Ms. Marvel’s halfway point, Season 1 Episode 3, “Destined”, represents new highs and new lows for Marvel’s latest entry. The charm is still here, particularly in these lovable characters. The family elements continue to be the strongest part of this show. Perhaps surprisingly, the weakest part of this series remains anything superhero related. Iman Vellani shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, as she rapidly continues her course to become the leader of the Young Avengers.
Before we talk about anything else, we need to talk about that wedding. What a spectacular way to bring this family together in a way they deserve. Seeing unbridled Muslim joy is such a delightfully powerful way to counter typical popular culture portrayals of Muslims and Islam. Tyesha (Travina Springer) and Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) are couple goals all the way. Aamir’s very real worry about marrying while having less than $800 to his name just makes him that much more endearing. These two deserve the world, truly.
Ms. Marvel also continues to show how well-equipped it is to show a non-Christian religion in a positive, heartwarming light. Kamala’s casual, yet frank conversation with Sheikh Abdullah (Laith Nakli) about faith and the nature of goodness was heartwarming. This is the kind of religious content I’m looking for in my Marvel content. We could have had Marc, Steven, and Jake drunk on Purim discussing the intricacies of Passover Seder requirements. But I digress.
The wedding also gave rise to one of the best choreographed fight scenes we’ve seen from Marvel in a while. Having it set to music from Bon Jovi was just an extra layer of perfection. Rather than drawing from the typical playbook of chaotic camera work and a visually discombobulating mess, Ms. Marvel took its time. It was well worth it in the end. This was probably the best of the powers we’ve seen so far, awkward at first, yet incredibly powerful. This is more of the setup this character needs.
Fans hoping for some kind of redemption for the chaos that was Inhumans will not find it here…yet. The cultural commentary about the violence of British colonialism gets lost in the shuffle. I struggle with the framing here, that displaced beings in the diaspora are the villains for attempting to try to return home, while the space cops are supposed to be the ones we’re grudgingly meant to cheer for. This could get messy very fast.
One character who did get another chance to prove what a boss she is is Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher). We always knew she’d take her place on the mosque’s Board of Directors. This episode gives her a chance to put that leadership and fierce advocacy into action. Her continued commitment to stand up for her community, even against space cops, is nothing less than inspiring. It will be interesting to see where her and Kamala’s friendship goes from here. They both clearly love one another and their community, so their friendship can hopefully only grow from this.
With the first half of the first season of Ms. Marvel in the books, there are many directions the show can take from here. This episode signals a potential tonal shift, to something darker as the second half of the season begins. Could we go a more Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness root? Whatever the show has in store, I sincerely hope the focus remains on the family dynamics of these incredibly endearing characters. They elevate the show, and hold everything together in the best possible way.
New episodes of Ms. Marvel air Wednesdays on Disney+.