Let’s Talk about Ms. Marvel Episode 1-5
I…wasn’t a fan of last week’s episode, the first misfire to date for Ms. Marvel….After I watched Seeing Red, I learned that the producers had expressed concern about the following episode, Time and Again.
So, I must confess that I had the lowest expectations for this episode…yet it proved to be a masterpiece. Let’s talk about Ms. Marvel episodes 1-5, the one about She Who Lives.
The Year Was 1942…
Okay, I may have misspoken a bit in last week’s recap. Kamala Khan had traveled back in time to what I thought was the Partition, which occurred in 1947. However, this week’s episode begins in 1942, the same year that Aisha and Namja had discovered the mystical bangle.
The women and their fellow Djinn/Clandestine needed the power of this time to return to their realm. Sadly, circumstances dictated that the women separate.
Time and Again begins with an explanation of what happened to Aisha afterward. We’d already mostly filled in the blanks with Namja, although another reveal is coming. For Aisha, she was a stranger in a strange land during uniquely uncertain times in India.
Standoffish by nature, Aisha is doing what she can to survive when a kind local man offers his assistance. Aisha instantly assumes a defensive posture and threatens to break his leg…which seems redundant since he requires a walking stick to get around.
After a while, Aisha lets her guard down enough to converse with this local, Hasan, a man who is crusading for India’s independence from Britain. When we meet her, Aisha isn’t the kindest person. She murders a pursuer just before she catches sight of Hasan’s public argument against oppression.
What follows next is a delightful 10-minute Bollywood love story. Girl meets boy, girl threatens violence, boy offers food, girl gets pregnant, etc. The quick-witted recognize that this baby is our beloved Sana, Kamala’s grandmother.
Ms. Marvel’s producers nail the casting here, as Aisha and Hasan possess tremendous onscreen chemistry. Within seconds, I’m rooting for them. Sadly, we already know that their love is on a timer, though.
Then, on one fateful night a few years later, the impending danger of Partition forces the family to try to flee. Actually, there’s another reason, though.
The Magic at the Partition
Sure enough, Kamja has found her fellow Djinn. The always-angry woman cannot believe that Aisha has settled for domestic bliss when she could be saving the Djinn. For her part, Aisha is very much in love with Hasan and is a tremendous mother to baby Sana.
Sadly, the situation in India has grown untenable as Hasan’s political opinions have unintentionally ostracized him. Notably, at no point during their relationship has Hasan ever pushed Aisha to explain why she was on the run when they met. He accepts her for who she is…until now
At the train station, Hasan struggles to keep up due to his leg injury. For the first time, he asks why Aisha is running and seeks more information about the woman from the previous night.
Aisha shows Hasan a bangle and reminds him: “You always said I was magic.” The bangle’s unnatural glow proves that he was right. She hands her husband the mystical item.
For his part, Hasan is NOT a prophet. He says, “Nothing is going to happen tonight…” on this, what proves to be the last night of Aisha’s life. Kamja finds her in a mob of people and stabs her. For his part, Hasan tries to protect Sana, who is now five or six years old. Alas, they get separated.
And that’s where things get weird. As Aisha slumps in pain, Sana calls for her ammi. Aisha and Sana cannot find her…but Kamala Khan can. Yes, the power of the bangle has somehow sent Kamala back in time or allowed her to enter a time loop or something.
Aisha reads out the words we heard in a previous episode. “What you seek is seeking you.” Whether that’s Aisha looking for Kamala Khan or vice versa is up for debate.
The Heroine We Need
The bangle glows, Kamala jumps down from the train, and she springs into action. First, she finds Aisha, who says, “The bangle worked. Sana…it brought you back to me.” A deeply confused Kamala states that she’s not Sana.
I strongly suspect that Aisha knew that, though. It’s not at all what she meant, although that’s purely my conjecture. Without missing a beat, Aisha states, “They don’t have much time. Get Sana on the train.”
I believe that this is NOT the first encounter between Aisha and Kamala, but the latter woman doesn’t know that yet. Her great-grandmother informs Kamala that she has everything she needs. For her part, Ms. Marvel believes that Aisha must save Sana like in the story.
Aisha’s final words are, “She’s okay because you are here.” Afterward, Kamala honors her ancestor’s wish by…rescuing her other ancestor. Time travel is weird, y’all. In order to help Sana, Ms. Marvel must use the power of the bangle to provide a walking path from the girl to her father.
Hasan finds his daughter pointing at mystical blue lights surrounding her. This seems like a good time to remind you that Disney+ marketed this show with this song:
Nice job, team.
Back to the Future
Once Kamala fulfills the prophecy or restores the timeline or whatever, the bangle glows, causing her return to present times. As a reminder, she was in a fight to the death with the Clandestine, some of whom awaken.
Everyone in the fight grows distracted by a glowing veil in the center of the room now. What’s the most annoying thing that could happen at this moment? Yes, we cut to Muneeba, Kamala’s always-complaining mother.
In her defense, Muneeba is right to worry about her absentee daughter since they are in a different country. She really ought to be home or, at the very least, have checked in. At this point, Kamala’s annoying cousins inform her mother of Find My Phone. It’s…pretty funny.
In fact, starting with this scene, Muneeba’s face turn starts. Kamala’s family decides to track her down, which proves vital to the point.
Speaking of which, one of the Djinn suffers the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fate of getting turned to dust right when they thought they’d won.
Yeah, she dead.
They’re All about Family
Najma believes she can go home, but Kamala knows better. She asks the woman to help her close the veil. Namja refuses at first, but Kamala wisely appeals to her love of Kamran, pointing out the similarity to Aisha and her family.
In this moment, Namja does the right thing by sacrificing herself to close the veil. Her final word is, “Kamran.” On the other side of the world, Kamran appears to gain Ms. Marvel-like superpowers in this moment.
Meanwhile, Muneeba and Sana witness Kamala’s magical acts. For Muneeba, it’s like Timothy Busfield’s character in Field of Dreams:
Suddenly, Kamala’s mom is her number one fan as the light has gone on that she is, well, “Light Girl.” Meanwhile, Sana is pretty gloaty about the fact that their family is magical.
The episode saves one final emotional moment, as Kamala presents her grandmother with a picture from Sana’s childhood. “I’d like to think that two people fell in love and created something, something much bigger than either of them could have created alone.”
The women want to go back home, but Kamala says goodbye to Kareem, who appears to make her a member of the Red Daggers. Meanwhile, Muneeba and Sana notice that Kamala’s necklace has broken. It makes the Ms. Marvel logo now.
Finally, we return to the United States, where Kamran needs help. So, he goes to his only remaining potential ally, “Brian.” Bruno finally informs Kamran of his real name, and they’re trying to figure things out when a drone appears.
Kamran defends himself from its attack, causing the drone to blow up the Circle Q where Bruno works…and lives. Apparently, the final boss this season isn’t the Clandestine. It’s the Department of Damage Control. Stay tuned…
PS: This was a perfect episode of television.