Tour of a Country & a Journey of self discovery, Ms.Marvel Ep4: Seeing Red Continues to hit the mark
So episode four, had a completely different location and feel to the earlier episode, this time around we are in Pakistan as the previous episode set up with Kamala's Nani calling her over to Karachi.
So what is this episode about? Well after they land in Karachi, they spend some time acquainting us to three of the new characters one of whom is the most adorable character ever, and the other two are... just why?
So the adorable character is Kamala's Nani, which yeah, we saw her in previous episodes, but it was mostly one of her eyes as she has the habit of holding the phone too close to her face when on video call, which, just don't we all have an older family member like that? And secondly we didn't see much of her to get anything on her character.
This time we do, and I absolutely love her.
Everything from her endearing smile, to her wise and kind voice is perfect, she is played perfectly by the actress playing her.
The other two characters are her Cousins, Zainab and Owais, Now Zainab I can be fine with although she still annoys me enough to bang my head on a wall, but Owais, man, that guy needs to burn in a Vat of boiling oil.
And I am saying that even though they had very little to no screen time, somehow they managed to make the most pretentious and obnoxious characters ever, and that too in a screen time of 3 to 5 minutes? Look I didn't count okay.
It's like they are modern day Darth Vader, cause for those of you who didn't know, Vader actually had a total of 34 minutes of screen time across the original Trilogy, and yet managed to get such a strong impression on the audience, except in this case the impression is, BURN THEM IN HELL!
I don't know what it is about them, maybe it was their smiles, their constant over the top clothing, or maybe it was the fact that they almost always seemed to talk down to Kamala, Owais especially. Like, they just, the just remind me of that one snooty kid who has come from overseas and behave as if they are too good for India.
Which is not a great look when the actual person from outside the country is Kamala.
So, the only things in the first half of the episode that I found interesting were the scene where Sana(Kamala's Nani) is supportive and accepting of Kamala being a Djinn, saying that she is focusing on the wrong things, and that is just genetics and the information about Pakistani landmarks was cool, but that's kinda it. rest of it is just Owais and Zainab.
Look at those two smiles, you know they are hiding their Devil faces behind them.
Now, after they(Kamala, Zainab and Owais) take a trip to a Bazaar in Pakistan Kamala buys a few things and they decide to go somewhere(I don't remember where and couldn't care less) Kamala decides otherwise and wants to go to the station.
And wonder of wonders, we never see those two ever again, honestly this moment has over taken Tony's snap for me, it was just such a relief(I am being hyperbolic of course, or am I? you decide, I don't know, my cognitive ability has been irreparably damaged by those two.)
Oh also, the way that photograph man gave directions and was totally confusing, is one hundred percent accurate to south Asian culture, like if I had a paisa for every time I asked for directions and immediately regretted it because my confusion somehow increased, I'd be a millionaire by now and just so you know, Paisa is so low in Indian currency now that it has been discontinued.
So now, Kamala goes to the station, and we are introduced to the best character ever, who for me even makes up for the two that shall not be named, he is of course Kareem, one of the red daggers, who are a group of warriors who can sense the Noor(the power source of the Djinn/Clandestines) and protect the common folks from threats like the Djinn, and also have somehow an inexhaustible reserve of throwing knives. Hey maybe that's their superpower who knows?
And well Kareem doesn't take long to show us that he can hold his own at least against Kamala, bless you Kareem you saved this episode for me.
In the comics, the red daggers is not a group its just the red dagger or Laal Khanjeer, its just Kareem and I must say he is depicted pretty accurately, with his red scarf and daggers.
Now, in this case red daggers being a group definitely plays to the shows advantage, mainly in two ways, one it gives an easy justification as to why this youngster has so much knowledge about the Djinn, well he is part of a group that specializes in the area and knew Kamala's Great Grandmother, which also subsequently leads to a great tool for exposition. And to explain what/who the Djinn are and what they want.
Also sidenote, them wanting to just go home was good enough, every villain/villain group doesn't need to want to destroy the world Marvel, especially when in the very scene where you introduced this motivation, you said that there are multiple alt dimensions, which co exist with ours, so what does every one of them just sit Ideally when this shit happens? and what of the other players like Thor and stuff? I'm going too far on this aren't I?
You know what I want now? I want to see a movie with larger than life stakes where the villain succeeds and then this leaks over into other characters, make that happen marvel, I guess that is kinda happening with Loki where Kang will surely become a larger villain wont he? Let's see.
Anyways that detour aside the other reason in this case is that it gives Kamala a community in this new place she is in, which is displayed when the red daggers gather around a bonfire and eat biryani.
But yeah, I would still have liked Kareem to be called Laal Khanjeer once, especially since that name is in his native tongue.
Also, this is the part of the episode where we Indians finally get what we were waiting for, the Farhan Akhtar cameo, I guess this counts as a cameo, seeing that he is killed of this episode itself so I guess he isn't appearing anywhere else and his screen time was very limited, but who knows, this be Marvel. Comics are known to bring back dead characters all the time, and even the MCU has done this at least once with moon knight, Endgame not withstanding, cause I don't consider them true deaths, but that's an argument for another time.
Now someone tell me something about the Department of Damage control, do they switch between amazingly efficient and exorbitantly incompetent as the plot demands?
Like okay, they incapacitated the Clandestines no problem in the previous episode, and in this episode, they.... turn their back on one of them to abuse another one... nice, so you're telling me that the one who is front most has only one guard with him on the side, and no front guard, beautiful... and that's not all folks, the prison made for super powered criminals, or as the call them, "enhanced individuals" has... handcuffs that break with super strength, which like that wasn't even that high of super strength... Also only two guards, wearing regular ass armor with four super powered individuals, can't see how that will go wrong.
And why are the weapons kept so close by? Like they don't even need to make a detour... wtf... anyways that's part and parcel at this point isn't it?
Whatever bad writing aside, there is some consistency in that they leave Kamran behind even though he is the one who made the move that ultimately saved them.
Now, for the I really relate to this part of the episode, where, Kamala has a heart to heart with Sana where she once again is the grandmother of the year and gives Kamala just the right advice and tells her to go be young, and the other heart to heart that Sana and Muneeba have, which like yeah, that's every Asian Mother daughter relationship, I can tell being Asian and all, and also, I personally relate to Muneeba liking super hard candy, cause it's just such fin to munch on them, and yeah south Asian food is super spicy, hundred percent can confirm.
All that said, we get to the final confrontation, which is, pretty great not gonna lie, especially considering that this fight had absolutely nothing that made me feel that it wasn't totally shot by like a really talented Indian director, like that chase scene, yup yup, thank you marvel, for not giving us another nach mera hero, thank you eternally.
Also this battle felt like it had stakes innit, like people die on both sides, the belt Djinn(forgot his name) and Aadam(the one with the gada, or mace, for those who don't know what that is) get killed, and Waleed(Farhan Akhtar's character) sacrifices himself to kill the belt Djinn, which while establishing stakes, minimizes neither team, and also, it is sad to see a big name like Farhan Akhtar go so soon, but I guess it had the same effect as in Alien, i.e. I believe the biggest name in that movie was killed off pretty soon, so contextually, that adds a lot of weight to the death.
And all this culminates in a head on battle between the three remaining Djinn and Kamala and Kareem Aadam dies in this fight and enraged Najma strikes the bangle, triggering the vision of the train once again, and the last few minutes of the episode are the most realistic depiction of the partition I have seen in a non Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi piece of entertainment, its gruesome and it should be, cause that's what the colonizers left us with, I say colonizers instead of the British cause even at the time of colonization, the average Britt wasn't represented by the colonizing forces, and neither are they represented by them today, as usual, it is a case of a troublesome few, but regardless thank you miss marvel, for being what doctor who could not, like it's tragic that I have to thank you for that, but I guess that's where we are at.
Also, now that I'm seeing this freeze frame, it's not the best CGI is it? well guess that's another thing this episode has with Indian film making, not to shit on Indian VFX, but crowd shots in our films don't look the best, let's leave it at that.
So, now what? the episode leaves us just as we get a good look at the horrific scene of the partition, so I'm guessing we have all figured out that Aisha had broken off from the larger Clandestine group, and that they were at odds, with each other, now all that is left is to figure out the details of their disagreement, which is obviously what I look forward to.
And in this episode, Kamala also get handed an article of clothing, which I was hoping was gonna be her Burkini that she fashions into a costume in the comics, but I guess this too can get fashioned into a costume.
And again, I must say, I was a little iffy about them changing her powers, but now I have completely changed sides, the light manipulation is in line with her being a part of the marvels, i.e. Monica Rambeau(Photon/spectrum), Captain Marvel(Carol Danvers) and of course, Night Ligh... I mean Ms. Marvel(Kamala Khan) and it also more intimately ties her with her Muslim origins, Just like Moon Knight being Jewish was tied to him being the Avatar of an Egyptian god, as in case you didn't know, the Jewish were enslaved by the Egyptians. I mean they are in no way similar, but what I'm saying is their religious and cultural backgrounds are tied to their super powers, which is always welcome, and also the powers don't look stupid, like thank god, now I just hope they get Mr. Fantastic right.
My major Criticism for this episode would be that it completely did away with many of the established characters from the previous episodes like Bruno, Nakia, Kamala's brother and her father, sure, they weren't really that important to the plot, and it was kind of inevitable, and it also did a good job of introducing replacements like Kareem and Waleed, (Zainab and Owais don't exist) but you know again, a lot of the arcs of these characters are still open, and while I can reasonably see them resolving Kamala's arc and the major plot of the show in the next two episodes, I'm not so sure about these side arcs, and given their nature I'm not sure a carry over to the next season is the best idea, but what do I know?
And once again the bloody length keeps coming up doesn't it? would it kill you Marvel, and Disney in general, but in this case mainly Marvel, to give us like, eight episodes of an hour each? it's just two extra! And the boys manages it! Whatever, this time around Disney showed us it was willing to overlap two major series, namely Kenobi and Ms. marvel for half of their seasons, so maybe, longer seasons is up next?
Cause you know what, while shorter seasons, do allow viewers to not be overwhelmed, they also take away from us being able to enjoy the slower quieter, more character focused moments, because there is this urgency of like two episodes in, mate, a third of the seasons gone, and an episode later, it's half! that's not good for enjoyability and character development/world building, take it from me, like don't get me wrong, I do not ask for super long season's like how some shows have like 100 episodes a season, yes that's a thing, but eight to ten isn't much to ask is it?
And also this episode hasn't quite crossed the line but it came dangerously close to being like a complete outlier to the rest of the season, like yeah that was a given, since we are in a different location and most of the characters have changed, but it is what it is I guess, whatever, I loved this episode, and hopefully Ms. Marvel sticks the landing well, cause this is getting very close to being my favorite Disney plus show, and I would very much like it to be, and therefore hope it is so.