Ms. Marvel: Destined (Episode 3) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
Ms. Marvel finally starts to dig into some of its lore as the series’ villains start their rear their heads and Kamala struggles to keep her personal and superhero lives separate.
Some of the biggest questions about the series so far, mostly surrounding the origins of Kamala’s (Iman Vellani) bangle, how it’s connected to her family lineage, and what Kamran (Rish Shah) and Najma’s (Nimra Bucha) real intentions are with Kamala, are revealed in the first ten minutes of the episode, well kind of. While it’s great that the series starts to answer some of its big questions, the exposition dump it does in delving into the bangle and what Najma and her acquaintances are is super overwhelming and tough to grasp because its such a hard turn for the series. A lot of interesting cultural and supernatural elements are suddenly introduced and it’s tough to believe everything that’s being said, especially with how the episode ends.
According to Najma, her and her acquaintances are from another dimension called the Noor dimension and were exiled for an unknown reason. Now, they want to use Kamala’s power to send them back to their dimension, but even after Najma’s explains it all, it already comes off suspicious. Frankly, Najma saying that she’s from another dimension gives off major vibes of Quentin Beck saying the same thing in Spider-Man: Far from Home, so you can’t help but immediately think that she’s lying. Honestly though, it’s just as tough to say that she is lying because her and her friends clearly have some kind of special power within them based on the weapons they use and her story is reflected in a story about Djinn, supernatural beings from Islamic mythology, that Bruno (Matt Lintz) comes across. Najma also saying that Kamala’s great-grandmother Aisha (Mehwish Hayat) is also a Djinn could explain why the bangle works for her and why she has a power within her.
However, I think something else is afoot. Even though Najma is nice to Kamala at the start of the episode, she basically goes on the hunt for her at the end meaning that her intentions aren’t so good. Obviously, her and the rest of her clan, which she calls The Clandestines, are the big villains for the series and likely want to do more than just go home. Najma also mentions that Aisha had betrayed her before and in the flashback shown at the start of the episode, we see that the bangle came from a blue arm found in a tomb. If I had to guess, that blue arm is likely a Kree and it’s possible that the series is going to say that Kamala’s great-grandmother is actually a Kree too. This could be an interesting way to connect Kamala to Captain Marvel. As of right now, things are still unclear, even after a lot of information was thrown at viewers, but things should become clearer if Kamala is able to talk her grandmother, who also sees the visions that Kamala does.
While Ms. Marvel’s attempts to explain its lore doesn’t go so smoothly, it easily makes up for it with some of the more personal story beats for Kamala this week that have her see the impact of her heroism. Man, this cast continues to be an absolute treat with how likeable and enjoyable they are to watch. When Bruno finally tells Kamala about possibly going to California and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) wins the election and becomes a board member for their community, you legitimately feel something because of how invested this series makes you in its characters. They can really make you laugh and tug at your heart in the same episode and with Aamir’s wedding finally happening, you get to see everyone together in a heartfelt way. From an incredible dance sequence that lets everyone be involved to just the calming and caring atmosphere of the ceremony, it’s great how this series continues to make its characters a blast to be around and creates more positive representation for Muslim culture.
Kamala’s personal journey in this episode is easily one of the most compelling parts of the series so far as it’s interesting how cultural issues play a big role in her figuring out who she needs to be as a hero. After Kamala escaped the Department of Damage Control, they decide to search the community mosque and it brings out some real issues about racial profiling. While Kamala is on a high at the start about her becoming a more popular hero, Nakia brings her back to Earth as she’s understandably worried that her heroic antics will make the mosque and their Muslim community more of a target. It’s a great way to talk about real issues of racial targeting and showcases a different side of the impact of being a hero. This is something that really weighs on Kamala’s mind as she thinks about helping Najma and it’s cool to see her really try to define who she wants to be.
Ms. Marvel might fumble a little with how it tries to delve into its lore that could or could not end up being a farce anyway, but it continues to excel in exploring its cultural and personable aspects through its amazing cast and Kamala’s personal questioning of her heroics.