Ms. Marvel Episode 3 review: New villains pack a weak punch

kamala stands in a captain marvel costume in ms marvelMarvel/Disney+

Ms. Marvel Episode 3 ups the action and the plot, but does the episode as a whole stand up to the previous two? Spoilers for the new episode to follow… 

The third episode of the newest MCU show Ms. Marvel has premiered on Disney+ today. This episode, which marks the halfway point in the season, finally reveals what the central conflict of the season will be, as well as adding some emotional stakes into the mix.

But let’s take it from the beginning.

Ms. Marvel Episode 3 – titled “Destined” – kicks off in a new location: India in the 1940s, when it was still overtaken by the British Empire. The setting make for a nice change of pace, and adds some context to our new villains, the Jinn.

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Ms. Marvel Episode 3: Who are the Jinn?

While the Jinn – supernatural beings born from Middle-Eastern folklore – have shown up in some Marvel comics before, including a Ms. Marvel one-shot comic, this iteration seems to be a MCU original.

This group of Jinn continue the series’ theme of family and cultural history, as the opening reveals that they are connected with Kamala’s great-grandmother. In fact, she seems to be one of them, which would mean that Kamala, aka Ms. Marvel, is too.

A Jinn once appeared in a Ms. Marvel one-shot

The Jinn are somewhat twist villains, as the mysterious woman in the backseat of Kamran’s car at the end of Episode 2 turns out to be the leader of the Jinn, as well as Kamran’s mother. Because of her link to Kamran, Kamala initially believes that they are on her side.

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She and the Jinn talk about their history, which ultimately reveals their main plan. They are powerful interdimensional beings from the Noor Dimension, but are currently stuck on Earth, so they require Kamala’s power to open a portal for them to get home. This sounds innocent enough, but the power needed to create the portal could have world-ending capabilities, which the Jinn doesn’t seem to care about.

Ms. MarvelMarvel/Disney+
Ms. Marvel ups the stakes in its third episode.

While this makes the Jinn more realistically desperate than straight-up evil, this kind of plan is somewhat cliché, and we can only hope that the series doesn’t end with a “portal laser beam in the middle of the city that the hero has to stop” kind of deal. The Jinn also don’t seem like they’ll be joining the ranks of Marvel’s most iconic villains; there’s arguably too many of them to really care about any of them.

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It’s obvious that they will turn on Ms. Marvel eventually, and thankfully the series doesn’t draw this out, as they episode concludes with them attacking Kamala’s brother’s wedding, demanding that she help them immediately.

It actually seems a little too pre-emptive; they’ve already been waiting since the 1940s for help, could they not wait a little longer until she was fully convinced? It’s strange how things felt rather slow in the first two episodes, while now everything is seemingly happening at a rapid pace.

Ms. Marvel’s characters are getting more complex

At the very least, potential love interest (and potential villain) Kamran seems to be showing some reservations about the Jinn’s plan. He shows up at the wedding to warn Kamala about his mother’s oncoming attack, and he even helps Kamala’s best friend Bruno get out of danger, despite them still having somewhat of a romantic rivalry.

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This is a deviation from Kamran’s role in the comics, but it makes him more of a dimensional and complex character… if he’s being honest. It does seem a little rushed for him to already care more about Kamala than his own mother.

Other characters also get fleshed out further this episode. Bruno is firmly placed in the role of Ms. Marvel’s moral compass and gadget guy. He even gets her a new mask, hinting at her iconic comic book costume that the show has yet to reveal.

Ms Marvel stands proudly in her comic bookMarvel
Ms. Marvel’s iconic costume has been teased, but has yet to appear in the show

Nakia also gets more screen time, as does Kamala’s brother and father, each of them sharing emotional moments that make the world of Ms. Marvel feel whole.

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Kamala’s mother has also developed into less of an obstacle to Kamala, instead offering her advice on regular occasions. This make for some sweet moments, even if the amount of life lessons Kamala hears in this episode starts bordering on after-school-special level.

The show admirably continues to address how Ms. Marvel and other superheroes can affect local communities, placing the superhero world on human footing. Ms. Marvel’s recent exploits has led to the Department of Damage Control (DODC) marching into mosques without warrants, once again showing that the show isn’t afraid to tackle topical issues that Muslims face in our own world.

Ms. Marvel’s action ramps up in Episode 3

The action is definitely kept on a personal level, as the episode ends with the wedding battle between Kamala and the Jinn. The action isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s entertaining to watch, especially with the wedding reception setting – which previously featured a fun dance sequence – along with a Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer needle drop.

Ms Marvel sat at a table showing her powersMarvel/Disney+
Ms. Marvel takes up arms at her brother’s wedding

The DODC also appears to help Kamala out, showing that the agency has the potential to become an ally to Ms. Marvel, rather than an antagonist. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Not only that, but after a call with her grandma in the episode’s final moments, in which the older woman hints at her own superpowers, it seems like Kamala is heading to Pakistan in the next episode. There she will no doubt get into more action and meet more characters, such as the mysterious Red Dagger.

Ultimately, now that the plot has been laid out and all the pieces are in place, viewers can expect the next three episodes of Ms. Marvel to be an action-packed and heartfelt romp.

The fourth episode of Ms. Marvel hits Disney+ next Wednesday, June 29. Read our review of Episode 2 here.