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'Ms. Marvel' Recap, 'Crushed:' How Kamala Khan Got Her Groove In The First Place

By Brian Richards | TV | June 19, 2022 |

By Brian Richards | TV | June 19, 2022 |


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Previously on Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan is a teenage girl who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey with her strict-but-loving parents, and her older brother, who is about to be married. She is obsessed with The Avengers, particularly Captain Marvel, who is her favorite superhero, and she even records YouTube videos about her because of how awesome she thinks Captain Marvel is. Kamala and her best friend, Bruno, are both planning to attend the fan convention AvengerCon, where they intend on competing in a cosplay contest with Kamala dressed as Captain Marvel in a costume that they both designed. Kamala’s parents refuse to let her attend, resulting in her sneaking out with Bruno and going to AvengerCon anyway.

It is there that, thanks to a bangle that once belonged to her grandmother and which she is now wearing as part of her costume, Kamala discovers she has superpowers, particularly the ability to create and harness cosmic energy. Unfortunately for Kamala, it doesn’t take long for those superpowers to gain her the kind of attention from others that will only make things worse instead of making them better.

THE STORY SO FAR: Kamala is still trying to learn more about her superpowers, where they came from, and how to use them. She also meets and falls for a fellow student named Kamran, and the two of them begin hanging out together. Meanwhile, Bruno finds himself becoming jealous of Kamala spending time with Kamran, while also wrestling with an academic opportunity at CalTech that would force him to leave Jersey City. Nakia (who is close friends with Kamala and Bruno) decides to campaign for the mosque board in order to make some much-needed changes. The Department of Damage Control continues its investigation into locating and detaining Kamala. A young boy’s reckless mistake forces Kamala to suit up and use her superpowers once again in order to try and save his life.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Kamala arriving at school, with swagger coming out of every pore of her body, as she strides down the hallway and kindly but firmly lets her teachers and fellow students know that she’s not here for their bullsh-t, and also that her name is Kamala, not Camelia. Kamala and Bruno training together to help her understand her powers, and what she’s actually capable of. (This training montage is very reminiscent of the one from Shazam!, except this one features “Goddess” by Krewella & Nervo, and not “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen) Bruno explaining to Kamala that her powers don’t actually come from the bangle, but actually come from her, and that the bangle just somehow unlocked those powers. (That’s one way to shut up many of the naysayers who are upset about Kamala’s powers and their origins being changed from the comics) Kamala convincing Nakia during mid-afternoon prayer that she should campaign to be elected for the mosque board, right before they discover that there is a shoe thief on the loose and taking people’s footwear.

Kamala’s very understandable reaction to meeting Kamran when he climbs out of the swimming pool at Zoë’s party, followed by the two of them bonding with each other even more over their favorite Bollywood movies on their way back home. Seeing her dance and sing along to “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes when she arrives home, and the beautiful cinematography that accompanies this performance. Kamala’s driving lesson with Kamran, where she’s reminded that she doesn’t need to code-switch or explain what she’s saying to him (“I know what ammi means”), followed by the two of them lying to Aamir and his fiancée, Tyesha, by introducing Kamran as their very distant cousin. Yusuf explaining to Tyesha over dinner what happened with Muneeba’s great-grandmother during the Partition of India (which upsets Muneeba so much that she excuses herself from the tale, especially since Aamir explains how “every Pakistani family has a Partition story, and none of them are good”), and how she was mysteriously reunited with her father by “following a trail of stars,” despite the two of them becoming separated in the massive crowd. Kamala’s bangle being activated during this anecdote and causing her to see a vision of a mysterious woman bathed in light and reaching her hand out to Kamala, which then causes her to pass out in the dining room.

Muneeba and Yusef making it very clear how much they love Bon Jovi. (Stefan and Lexi from The Vampire Diaries would get along very well with them if they ever met) Agents Cleary and Deever playing “good cop, bad cop” as they interrogate Zoë and realize that South Asian neighborhoods and mosques are where they’ll find Kamala. Bruno asking if his outfit for the Eid Mubarak festivities at the mosque is too bright, and Muneeba’s response: “I don’t understand the question.” The introduction of each specific group at the mosque by Nakia during her campaigning: The Mosque Bros, the Pious Boys, the Sunday School Teachers, the Insta-Clique, the Re-Verts, the Mini-Harami Girls, the Unfriendly Black Hotties, and the Illuminaunties.

The Illuminaunties explaining to Kamala that her great-grandmother, Aisha, had a horrible reputation and brought shame to her family, which is why Muneeba and her mother refuse to talk about her. Kamala suiting up and using her powers to save a little boy from falling to his death from a balcony (and encouraging him to think good thoughts so that he’ll remain calm. For the little boy, those good thoughts happen to include ice cream pizza), which goes smoothly until she once again experiences a vision of the woman bathed in light and reaching out to her. Despite that hiccup, Kamala still saves him, but is reminded that she’s still new to this, and that it could’ve ended a lot worse. Damage Control showing up to take Kamala into custody, but is saved by Kamran, who shows up in the nick of time with his uncle’s car to help her escape, and who introduces her to someone sitting in the backseat: his mother, who looks an awful lot like the mysterious woman in Kamala’s visions, and who says that she’s been waiting a long time to finally meet her.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Nothing that comes to mind, really.

DO ANY OF THE AVENGERS APPEAR IN THIS EPISODE?: No, they don’t.

CAPTAIN MARVEL?: No.

MONICA RAMBEAU, A.K.A. PHOTON?: No.

ANY EASTER EGGS WE SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR?: Kamran was introduced in the original comics as an old family friend who hasn’t been seen by her or her family in years and is immediately smitten once she sees what he looks like all grown up and realizes how much they have in common … including the fact that he’s also an Inhuman and has superpowers just like her. Bruno pointing out how Kamala’s powers don’t come from her bangle may be Marvel and Disney’s way of slowly but surely acknowledging the existence of Inhumans once again and officially introducing them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after their first failed attempt. Zoë using the experience of her life being saved at AvengerCon by Kamala (or “Night-Light” as she calls her) as a way to increase her follower count on social media was also featured in the comics as well. As well as Nakia deciding to run for a spot on the mosque board, and Kamala at Zoë’s party drinking some orange juice that is offered to her, only to find out that it also has vodka.

When Kamala and Kamran are discussing their love of Bollywood films, they realize that the maternal figures in their families are huge fans of Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani’s character from Eternals, who was also a huge Bollywood star). The term “enhanced individual” is used by Cleary during the interrogation scene, and is a term that was used to describe Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (And it was also a Lawyer-Friendly way of referring to them both as mutants, since they don’t exist in the MCU yet). Kamala saving the little boy and her energy steppingstone falling apart when she has her vision, causing him to continue falling and Kamala desperately trying to grab him with her embiggened arm, is very reminiscent of Spider-Man attempting to save Gwen Stacy, which ended tragically compared to this. And if you pay close attention to the little boy’s shoes while he’s being rescued, it seems as if he may be the mosque shoe thief, since his sneakers look an awful lot like Nakia’s sneakers that went missing during prayer.

Oh, and this delightful exchange between Kamala and Bruno at the beginning of the episode:

Bruno: “What makes you think you have Ant-Man powers?”
Kamala: “Because we’re both charming, and we look a lot younger than we are.”

Which of course is a reference to Paul Rudd (a.k.a. the white male version of Bianca Lawson), who plays Ant-Man.

ANY FAN THEORIES SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE ACROSS THE INTERNET BECAUSE OF THIS EPISODE?: That Kamran’s mom is somehow Kamala’s great-grandmother who is still alive and ages very slowly compared to most other humans. (Much like how Wolverine and Sabretooth’s aging processes are slowed down whenever they use their healing factors, and how Mystique’s aging process is slowed down thanks to her shape-shifting) There’s also the theory that Kamran’s mother will be the MCU version of Lineage, a powerful Inhuman crime boss, who wants to recruit Kamala to join her, Kamran, and many other Inhumans who believe in their supremacy over humans and that they should rule over them.

ARE THERE ANY SCENES DURING THE CLOSING CREDITS?: None.

SO DID YOU HEAR THAT WE’RE GETTING A JOKER SEQUEL? AND THAT LADY GAGA IS GOING TO BE IN IT? ISN’T ALL OF THIS HORRIBLE?: I did read about all of this, and in all honesty, “horrible” is not the word that comes to mind when I think about there being a sequel to Joker. I know full well how polarizing and controversial the first film was, and how so many people thought it was nothing but a badly-made rip-off of Martin Scorsese’s work that belittled the plight of mental health, while also giving us yet another sympathetic portrayal of an angry, violent white man. But…when I see these reactions, and witness all of the absolute chaos this news has caused on social media, I only have one response. And that response is…

TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another great episode of Ms. Marvel, as it not only shows us Kamala familiarizing herself with her powers but also familiarizing viewers at home with the rest of her community outside of her family and friends. Not only was the bathroom conversation between Kamala and Nakia a lovely scene that highlighted their friendship, but it also gave us Nakia discussing her mixed-race heritage (in the comics, Nakia is Turkish-American, but in this version, she’s Lebanese-American and mixed-race, like Yasmeen Fletcher, who plays Nakia), explaining why her hijab is so important to her, and how she realized that, much like Kamala’s favorite superhero, she has nothing to prove to anyone about who or what she is. (There were also some fans who greatly appreciated this scene, and saw it as a Take That! to other recent shows that featured young Muslim women in hijabs that weren’t nearly as respectful or well-written in terms of how they were portrayed) And once again, Iman Vellani absolutely kills it with her performance as Kamala, as we see her go from newly confident, to being head-over-heels in like with Kamran (I loved seeing her excited reaction to Kamran’s text asking her out for a driving lesson), to curious about her family history, to terrified upon starting to realize that being a superhero isn’t a game and can be a matter of life or death. I’m enjoying Ms. Marvel a lot more than I originally expected, and even if I wasn’t recapping it and being paid for it in increasingly useless Bitcoin by Dustin, I’d still be looking forward to seeing what happens next.

And Bruno, don’t feel too upset about Kamran getting your name wrong and calling you ‘Brian.’ It’s not a bad name to have, even when people keep spelling it out as ‘Brain’ when writing it, and it happens a lot more often than you’d think.

Finally, I’d like to end this recap by paying tribute to legendary comic-book artist Tim Sale, who passed away from kidney failure this past Thursday at the age of 66. Sale was best known for his work on such comics as Batman: The Long Halloween (which greatly influenced both Christopher Nolan and Matt Reeves for their film adaptations of the Caped Crusader), Batman: Dark Victory, Superman For All Seasons, Spider-Man: Blue, and Daredevil: Yellow. He won an Eisner for his work with Matt Wagner on the short story “Devil’s Advocate” featured in the first issue of Grendel: Black, White, and Red. His skills as an artist, and who he was as a person, were held in very high regard, so it didn’t take long for others in the comic book industry to share how much Sale meant to them when news of his death became public.

The last few months have not been easy at all for the people who create and publish comics, and for the people who read them, due to the deaths of George Pérez and Neal Adams. And losing another talented artist like Tim Sale just…hurts. A lot. And it’s another reminder that our favorite artists deserve to get their flowers while they’re still here, and to know just how much they truly are appreciated.

May Tim Sale rest in peace, and my condolences to his family and friends.

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This episode of Ms. Marvel has been brought to you by “Sittin’ Up In My Room” by Brandy:

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” by Himesh Patel, from the soundtrack of Yesterday:

And of course, “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi:



Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.



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