Ms. Marvel 1×02 Review: “Crushed”

crushed ms marvel episode 2 review
Kamala gets a vision in ‘Crushed’ (Image: Ms. Marvel Season 1 Episode 2)

The second episode, titled ‘Crushed’, of the enjoyable live-action Ms. Marvel show decided to explore more of Kamala Khan’s family history and how it all relates to her powers.

With Kamala being able to tap into her new powers in the premiere episode, ‘Crushed’ had our young lead do what’s expected from every coming-of-age superhero story. We got a fun little training montage. It was nice to see Kamala figure out her new abilities with much-needed help from Bruno.

As of now, she’s able to create platforms and slides by using the purple light. She still has a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to seeing her become better. Witnessing Kamala make a bunch of mistakes while saving the young kid near the end of the episode felt organic.

Also, according to Bruno, the ability to create constructs from purple light came from within Kamala. From what I could understand, the mysterious bangle simply unlocked Kamala’s powers. I think that was a good addition to make because, from what I could deduce, the bangle won’t be able to give any random person powers if they decided to wear it. I think the bangle’s capable of unlocking powers only if worn by members of Kamala’s family.

As for Kamala’s family history, it all seems to go back to her great-grandmother Aisha during the time of the partition. Kamala tried to get her grandmother Sana to share information, but Sana seemed preoccupied with other thoughts. We know that Kamala will be traveling to Karachi during the first season. So, I’m excited to see Sana tell Kamala what she knows about Aisha face-to-face. I think we will be getting an actual flashback during that particular episode.

Aisha seems to be a pariah. Not even Kamala’s mother is willing to talk about her. Aisha’s regarded as a cursed woman in the Pakistani-Amerian community that Kamala’s part of. There are rumors of her having affairs, a secret family, and even killing a man. Again, I can’t wait for the flashback episode to learn more!

‘Crushed’ also focused on Kamala and Nakia’s friendship. The two young women shared a well-written scene in the school bathroom where Nakia went over her choice to wear the hijab. I think the writers are doing a good job of fleshing out Kamala’s friends. While Bruno’s out there helping Kamala, Nakia’s out there deciding to run a campaign to be part of the mosque’s board to possibly have certain renovations be made to the women’s section of the religious building.

I’m looking forward to seeing Nakia’s reaction when she finally figures out that Kamala is ‘Night Light’ (a name that Zoe coined), and there’s also the Nakia and Zoe queer-centric thing from the comics which I hope makes it into the show.

Speaking of Zoe, after being interrogated by the DODC, I have a feeling she will be able to put two and two together and realize that Night Light is actually Kamala Khan. Zoe looked very concerned when the DODC people talked about doing a sweep, including checking the local mosque.

As the title of the episode implied, ‘Crushed’ also had Kamala have a crush on a new kid named Kamran. I mean, I think it was obvious from the get-go that Kamran was too good to be true. He was paying Kamala too much attention way too quickly, and unfortunately, our young heroine was deep in her romantic feelings to recognize the red flags.

Fortunately (and much to my surprise) the writers didn’t drag out the reason behind Kamran’s behavior. ‘Crushed’ actually ended with Kamran helping Kamala run away from the DODC and having her meet his mother. Now, I could be wrong, but I think that Kamran’s mother is the same woman Kamala had a vision of while rescuing the young kid. I think the vision was the bangle’s way of warning Kamala to stay away from that woman. But I guess having a crush on Kamran is going to make that difficult for Kamala to do that. Kamran and his mother are likely going to gain Kamala’s trust only for them to betray her down the line.

The writer also used Kamala’s crush to show us a jealous Bruno. Truth be told, I don’t think I’m here for Bruno pining over Kamala. I think the two should have been introduced to the audience as close friends and remained as such with any romantic feelings appearing in the second season.

I say this because right now Bruno just looks sad and desperate. The way Bruno told Wilson, the school’s guidance counselor, that he needed time to think about accepting an amazing academic opportunity (because he didn’t want to be far away from Kamala) made me roll my eyes. Also, as suspected, Wilson is definitely a queer character.

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • The fact Bruno and Kamala haven’t been focusing on translating the Arabic or Urdu transcribed on the bangle is weird. You would think that would be a priority for someone as science-minded as Bruno. Translate it already!
  • Calling the gossiping aunts ‘IlluminAunties’ was funny. Having said that, I feel we as a society need to walk away from such a trope. Men gossip, too. But it’s only the women who get called out for it. If you really think about it, the messiest person you will ever meet is very likely going to be a guy (history can vouch for that).
  • Does no one in the entire community recognize Kamala’s voice when she wears her superhero costume? It’s not like she’s changing her voice.
  • Iman Vellani continued to crush it as Kamala Khan. You can tell that she loves playing such a character. Her passion is evident in every scene. Another thing I like about Vellani’s acting is that she’s not concerned about having Kamala’s expressions appear pretty. Vellani makes a bunch of weird faces and it all plays into making Kamala look like a teenager.
  • The writers handled Kamala’s interaction with her mother well. I liked how the two compromised when it came to allowing Kamala to attend Zoe’s party.

What did you think of ‘Crushed’? How long will it take for Kamala to see through Kamran’s facade?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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