REVIEW: ‘Ms. Marvel,’ Episode 4 – “Seeing Red”

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Ms. Marvel Episode 4

Ms. Marvel Episode 4 continues to explore the heritage of its titular heroine, as she visits her relatives in Pakistan. “Seeing Red” has Kamala Khan  (Iman Vellani) and her mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) visit Kamala’s grandmother Sana (Samina Ahmad), with Sana revealing that she’s had the same visions as Kamala. Kamala also encounters the mysterious vigilante Red Dagger (Aramis Knight), who’s part of a secret society dedicated to protecting the world from unknown threats. She winds up learning more about the origins of the ClanDestine – and the mysterious bangle she wears.

The series is at its best when it manages to mix its more fantastic elements with Kamala’s Pakistani background and it’s no surprise that the show would actually travel to Pakistan at one point. In the same way that Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab wove actual Egyptian culture into the series, director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy showcases various locations in Karachi and features whole conversations in Urdu and Hindi between different characters. Her previous films, including the documentary Saving Face, tackled elements of Pakastani culture which makes her a great fit for this series. I’m also thankful that Obaid-Chinoy avoids the dreaded “yellow filter” that’s often used when depicting scenes in South Asia and Africa. Karachi feels like a real place and not the white tourist’s version of a South Asian city.

Ms. Marvel Episode 4 also sees the return of a Moon Knight writer in Sabir Pirzada, who penned the episode with returning writers AC Bradley and Matthew Chauncey. Ironically, Pirzada also wrote a story titled “Seeing Red” in last year’s Marvel’s Voices: Identity one-shot that featured a similar set-up; whether that’s by coincidence or design, he taps into the same themes of identity and adolescence that showed up in that comic story. When touring Karachi with her family, Kamala is referred to as an “ABCD” – an “American-born Confused Desi” – and has to eat outside with her family because she chooses to wear jeans.

Pirzada, Bradley and Chauncey also continue to have Kamala have emotional moments with both Muneeba and Sana. A key example comes when Kamala sees her grandmother’s art, and Sana talks about how due to being separated from her mother Aisha that her artwork is how she connects to her family.

Vellani, Shroff & Ahmad lay their hearts out in these scenes, and viewers will notice that Muneeba and Sana have a similar relationship to the one that Kamala and Muneeba have. Given that other Disney projects such as Encanto and Turning Red have touched upon generational issues, it’s no surprise that Ms. Marvel has veered in that direction.

Perhaps the biggest development in this episode is the appearance of Red Dagger, who’s had a romantic relationship with Kamala in the comics. Knight is best known for his role in AMC’s martial arts drama Into The Badlands; he utilizes those same martial arts skills in his first scene, as Dagger hurls his trademark knives at Kamala and she struggles to block them.  And while there are no romantic sparks – at least not yet – Knight and Vellani share a prickly bond that slowly becomes less prickly over the course of the episode.

They even work together to fight the ClanDestine in the closing scenes, which features a fast-paced car chase through the streets of Karachi. The Red Dagger is also part of the superhero team known as the Champions, which Kamala helped co-found; perhaps his appearance could be hinting at their eventual MCU debut.

Ms. Marvel Episode 4 features its heroine learning more about her family and her powers while encountering another Pakistani hero in the form of the Red Dagger. There’s a surprising cliffhanger that I’m a bit torn on, but I’ll wait until next week to see how it’s resolved. And although there are only two episodes left in the season, I hope that the series is renewed for a second season as there’s plenty of room to explore Kamala’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with a surprising

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


Ms. Marvel Episode 4 — Seeing Red
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Ms. Marvel Episode 4 features its heroine learning more about her family and her powers while encountering another Pakistani hero in the form of the Red Dagger. There’s a surprising cliffhanger that I’m a bit torn on, but I’ll wait until next week to see how it’s resolved.

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