Ms. Marvel Episode 2 Review: “Crushed”

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Ms. Marvel Episode 2, “Crushed,” continues Kamala’s superhero origin story while throwing in the usual twists and turns of growing up. 

Of course, there’s a training montage. A newfound sense of confidence from Kamala. Awkward moments when her powers get out of control. 

These moments are all fun to watch, and Iman Vellani lights up the screen with her humor, but the episode is also working to deepen the mythology behind Kamala’s powers.

Ms. Marvel Episode 2
Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

A test run by Bruno (I know he’s a genius, but seriously where does he get this tech?), shows that Kamala’s powers aren’t from the bracelet but instead it triggered a change in her DNA.

Maybe it’s too soon to count out the Inhumans after all, but more likely there’s another explanation waiting. One that has to do with Kamala’s mysterious great-grandmother. 

Kamala’s search for answers about the bracelet and where it came from allows the show to explore a very real part of history, the Indian Partition. When the British finally left India, it was partitioned into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

It was a time of great migration, violence, and unrest. The story of Kamala’s great-grandmother, who went missing that night, may be setting up a more fantastical story but it reflects the very real pain and loss of families during that time.

What we still don’t know is what exactly happened to her and what it has to do with the plane of existence Kamala is sometimes transported to now that her powers are activated. 

We also get to learn a lot more about Kamala’s friends on this episode. Although it’s not a true ensemble show, it’s nice to have fleshed-out supporting characters.

Nakia and Kamala share a tender moment where Kamala expresses her self-doubts to her seemingly put-together friend. Nakia saying that wearing a hijab makes her feel like herself, even if originally it was to prove a point to others, sends a powerful message to young Muslim women watching the show.

Ms. Marvel Episode 2
Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Whether it’s Nakia deciding to run for mosque board or Kamala’s search for truth during the Eid celebration by talking to the “Illuminaunties,” clearly Ms. Marvel is invested in going beyond token representation and incorporates Kamala’s culture into the storyline of the show. 

Even Bruno gets some development beyond being Kamala’s sidekick. Instead of jumping for joy that he’s been accepted into an early college program, he’s hesitant to leave Kamala. And it’s hard for him to hide his jealousy when Kamran (Rish Shah) enters the picture and Kamala is instantly enamored. 

Speaking of Kamran, his arrival on the show shakes things up but not in the way you might expect. While at first it seems like the show is just going to follow the arc of a teenage girl falling for her crush (big over-the-top dancing sequence included), by the end of the episode we realize Kamran has a bigger part to play.

After Kamala makes a daring rescue of a boy in danger at the mosque, she’s chased down by the DODC who started looking for her after interrogating Zoe. 

Ms. Marvel Episode 2
Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Kamran shows up as her getaway car, but he’s not alone. With him is his mom Namja, who looks a lot like the woman who’s been appearing to Kamala and she tells her she’s been waiting to meet her. 

Holy plot twist!

With “Nightlight” now exposed to her mosque community and the DODC on her trail, you wonder how much longer Kamala can keep her new powers a secret. 

Additional Thoughts:
  • There’s a Swet Shop Boys reference in the episode to further emphasize how great the soundtrack is.
  • It’s Episode 2 and I’m still singing “We don’t talk about Bruno,” to myself. Sorry, Bruno!
  • The Kingo reference is great, we need more Eternals references in the MCU. 
  • “So what am I like Asgardian or something, am I related to Thor?”
  • I love Kamran walking out of the pool in a very gender-flipped trope. 
  • The fact Agent Cleary has to tell his colleague to be respectful and that these communities are already under surveillance by the FBI is a real gut punch. 

Ms. Marvel airs Wednesdays on Disney Plus.

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