‘Ms. Marvel’ Episode 5 Review: Kamala Goes To The Past And Learns Her Origins

Ms. Marvel

At this point, Ms. Marvel has proven itself to be the least popular Disney Plus show on the roster. It is sad, as the show really is trying to make the representation of Indian, and Muslim societies as real and relevant as it can. However, representation alone cannot make the show interesting to watch. This is the main issue with Ms. Marvel, it is just now that interesting or exciting, and with episode 5, the show cements itself as more educational than entertaining.

So far, the Marvel shows have all followed a template that makes the fifth episode in the season, this kind of point where backstories need to be told. Or where the main characters find themselves learning something new that will help to defeat the big bad in episode six. Ms. Marvel has stayed within the confines of the template. However, it has chosen to go full into a history lesson, which ends up giving Kamala, and the audience a lot of important history about India, but not enough entertainment factor.

Episode 5 is quite boring. For more than half its running time, we follow Aisha, Kamala’s great-grandmother, as she leaves her fellow djinn behind and then falls in love and builds a family on her own. The story and the way the story is told would fit some other show, but here in a show about superheroes, it feels like an ill choice, one taken out of concern, and with good intentions for sure. And yet, a choice that gives nothing to Kamala as a character.

Ms. Marvel

The episode is directed once again by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who also directed episode 4. The director has proven that she cannot really direct action, and here it seems her strengths are better suited for a period show. One that deals more with the politics and the everyday life of the character than with one that is attached to a bigger universe like the MCU. Chinoy manages to create beautiful scenes where we can see two people falling in love with each other, and at least that was done well.

And yet, the whole romance plot that occurs in this episode feels very rushed. The Marvel Disney Plus shows, just like the Star Wars Disney Plus shows, are not taking advantage of what the TV format can offer them. Time. A TV show can spend at least an hour each episode to develop the stories and the character, and yet, these shows have the need to spend just 30 minutes on a story that needs so much more to feel substantial. Instead, we get a rushed job, that leaves the actors, the story, and the expectations hanging.

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If the rushed romance plot wasn’t enough in terms of doing something halfway, the resolution to the entire Clandestines’ conflict feels even more rushed. The villains never managed to make a big impact on the show’s storyline, or on the audience for that matter. They were weak and unimpressive, and they showed no powers or anything that resembled the magical beings that they were supposed to be. The way the show dispatched this storyline feels like one of the worst resolutions we have seen in these shows so far.

Their plot to return to their world fell apart as quickly as it was brought up in the show. There was no purpose, no emotion or excitement about anything regarding these characters, and yet, the show presents this resolution as something epic, as if this was satisfactory in any shape or form. More than direction, the big issue is in the writing, as the writers were not able to use the time that was given to them to just create something substantial. Everything feels just so weightless, it will make you laugh in disbelief.

The end of the episode results in one more time in something that is quite underwhelming, as some characters are pushed into new directions, but the episode ends abruptly, and not in a good way. It seems as if the episode just ended because it needed to end, and the editor just made the cut because it had to. The ending just creates confusion out of bad filmmaking, and not out of some big twist in the plot.

Ms. Marvel

The Marvel TV shows need to realize that they are TV shows. They need to learn that they have the time to develop every single aspect of the stories to the fullest, instead of just going halfway with every they put on the table. As it is, Ms. Marvel feels like a wasted opportunity where actors and not able to do as much as they can and where the stories are truncated in the worst possible ways. If they keep going on this path, it might be that the Disney Plus Marvel shows will not be able to survive for long.

Episode 5 of Ms. Marvel fails in giving its main plot line any sort of dramatic or satisfying resolution. The show thinks that the secondary plot line is enough to create tension around the resolution of the show. It seems that the Disney Plus shows are falling into the same issue as the Netflix ones, in that the constraints of a template suck any kind of emotion and excitement out of the stories they want to tell. What a waste.

SCORE: 5/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.