On their nani’s call, Kamala and Muneeba head to Karachi at the start of episode 4 of Ms Marvel. They’re greeted by Kamal’s cousins Zainab and Owais, and of course, Sana.
The heritage mansion stands tall still, as Kamala takes in its marvel. Her room is decorated with Sana’s personal paintings of her time as a child and growing up with the existential crisis of her identity. Sana wonders even today who she really is and what her real purpose is. The bangle has the ability to open a portal for the clandestine.
Their realm actually is where they can truly exercise their powers. Sana reassures Kamala that they will solve the mystery of the bangle together and figure out why Kamala was chosen. She also points out that Hasan, Kamala’s nana, was also a djin and that she has been passed on the genetics.
We take a brief pause from the story building to focus on Pakistan’s culture contra to the States’. The cousins have planned a day out for Kamala and Muneeba. The group is disallowed entry into the booked restaurant as Ms. Marvel is wearing jeans. Apparently, they won’t allow her to wear them inside. Bisha Ali is completely aware of showcasing her cultural roots and does so with aplomb in episode four.
The local bazaars are beset with hawkers selling all kinds of things – ornaments, colorful fabrics, and delicacies of the Indian subcontinent. It is typically crowded – overcrowded for the foreigners – and the maze-like lanes are spread in all directions. At this juncture, the group separates. Kamala realizes her purpose for coming to Karachi and heads for the train station.
On the under-construction site, she encounters a masked crusader. He attacks her and beckons her to reveal her identity. When he is assured she isn’t a “clandestine”, Kareem reveals he belongs to the Red Daggers, an organization protecting the local people from foreign creatures like Najma. He takes Kamala through a secret passageway to Waleed, the leader of the pack. He instantly recognizes her as a “descendant of Aisha’s”.
Waleed shows how the two realms are different and how the two co-exist, within the same space. Their dimension is connected to earth but hidden and unseen to humans. Veil of Noor divides the two worlds. If the Clandestines tear down the veil using the bangle, they will unleash their world onto the earth. “What you seek, is seeking you”, reads the inscription on the bangle.
At DODC’s supermax prison, Najma and the group are able to break out but they leave behind Kamran. Kamala fraternizes with Kareem’s group of friends and spends the night like a normal teenager should – having good food and in the presence of music. Sana and Muneeba have their own unresolved issues.
The daughter accuses the mother of ignoring her needs and instead fantasizing about fairytales. Muneeba reveals that she needed her mother at a time when she was vulnerable. Kamala spends time with Waleed and Kareem to hone her powers. Even they do not know its real extent. Suddenly, Najma and her group break through the glass ceiling and attack the trio. A fight ensues and eventually a chase scene – the first in the series.
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Staying true to the logistics realities of the city, ‘Ms. Marvel’ pegs the two groups to chase each other in tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws). Kareem, Waleed, and Kamala fight the clandestines and just remain ahead of them. Until they catch up.
Waleed sacrifices himself to protect Kamala. Three from Najma’s group are also killed in the battle. It is then that the most spectacular moment of the series awaits us. Najma catches Kamala off-guard and tries to impale her with a spear.
Kamala uses her bangle hand to block the attack. In the process, she is thrown into a different portal. She regains consciousness on a railway track with a lot of people at the station. She has been transported back to 1947 – the time of the Partition.
This ending was the most shocking result anyone could have imagined. The visions that Kamala and Sana have had are now right in front of us. Sana recalls earlier in the episode how she was reunited with her father because of the trail of stars she saw due to the bangle.
Kamala saw the train in various visions, most recently in the previous episode. Now, she will have to somehow navigate this mess. It will be interesting to see if she is going to meet any of the characters we have seen in the present. Is it the realm of the djinns? We shall find out.
The Episode Review
This was probably the highlight of the entire project before production went in. Not only was the setting in Karachi, but we saw an emotional perspective on the Partition through Sana. It was a spine-chilling moment seldom seen in such ventures.
The people’s angst with the events of history could not have found a better representation than those five lines of dialogue that Sana speaks.
“A border marked with pain and blood.”
Her profound regret and grief over hits you hard, even as someone so detached from the real tragedy. The change in setting and society does wonders for ‘Ms. Marvel. Not that the previous episode was any less but giving the audience what they want in a different flavor trumps all.
The chase sequence could have been shot better. Rather, should have been because that spoils the mood a bit. For Hindi cinemagoers, Farhan Akhtar’s cameo appearance is a moment to cheer. He can be a global phenomenon if the appearances swell with time.
Seeing these familiar faces, in extension to the familiar tunes shows how similar the culture of the two neighbors is. The story is delicately poised right now, with a completely new direction open for the narrative. Two episodes won’t cut it. We are definitely seeing another season after this.