This penultimate episode sees Kamala displaced in time; but for half of the show’s runtime we take a glimpse at what led up to that fateful train journey for her grandmother (and great grandparents).
Once more, the cultural and historical elements are brilliantly done, with a surprisingly grounded and heartbreaking look at the way that Partition affected ordinary people. It feels genuine, which is pretty remarkable for a show that’s essentially an origin story for a superpowered teen with a magical bangle.
Though there’s some really ropey effects in this episode – again; the show isn’t nailing the superheroics and fantastical elements – the historic and cultural focus really sets it apart and brings some much needed diversity to the MCU.
It’s just a shame that the 20 minute flashback grinds our main story to such a halt, making everything feel somewhat disjointed. It’s only at the very final minute or so that the show remembers some other antagonists that were set up earlier on in the series.
The more unusual stylistic touches that gave the first few episodes such a vibrant and infectiously fun aesthetic are mostly gone here, unfortunately; though the serious drama of the extended flashback sequence warrants a less showy, less hyperactive feel than we first had in the opening episodes, the change in tone is still jarring.
All that said, Ms. Marvel is still an incredibly unique MCU show. I’m very drawn into the history and culture of the characters, but less so when it comes to the often poorly-handled, more comic book-style shenanigans. With the final episode fast approaching and a lot of ground to finish setting Kamala up for her jump to the big screen, I’m not sure it’s going to do so in a way that feels properly satisfying – but time will tell.
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