In episode 4 of Disney+’s new hit show Ms. Marvel, our star Kamala travels far away from her native Jersey City to her ancestral home in Karachi in order to answer many of the questions that have been presented in the show so far. We finally come face to face with her grandmother, Sana, who has invited the whole family out to Karachi after having a shared vision with Kamala.
The episode’s narrative focusses on providing answers for many of the questions viewers have had over the first half of the series, like what is a Djinn, where do Kamala’s power come from, and what happened to Kamala’s great grandmother Aisha. Not all of these are answered completely but they get a lot of groundwork covered for what seems to be an exciting and emotional final two episodes.
We are introduced to the Red Daggers, and ancient order meant to protect earth from extradimensional threats, similar to the order of sorcerers in Doctor Strange. They help educate Kamala about her heritage and powers while protecting her from the threat of the Clandestine. Towards the end of the episode there is a long and exciting chase through the city that really gets to show the skills of the Red Daggers, as well as some more improvement of Kamala with using her powers. However, like the rest of the show up to this point, the stuff that really shines in this episode is not the super heroics, and the threats to Kamala and the world, but the explorations of Kamala’s relationships with herself, her family, and her culture.
The whole episode is spent in the beautiful city of Karachi. The way the city is shot and spoken about throughout shows a deep level of care at presenting its culture and its history. So many moments of engagement with the architecture, cuisine, and locals of the city really bring light to a very different type of city that is rarely explored in this way in pop culture.
Along with the focus on the city as it is now, there is also much time spent with Sana, and her experiences with The Partition. The Partition of India in 1947 was one of the largest refugee crises in history, where British controlled India was split into two dominions, the Dominion of India, which becomes modern day India, and the Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh. It was intended to divide the dominions up between the non-muslims and the muslims, and displaced tens of millions of people. Sana experienced that as a little girl, and that, combined with her mother’s djinnhood have had a major impact on her life, and her relationship with her daughter, Muneeba, Kamala’s mother. The exploration into how these too things were related in her life, and affected her relationships with her family are fascinating, and bring light to another important historical moment not often discussed in American media.
As always, Iman Vellani is excellent in this episode, continuing to bring a perfect blend of humor and emotional depth to her performance. Zenobia Shroff also continues to bring some poignant moments of familial bonds both with her mother, and with Kamala. We are also introduced to Amaris Knight as the Red Dagger, an exciting new addition to the show who is charming as he becomes a new ally and friend. This episode has continued to provide on the promise of a Ms. Marvel show, giving the audience the classic teen story they have seen before through a different lens, and its expedition away from Jersey City has only allowed it to go further with its diverse and well assembled story, leaving the audience excited for next week.