Ms. Marvel: No Normal
July 13, 2022 8:07 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Back in New Jersey, Kamala fights to save her friends from the clutches of Damage Control.
posted by 1970s Antihero (45 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
they said the M-word!
posted by alchemist at 8:36 AM on July 13 [12 favorites]


This 90s kid was so happy when they played the snippet of the "X-Men: The Animated Series" theme. I actually teared up a bit.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 8:49 AM on July 13 [13 favorites]


She should always have been a mutant, but Marvel didn't have movie rights for mutants at the time and had not made Inhumans market poison yet. So, whee!

As for the closing credits, I called it, we have nega-bands!
posted by Karmakaze at 9:19 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


And for the downer: I loved the classic "crowd gathers to protect local hero" thing (seen also in some Spiderman films) but felt iffy about the (white, male) uniformed police being the front of the group standing in Damage Control's way. That's a little pandering there -- the MCU uses fictional organizations like SWORD and Damage Control in order to avoid actually calling out real world abuses of power. In the real world it's the police opening fire on brown kids, not valiantly standing up to other law enforcement to prevent use of excess force. Like I'm from New Jersey - you 100% will see thin blue line flags in Jersey City. Mind, they folded as soon as they were told to step aside, but I felt the hand of Disney wanting to be sure nobody in the right wing saw themselves in the villains and maybe felt bad about it.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:23 AM on July 13 [19 favorites]


What a finale! Teared up at several moments, I’ve loved this series throughout. Also you can buy the Halal/Haram hats!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:28 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


I felt the hand of Disney wanting to be sure nobody in the right wing saw themselves in the villains and maybe felt bad about it.

Yeah, that would be terrible.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:28 AM on July 13


There's a post-credits stinger that really shouldn't be missed.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 10:00 AM on July 13 [5 favorites]


Also, a cameo by G. Willow Wilson!
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:07 AM on July 13 [6 favorites]


The cops-standing-in-front-of-the-crowd moment was a real dealbreaker for me, too. One of the most fantastical ideas in this series was that cops or government agents would feel shame or remorse about doing something horrific to anyone, particularly a minority.

They stuck the landing as well as could be expected, but I wish they'd worked on the pacing a little bit. This could have been a bit longer than it was—everything was very rushed as they tried to check all the boxes.

Kamala whispering "embiggen" hit me harder than expected, was really glad to see that. I was also glad she and her dad had that conversation on the roof—they've spent so much time on her relationship with her mom, glad to see that her relationship with her dad is equally as meaningful.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:57 AM on July 13 [10 favorites]


It's very MCU how many people already know her secret identity. I liked the big reveal being spoiled because the parents actually talk to each other and of course the dad uses speakerphone for everything.

I also like this Bruno far more than comic Bruno, although that's because he's basically just Peter Parker without the spider-bite. It's similar to MCU Ned Leeds being far better because he's actually Ganke.
posted by Gary at 3:57 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


I guess Najma did just sacrifice herself and somehow level up Kamran. I had expected some kind of twist there.

I enjoyed the wacky hijinks in the high school distracting the terribly incompetent Damage Control mooks. It didn't make much sense that Zoe and Aamir showed up to join in, or that they had time to set up such elaborate booby traps, but it was entertaining so who cares.

I love the Khans so much. All the family moments this episode were gold: the scene where Kamala reveals herself and they all already know, the scene where Muneeba gives Kamala her costume in a milk toffee box, and the heart to heart with her father on the porch roof about her name.

This is probably the first of these Disney+ Marvel shows that I'll rewatch. It's such a joy.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:11 PM on July 13 [10 favorites]


Okay, that was a whole bunch of fun. Good job, series!
posted by rmd1023 at 7:12 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Ike Perlmutter is so mad right now, lol.
posted by cendawanita at 7:21 PM on July 13 [17 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine the conversation Carol has to have with Kamala's parents. They are going to be so worried! :( :(

It's a great finale but waiting a whole year for the movie is going to suck.
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm bummed about the wait, but some of the characters (besides Kamala) from this series will make appearances, so that's cool.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:48 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I’m confused, was it confirmed in this episode that Zoe knew Kamala was the superhero all along? I didn’t get that impression before.

There was so much packed into this episode. I’m glad Bruno is going off to Caltech. I’m glad there wasn’t a way-too-mature expression of undying love. I’m intrigued about Kamran hooking up with the Red Daggers. I’m worried for Kamala after the stinger.

This is probably my second favorite D+ show, after WandaVision. My daughter loved it too, so I’m hoping she will watch The Marvels with me when it comes out.
posted by Night_owl at 9:05 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Was anyone else concerned with how enough grown-ass men were glued to that teen girl's TikTok that they were able to simultaneously catch her broadcast live? Why were all those gym rats watching her TikTok together while working out? Food stand guy, there are better things for you to be streaming, I promise!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:20 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I was feeling salty about Bruno being able to analyze Kamala's DNA on top of earlier somehow being able to tell the power was coming from her rather than the bangle.

But my daughter said: Marvel Science. He used his iPad. It's probably just some app. If stupid Damage Control can detect and track people by their superpowers, then A High-School Kid Who Got Into Cal Tech can do it too.

(AHSKWGICT is a superpower explanation along the lines of "was trained by Captain America," "using stolen Stark Tech," or "she's a ninja.")
posted by straight at 12:20 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


Yeah I agree about the "police standing with the crowd" thing. It felt very much like an executive note to dampen the clear narrative thrust.

All in all though, I really enjoyed this series. It knew what it wanted to be, and managed to really richly draw its core cast very quickly. I also like a marvel hero with an involved, loving family, Im not sure we've seen quite that dynamix before and its great.

I think on balance their decision to basically retheme her powers worked really well; stretchy arms inevitably look really goofy, so having basically the same effect but making it light projection seems really cool.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:32 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I am really excited about the possibilities of a body-switching story in The Marvels with Kamala and Carol getting involved with two separate adventures (somehow related, of course) but they keep switching places. That seems like a great setup to do a bunch of fun and creative stuff. And it would imply a big role for Kamala, which I really want.
posted by straight at 1:59 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Quite enjoyed this episode, and the series. Liked the Nega band style twist at the end, wish we'd gotten a chance to see Spectrum look in on Kamala too.
> It didn't make much sense that Zoe and Aamir showed up to join in, or that they had time to set up such elaborate booby traps, but it was entertaining so who cares.
> I’m confused, was it confirmed in this episode that Zoe knew Kamala was the superhero all along? I didn’t get that impression before.
Was it just me, or when Zoe was explaining why she kept "Nightlight's"/Kamala's secret: "I think Kamala should be able to tell the world when she's ready", did she seem to have a bit of a crush on Kamala? I mean, if Bruno and Kamran can crush on her, why not Zoe too? Zoe being on the softball team and explaining herself while loading softballs seemed a bit of a wink to this possibility.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 4:26 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Overall I have really enjoyed this series.

The set up in the high school, the cops forming the wall, and the dialogue in this episode were all pretty clunky and it seemed not very well put together. It seemed rushed, with things like Kamran's escape being "disappear into a hole and reappear in Pakistan". They could have used two more episodes to properly round things out.

Still, Iman Vellani is a joy, and I do enjoy seeing the actors in this series. The X-Men musical stinger was exciting. Mutants confirmed! Suck it, Perlmutter!
posted by Fleebnork at 4:57 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Agreed that two more episodes would have really given the season a space to breathe.
posted by Night_owl at 5:34 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


I wasn't bothered by the gym bros (and other people) seeing a teen girl's TikTok. They only had to be following the tags for, say, #superhero, and #breakingnews plus a poster with a high follow count to get that post to pop up in their suggested feed. (The app knows where your phone is and will match you with nearby posts. Frankly, the algorithm is weird and scary.)

Zoe got a pretty good look at Kamala at AvengersCon and developed a crush on the spot (whether it was a hero worship crush or a romantic crush I leave to the fanfic writers.) It's unclear whether she recognized her at the time. It's also possible given the timing that she only suspected and the actual final giveaway was overhearing the conversation in the school right before she walked up to the group. Empty high school hallways carry sound really well. "They tried to get me to give you up" describes the interrogation where DC tried to make her say that she was attacked rather than rescued and got her to spill Kamala's ethnicity whether or not Zoe knew her exact identity at that point in the story.

Zoe's presence in the school was awfully convenient, but I was actually fine with Aamir knowing how to find his kid sister. Plus it gave us the wonderful "Superheroes don't need a chaperone!" "Take it up with Ammi." exchange.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:04 AM on July 14 [6 favorites]


I am so wildly happy about this show. They knew they had to knock it out of the park, and they did. Ms. Marvel kicked off as the best MCU show from the jump and they absolutely stuck the landing.

I'm thrilled at how all the supporting characters were portrayed, the messages, the choice of adversaries at the end, Kamala herself (like wow), just... all of it. And I especially appreciated that the final episode wasn't straight-up superpunching vs superpunching, because what we got is true to the comics. Ms. Marvel typically has a lot less straightforward violence and a lot more effort to minimize harm amid all the super-stuffs. This was a good choice.

Yeah I agree about the "police standing with the crowd" thing. It felt very much like an executive note to dampen the clear narrative thrust.

100% agree, including the suspicion as to where that came from. If I have a single complaint here, it's this. But even that said, I think it's important to note that the local cops basically only make an empty gesture. They don't actually do anything, and are instantly brushed aside, doing no good at all for the people they allegedly serve. I feel like that still leaves the critique in place. It's not great, but it's definitely not wholesale "cops are heroes!" either.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:35 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


"You can't beat up our citizens. Only *WE* get to beat up our citizens, stupid Fed."
posted by rmd1023 at 11:37 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


I'm not a hundred percent sure how I feel about the ending.

No, actually that's not right. I loved the ending, that the finale was set in the high school, that Kamala got to be the hero her local community needs, and that the various personal stories got tied up.

But I'm still a bit whiplashed from the Clandestines storyline. I have a really hard time figuring out what their deal was. They wanted to get home, I understand that, but everything else is wildly confusing to me. I have no idea why Aisha fled from them, how Kamran was conceived (presumably the father was human, otherwise it would've been mentioned I think) what Najma did before she died to Kamran, and what they got up to in all the centuries they spent in exile. All of that is really confusing to me.

My justification for it is that the whole thing was just as confusing for Kamala, but I know I'm just making excuses for a show that I really liked. Because I like everything else about that show so much, from the music to the characters to the lived details of Kamala's world. Kamala, her family, community and immediate environment feel so real and tangible. It's a really remarkable achievement, to set a superhero show in a place that feels so everyday.

So yeah, as much as I think one aspect of the show is weirdly flawed, as a whole, I thought it was marvelous.
posted by Kattullus at 3:56 PM on July 14 [13 favorites]


Um, nega-who now?

It sounds like the post-credits scene made sense to some of you?
posted by Naberius at 9:21 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


In the original comic books, Captain Marvel was a Kree dude with super powers. He got even more powers by wearing these bracers called the Nega-Bands.

Captain Marvel got himself trapped in another dimension ("The Negative Zone"). He somehow maneuvered Rick Jones (a teen sidekick to several characters including The Hulk and Captain America) into putting on a duplicate set of Nega-Bands. Then whenever one of them would clang the bands together, they would switch places--Rick trapped in the Negative Zone whenever Captain Marvel was needed.

(It was probably inspired by the original "Captain Marvel"—a different character created by a different comic book publisher—who changed back and forth from a boy to an adult superhero whenever he said the word "SHAZAM!")

Over the years, several Marvel Comics characters have used the name "Captain Marvel" and the Nega-Bands have been used by some of them and by other characters, sometimes doing the switching-places thing with Rick Jones or someone else who has the other set of bands.
posted by straight at 12:54 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


They didn't just say mutant, they did a little synth x men musical riff from the cartoon.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 2:23 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


and to continue the comics nerding... Miracleman (by the now defunct Eclipse comics) plays with this body switcheroo, drawing on both the negative zone idea and the changing word (kimota!)
posted by kokaku at 5:52 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the background, straight. That helps a lot.

Weirdly enough, I'm much more familiar with Miracleman (under his real but legally complicated name of Marvelman) having read the Alan Moore run in Warrior Magazine back in the day. But I had no previous exposure to Marvel's Captain Marvel, Kree, nega-bands, any of that stuff.

And I find it difficult to believe that "Rick Jones" could be a sidekick to anyone, much less multiple core members of the Avengers, because his name is not alliterative. Rick Roberts, sure. Jay Jones, sure. Rick Jones? Doesn't work.
posted by Naberius at 6:41 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I thought it was cool that Kamala's brother might have been the most devout, but didn't he wasn't a rigid fanatic or a dogmatic jerk, just maybe a little bit of a nerd. That seemed a positive step forward in representation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:56 AM on July 15 [13 favorites]


Yes, I thought this needed maybe one more episode, to flesh out the Clandestines and in particular Najma and Kamran's relationship. Her sacrifice seemed very abrupt to me. Also, I thought they were trying to get home, but Kamran said that they were trying to save their world - I'm not sure if I missed something there or what. More time with the Red Daggers would also give some more punch to Waleed's death.
posted by amarynth at 10:00 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Well, they made the choice to spend that time fleshing out Kamala and her relationships with her family, her friends, her school peer group, her mosque, the local culture, etc. Even with the history of her family in Pakistan. That stuff is lovingly and carefully explored with all the time it needs to breathe. As a result the Clandestines and the Red Daggers have almost no time to explain who they are.

It's less of a problem for the Red Daggers IMO as they're pretty straightforward. But the Clandestines suffer greatly. There's no clear reason for pretty much anything they do, and none of their actions seem to connect logically to any of their other actions. As others have noted, they suddenly and without explanation go from "we're family, we'll protect you, and mentor you" to "do the thing RIGHT THE HELL NOW or we'll slaughter you and everything in sight." Najima ditches Kamran for blinking and missing that heel turn, then decides to turn again on a dime and sacrifice her life to...do...something? That seems to affect Kamran for...reasons?

Damage Control doesn't make much more sense, really. They're just there to provide an enemy, running around twirling their tacticool kevlar mustaches. Do we even know who that guy was who calls the woman in charge in the field and tells her to back off?

So basically, the external plot is pretty much useless, and I'm not even sure just adding another episode or two would fix that. The show is almost entirely about Kamala's character, how she adjusts to suddenly gaining superpowers, and the implications of her specific cultural and religious background in that journey. Fortunately, that part of the show is great. She's delightful, her supporting characters are mostly delightful, and the way gaining powers helps her find the place in the world that was eluding her makes a perfectly satisfying story. But this is a Marvel show about superheroes, so I guess they had to check some boxes about bad guys and powered battles and what not.
posted by Naberius at 11:31 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


Do we even know who that guy was who calls the woman in charge in the field and tells her to back off?

He was in the last Spider-man movie, interviewing Peter when he was arrested.

I wonder if they're going to do some kind of mutant registration angle with Damage Control behind it. But it's interesting to see how they've shifted from being clean-up to actively pursuing "enhanced individuals."
posted by synecdoche at 2:18 PM on July 15


Interesting villains can make for a good story, but that's not the only kind of good story. Kamala rescuing the falling kid was great and it didn't have a villain at all.

I liked that it was mostly about Kamala's relationships with her family and community and the story of her learning about herself, her powers, and her heritage. It didn't also need to be a story about why this villain wants to do bad things and look how clever and/or horrible their evil scheme is.

They could have spent a bunch more scenes explaining who the Clandestines are and what's going on in the government bureaucracy related to people with super powers, but it's unlikely any of that would have been very good. So why not just say, yeah, the government is trying to get her and she doesn't know why so she's gotta use her powers and her friendships to thwart them.
posted by straight at 1:52 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


I really enjoyed Arian Moayed who plays Stewy on Succession playing very much the same character here, berating and calling back the Damage Control team.
posted by artificialard at 1:10 PM on July 16


I agree that Damage Control didnt need any more fleshing out. I think there is a wealth of media and real life examples as to why a government agency might want to apprehend a super hero, I mean there was an example with Sword in Wandavision. It seems like phase 4 is positioning heroes as being far more in conflict with governmental forces.

But I definitely would have liked a bit more time with the Clandestines. They flipped so much between loving, homicidal and loving again that it did feel unmotivated.

Still, the show did the important work of making Kamala an extremely likable and engaging character. I really hope that the Marvels can live up to the quality of this series. Theres going to be a lot of eyes on it and from the experience of Captain Marvel I suspect it wont get a terribly fair shake from certain corners.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:35 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they're going to do some kind of mutant registration angle with Damage Control behind it. But it's interesting to see how they've shifted from being clean-up to actively pursuing "enhanced individuals."

It is, isn't it? It's much the same as S.W.O.R.D, which in the comics was aimed specifically at extraterrestrial threats, and was originally much the same in the MCU, got repurposed by Tyler Hayward to deal more with terrestrial threats, specifically superhumans (per WandaVision). Someone at DODC probably argued that there would be less clean-up (and fewer casualties) if they were more proactive. Of course, there's a slippery slope between organizations that are merely tracking and/or supervising superhumans and trying to suppress them. There are similar organizations in the DCEU, and while the X-Men got there first in the comics (the mutant-hunting robot Sentinels date back to 1965), the comics Avengers had their irascible government minder Henry Peter Gyrich, who went as far as dictating their membership and missions.

On review: hey, Cannon Fodder! Great minds &c.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:41 AM on July 17


I really hope that the Marvels can live up to the quality of this series.

My biggest issue with Phase 4, hopping between TV and film, is there seems to be a real disconnect between what the shows and the films want to accomplish. After giving Wanda a beautiful exploration of grief, Doctor Strange 2 turned her into a cackling villain - director Sam Raimi never watched the show and the film was written by the guy who wrote Loki, not the woman who wrote WandaVision. (I guess the writing crossover there is "multiverses" NOT character continuity.)

The writer of The Marvels worked on WandaVision, so at least I have some hope that a female writer and female director might make Carol, Kamala and Monica work well. At least the writer connectivity here is Monica, at the very least. And I bet this writer at least watches Ms Marvel.

At least when the MCU was just films, I could sort of understand how they could maintain continuity - 3 x 2.5 hour films in a year is a lot different to 3 x 2.5 hour films PLUS 6 live action TV series in 18 months.
posted by crossoverman at 6:07 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


But I definitely would have liked a bit more time with the Clandestines. They flipped so much between loving, homicidal and loving again that it did feel unmotivated.

Yeah. I would have struggled to explain their motivation ten minutes after I watched an episode with them in it. A year from now, I will barely recall that they were in the MCU.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:18 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]




Ms. Marvel Was a Personal Journey Onscreen and Off [Vulture / Archive]
posted by ellieBOA at 2:41 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Terrified Ms. Marvel Is the Best Part of ‘The Marvels’ D23 Trailer

"The tether pulls it back toward the station, and when it gets close enough to the glass that Fury can see who’s inside it, we see that Monica has been replaced by poor Kamala, who’s having a level 10 meltdown at her bizarre predicament."

Leaked audio - hijinks set to 'Intergalactic'. I can imagine the looks on various actors faces for some of these lines, and I really really want to see the movie.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 4:57 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


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