The following contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel Season 1, Episode 5, “Time and Again,” now streaming on Disney+.
One of the most contentious aspects of Avengers: Endgame was the disjointed time loop. When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes traveled back in time to gather Infinity Stones to undo Thanos’ Snap, many issues arose, from Loki escaping a reality, to Hulk conversing with the Ancient One, to Steve Rogers fighting. It was confirmed to be a closed loop, however, when Old Man Steve stayed behind, living in the shadows as all the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe unfolded.
However, the Russo Brothers faced many questions in terms of shattered timelines, ripple effects, and branching realities, with even the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, sometimes differing in their explanations from the directors. Yet despite things being so inconsistent, fans rolled with the punches and into phase four. However, MCU enthusiasts get a glimpse of how this loop could have been perfected, and it came courtesy of Ms. Marvel.
In the fifth episode, Kamala Khan was sent back to 1947 during the partition. This is where Muslims used to flee from India to the newly created Pakistan, but rather than anything outlandish, the series created a simple closed loop, reminiscent of Netflix. Dark, where Jonas and his German peers have done things in the past, affecting the present. In Kamala’s case, it revolved around her grandmother, Aisha.
She eventually found Aisha bleeding, after DestinyClan leader Najma stabbed her in an attempt to get the power bracelet. Aisha, realizing it wasn’t her baby girl, Sana, convinced Kamala to save Sana using her powers. Kamala then used her energy constructs to guide Sana to her father, Hasan, creating the story of her grandmother following a “star trail” that led her to the man.
What completed the adventure was that Aisha transferred her essence into the bracelet just before she died, which is why it activated when Kamala put it in the present premiere. This completed the circuit, with Aisha rolling Kamala on her way to Pakistan and her old grandmother, Sana, which ultimately led to Kamala returning to save young Sana in a simple and effective storytelling. It not only sums up Kamala’s origin, but also Sana’s, while settling the details of Aisha’s past and why she disappeared when Hasan and Sana left India.
Granted, End of Game needed its complicated moving parts to unravel reality so that Kang’s supposed Multiverse War could begin its movement. Still, it has to feel like everything could have been put together better, if not for the backhanded response of butterfly effects leading to branching realities that automatically absolved the heroes of their mistakes. Ms. Marvel instead showed how to create a tighter, more careful adventure, which didn’t allow Kamala to interact with anyone else who could affect the timestream. Additionally, the show has always kept it a mystery as to how the bracelet could time jump, its connection to the Djinn and the Light Dimension wave, and whether Aisha can be revived. Ultimately, this direction played into the time travel sandbox, protecting the past, while shaping an unpredictable and wondrous future for the Khan Dynasty.
The Ms. Marvel Season 1 finale premieres July 13 on Disney+.