Ms. Marvel Episode 4 review: ramping up the action in Karachi

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
kamala and kareem in ms. marvel
Marvel/Disney+

Ms. Marvel returns for its fourth episode, which sees Kamala travel to Karachi, and face a few foes along the way. 

Ms. Marvel – one of the newest MCU shows – is continuing to air on Disney+, with its fourth episode “Seeing Red” having just been released today. 

The show took some time to get its plot going, but now that things are finally in motion, with the Clandestine attempting to hunt down Kamala – aka Ms. Marvel – the series can now focus on its characters and superhero action.

Because of this growing shift in action and tension, Episode 4 manages to be one of the show’s most exciting yet, especially with that ending.

Ms. Marvel heads to Karachi

The episode kicks off with Kamala heading to Karachi, Pakistan, after a call with her grandmother revealed that her Djinn powers have actually been inherited throughout her family. A new location helps keep the show feeling fresh, and the episode takes its time in letting the audience become accustomed to these surroundings, as Kamala spends her time exploring markets and beaches as well as her grandmother’s house.

Ms. Marvel looking at her bangle
Marvel/Disney+
Kamala heads to Karachi to figure out what her bangle truly is

It probably would have been nicer had Kamala chosen to go to Karachi of her own accord rather than her grandmother demanding so. The answers that Kamala wishes to know seem to have a habit of just being handed to her rather than her seeking them out, which makes her feel less of an active character. Then again, a 16-year-old girl can hardly get on a plane and travel to another country on her own.

This new location also allows the development of Kamala’s mother, Muneeba. We find out that she rebelled against her mother – just like Kamala has – and there is an emotional scene in which Muneeba explains why she left Karachi. Actor Zenobia Shroff plays this scene perfectly, and the moment hints at Muneeba’s hereditary connection to the Djinn, which makes for some great thematic storytelling.

New Ms. Marvel character Red Dagger is red hot

This episode doesn’t include the regular characters of Kamala’s father, or her best friends Bruno and Nakia. Nakia is currently not even speaking to Kamala after finding out the truth last episode, likely due to her claims that Ms. Marvel has put another target on the Muslim community’s back. Her anger is understandable, but perhaps not fully justified, since Ms. Marvel has clearly done more good than bad for her community. She saved a kid from falling to his death for crying out loud!

Many of the new characters in this episode, such as Kamala’s cousins, don’t have the time to really grab the audience in the way that the established characters already have. But the Red Dagger, otherwise known as Kareem, is definitely the exception.

Red Dagger in Ms Marvel
Marvel/Disney+
The Red Dagger stabs his way onto the screen

When Kamala does finally take charge of her own story and heads to the train station to find answers about that train vision she had last episode, she is suddenly attacked by a masked assailant, who turns out to be the Red Dagger. Kamala also masks up, a little too late perhaps, as surely there are CCTV cameras around that have been watching them the whole time? But that might be nit-picking.

The two engage in a short but still very fun fight, that has Ms. Marvel use her powers in new and inventive ways. The way in which Kamala can adapt her abilities for both offence and defence is becoming a very strong point of the show, and hopefully this will continues as the series goes along.

The pair also develop a bantering type of relationship, which will no doubt become a flirtation-ship later on. There are many witty one-liners, and Aramis Knight is able to fit this role, but considering Iman Vellani has been mostly endearingly awkward thus far, she’s arguably not quite able to adapt to a ‘smart-alec’ attitude.

If any comic book fans have watched the episode, they will probably be able to spot a few key differences between the comic version of Kareem and the show version. Now there seems to be a line of Red Daggers, rather than just him, who are tasked with protecting the world from assailants like the Clandestine. Not only is Kareem aware of Kamala’s true identity (and vice versa, making their dynamic different from the comics) but he is also aware of the bangle and its Djinn powers.

Speaking of the bangle, the Clandestine also manage to break out and – somehow – travel to Karachi, ready to get the artefact back from Kamala.

Ms. Marvel Episode 4 ramps up the action – literally

After the Clandestine break out of D.O.D.C imprisonment, leaving Kamala’s potential love interest (and potential villain) Kamran behind, they track Kamala down to the Red Dagger secret location. What then ensues is a market-wide battle and car chase, which is probably the best action set-piece Ms. Marvel has done so far.

Kamala in her Ms. Marvel mask
Marvel/Disney+
Ms. Marvel masks up and fights back

The scene makes a great call-back to Kamala’s poor driving skills, which gives narrative significance to what was otherwise a quirky character trait. The use of Ms. Marvel’s powers are imaginative, including making a ramp that a giant truck flies off, in what seems to be a practical effect, which makes a nice change of pace from the show’s constant use of CGI.

The fight choreography is also seemingly practical, and while it can feel a little Disney Channel movie-esque – especially when Red Dagger sets off a water bomb and Najma screams like Rita Repulsa – it’s all still incredibly entertaining to watch.

And ultimately, this is the tensest action scene we’ve had so far, as Red Dagger’s ally and mentor is killed off rather violently. Members of the Clandestine also get taken down with knives, though it’s confusing if they are immortal or not.

The end of the battle is also tense, and leaves the episode on something of a cliff-hanger, as when Najma stabs Ms. Marvel’s bangle, Kamala is suddenly transported into the past, when her family was boarding the train to Karachi during India’s partition.

Considering the ominous music and visuals, it seems like Kamala will be trapped in the past well into the next episode. Let’s just hope that it will be as good as this episode was.

The fifth episode of Ms. Marvel hits Disney+ next Wednesday, July 6. Read our review of Episode 3 here.

loading...