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Ms. Marvel episode 4 brings us to Karachi, Pakistan where we learn more about the Clandestines and their ties to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Who are the Red Daggers? How is the bangle connected to the Multiverse of Madness? What actually happened to Aisha? We’re here to break it down.
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Written and Hosted by Ryan Arey (http://twitter.com/ryanarey)
Edited by Harriet Lengel-Enright, Ethan Lavinsky, Randolf Nombrado, and Srinidhi Rao
This episode is based heavily on the comics, when Kamala visits Pakistan and wants to get in touch with her roots. In the comics and in the show, Kamala couldn’t handle the spicy food. And, if you would like to read this issue, you can scan the QR code right here.
The episode is about Kamala finding answers to the ancient mysteries about her origin, but also, it’s when her mother starts to reckon with her own identity, and why she wanted to leave Pakistan to begin with. Just as her mother journeyed to Pakistan during the partition. So there is an ongoing theme here of Pakistani women going on journeys to discover their own identities. The episode ends with Kamala journeying into the past to discover who she really is, and to find her new superhero identity. But more on that in a bit.
The song playing over the marvel credits is Summer Nights by Raaginder featuring WiseChild. The song refers to the line Nani says later in the episode, describing the hot summer night she left India during the Partition.
First I have to throw this out there. I want to use my platform here to do some good, and send a helpful message. Stop standing up when the plane lands. It gets you nowhere. We’re all going to leave the plane at the same time. It does you no good to get up right away. Thank you.
When Kamala compliments Nani’s jewelry, she says. Which is very generous, but it’s also the attitude that put the bangle in Kamala’s hands to begin with. As they drive through Karachi, we see this mural, and he is Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
And they drive beneath a sign that reads Karachi, city of lights–a nod to the Noor, the dimension of light that Kamala is tapping into. This is a way of saying that by coming to the city of lights, she will be able to become more in touch with the light that is within herself, and in the Noor dimension.
The opening titles are a lot of fun, once again. We see a collage where there is an infinity symbol painted over Kamala’s face like a mask–perhaps a nod to the infinity stones, the possible source of the bangle’s power. The other credits are over locations in Karachi or Pakistan locations, and some Naan bread.
Their golden is named Magnum, I’m assuming after PI. Kamala, totally jetlagged, wanders into Nani’s art studio. She’s collected clippings about the partition, and has painted the refugees. Later on we find out that–like her granddaughter–she is also trying to reckon with her own past. Any time people are forced from their homes, it creates a disconnection with the self that reverberates throughout the generations.
Nani was displaced, which led to Kamala’s mother feeling out of place so she goes to America–and Kamala feels settled in America, but–as she puts it in Ms. Marvel Issue 12, "In Jersey, I stick out because I’m too Pakistani. Here, I stick out because I’m too American."
They even mention the popular but sometimes polarizing term ABCD or American Born Confused Desi. It’s most often used to describe second or later generation South Asian Americans who typically struggle to balance values and traditions taught at home, with attitudes and practices that are more conducive to the culture of the US.
Now I’ve never been to Pakistan, but I’ve been to INdia, and there are some traits that Desi cultures share. The auto rickshaws, the haggling, but mostly, the way the guy gives direction].
Also if you haven’t tasted Pani Puri before- one of the best snacks ever.
So, as Kamala is slowly discovering the source of her powers, she is also slowly discovering her own roots and identity. As this happens, she is slowly moving away from the Captain Marvel cosplay costume, and forging her own superhero costume. She wears the airbrushed mask that Bruno made her. Later she obtains a Koti which is more similar to her suit in the comics, which is based on traditional Pakistani garments.