially introduced another huge piece of Marvel lore into the MCU, and it did it with one word (and well-timed musical cue).
***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers for Episode 6 of Ms. Marvel. If you have not watched yet, embiggen yourself and take some giant steps out of here.***
It's not the point of the episode (we say yet again) but we’ll start with the aforementioned word. After Kamala (Iman Vellani) has saved the day, we cut to one week later. Bruno (Matt Lintz) tells her that he’s been doing some additional research into her genetics. They know why Kamala has access to the Noor and why she can wield it, but there’s something different about Kamala when Bruno compares her DNA to the rest of her family.
“Kamala, there’s something different in your genes,” Bruno says. “Like, a mutation.”
Is this confirmation of where the MCU is going to go with explaining Kamala’s powers? She might not be Kree, or an Inhuman — with this line, she may have just become the first mutant that we’ve met on Earth 616. “Mutation” could still mean something else, but the score gives a bit of a riff after this line that points right to mutants, and Kamala being a gifted youngster.
The theme from the classic '90s animated X-Men series is heard for the briefest of moments, not unlike how it played with the entrance of Patrick Stewart in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If this is in fact what it was and we weren’t just hearing things, it’s a brilliant ongoing choice. If the MCU is going to bring in mutants (and they are definitely going to bring in mutants) then musically linking them to something other than the original run of movies would be appropriate. They’ll still want some kind of link to the X-Men that will be familiar, so continuing to use the theme from the beloved animated series is a brilliant move. They are also bringing that animated series back, after all.
Whether or not Kamala Khan will truly turn out to be a mutant in the MCU will be an ongoing question, but for now it is an intriguing possibility. It's just as intriguing as the rest of the episode. Back from Pakistan, Kamala tells her family the truth about her powers. Thanks to Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) already telling Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) they already know. They know, and they are supportive.
She’s quickly on the move to help Bruno and Kamran (Rish Shah) escape Damage Control, and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) finds out the truth as well. She’s a little steamed that her best friend didn’t tell her earlier, but she gets over it. Zoe (Laurel Marsden) unexpectedly decides to help out, and she has already correctly guessed the identity of the hero who saved her in the premiere. The group leads Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner) and Damage Control on a merry chase through the High School before all of Kamala’s friends are captured. Zoe has already blown up her instagram with what is happening, so the entire neighborhood has shown up to support them. Kamran’s new powers grow increasingly unstable.
His attacks get violent after he learns the truth about his mother, and Kamala has to use her own powers to contain him. Kamran is being assaulted, but Kamala uses wisdom that Sheik Abdullah (Laith Nakli) reminds of her earlier: “Just because someone treats you as their enemy, doesn’t give you the right to treat them as yours.”
The situation devolves to the point where Deever has a sonic canon blasting Kamala. She’s on the ground, Kamran is in trouble, and her friends are in custody. They are behind her, though, as is the entire neighborhood.
It is in this moment that Kamala finally says the thing: “Embiggen.” We’ve been waiting for that.
Kamala grows in size, with stretchy arms and huge fists. It’s all still encased in a sheen of light, but it is closer than ever to Kamala’s familiar comic skillset. Her body is physically growing inside of the Noor energy, so it continues to not be just a pretty light show. She stomps on Damage Control. Kamran is still raging and accidentally sends a truck flying at the friendly crowd; Kamala is able to grab it before it hits them. Kamran is a mess, telling Kamala that they’ll never be accepted and they’ll never be normal.
“There is no normal,” she tells him. “There’s just us and what we do with what we’ve been given.”
She uses her abilities to get him out of there, and he ends up safe in Pakistan with Kareem/Red Dagger (Aramis Knight). When Deever orders all of her agents to converge on Kamala, the entire community comes together and stands in front of her. They have a hero of their own now, and they’ll be damned if Deever is gonna pull any nonsense. Agent Cleary (Arian Moayed) is soon on the phone relieving Deever of command. This has turned into a giant mess and she’s defied his orders. Social media proceeds to throw a parade of love for their hero.
What is she going to call herself? Yusuf asks Kamala this towards the end in one of the series’ best scenes. He and Muneeba named her Kamala because she was perfect, and between Arabic and Urdu, Kamal translates to “Marvel.” After registering shock at sharing a name with Carol “frickin” Danvers, Yusuf tells her that she is, and always has been, their “own little Ms. Marvel.”
The real magic comes before this line, though. Kamala says she’s still figuring things out, and Yusuf says that everyone is doing the same. What matters is that she saved people. She saved lives.
“If you saved one life, you saved the world,” he tells her. The line comes right out of the pages of the Ms. Marvel comics, which took it right out of the pages of the Quran. It is adapted here, but the spirit and meaning is the same.
A brown girl from Jersey City saved lives, thus, she ended up saving the world.
-In a mid-credit scene, Kamala’s bangle lights up. She’s in her bedroom, which is still plastered with posters of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. The bangle pulses until Kamala does a full shape-shift and emerges from her closet transformed into… Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). “Oh, no no no,” Kamala/Carol says, and the credits go on to include the line, “Ms. Marvel will return in The Marvels.” It's worth noting there's also an outside shot Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel have switched places? Though that seems less likely. So Carol herself may not have appeared on this series, but Brie Larson did. We’re all set up for their movie. Time to embiggen while going higher, further, faster!
-Kamala finally wears her comics-accurate costume, which in this series is Pakistani-made. It is given to her by Muneeba in a beautiful scene.
-Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) has some wonderful moments throughout, as he shows up at the school to help. Their parents don’t stop Kamala, but they do send Aamir to keep her safe? Kamala’s response: “Superheroes don’t need chaperones.” He's also wondering if he even knows Kamran anymore, asking him, “Do you even like British Bake-off?”
-Romance watch! Kamran and Bruno mostly get along. Bruno then accidentally interrupts an almost-kiss between Kamran and Kamala. We’re glad that he interrupted. As much as we hate to descend to this level, we’re Team Bruno.
-Kamala’s response to Bruno’s talk of mutation: “Whatever it is, it’s just gonna be another label.” You got that right, KK.
-Nakia manages to make a callback to The Avengers and quote Mean Girls at the same time with the line, “Get in losers, we’re getting Shawarma.”
-Kamala is a marvel, and so is Iman Vellani. She was born to play this role.
-Obviously we are going to see Kamala Khan in The Marvels, but what is the future of this series? We really hope that it continues, because there’s no other show quite like it. We love the entire cast, especially the Khan family. We’re amazed that a show like this exists. It is powerful, important, and fun all at the same time. The series goes from a time travel episode dealing with Partition right into an episode where “embiggen” happens. How they managed to walk that tightrope is anyone’s guess, but it worked.
-As we leave this series for now, we feel like Yusuf watching his daughter walk away on platforms of light: “Magic. Absolute magic.”
Ms. Marvel is streaming on Disney+ right now. "What you seek is seeking you."