Throughout Ms. Marvel, Kamala has heard a common refrain: “What you seek is seeking you.” It’s inscribed on the bangle she inherited from her great-grandmother, and it forms the narrative heart of the fifth episode, “Time and Again.”
However, Kamala is no mere observer of the historic events unfolding around her. Instead, she plays a vital part in her own family’s story, swooping in to save the day in a way she didn’t know she was capable of. Before we can catch up with our hero, though, Ms. Marvel gives us a bit of a history lesson.
The episode opens with an old-timey newsreel giving audiences a brief overview of the Indian movement for independence from British rule. This is a weighty topic, and confused viewers should research it a bit more if they’re curious about how this complex history between India and Britain resulted in the Partition and the creation of Pakistan. The brief version is that, after India won its independence from the UK, the region entered a chaotic period of civil unrest, mainly driven by religious differences.
It’s against this backdrop of strife and unrest that Kamala’s great-grandmother, Aisha, meets her great-grandfather, Hasan. Hasan is a pro-independence firebrand who owns a rose orchard and openly speaks out against British rule. Aisha, a refugee Clandestine, is on the run from her former friend, Najma, and wants to hide the mysterious bangle that Najma wants to use to return the Clandestines to their otherworldly home in the Noor dimension.
Hasan finds Aisha hiding in his orchard and invites her inside to rest and get some food. While the two are initially wary of each other, they warm up quickly and the narrative jumps months and years into the future, showing them falling in love and having a daughter. Sadly, Aisha’s happiness isn’t meant to last, and Najma catches up to her and interrupts her blissful life with Hasan and their daughter, Sana.
To make matters worse, Hasan is struggling to make ends meet in India as his neighbors have turned suspicious of him for his Islamic faith. Aisha suggests that they flee to Pakistan to escape religious persecution, though Hasan knows something else is driving Aisha to uproot their family. Najma demands Aisha hand over the bangle, but Aisha knows her former friend could endanger millions of lives if she opens a portal to the Noor dimension.
As Aisha, Hasan, and Sana flee to the train platform, Najma catches up to them and stabs Aisha. Hasan gets separated from Sana, and Aisha reaches out with her Clandestine powers and plucks what she thinks is a teenage Sana from the future. Instead, it’s Sana’s granddaughter, Kamala, the only one of Aisha’s descendants to ever wear the mystical bangle.
Kamala gets a brief moment to speak to her great-grandmother before she succumbs to her injuries. Aisha hands her a photograph and asks her to save the young Sana, who is lost in the crowd.
Kamala uses her Noor powers to create the “field of stars” that lead Sana back to her father, Hasan. This closes a time loop that ensures that Kamala is more deeply ingrained into her family’s history than she realized, making her responsible for her own grandmother’s life. With the loop closed, Kamala is transported back to the present day, where the ageless Najma still seeks the bangle.
Turning the Tide
Aisha’s time-travel spell has opened a hole in the Veil between the real world and the Noor dimension, and Najma’s Clandestine rush toward it to return home. They’re swiftly overtaken in a process that looks eerily similar to Terrigenesis, but they’re reduced to bones by the process. Najma attempts to get closer to the portal, claiming she can make it through where her followers couldn’t. Kamala pleads with the Clandestine leader to think about her son, Kamran, and Najma comes to her senses.
Sensing that the portal will open and cause destruction, Najma sacrifices herself to close it–and as she does so, she calls out to her son, who is suddenly wreathed in the same Noor energy as Kamala and granted powers of his own. As this happens, Sana and Muneeba catch up to Kamala and witness her using her powers.
Muneeba is stunned that her daughter is a superhero, but Sana tells her that “our family has always been magical.” With Najma gone and the Clandestine threat defeated, it looks like things are finally calm for Ms. Marvel. However, Kamran’s still on the run from the Department of Damage Control back in Jersey, and he seeks out help from Bruno. Just as the two begin to hit it off over their shared backgrounds of being abandoned by their parents, a DODC drone bursts into Bruno’s home and causes a massive explosion–and a nail-biting cliffhanger ending.