Ms. Marvel is almost through its inaugural season with Season 1, Episode 4 “Seeing Red”. With the end of the series getting ever closer, can Marvel figure out Kamala’s powers? It doesn’t seem to matter, since this family is really all we need to see. Iman Vellani’s star power isn’t going anywhere soon, though. With some quality Canadian content, this episode beautifully captures what makes this series so incredibly endearing.
This episode is all about the vibrancy of Pakistani culture. Taking a hero and placing them out of their home is always a smart idea, to show them in a new context and allow them to grow. It was perfectly in line with Ms. Marvel’s family-centred storytelling. This has what has elevated the show from good to great from the beginning. It was a beautiful way to show the fact that Kamala Khan is neither part American nor part Pakistani. Rather, she is fully both American and Pakistani.
Although it’s beyond the capability of this white writer to comment on the accuracy of this storyline, it remains commendable that Ms. Marvel continues to address the collective trauma inflicted by the Partition of India. To be honest, when this was first mentioned at the beginning of the series, I was worried that it would simply be introduced, and then never spoken about again. Those from the community speaking about the authenticity of this representation should be listened to above all else.
A special shout-out is needed for the real star of this episode, Kamala’s Nani, played by Pakistani veteran actor Samina Ahmad. She’s added such wonderful comedy with her FaceTime appearances. Now, she gets her time to shine. While she maintains her comedic sensibilities, her character is also allowed to have more heartfelt, honest moments with her daughter and Kamala’s mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff). This is such a brilliant showcase of how complex family relationships are. This adds such a depth to the stories that the series has already shown us, and makes us appreciate them in new ways.
Family relationships may have put Kamala in more context, but the friend relationships are still just as important to telling this character’s story. Red Dagger (Which incidentally would make a great name for a boy band) has entered the chat, and they’re here to shake up Kamala’s world. As if that’s what the poor girl needs. They come in fast and furious, and have some more answers about the powers? Regardless, Kamala’s connection with them is obvious, and it’s clear that this group can offer her a path forward which she so desperately needs to make sense of her current circumstances.
What I’m curious about is where this all leaves Kamala’s relationship with Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher). There’s clearly a lot to unpack for both of them. With two episodes left, I desperately hope that this friendship is given the attention it clearly deserves. Nakia’s feeling of betrayal is not necessarily unwarranted, since she doesn’t have a full context. These two characters are a friendship power couple, and they belong together. When two strong women like this team-up, nothing in the world can stop them.
With two episodes left of Ms. Marvel’s first season, there are clearly so many ways the story can go. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the peril of having only six episodes is that stories and characters can become rushed when really they would be better served by slowing down. The powers story might be coming together now that we’ve seen the element of time travel. I for one won’t be mad at all if the penultimate episode is a period piece set during the Partition, in which Kamala Khan has to save her family, and by extension the whole world. She’s proven she’s more than capable of handling such cosmic stakes.
New episodes of Ms. Marvel air Wednesdays on Disney+.