Ms. Marvel’s penultimate episode, ‘Time and Again’ follows true Marvel fashion, and is the best of the inaugural season. Ms. Marvel is following in established Marvel precedent by giving us the series’ best episode just before the finale. Hopefully though, Ms. Marvel can breakaway from the tradition of Marvel finales falling flat, in service of the gargantuan franchise.
The continued focus on family is what continues to elevate Ms. Marvel from good to great. Though Iman Vellani takes a bit of a back seat this episode, she’s no less integral to the story. In fact, everything leads to her in the most beautiful way. I had hoped after Episode 4 that Marvel would give us a compelling period piece with the characters we’ve gotten to know during the course of this series. Marvel absolutely delivers.
The story of Aisha (Mehwish Hayat) and Hasan (Fawad Khan) is probably the greatest lovestory the Marvel Cinematic Universe has told to date. From the moment they’re introduced, everything about them is incredibly endearing. This is Marvel storytelling at its finest, spending precious little time with new characters while simultaneously making them unforgettable. Their love is so incredibly captivating, and their story is nothing less than heartbreaking to watch unfold against the backdrop of the Partition.
Aisha and Hasan’s story gives way to exploration of the impacts of generational wounds and trauma. Having Kamala be the one to save herself and her family line is such a powerful message of healing. Rather than delving into constant doom and gloom, this is a powerful story of audacious hope, and a tribute to cycle-breakers everywhere. There isn’t a better character I can think of to lead the way in generational healing than Kamala Khan. We all have such abilities within us. We only need the courage to begin healing familial wounds.
I’m glad that Ms. Marvel seems to have gotten away from the djinn storyline, that was never going to work. Again, critics from this culture should be listened to when critiquing the finer points of this representation. As a white critic, the folding in of Marvel myth to the djinn read as orientalism run amok, and it’s probably for the best that this particular story is at its end. As I’ve said from the beginning of this series, the Marvel elements continue to be this show’s weakness. I was completely invested in the family history, the love story, and the generational healing being portrayed. It lasted all too briefly, however, before the classic Marvel set pieces made an appearance.
I really do hope that these stories can be wrapped up in a satisfying way. With one episode left in the series, it will be no easy feat to wrap up each character’s arc. Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) was left incredibly hurt and confused. She deserves an explanation, and a chance to continue being the badass she is. It will be interesting to see where all of the newer characters introduced in the latter part of the series will end up, since fans haven’t spent a lot of time with any of them. There is the comic source material, but perhaps Marvel will go their own way.
Ms. Marvel’s penultimate episode was proof of everything that has made this series enjoyable from the beginning. This is truly the strength of this story, following a family through the generations and having Kamala be the one to confront the cycle of trauma that has left its mark on each branch of the family. It’s an aspirational look at how heartbreaking and beautiful the healing process can be. There’s a lot to be hopeful for when looking to the season finale. One can only hope Marvel is up to the challenge.
New episodes of Ms. Marvel air Wednesdays on Disney+.