Ms. Marvel – Season 1 Episode 3 “Destined” Recap & Review

Destined

Kamran and his mother came to Kamala’s rescue when it looked like DDC would get to her. His mother is Najma. She is actually a friend of Aisha’s, as we see in the flashback opening of episode 3 of ‘Ms. Marvel’.

The year is 1942, the place is the ruins of a religious structure of some sort in British-occupied India. The group is led by Najma and Aisha and in the debris, they find one of the bangles on a severed hand. Although they were looking for two, the British army and the collapse of the structure compels them to flee in opposite directions.

In present-day, Najma explains to Kamala that the bangle she found helps unlock the “Noor”, which means the “light within a person”. Najma and her friends are from another dimension and were exiled from there but cannot fully exercise or access their capabilities and powers in this world, i.e., Kamala’s dimension. But because Kamala is from this dimension, she can.

Najma tells Kamala that she is the person who will finish what her great-grandmother, Aisha, started and send them back home. She explains that in the Noor dimension people like her are called clandestines. But most commonly they are called djinns.

Kamala asks Bruno for help with Najma and his group. Interdimensional travel is the next thing on Kamala’s mind as she is desperate to find a solution. Dr. Erik Selvig’s paper is what strikes Bruno’s mind when Kamala mentions it. You might remember Dr. Selvig from the Thor films. He was the teacher of Jane Foster and helped open the portal to other dimensions. So, he is kind of an expert in the field.

The DDC reaches the mosque to enquire about the “enhanced individual”. We learn that Nakia finally won the mosque board member elections and defends their rights against DDC. They demand a signed warrant to search the place. The DDC goes back empty-handed – not a sight you see every day.

The next agenda in the episode is that of Tyesha’s mehndi. It is a ritual common to most Indian sub-continent weddings where the ladies all get their hands “tattooed” in the honor of their partners, or just for fun. It is not permanent and the color washes away in a few weeks.

As I mentioned in the previous episode, Bisha Ali is not hesitant to showcase her cultural roots. Even in this episode, we see a small glimpse of it in the joota chhori ceremony. This basically is the tradition where the sisters of the groom steal his shoes/sandals and ask for money to return them. Amidst all the fun, Kamala is still wondering what Nakia and others said about the “girl” from a few nights ago – this girl being Kamala’s superhero avatar.

She struggles to find a way where she can show that ‘Night Light’ (as they call her) means good. Sheikh Abdullah, the head of the mosque, says the obvious. “Good is not a thing you are Kamala; it is a thing you do”. Kamala also gets her signature mask in a gift sent by Bruno.

While researching the origin of the djinns, Bruno finds a scripture in Urdu. Yusuf happens to show up at the shop where he works to pick up the “synthetic” biscuits he likes. He helps in translating the scripture for him. In reality, these people are from pre-Islamic folklore.

Clueless and desperate, they have been wandering the lands of the mortals for centuries. Only a primordial power can unlock the ancient barrier of that kind to send them back home. Bruno’s research indicates that if Kamala does what Najma is asking her to do, there might be dangerous repercussions, In his golden words, “If you help them go home, some things might go boom.

She texts this to Kamran but Najma reads the message. This is where the episode takes a jarring turn. No one expected Najma and co. to be the bad guys. She and the gang plan to force Kamala to open the portal and send them back. It is a hell or high water kind of a situation.

The climax of the episode is prefaced on the sangeet ceremony, another aspect of South Asian weddings we’re so proud of. It is for the siblings, friends, and relatives to perform choreographed dances in honor of the couple.

After the infectious and energetic Bollywood dancing, Kamran suddenly crashes the ceremony. He warns that Najma is coming in to force Kamala to send them back and they will kill everyone. In a quick-thinking move, Kamala pulls the fire alarm and empties the place. She herself goes into the kitchen and attracts the djinns.

A skewed fight between Kamala and the djinns ensues. Despite being outnumbered, she is able to put up a valiant fight. She does get some help from Kamran and Bruno but is only saved by the DDC, who arrest Najma and Co. as Kamala slips away in the chaos.

Before being arrested, Kamala is shown a vision of a train from the Partition era by Najma. Nakia sees Kamala block the back entrance using her powers. She is unable to say a lot but Kamala swiftly escapes to avoid detection. At home, she does not choose to reveal the truth to her family and fights a lone battle.

She gets a call from her grandmother out of the blue. “Did you see the train, Kamala?”. “Yes, I did. Wait, how do you know that?”. “Because I saw it too”. Sana calls Kamala and Muneeba to Karachi to discuss this vision.


The Episode Review

Episode three is a great follow-up to the second episode. All the positive trends that Ali established in the previous chapter are carried forward well here. ‘Ms. Marvel’ is gradually finding the right balance in the story and creating a thematic palate that is at once exciting and feels hauntingly familiar. This is the Marvel that we love and cherish to see on the big screen. The darker side of the djinns was truly a revelation and took the story in a completely different direction that was so tonally different, that we couldn’t even process it for the first few minutes.

Iman Vellani feels more comfortable in Kamala’s skin. She seemed shaky in the first episode but now seems assured and confident of what to do. It bodes well for the larger picture because we will soon see her in a Marvel film alongside Brie Larson as well.

Kamala is battling with feelings of self-doubt, moral goodness, and convincing the world against her that she means no harm. When you actually want something and then you get it but it’s not what you had imagine it would be, things can get tough.

The importance and bravery in choosing family – not doing it all alone – are emphasized by Yusuf and Muneeba. But Kamala rejects this option at the end of the episode. Better things await viewers as Ms. Marvel goes into full action mode.

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