Let’s Talk about Ms. Marvel Episode 1-3
This week, Kamala Khan meets her crush’s family, and it goes worse than any “meet the parents” story you’ve ever heard, even the ones with Robert De Niro. Let’s talk about Ms. Marvel episode 1-3, the one where the Djinn aren’t in the bottle.
Ah, teen romance. One day, you’re head over heels with someone. Then, later that week, you cannot remember what you ever saw in that person. The worst part is that you get back together with them three or four more times anyway. Folks, high school is exhausting.
Kamala Khan experiences something far worse than a disapproving mother this week. It turns out that Kamran’s family is…a lot. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. We start the episode in India in 1942, just before the Partition.
Some people are searching for a pair of bangles. They find one attached to a severed arm…which isn’t great. At this point, Namja appears alongside her comrades Aisha, Saleem, and Fariha. Their successful tomb raiding allows them to escape the British.
However, the cause of their escape is Aisha, who somehow unlocks the power of the lone bangle. She must separate from her friends, though. Aisha and Namja believe they’ll reunite soon. But, alas, the Partition prevented that from happening.
In the present day, Namja explains this to Khan, along with a LOT of other stuff. Kamran’s family consists of beings from another dimension. They’re the Clandestine, and they’re also Djinn.
In an earlier episode, Kamala’s father had teased her about her latent fear of the Djinn. Now, she’s trying to date one. Well, sort of. Thankfully, Kamran doesn’t have a Twilight thing happening, as he’s apparently 17 years old. Everyone else in the room hasn’t aged a day since 1942.
Namja informs Kamala that her great-grandmother is also from that dimension and a member of the Clandestine as well. From Kamala’s perspective, she does learn that Kamran legitimately has a crush on her. So, there’s that.
Kamala is still field-testing superhero nicknames. An unlikely one arises when Namja tells her that she didn’t know Aisha had a family. Then, Kamala wore the bangle and unlocked its powers for the first time. Namja refers to it as Noor, which Kamala quickly translates as light.
So, Ms. Marvel’s powers somehow involve internal light channeled through the bracelet. Also, we’ve got some potential long-term storytelling here. The implication during the 1942 scene is that Noor would be exponentially more powerful with two bangles.
We can already tell how Kamala Khan will level up one day and achieve her full power potential. Just as significantly, we know that Namja and presumably any other Djinn can find Ms. Marvel anytime she uses her abilities, which isn’t great.
Speaking of which, Namja believes that her people’s return from banishment from their home dimension requires a massive usage of power. The Clandestine tried it on their own, but it didn’t work.
Namja believes that Kamala can accomplish this goal because she was born on this plane, not Aisha’s home dimension. Kamala innocently asks whether Kamran can do it as well since he’s from this plane. Usually, Marvel sneaks in that type of dialogue when someone needs to save the day later.
Kamala, who hates Noor Girl almost as much as Night Light, reports back to Bruno, who is in full overprotective mode after she almost died. The two catch up, and Kamala’s other potential love interest informs her that he’s going to Cal Tech. Naturally, she’s…not happy about this.
Hilariously, Kamala asks Bruno if he knows anything about the Noor decision because he’s “good at math.” Without missing a beat, Bruno references a paper he read by Dr. Erik Selvig. They’re building the Bruno character VERY well.
Sheikh Abdullah and Nakia are hanging out at the mosque as the final voting totals come in for the board position. Agent Sadie Deever from the Department of Damage Control arrives. She’s gotten the tip that Night Light is South Asian; she also seems like she’s higher up than Agent Cleary.
Abdullah tries to joke and deflect, but Nakia saves the day. She shows off her Law & Order knowledge – seriously – to point out the agents need a warrant.
Also, we learn that Nakia has probably won her political campaign. Specifically, they “still have a few more votes to count,” but she “feels good about her polling.”
Nakia bullies the agent out of the building by hinting that she’s harassing mosques. Abdullah follows her lead, asks the agent to leave, and requests that she remove her shoes next time. Nakia’s already making an impact at her mosque!
Afterward, Nakia heads straight to Kamala’s room and collapses on the bed. Kamala is watching the previous heroic rescue and prepares to tell her friend her secret identity.
As has happened in literally every superhero story ever, Nakia reveals something that prevents Kamala from coming clean about her superheroism.
Also, Nakia informs her bestie that she’s won the board seat. They share a magical moment – seriously – that includes the dialogue, “Dude.” “Bro.”
Somehow, this really works. I’m in love with their friendship.
The two teenagers dress in anticipation of Aamir’s and Tyesha’s wedding. Before the ceremony, family and friends meet at Kamala’s house. While there, everyone bags on Night Light, while Bruno has left Kamala a Ms. Marvel mask.
Speaking of which, Yusuf visits the bodega where his daughter’s friend is working. Yusuf notices that Bruno is reading about Djinn and theatrically performs one of the djinn stories.
Later, Bruno and Kamala hang out. This is when the Cal Tech conversation occurs, but the most significant part involves the interdimensional travel. Bruno lets her know that creating that path would require the “base energy of the sun.”
When Kamala teases her friend about being too vague and science nerdy, he dumbs it down as: “If you help them go home, some things might go boom.” Yeah, Ms. Marvel shouldn’t use that bangle to help the Clandestine return home, something they had anticipated.
Soon, there will be fighting but not before…DANCING! Oh, we get the entire Bollywood spectacle here, as the Khan family and Tyesha’s ohana celebrate the festivities. This is a glorious few minutes of television! But, alas, the Djinn interrupt, as they have decided not to give Kamala a choice.
If the Clandestine has anything to say about the matter, Kamala is sending them home right then and there. But, of course, she refuses, which leads to a chase scene. To his credit, Kamran tries to warn Kamala that his family may kill everyone.
Afterward, Kamala pulls the fire alarm, evacuating the entire wedding party. Her move is brilliant, but some people notice.
The fight plays out slowly at first, even featuring a comedic moment involving kitchen staff. Still, what matters most here is how Kamala uses her powers. Rather than attacking, she defends herself, which somehow happens automatically a couple of times.
Then, one of the Djinn attacks Bruno. At this point, Kamala reflexively throws the Big Fist to club the person who touched her friend. Seconds later, Namja tries to take the bracelet from Kamala. As she does, the two women experience the same vision of a train.
Afterward, Kamala escapes out the back alongside Bruno. Inconveniently, Nakia appears right as Ms. Marvel displays her powers. The reveal of Kamala’s secret identity devastates Nakia. Sadly, the women cannot converse, though.
Instead, we’ll spend the next episode having Bruno explain everything to Nakia, presumably while he receives much-needed medical attention. Meanwhile, Kamala returns home, where her confused parents ask whether she pulled the fire alarm. She chooses not to explain for the moment.
The fledgling superhero returns to her room, where she receives the least expected phone call imaginable. It’s her Nani demanding that she visit Karachi. Why does Nani want Kamala in Karachi? Nani witnessed the train in a vision as well. I did NOT see that coming.
That was an A+ episode and one of my favorites on Disney+ thus far. This show is really, really good.