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'Ms. Marvel' Episode 4 Recap: City of Lights, Daggers and Famous Cameos

The Disney Plus series takes Kamala home, but there are more fights on the way. Check out the Easter eggs, comic links and that massive cliffhanger. (Spoilers!)

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
3 min read
Kamala Khan puts on her domino mask
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Kamala Khan puts on her domino mask

Kamala Khan puts on her mask to hide her identity (although she's wearing a T-shirt with her hometown written on it).

Marvel Studios

Ms. Marvel goes home in episode 4, although she feels like a stranger so far from familiar Jersey City. But even after she sees the sights and makes some new friends, she finds herself in way more unfamiliar territory as the the Disney Plus series drops an epic cliffhanger... 

Episode 4 packs in a few fights and several iconic Pakistani film and TV stars. Following our recaps of episode 1episode 2 and episode 3, let's dive into an in-depth recap of episode 4, titled Seeing Red, including character arcs and Marvel Easter eggs (and lots of spoilers!).

The word "spoilers" over a scene from Avengers: Endgame
Marvel Studios

The first four of the show's six episodes are available on Disney's streaming service now, with more to follow each Wednesday until July 13.

The City of Lights

Following her clash with the Clandestines and her vision of a train, Kamala and her mom (plus napping pillow) head for their family home: Karachi, Pakistan's largest city.

With her jeans and New Jersey AvengerCon T-shirt and her difficulties with the food, Kamala is a classic ABCD (American-Born Confused Desi). But even here in Karachi, her nani Sana wrestles with her identity, torn between Indian roots and Pakistani nationality -- born of "a border marked with blood and pain ... based on an idea some old Englishman had." 

According to showrunner Bisha K. Ali, this episode is drawn from the experiences of the writers and from director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Pakistani Canadian journalist and filmmaker who has won several Oscars and Emmys for powerful documentaries often tackling horrifying subjects like honor killings and child soldiers.

Played by veteran TV actor Samina Ahmad, Sana is creative like Kamala -- although that's little comfort to Muneeba, who didn't want to hear her mother's stories.

Sana painted a picture of her mother Aisha (Kamala's great-grandmother), who was a djinn and disappeared during the Partition of India. Sana casually reveals she knows about the djinn, and once again links the bangle's vision of the train with the fateful night Aisha disappeared. "When you have lost what I have," Nani says, "you learn to find beauty in the pieces."

The Red Daggers

Kamala's soon caught in another fight, this time with a masked knife-thrower. Although she's getting better at using her hard light powers, her opponent also uses her stepping stones against her. Luckily, Kareem (played by Into the Badlands star Aramis Knight) turns out to be a friend.

Created by G. Willow Wilson and Mirka Andolfo, Kareem in the comics is a non-superpowered vigilante called the Red Dagger. In the show, the Red Daggers are a group: not a Pakistani boy band, but a masked order sworn to protect the world from the threat of the unseen.

Their leader Waleed explains that the Clandestines are from another dimension overlapping ours. Played by Bollywood writer, director, actor and producer Farhan Akhtar, he also helps Kamala further understand her powers and gifts her some purple fabric that comics fans will recognize from her costume on the page. Sadly Waleed isn't around for long, as the Clandestines show up in force.

Not so clandestine

The Clandestines have wound up in a Department of Damage Control supermax prison, but it's a short stay. During their escape, Najma abandons her son Kamran. They drop in on the Red Daggers, sending Kamala careering away in an auto rickshaw chase. Of course she uses her driving skills we remember so well from episode 1. 

A lengthy fight scene is then interrupted when Kamala's bangle takes the train vision one step further, as Kamala steps into the past and finds herself swept up in the chaos of Partition...

When's the next episode?

New installments stream midweek. Episode 5 is coming Wednesday July 6. Here's the full episode release schedule for the rest of the series.

Random thoughts

  • Kamala's napping pillow links to her YouTube name Sloth Baby.
  • The mural in the train station shows a picture of Ant-Man with the message, "You can start small and still be larger than life." The graffiti is credited to an artist named Saira Hussain, but based on the art of real-life Ms. Marvel comic artist Adrian Alphona.
  • The DODC supermax prison housing supervillains was also glimpsed in the trailer for She-Hulk.
  • Although he's only glimpsed in Sana's picture, her father is played by one of Pakistan's most famous singers and actors, Fawad Khan. Presumably that means Sana's father -- Kamala's great-grandfather -- will have a larger role in episode 5 as Kamala explores the past.

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