Ms. Marvel: Destined
June 22, 2022 5:18 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Ahead of Aamir’s wedding, Kamala may face grave consequences due to a crucial decision she makes.
posted by 1970s Antihero (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I cannot tell you how deeply hysterical I found that they swapped her inhumans heritage for a djinn one, lmaoooooo.
posted by cendawanita at 7:10 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Especially because i guess it's too much 'complicated lore' if they stuck with djinns being made out of smokeless fire and instead went with the one Arabic word for light that all Muslims would know.

It's a good word! Very positive connotations. Coincidentally (:)) it's just a switch of the middle vowel to turn Nur/Noor into nar or (hell)fire.
posted by cendawanita at 7:13 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Ok last djinn-related comment: southeast asian muslims have a slightly different relationship with them because by the time the cosmology arrived we've got buckets of homegrown/creole beliefs already, but for someone of Kamala's background it's more of a big deal because (arguably) it's more native to where her culture is from and/or the assimilation from Arabic/Semitic beliefs were a lot more settled. (E.g. I'm far more likely to ascribe spiritual disturbance to any number of local spirits before I get to djinns like how it happened in ep2)

Regardless, when she says they're real, it's really because canonically they're one of the named invisible races mentioned in the Qur'an, after angels and demons. They're not necessarily evil, it's just they're the only other race along with humans who have the freedom to choose in belief and submission to God. So djinns occupy a pretty interesting niche in islamic cosmology, because they're more negotiable. The Queen of Sheba is supposedly half-djinn in the various commentaries.

SOOOO basically Kamala's power origin is more like Thor (actual existing deity) versus whatever's going on with the East Asian characters, which I thought is interesting, but not in any particularly kind way to the original creators of those characters and eventual showrunners (MCU Shang-Chi vs NMCU Iron Fist).
posted by cendawanita at 7:27 AM on June 22 [11 favorites]


I hate the whole "Inhumans" thing (especially the stupid name), so I am all for this djinn idea!
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:51 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I'm tag surfing elsewhere and at least i was right about one thing: every episode will at least get a few non-Pakistani Muslims going, "wait what, they do it like what??", a phenomenon only previously seen with similar regularity during haj season. LOL. Commence the "are you fact checking or did you not realize we're not all the same?".

This week it's the wedding proceedings.

Re: djinn - it could still be a fakeout though, even if not the inhumans. It didn't escape my attention the ruins at the beginning look Buddhist and i think i saw some suspiciously interlinked rings...
posted by cendawanita at 8:08 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


Really enjoying this series. It feels so grounded in real human emotions; and I thought the metaphor of second generation immigrants being extended to the Djinn as well was pretty cool.

I think it's interesting that both this and Wandavision are more actively positioning government as actively unhelpful and destructive. It's always been a bit of a running theme in the MCU, but with Shield there was at least an active force which thought metahumans were a good thing.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:47 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Still loving this, poor Kamala! From Vulture’s review: I’m not saying DODC agent Deever is the most dastardly Marvel villain yet, but she does enter the mosque without taking off her shoes. Archive link.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:24 AM on June 22 [7 favorites]


I honestly hope that Dept. of Damage Control locks the Clandestines away for good and I won’t have to think about them ever again. It’s not that they’re a bad set of villains, but the storytelling magic of this series is all in the mundane details of Kamala’s life. Every time the focus moves from Kamala’s life and immediate environment, I find myself losing interest. I’m baffled that the creators of this show thought some waffling about interdimensional wiffle was more interesting than showing the characters practice the dance routine.

Speaking of, it’s practically criminal that we didn’t get the whole dance, and that bits of it were cut. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved that scene, but it should’ve been longer. Same goes for Nakia’s victory in the mosque board election, that should’ve gotten more time than it did, especially given how much it was the focus of the previous episode.

All that quibbling is, though, a sign of how much I’ve started to invest in the show and the characters. I really care about Kamala, Nakia, Bruno, Amir, Yusuf and especially Muneeba. I want them and their lives to be the focal point, not some knockoff Doctor Who timey wimey wibble wobble (Loki did all that so much better, anyway).
posted by Kattullus at 5:14 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


Still loving this, though the editing of the climactic fight scene felt weird to me, like the music didn't fit at first, then there was no music or score at all, and the rhythm of it just felt off, somehow. Almost dream-like though I don't feel like that would have been intentional here.

Still, I just am head over heels for the characters here. I feel like Kamala's parents wouldn't have accepted zero answer from her, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:02 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


I liked the use of "Livin' on a Prayer." It was weird and nonsensical in some ways but also worked in that everyone's mentioned Bon Jovi before (and forgive me, I've just come off watching season 3 of The Umbrella Academy so I'm 100% all in on weird needle drops).

Iman Vellani remains such a perfect delight that I would watch this show if it had no superpowers. It's fun without those! I get bored when it goes into superhero mode, actually.

(The dance sequence was great, although the editing was awkward -- I assume that's because no one was a great dancer?)

I really loved WandaVision for its meta take on dealing with grief through pop culture, but so far, this may be the finest of the MCU shows.
posted by edencosmic at 7:03 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm kind of fine with not (necessarily) bringing in the Inhumans, although I think that there's still potentially a bit of wiggle room as to whether they're quote-endquote really Djinn; one of the things that the comics did WRT the Eternals is note that there were Eternals who were supposedly the basis for the Greek gods, but then there were the actual Greek gods. Another thing that struck me is that the idea that there's a pair of bangles that let the Djinn or whomever enter another dimension (I'm thinking of the part in the first episode where Kamala seems to be phasing into another dimension for a few seconds) sounds a bit like the comics' Nega-Bands, which not only let the comics' original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell, a male Kree) fly and zap people and even swap places with Rick Jones, a kind of all-purpose sidekick who has no equivalent in the MCU as of yet. They were Kree devices, and I noted that the arm that was wearing the bangle in the flashback scene was blue. Hmm. Shang-Chi's ten rings are of alien origin too...

I think it's interesting that both this and Wandavision are more actively positioning government as actively unhelpful and destructive. It's always been a bit of a running theme in the MCU, but with Shield there was at least an active force which thought metahumans were a good thing.

The interesting thing for me is that SWORD was originally positioned as being geared toward dealing with extraterrestrial threats, and Damage Control as being just that (rebuilding after super-battles and dealing with potentially dangerous super-junk), but they both ended up trying to be the new SHIELD.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:25 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I know it's a quibble, and maybe it's a cultural thing, but that piece of jewellery is not a bangle--at least to my eye. It's a cuff or a bracelet (or maybe a decorative interpretation of a bracer/vambrace). A bangle is typically looser (it moves around on the wrist/arm) and thinner.

I don't feel like the show has given us enough of an understanding of how DoDC is different from any other government law-enforcement agency. Why is it the DoDC and not the FBI or Homeland Security or [insert agency here] interested in Nightlight? It's all feeling a big generic. "We need a government boogeyman agency, and don't want to cast a negative light on an existing one, so we'll make one up."
posted by sardonyx at 9:18 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


The only negative thing I can say about the show is that now we won’t get the Damage Control we deserve, a blue-collar workplace comedy about construction workers cleaning up after a big superhero fight.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:54 AM on June 23 [19 favorites]


Why is it the DoDC and not the FBI or Homeland Security or [insert agency here] interested in Nightlight? It's all feeling a big generic. "We need a government boogeyman agency, and don't want to cast a negative light on an existing one, so we'll make one up."

Damage Control is from the comics. They're using something from Marvel Comics to put more Marvel in your Marvel.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:22 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Oh, I get the comic reference, but as Ian A.T. mentioned above it's not really comics Damage Control that we're getting but some body-swapped version of it where its name is dumped on some other organization that has nothing to do with the original. And this new version just feels so generic in that "evil/mislead government organization brought in specifically to make life harder for our hero" way that is the subplot of 50 bajillion movies and TV shows. It's lazy writing and it cheapens what the show is trying to do because it's not the "real" government but some fictional made-up agency. It's not like the U.S. Army (via General Ross) is going after the Hulk, it's a pretend agency that viewers and critics can wave away by saying, "that would never happen in real life because DoDC doesn't exist." No, it doesn't, but Homeland sure does, and the FBI sure does and ICE sure does, and you can't tell me that one (or more) of those agencies wouldn't be very interested in some "brown girl" with mysterious powers.
posted by sardonyx at 6:38 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I hear what you’re saying, sardonix, but 1) I’m not sure we know where the DoDC thread is going yet, and 2) the line in episode 2 about how they’re already keeping tabs on mosques felt to me like a way to tie this fictional agency into real world government fuckery.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:11 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I'm still not 100% sold that the "bangle" is of Djinn origin[1]. The arm they took it from was clearly blue, which in the MCU means Kree or Jotunn, and the arm was too small to belong to a frost giant. That also gives us a link back to Mar Vell and thus Carol. The blue energy is consistent with the space infinity stone. We know that the Kree used it to charge various items at various times. We do still have the question of the engravings on the bangle being in Earth languages.

I also thought it was notable that they mentioned they really needed two cuffs, which fits with a pair of Nega-Bands. I'm a bit torn because on the one hand I'll be disappointed if we never see Checkov's second bangle, but on the other hand the obvious story beat is to have Kamala wear both for a power up, which is the sort of thing that results in a Big Ray of Light Resolution rather than a more character-driven place.



[1] I agree that the cuff is not what I envision when I think of a bangle. I didn't mind so much when it was Kamala calling it a bangle, or when her mother dismissed it using the term. When the people in 1940's Pakistan used the term it suddenly felt jarring. I'm not sure if it's because I'd expect people closer to the source to use a more precise term or that, unlike the modern day characters, they knew full well they were looking for a power source, not a piece of jewelry.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:53 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Still loving this, though the editing of the climactic fight scene felt weird to me,

There's a lot of stuff happening in really jarring ways. The djinns asked Kamala to help them one time. She tells her crush (Kamran?) once that she's not interested, the djinns hear it from him second hand, and suddenly they're on their way to kill Kamala and her family. Usually, even the worst bad guys do more to convince/seduce the heroes. Like my grandma Djinnkowitz used to say, at least ask twice before you unleash interdimensional fury!
posted by PlusDistance at 8:09 AM on June 23 [8 favorites]


Oh, I get the comic reference, but as Ian A.T. mentioned above it's not really comics Damage Control that we're getting but some body-swapped version of it where its name is dumped on some other organization that has nothing to do with the original.

Ok, but nearly everything in the MCU is based on the comics but changed for the movie universe. You just gotta roll with it.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:41 AM on June 23


Maybe I misread the texts but I thought that “hey guys maybe wait a couple days while I figure out how to do this in a way that’s not dangerous lol” was a pretty far cry from a hard rebuff, let alone “!!!BETRAYAL!!!”

But I guess when you’re a Djinn, every speed bump feels like a catastrophe.

****
I was kind of hoping for more of a “no really Djinn are misunderstood we’ve had it all wrong I’m descended from Djinn apparently and I don’t think I’m inherently evil so let’s give them a chance” and instead I got “Nope we’re so Djinn that this girl we just met who can help us is a little hesitant and confused so instead of helping her help us LET’S KILL HER WHOLE BROTHER’S WEDDING”

Still love the show though. I just have a soft spot for “monsters are just misunderstood people” so whenever “monsters” (like Djinn) are set up to maybe be good but then turn out to be straight up bad guys I feel a little light go out of the world.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:59 AM on June 23 [9 favorites]


I thought that “hey guys maybe wait a couple days while I figure out how to do this in a way that’s not dangerous lol” was a pretty far cry from a hard rebuff

Once Kamala was aware that what they were trying to do was dangerous, Clan Destine knew that the jig was up. They were planning on Kamala getting killed from the get go.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:05 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


I guess I was giving them more benefit of the doubt than that. I was still operating on the idea that they weren’t bad guys, so in my mind there was no jig to be up.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:25 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Mister Moofoo: I'm with you there. Definitely didn't kill my love for the show or anything, but it felt like we were missing an episode of progress with Clan Destine or something
posted by Navelgazer at 11:06 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


The smoke or steam outside the Circle Q as Kamala's dad read about djinn felt like (spooky voice) foreshadowing.

The kitchen scene felt like High Stakes Hide & Seek. Grownups were foolish, trying to play against a teenager.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:51 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Bits of the kitchen scene were very much visual-referencing Jurassic Park, I thought.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:43 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


I thought it was pretty funny that they spent the first 18 minutes of the episode going through all of the expository world building regarding the djinn....

...and then at the end of that whole big sequence, they had Kamala's Dad read the SparkNotes Plot Summary in the gas station in like 30 seconds.

I said THANK YOU out loud at the TV at that point because, well, ADHD lyfe
posted by lazaruslong at 1:01 AM on June 24 [3 favorites]


Director Meera Menon Wrote Bon Jovi a Letter to Use "Livin' on a Prayer" in "Ms. Marvel":
"I wrote a little letter to Bon Jovi explaining how big of a fan I was. I went to his concerts at Giant Stadium when I was a teenager."

"I think he means a lot to people from New Jersey," she says. "But specifically, I wrote that he means a lot to immigrants. [The] connection to American pop culture and American pop music that immigrants have is really strong and meaningful. Using his music in the show felt really necessary to tell the story of this immigrant family from New Jersey." The artist gave them the green light...

"When it came to the actual fight sequence, we experimented with a couple of different Bon Jovi tracks, but 'Livin' on a Prayer' is obviously the most iconic," Menon says. "Livin' on a Prayer," is, of course, about two scrappy kids from New Jersey trying to survive under what feels like impossible odds, which makes it the perfect song for Jersey girl Kamala. During the fight, Kamala really starts to come into her own as a hero and becomes more comfortable with her powers.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:02 AM on June 24 [7 favorites]


Yeah, wow. I'm very much loving the show, but the djinn/clandestine heel-turn was swift and completely unsupported. I thought I must've missed a scene, but on rewatching, no... suddenly, after hundreds of years, Kamran's mom just can't wait a single day longer. How have they maintained any kind of centuries-long low profile with that kind of poor impulse control?
posted by mumkin at 11:49 PM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Wait, did they just sneak a Marvel Hostess Fruit Pie ad into the MCU with that scene between Bruno and Kamala’s father at the bodega?
posted by chrisulonic at 5:01 AM on June 25 [22 favorites]


It was very noticeable and very tearjerking how they focused on the wedding audience cheering allahu akbar. A phrase that has been demonised for so long is shown to be joyful here, to the broadest possible audience.
posted by adrianhon at 10:00 AM on June 25 [14 favorites]


One tiny detail I loved: when Kamala is being carried on people's shoulders during the wedding dance, Aamir briefly slips into protective big brother mode all "she's going to fall!!" It was very sweet, and just one of those small details that helps flesh out the sibling relationship.

Anyway, I teared up during the nikkah scene because it was just so lovely and meaningful to see such a purely joyful ceremony that's unapologetically Muslim.

I'm kind of sad teenage me didn't have this show; adult me spends any given episode of this show wanting to pinch Kamala's cheeks. What a delightful, perfect, charming performance.
posted by yasaman at 5:28 PM on July 2 [5 favorites]


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