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‘Ms. Marvel’ Episode 4 Recap: Seeing Red

This week, 'Ms. Marvel' heads to Pakistan to uncover the truth about her past.
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This week, Kamala travels to Karachi with her mom to get some answers from her grandmother about her origins and the mysterious bangle that awakened her superhuman powers. Let’s get into it!

Landing in Karachi

We open on a shot of Kamala and her mom sitting in a plane bound for Karachi, ostensibly so they can catch up with family. However, Kamala’s grandmother, Sana, confides in her granddaughter that they’ve been sharing the same visions, courtesy of the bangle’s otherworldly abilities. While her mother Muneeba spends much of the episode resting and visiting with family, Kamala gets to work finding out more about her origins. 

Kamala also gets reacquainted with her cousins, Zainab and Owais. They’re both friendly in a sense, but Kamala can tell that they’re frustrated by her American mannerisms and customs. She wears jeans out to a nice restaurant and the family is forced to order from the “patio menu” and stay outside in the Pakistani heat. Kamala meekly mentions she didn’t know about any dress code and then sweats it out more when she samples some extremely spicy local cuisine.

This episode does a great job showing that Kamala is a fish out of water in Karachi just as much as she’s seen by some as an outsider in Jersey. This is a painful dynamic that many immigrants know too well: You’re seen as too foreign to fit in, no matter where you go. It all serves the show’s central theme, that Kamala needs to figure out who she is and how she fits into the world around her. 

Seeing Red

While exploring Karachi with her cousins, Kamala chooses to take a side trek to the historic train station. She wants to see the train that Sana took out of India during the Partition and dons her black domino mask to sneak into a restricted area undergoing renovations. There, she meets a stranger in a red mask who nearly gets the drop on her. After a brief scuffle, the stranger realizes that Kamala isn’t one of the Clandestine villains he first thought she was.

The interloper introduces himself as Kareem, the Red Dagger, and takes Kamala back to his hideout to meet his mentor, Waleed. The show reinterprets the classic Marvel character Red Dagger as the moniker of a group of vigilante superheroes who defend the innocent from evildoers. 

Waleed explains that the Clandestines are from a neighboring dimension that overlaps the real world. If they have their way, they’ll tear down the veil that separates the two, obliterating the human world in the process.  Importantly, Waleed explains, Kamala’s dual heritage as the child of both Clandestine and human genetics means that she can manipulate light using her Noor abilities, making her much more powerful than either humans or Clandestines could be alone. Her place between two worlds is her superpower.

The Villains Are Loose

Meanwhile, Najma and her cronies are quick to escape from the Department of Damage Control confines they found themselves in the last episode. After breaking loose and cruelly leaving Kamran behind for siding with Kamala in their last battle, Najma directs the Clandestine to find the bangle. They make a (shocking fast) trip to Pakistan, ambushing Kamala and Kareem and forcing them into a high-octane chase through the streets of Karachi.

Waleed nobly sacrifices himself to save the teenage superheroes from the murderous Clandestine. Kamala finally comes into her own in a chaotic battle alongside Kareem, her hard light powers making short work of Najma’s minions. Finally, when the Clandestine leader herself joins the fray, Kamala deflects her blade with the all-important bangle.

It flashes and teleports Kamala across time and space, landing her at the Indian train yard from her grandmother’s childhood story of fleeing India during the Partition. As Kamala gets her bearings and realizes she’s really in the early 20th Century, the camera pans out to show the huge number of refugees filling the train yard. The episode ends with Kamala once again further from home: now, she’s not just in an unfamiliar place, but at an unfamiliar time, too.