Well it was only a matter of time before Ms. MarvelThe Marvel Cinematic Universe ties caught up with him. We could only live so long in the happy bubble of teenage superheroes. That said, the latest episode does a wonderful job of fitting into this larger universe of storytelling without ever losing sight of what makes this show so special. After last week’s breathtaking cliffhanger where Kamala (Iman Vellani) comes face to face with Najma, the woman of his visions (Nimra Bucha), Episode 3, “Destined,” really kicks off and sets the series up for what feels like a heart-pounding half back.
The episode doesn’t open with Kamala in the present day, but rather in British-occupied India in 1942. There, Najma – just as she does today – digs into an artifact-laden temple. She finds a severed arm with a very familiar bracelet attached and is soon joined by her cohorts, including Kamala’s great-grandmother Aisha (Mehwish Hayat). Although the two are adamant that they need both bracelets to get home, Aisha decides it will have to be done in the meantime.
Today, Najma and what remains of her group explain their origins in Kamala. They tell him that they are from another dimension but have been exiled to this one and need his help to return home. Najma then explains to Kamala that while they are called the Clandestines in their own dimension, they are known by many names. What they are most often called, however, is the jinn. The only one not from the other dimension is Kamran (Rish Shah), who like Kamala was born on Earth. While objectively a very cool reveal – and a fantastic payoff for a pilot line about Kamala’s childhood fear of the jinn – it’s one of the places to have Ms. Marvel being part of a larger universe felt like a roadblock. As Najma revealed that her group wasn’t from Earth, I found myself running through a mental list of every otherworldly group we know of in the MCU, wondering where exactly they were located. While it may turn out that they’re just a band in their own right, it was a very stark reminder of just how big the story around Kamala truly is.
Despite the revelation that her mysterious great-grandmother hails from another dimension, most of the episode managed to stay pretty grounded. The Damage Control Department, led by Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner), is in search of the mysterious Enhanced Being and arrives at the Kamala Mosque looking for it. They burst in and look ready to roll on Sheikh Abdullah (Laith Nakli) in order to search the mosque to Nakia (Yasmine Fletcher) intervenes and reminds them, thanks to her Law and order marathons, she knows they can’t search the premises without a warrant. Although she forces them to leave, the reprieve is temporary at best.
The scene is also a nice payoff for Nakia’s mini-arc over the past two episodes. Last week I have drew attention to certain perspectives this might call into question Nakia’s desire to see social justice directed towards her community rather than outwards, what is happening here should hopefully allay those concerns. Nakia does not run for the mosque’s board because she feels the need to destroy the institution from within. It’s not even, above all, because she considers Sheikh Abdallah a patriarchal oppressor. She, like any teenager, has strong convictions, and she also believes that the adults around her can and should do better with those in her care. The confrontation with Agent Deever shows that while Nakia and Sheikh Abdullah may not agree on everything when it comes to dealing with the rampant Islamophobia they face from the authorities , they present a united front. Their problems don’t concern anyone else.
As for the episode’s highlights, however, that honor belongs only to Aamir’s wedding proceedings (Saagar Sheikh) and Tyesha (Travina Springer). The episode follows Kamala trying to balance the heavy responsibility the jinn gave her to bring them home, while also being there for her family at both the wedding and the Mendhi, a pre-wedding ceremony where the bride and guests have intricate henna designs. applied to their skin. While Kamala wants to be there for her family, the consequences of her actions on her family and her community weigh on her. That’s when she asks Sheikh Abdullah what he thinks about the whole superhero situation and if this person can be considered good. His answer is that good is something you do, not something you are. A tangible action rather than a vague character trait.
Although this comes into play with the episode’s climax, before we get to the showdown we get the actual wedding. It’s a testament to the show that they allowed time for audiences to bask in the moment – including a choreographed dance number – and witness pure, unadulterated joy. A small personal moment that stood out to me was during the wedding ceremony, where Sheikh Abullah asked both Tyesha and Aamir if they wanted to marry each other three times each. This tradition is a feature of Muslim wedding ceremonies — in some cultures, like the Iranians, it’s done whether or not you have a religious ceremony — and is meant to ensure that both parties are there of their own free will. That, like so many family moments, wasn’t explained on the show, and it didn’t need to be. Whereas Ms. Marvel is accessible to everyone, and everyone can find something to like in it, it’s wonderful that they have the freedom to just have a culture and a faith that exists without needing to spell it out for an outside demographic .
The episode ends with a Bon Jovi– marked fight scene that ends with the djinn in the custody of the Department of Damage Control, and with Nakia finally discovering Kamala’s powers. While fighting with Najma, Kamala’s bracelet triggered a vision of a train for both of them, the one her grandmother Sana (samina ahmed) also shared. The vision was enough for Sana to implore Kamala and Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) to come to Karachi, so it looks like next week we are leaving for Pakistan!
In all, the third episode of Ms. Marvel thrives because it doesn’t lose itself entirely in the superhero narrative, sacrificing the family side of things that makes it so strong. As the series progresses through the back half, it’s likely we’ll get more shiny powers and less gossipy aunts, but hopefully that aspect of things will never be completely lost as the story unfolds. will expand beyond the borders of New Jersey.
The first three episodes of Ms. Marvel are streaming now on Disney+
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