Synopsis: In No Normal Kamala and her Scoobies protect a traumatized Kamran from Damage Control.
In most superhero stories, the hero becomes what they are due to traumatic events in their lives. Their parents die by accident or murder, usually when the protagonist is a child. The hero becomes determined to right whatever wrong has been done to them and their family members. What happens in Ms. Marvel is probably closer to the mark, if suddenly getting superpowers was a real thing.
Kamala (Iman Vellani) has a happy, nurturing, intact family that fully supports her when they learn she is the “Night Light.” They joke around with and fan girl her. In fact, her entire community supports her, as now Jersey City has it’s own superhero.
When she gets a call from Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) telling her that Bruno’s home blew up, her mother presents her with a superhero costume to wear as she seeks out Bruno (Matt Lintz and Kamran (Rish Shah).
Kamran, on the other hand, suddenly has powers, doesn’t know why,and can’t control them. He’s a homeless teenager who suddenly can’t find his family, and is being chased by drones and heavily armed men in para-military gear. His only support is Bruno, who has no choice but to help him escape from Damage Control.
Fueled largely by fear, Kamran loses control of the powers he suddenly got when his mother sacrificed herself to get through the Veil. When he learns later in the episode that his mother has died, he loses complete control. What teenager wouldn’t be messed up when faced with the loss of his family and being hunted by an army?
Damage Control, led by Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner), invades Kamala’s mosque in search of Kamran. The people in the mosque, though, are prepared for them, and help Bruno and Kamran evade them. Nakia advises them to hide in the high school, instead, since nobody is there on a Saturday.
At the high school, Kamala, Nakia, Kamran, and Bruno encounter Zoe, who is there recording a TikTok video. In a scene reminiscent of a Scooby meeting in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the teens, along with Kamala’s brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), plan a defense for Kamran if Damage Control shows up. Damage Control shows up.
Agent Deever defies orders and invades the high school. The teens all dress alike, in red hoodies, appearing to the Damage Control militia to either lure them away from Kamran, or toward traps like a giant baking soda volcano, a karaoke machine, or to be pelted by hundreds of baseballs. Zoe live streams on TikTok, calling viewers to come help them.
Bruno, Aamir, Nakia, and Zoe end up being detained by Damage Control. Kamala tries to get Kamran to safety, but they end up in an escalating conflict with the troops outside the school. Kamran has just learned his mother is dead, which makes him more reactive when trapped. Deever shoots at Kamran, Kamala appears to protect him. Hundreds from the community, including Kamala’s parents are there to witness.
DC breaks Kamala’s protective light shield with an LRAD (long-range acoustic device). After being stunned, Kamala “embiggens,” growing in size to fight off the troops. Kamran, out of control, hurls a car toward Damage Control, but it endangers the crowd. Kamala stops the car with her giant hand. As Kamran projects hard light around him, it also endangers the crowd.
Kamala shields both Kamran and the crowd, while consoling a tormented Kamran. She tells him his mother’s last act, giving him her powers, meant she was thinking about him when she died. He asks her, after all that has happened, how he can live a normal life. Kamala responds “There is no normal. There’s just us, and what we do with what we’ve been given.” Then she punches a hole in the ground, to help him escape (with the aid of Red Dagger).
Deever orders the DC militia to grab Kamala, but the crowd locks arms and hands, protecting her by surrounding her. She escapes via her hard light, as the crowd cheers.
Deever gets fired for defying Agent Cleary (Arian Moayed) order not to attack at the school.
Kamala has become a bona fide hero in her community. In a rooftop conversation with her very proud father, they come up with the superhero name Ms. Marvel. Her name comes from the word “kamal” means “perfect” or “marvel.”
The end credits scene is not to be missed. It’s unsure what exactly happened, but when Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel shows up in Kamala’s room, you know the movie, The Marvels, is in our future.
The acting in this episode, and the entire series, is perfect. Most notable are Iman Vellani as Kamala, Matt Lintz as Bruno, Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba, Mohan Kapur as Yusuf, and Rish Shah as Kamran.
CGI & Special Effects
This was a heavy special effects episode, and they are done well. The effects for Kamala’s powers mirror the lighthearted animation that reflects her inner self throughout the series. Note that her hard light tends to be blue and purple, while Kamran’s tends to be yellow and green. Marvel’s use color coding to identify whose powers we’re seeing is a longtime trick used in the movies and previous Disney+ shows.
When Bruno tells Kamala that her genetic makeup is different than her other family members’, note that the theme song from the animated X-Men series plays in the background. Either Marvel is positioning her to be a mutant with the X-gene, or the MCU will use her as a way to introduce Inhumans into its pantheon of characters. Given that Black Bolt appeared in Dr. Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, Inhumans may not be off the table for the MCU.
This episode was a fine wrap up for the series, while leaving some questions unanswered that will most likely come out in The Marvels movie, and future productions. This has turned out to be my favorite series of the Marvel/Disney+ series for a number of reasons.
It’s art direction and animation are beautiful and quirky, and important in telling the story while conveying Kamala’s Pakistani upbringing. The acting was marvelous.
The “bad guys,” the Clan Destines, had understandable reasons for creating problems. They simply wanted to go home to their own dimension. Damage Control, which thinks they’re the good guys, end up being the Big Bad of the series, and are partly responsible for Kamran plummeting into darkness. There aren’t really the boring violence and fisticuffs that usually plague action adventures, which I find a relief.
The series is My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Ghandi meets Spider-Man (if he was a Pakistani-American girl). This was the series I was least interested in seeing, and is now at the top of my favorites list.
- CGI & Effects10