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The Ending Of Ms. Marvel Episode 1 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Ms. Marvel" Season 1, Episode 1

While Marvel's brightest and biggest heroes — Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) — call New York City home, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's newest character lives just across the Hudson River in Jersey City. Kamala Khan was a near-instant hit with fans when Marvel first premiered the character's comic storyline in 2014, and surely, Marvel Studios hopes the same for the live-action adaptation starring Iman Vellani as the teenage superhero inspired by Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) herself.

In "Ms. Marvel" Episode 1, audiences meet Kamala Khan on the cusp of a classic teenage milestone as she sets out to take her driver's test. Unfortunately for Kamala, she fails almost immediately after backing the car into the driving test instructor's own vehicle at a high speed, a classic teenage nightmare. It's an appropriate introduction to Kamala, who feels out of step with her family at home and with her peers at school and spends her free time reading and creating content about the Avengers.

From there on out, it's an uphill battle on every front: Kamala's guidance counselor wants her to start thinking about her future, and her parents want her to help them prepare for her older brother's upcoming wedding. This all changes, of course, when Kamala and her best friend, Bruno (Matt Lintz), plot to attend an Avengers-themed fan convention in the New York City area and Kamala adds a personalized stylization to her handmade Captain Marvel costume.

The six-episode miniseries promises to lead Kamala straight into the 2023 "Captain Marvel" sequel, "The Marvels," so let's get into the nitty-gritty of what happens in Episode 1 of "Ms. Marvel."

Kamala Khan breathes new life into the high school superhero trope

Kamala Khan is brand-new to the MCU; she's also relatively new to the Marvel universe at large. The comics first introduced Kamala as Ms. Marvel in August 2013 (via Marvel Database); according to the New York Times, editors found an opportunity to take advantage of a lack of female superheroes on Marvel's roster and a lack of comic book characters with a specific cultural heritage. The result? A uniquely American character on two tracks: a first-generation American from an immigrant family who becomes a superhero.

This basepoint for Kamala's comic story carries over faithfully to the MCU. Kamala's family consists of Pakistani immigrants living in Jersey City; her brother, Aamir (Saagar Shaikh), prays before breakfast, and Kamala clearly feels a bit like an outsider growing up in America with strict immigrant parents. Kamala's background gives typical high school problems — asking for permission to go to an event on your own, sneaking out when Plan A doesn't work — new meaning when the expectations that stand in her way are rooted in her family's culture. Kamala's mother, Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), interprets her daughter's desire to go to AvengerCon with Bruno as a desire to go drinking at parties with boys. Kamala even tries to dress up the event as a historical reenactment and accuses her parents of favoring Aamir when they initially forbid her from attending.

Marvel Studios and Sony created an amusing high school atmosphere for Peter Parker to grow with in the most recent "Spider-Man" trilogy. For "Ms. Marvel," the show's creators took inspiration from John Hughes movies, as well as more recent films that capture the teenage struggle like "10th Things I Hate About You" and "Lady Bird" to give it all a modern twist (via USA Today).

The MCU gets meta with AvengerCon

Marvel Studios has entered something of a victory lap era in Phase Four. Between merging the "Spider-Man" franchises, breaking open the Multiverse, and introducing new characters who feel inspired to take on the superhero lifestyle in response to other heroes' existence, the MCU is finding opportunities to celebrate Marvel as a whole in Phase Four projects.

"Ms. Marvel" is no different: The first episode heavily revolves around Kamala and Bruno's plan to attend the first-ever AvengerCon, an entire convention dedicated to the heroes of the MCU. Kamala is an Avengers (specifically Captain Marvel) superfan, shown to operate a YouTube channel where she makes Avengers-specific content. In the relative universe-wide lull after Thanos' (Josh Brolin) defeat, the MCU's own pop culture appears ripe for content mining — Kamala even mentions that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has a podcast now.

AvengerCon itself bears a significant resemblance to real-life conventions; think Comic-Con, but in the MCU, every "character" celebrated is actually real. The MCU's superheroes have taken on a new level of celebrity within their universe not necessarily seen during the Infinity Saga.

Kamala doesn't exactly want to be a superhero, but she does want to look like one at the AvengerCon Captain Marvel costume contest. Of course, the Jersey City teenager gets more than she bargains for when the bangle she receives in the mail from her grandmother seems to unlock previously unknown powers. At the end of the day, it feels quite appropriate for a new superhero to emerge straight from AvengerCon itself.

Ms. Marvel suggests that Kamala's powers have something to do with her heritage

A recurring sentiment throughout the first episode of "Ms. Marvel" is that Kamala spends too much time daydreaming about the world of superheroes. The character hears it from her parents, her guidance counselor, and basically everyone else except her friends Bruno (Matt Lintz) and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher). By the end of the episode, of course, Kamala no longer has to daydream at all — when she puts on the bangle she receives from her grandmother at AvengerCon, she starts unleashing cosmic beams of light from her hands, but there's otherwise little to go on when it comes to where Kamala's powers stem from at first glance.

Key phrase: "first glance." Muneeba pointedly declares the bangle "junk" when Kamala finds it in the package sent from her grandmother; however, that the same object winds up unleashing Kamala's powers suggests her mother knows more than she's letting on. Consider, too, the scene in which Muneeba prepares a to-go dinner for Bruno remarkably quickly — she tells Bruno that the reason behind her skill at the task is her secret to keep. Muneeba even calls it all out, saying that her family's genetics have produced a long line of fantasizing daydreamers. It seems those genetics might host more than just the tendency to daydream.