Ms. Marvel: Seeing Red

This is not how I dreamed about my first team up going!

Ms. Marvel has had an amazing first season so far. With the way Disney+ is doing their series, we’re halfway through already, which I don’t like, but that’s close to all I’m not enjoying about this show. There have been a lot of surprising revelations and reveals, and we’re not done yet. Now, after a call from her grandmother, Kamala is in for a major change of scenery. It’s a bold move, leaving most of your established cast behind midway through a limited series. We see some more interesting things, meet another character from the comics, and get a really surprising ending in “Seeing Red.”

We start off with Kamala and her mother flying to Pakistan. All is not well between them after the events of Tyesha and Aamir’s wedding, and one of their fellow passengers is put in a very awkward position by their slightly barbed conversation. Before they land, we see Kamala is trying to patch things up with one of her friends, but not getting anywhere. The airport in Karachi is colorful chaos, and we get to meet Kamala’s grandmother and cousins. There’s some friendly teasing and hugs, and they drive off to the grandmother’s place. There’s a small, strange glitch during the drive there, but when they arrive, Nani’s place is impressive.

Wandering the halls, Kamala gets a bit lost and finds her way into a strange room. Nani meets her here, and explains some of the odd collection we see here. Nani clearly knows a lot more than we’ve been made aware of, and is a very engaging and charming character. Nani offers some interesting insight, a very different perspective, and some encouragement to her granddaughter. Later, Kamala checks her phone, doesn’t see what she wants to, and dozes off to flashbacks of the wedding. The next day, she gets awakened by her cousins, invited out for sightseeing, and teased about her pillow. She also gets some more discouraging words from her mother.

There’s some culture clash about where they want to eat, more bantering, and then Kamala expresses some interest in a destination that puzzles her cousins. They leave her alone to follow through, which is a bit mean in a city, and country, where she’s a newcomer. Miraculously, and a bit unbelievably, she finds her way there. Looking around for a clue about the visions she’s been having, she slips on the mask Bruno gave her (sadly, Bruno doesn’t show up this episode) and sneaks into a place clearly marked with warnings about video surveillance. She doesn’t find much to help her, but does run across someone new, who comic fans will quickly recognize as the character hinted at in the title. They have a fight that shows off both their abilities, then flee the approaching authorities with some banter and movie quotes.

Kamala gets brought to a restaurant that has some interesting special features, and meets the stereotypical wise old mentor. The man is kind and clearly smart and experienced, and fills her in on some important details about the dilemma she has facing her. While she learns a bit more about the mysterious bangle, we see the group of Djinn at the Damage Control Supermax. Their “super” needs some work, as the bad guys promptly and easily escape, although there’s a surprise or two as that unfolds.

Once home, Kamala goes to find Nani, and they have another chat. Nani talks some more about the sad, bloody, and brutal history of Pakistan and her own experiences. When Kamala gets a text, Nani is amused and offers to cover for her with her mother. Even Nani is keeping a few things from Kamala, but at least Kamala has an ally now. After this, the show takes some time to do something a lot of short-run series wouldn’t. Nani and Muneeba (Kamala’s mother) get a very tender characterization scene that has nothing to do with the overall plot, and just gives their relationship some depth. It was a nicely done scene, well-written and well-acted. Kamala comes home, lies a bit to her mother, and they share a snack that takes some getting used to. Kamala having food issues seems to be a recurring theme in the episode.

The next day, Kamala returns to the wise old mentor and learns a bit more. You just know something is going to wrong, and an architectural feature I wondered about as soon as I saw this place comes into play. Somehow, the Djinn have gotten from wherever they were in the States to Karachi in amazing time. We haven’t seen any signs of them having either movement powers or fabulous wealth, so I’m not sure how that worked, but here they are anyway. What follows is a combination fight and chase through the city, with some great local flavor. There are great moves, character defining moments, and losses on both sides. Things come to a head when Kamala faces off with Aisha. Their battle ends inconclusively, surprising Kamala with a sudden change in venue that is clearly going to link to some of her family history.

What I Liked: Just about everything. Kamala is a great character, and Iman Vellani does a wonderful job portraying her. I liked this version of Red Dagger (and how cool a name is Aramis Knight, who plays him?) and his mentor. The fight/chase through the city was really well done. I applaud them for giving Nani and Muneeba their scene together. As I said earlier, it was also a bold choice to leave behind Bruno, Nakia, and the rest of the family and school cast mid-short-season. And there’s at least one nod to another part of the MCU, although I’m not quite sure why it’s here of all places.

What I Didn’t: As I said above, the trip from the airport to Nani’s home had a glitch in it. There’s a similar one around the Djinn’s intercontinental travel.  While I get why they made the changes, I miss Bruno and Nakia.

This was another great episode in a series I’m really enjoying. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. I’m looking forward to the next episode, but that pushes us almost to the end of the season. Hopefully, this will be the second show in the Disney+/MCU that gets another season. The only other confirmed one so far is Loki.