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‘Ms. Marvel’ Episode Three Recap: “Destined”

*Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode three of Ms. Marvel*

Three episodes in, and Ms. Marvel continues to find ways to dazzle in its style and themes. An impeccable dance sequence during the episode’s latter half is a particular highlight. It’s not only highly energetic as the characters dance through the rhythms of two popular Bollywood songs (from the films Don (1978) and Dil Bole Hadippa!), but it is a perfect showcase of Kamala Khan’s (Iman Vellani) extended family and the bond they have with each other. Of course, their dance moves are far from perfect, with Kamala even about to fall while two boys carry her, but you can’t deny how close everyone is, making the sequence fun to watch. It’s even better when Carmen Cabana’s cinematography makes the scene even more energetic than it is with the actors giving their all. The smash zooms are particularly effective (including one highlighting Ms. Marvel co-creator Sana Amanat’s presence at the wedding!!!!) and add incredible life to the scene. 

It’s even better when the sequence that follows is a kitchen fight that pulls no punches in catharsis and fight choreographies. I was a bit worried that the choreography wasn’t going to be on the same level as Moon Knight’s last episode was, but all of my doubts were cleared once we saw a member of the ClanDestine take out a cook with as few martial arts moves as possible. It was so damn cool to see and was a perfect showcase of the threat Kamala will have to face in future episodes. At first, the ClanDestine is introduced as an ally to Kamala, wanting to help her in her quest to understand the origin of her bangles. However, Kamran’s (Rish Shah) mother, Najma (Nimra Bucha), only appears friendly for Kamala to quickly give up her bangles away to Najma. The ClanDestine has been trapped on Earth for a hundred years after being exiled from the Noor Dimension. Najma wants to return to her original dimension, no matter the cost, even if it means killing everyone at Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) and Tyesha’s (Travina Springer) wedding in the process.

Time will tell if the ClanDestine will be a good antagonist, but their fight moves (and weapons) are incredibly cool. Suppose the show keeps the momentum going with action sequences as exhilarating and kinetic as the kitchen fight. In that case, it may win me over in the action department when they were the weakest parts of the previous two episodes. However, Agent Deever (Alysia Reiner) seems to be a more compelling antagonist figure than Najma and the other ClanDestine members. In one sequence where she gets (rightfully) schooled by Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) for searching the mosque without a warrant, she exudes a far more threatening presence to anyone in her way than Najma in the entire episode. It’s still early, and I hope she will make an impression soon.

Speaking of Nakia, she now knows of Kamala’s secret powers. This aspect was only teased during the final moments of the episode, so it’ll likely be explored next week, but it’s great that she knows because it may add an even deeper layer to her friendship with Kamala and Bruno (Matt Lintz). Fletcher is one of the most surprising revelations of the series—her portrayal of Nakia is both charming and heartfelt, making the most of her screen time. I feel her character will only grow from here after knowing Kamala’s secret. And I can’t wait to see in which direction Fletcher’s career will go after this series ends.

Of course, Iman Vellani is just as good as she was in the past two episodes and perhaps even more charming here during the aforementioned dance sequence. However, it’s those light moments of imperfections (when she’s about to fall) where we see her character at her best: she’s just a lively teenager who, despite not having figured out her true identity as a superhero, wants to have fun and connect with the ones she loves. And when her entire family is in danger, she will go above and beyond to protect them.

Bruno knew of Kamala’s powers from the get-go, but she didn’t want to tell her family about it, thinking it could put them in danger. However, her grandmother (Samina Ahmad) urges Kamala and her mother (Zenobia Shroff) to visit her in Karachi. What will happen next? Who knows, but Ms. Marvel has made the most of the six-episode structure more than any other MCU show. Episodes one and two establish character relationships, inadvertently making us care about every protagonist, while episode three sets up the central conflict. Now all bets are off, and I, for one, cannot wait to see in which direction the series’ final three episodes shape up.

The third episode of Ms. Marvel is now available to stream on Disney+.

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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