Ms Marvel’s latest episode was truly spectacular. It had amazing set pieces depicting the struggles of the citizens during the India-Pakistan partition struggle. It also handled the period dram of Kamala’s ancestry well. Fans all over the globe, especially Indian and Pakistani fans, applauded the effort that Marvel’s creative team took to keep it as real as possible. With the last episode set to release next week, it will be interesting to see how the show wraps its remaining loose ends.
However, the show faltered a bit too in this week’s episode (Episode 5: Time and Again).
In Avengers: Endgame, the Earth’s mightiest heroes attempted to re-acquire the Infinity Stones from the past (Time Heist, as they called it) to reverse Thanos’s Blip. It was established (as explained by The Ancient One to Bruce Banner) that if anything changes from its original course in the Past, then its Present gets altered as well. It branches the current timeline.
When Avengers took the infinity stones from various past events, each led to the formation of a new branch in the main timeline (a weaker but, different timeline). As soon as they were done defeating Thanos and reversing the blip, Cap again went back in time. This time to place each of the infinity stones (and Mjolnir) ‘at the exact time’ and ‘at exact place’ that they were taken from. This shall remove or prune the branches in the timeline that were initially created, keeping the main timeline as it was.
If these branches were never corrected, then TVA (Time Variance Authority) came into action. They would prune these rogue branches, as shown in the Loki series.
However, these rules appeared to have been compromised in Ms Marvel’s latest episode.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Ms Marvel, episode 5.
In the episode, after Najma stabs Kamala’s bangle, Kamala is transported to 1947, during the India-Pakistan partition. She finds herself at a railway station where a huge crowd of people, including her grandmother and great-grandparents, trying to board the last train to Karachi, Pakistan.
In the episode, it was shown that Kamala’s great-grandmother, Aisha, was stabbed by Najma before boarding the train. And Kamala’s Nani – Sana, gets separated from Hasan, Kamala’s great-grandfather. However, before leaving Sana with her father, Aisha had handed the ‘magical’ bangle to Sana. Because she knew that Najma would come after Aisha for it. She told Sana that, the bangle ‘will keep her safe.’
In her family, Kamala had always heard of a story. It was the story of how her grandmother after getting separated from her parents during the partition, found her way back to them by following a “trail of stars”. Kamala’s family believed that it was Aisha who had helped Sana in reuniting her with her father.
However, this episode went a bit ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ way. It turns out that the person who had helped Sana in reuniting her with her father was none other than Kamala herself. The Kamala who had traveled back to this time from the future.
According to the rules already established in this universe, Kamala traveling back in time and saving her Nani should have created a new timeline. And once Kamala returns to her time, she must do so in a whole new ‘changed’ reality. But that was not the case here.
Kamala going in the past and then traveling back to the present in the same timeline led to the creation of an endless time loop. And scientifically a time loop is never possible, because – in a time loop, the genesis of an event itself ceases to exist.
There is one more confusion. When Kamala had traveled to the past she wore her bangles. At the same time, Sana also had the same bangle given to her by Aisha. Can this be possible? It could mean that there existed two versions of the same objects at the same time instant.
For example, consider the case of Thor’s Mjolnir. Thor decided to take Mjolnir, after Hela destroyed it, too during their Time Heist in Endgame. However, after the Battle of Earth with Thanos was over, Cap took it back to the timeline it originally belonged. Thor’s original Mjolnir was destroyed way before he grabbed one from the past. At that instant, a different timeline was created. This new branch of the timeline was later pruned when the Mjolnir returned to its original timeline.
What if, Kamala had decided to take that bangle too. Could she still have her original bangle? Because, if Sana did not have the bangle given to her by her mother, Aisha, how will she be able to pass it on later to her granddaughter, Kamala.
Marvel needs to address these confusions soon. Hopefully, upcoming Marvel projects might provide more clarity to these rules and their exceptions in Marvel Cinematic Universe.