REVIEW: ‘Ms. Marvel,’ Episode 3 – “Destined”

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Ms Marvel Episode 3 - But Why Tho

Ms. Marvel Episode 3 hits the series’ halfway point, and manages to reveal more about its protagonist’s superpowers while touching on her origins. “Destined” features Kamala Khan  (Iman Vellani) meeting a mysterious woman named Najma (Nimra Bucha) – who happens to be the mother of her crush Kamran (Rish Shah). Najma reveals that she, alongside Kamala’s great-grandmother Aisha, is a member of a race of extradimensional beings known as the ClanDestine and that the bangle Kamala wears may be their one chance of getting back home. Kamala, already struggling with her new powers and family obligations, has another worry to add to her plate once Bruno (Matt Lintz) reveals a downside to the Clandestine’s request.

Throughout the first two episodes of Ms. Marvel, I expressed my concerns about Kamala’s power change as I felt her original abilities would have been fine. “Destined” goes a long way toward alleviating those concerns, especially with the revelation of the ClanDestine. Originally created by Alan Davis, the interdimensional characters have a deep connection to the Marvel Universe, even having adventures with Daredevil and the X-Men.

Given that Kamala was originally an Inhuman, and those characters had a less-than-stellar TV debut it somewhat makes sense that the creators would want to go in a different direction. “Destined” also boasts writers who are no strangers to tackling deep cuts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with What If…? writers AC Bradley and Matthew Chauncey penning the episode alongside Freddy Syborn. A key example of this comes early in agle-eyed viewers will also want to pay attention to the opening scene, as it hints at a powerful cosmic artifact from Marvel’s canon playing a role in the back half of the series

Beyond the superpowers, “Destined” is at its strongest when it shines on Kamala’s connection with her parents and her faith. Kamala confesses to Bruno that she isn’t sure what to do: she wants to help the ClanDestine, but she isn’t sure if she’s up to it. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that her first time attempting to save someone brought Damage Control into the lives of her friends and family, which she feels guilty about. Kamala has long been touted as one of the modern-day successors to Spider-Man, and like the web-slinger she attempts to find balance between her normal and superhero lives. She even has her own phrase to live by, which imam Sheikh Abdullah (Laith Nakil) delivers to her in the back half of the episode: “Good is not a thing you are. It’s a thing you do.”

The highlight of the episode comes from Kamala’s interactions with her mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), as Muneeba has a heartfelt conversation with Kamala about how she adapted to life in the United States and her faith helped her through her struggles. Vellani and Shroff deliver emotional performances that will break the viewers hearts’, or at the very least convince them to call their mothers.

A similar scene occurs between Kamala’s brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) and her father Yusuf (Mohan Kapur), where Aamir confesses to Yusuf that he has fears about the future with his wife Tyesha (Travina Springer). Other Marvel projects such as Moon Knight and Eternals have tackled the concept of faith but Ms. Marvel goes deeper with its exploration and it’s all the better for it.

Returning director Meera Menon delivers one of the best sequences of the series so far with Aamir and Tyesha’s wedding, which features a dance to Bollywood music and a fight scene set to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”. I’m dead serious about that second part, by the way. These scenes are fueled by an underlying joy, as Kamala’s family celebrates a momentous occasion, as well as dread because Kamala is in danger. Considering Menon has directed episodes of The Walking Dead, it’s no surprise that she knows how to balance that exact mix with Ms. Marvel Episode 3 – and it works just as well for superheroes as it does with zombies.

Ms. Marvel Episode 3 kicks the series into high gear, revealing the source of Kamala’s new powers and continuing to test the borders between her superheroic and family lives. If the back half of the series keeps up this forward momentum, fans could be in for an experience that’s both emotional and entertaining.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.


Ms. Marvel Episode 3 - "Destined"
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Ms. Marvel Episode 3 kicks the series into high gear, revealing the source of Kamala’s new powers and continuing to test the borders between her superheroic and family lives. If the back half of the series keeps up this forward momentum, fans could be in for an experience that’s both emotional and entertaining.