Ms. Marvel (2022) s01e02 – Crushed

So, there was an end credits scene in the first episode of “Ms. Marvel.” It gets recapped in this one’s intro; there’s no end credit scene in this episode. Marvel/Disney+ needs some consistency, warning, or not to drag out the end credits to make the run times look longer.

The scene introduces Damage Control agents Arian Moayed and Alysia Reiner. Reiner’s a racist; Moayed knows she’s a racist and tries to manage it internally. Not much else to the characters.

We don’t find out Reiner’s a racist until this episode when it’s a lengthy scene beat. I actually wasn’t expecting “Ms. Marvel” to be so blunt about the U.S. government being racist against Brown people, especially Muslim ones. I also wasn’t expecting them to do a young Muslim woman empowerment arc either. Lead Iman Vellani’s best friend, Yasmeen Fletcher, is running for mosque council against the odds (meaning entrenched sexism).

For most of the episode, Fletcher’s second lead. Like, Crushed gets a lot done thanks to the script (credited to Kate Gritmon) and Meera Menon’s direction. The first episode did sitcom-level introductions for most of the cast, particularly Vellani’s family; this episode quickly and efficiently deepens the characters.

It’s outstanding work.

The episode starts being about Vellani and her best (guy) friend (who loves her and she doesn’t know), Matt Lintz, doing superhero training for her new powers. Vellani knows the bangle bracelet has something to do with it, but not what. Lintz’s souped-up StarkPad (though Apple exists in the MCU, at least AirPods) determines the bangle just unlocked Vellani’s pre-existing abilities. She thinks it’s got something to do with her great-grandmother, but mom Zenobia Shroff doesn’t want her asking questions about that part of family history.

Then Fletcher needs her help with the campaign. Part of her decision to run involves their mosque having a shoe thief on the women’s side and the male governing body not caring. It seems like it’d make a good first mission for “Ms. Marvel,” but it will not be her first outing, which this episode ends with. Vellani’s got a doozy of a first night out, like, it’s great stuff.

The postscript to it, which moves the plot along too fast, is a miss, but the episode’s already done so much. Including introducing a good romantic interest (Rish Shah) and doing an Adventures in Babysitting homage.

We also meet brother Saagar Shaikh’s fiancée Travina Springer; they crash a sorta date for Vellani and Shah, and it’s a great scene, then Springer’s back at family dinner. It’s a fine device to get in some exposition (Springer hearing family history relevant to the bangle) and strengths the family stuff. Dad Mohan Kapur continues to be an adorable sitcom dad.

Vellani and mom Shroff get one really nice scene, but Shroff’s secrets are now a brewing b-plot.

The hard cliffhanger’s a letdown, but the episode’s otherwise excellent, with multiple especiallys.

2 Comments

  1. Vernon W

    We’ll, this episode kept me from being embarrassed for liking this show. While pushing the correct buttons on teen sugary goodness there’s enough here to keep me entertained as an adult. The leads are all perfectly cast, and the hard ending didn’t bother me, as the title of the episode sets up a clue that this will give Kamala a more nuanced character than from typical popular culture icons. Even mom leaves the stereotypical worried mom schtick for a warmer result. On the heels of the disappointing Moon Knight, I am happy to be addicted to a Disney show again.

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