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Ms. Marvel Is Really About The Relationship Between Mothers and Daughters

The following article contains minor spoilers for Episode 4 of Ms. Marvel.

In its first four episodes, Ms. Marvel has had a lot of twists and turns. While Kamala Khan discovered a magical bangle and unlocked her powers, the Clan Destine were introduced, and later revealed as the villains. But, as the teenage superhero was trying to make sense of what was going on around her, at its core, the series continued to emphasize how important her relationships were, most importantly the one with her mother.


Iman Vellani’s Kamala and Zenobia Shroff’s Muneeba have been the perfect mother-daughter duo in Ms. Marvel so far, and the two have shared some endearing moments. Episode 4 brought Samina Ahmed’s Sana into the picture as well, and seeing Muneeba’s interaction with her own mother proved that the three generations of women in the family are quite similar. Not only do they share the same DNA and possibly “Noor,” their relationships are interchangeable.

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Kamala and Muneeba have had a tense relationship since Ms. Marvel began. Muneeba has come off as the ever-so-strict mother who wants to ensure that her teenage daughter follows all the rules, which are sometimes influenced by their cultural norms. Kamala cannot go to a party alone, is not allowed to wear “skimpy clothes,” and is constantly reminded of how all her actions affect her future. It might sound like a typical day in the life of a teenager, but this specific teen has powers that have apparently run in her family for generations.

From the get-go, Muneeba seems to be aware of what the bangle is capable of, but does not reveal the truth. In the latest episode of Ms. Marvel, Muneeba confirms that her mother Sana would narrate stories of “her wild theories,” which were most likely about the Djinns. She moved to the US to get away from them, but they followed her there nonetheless in the form of the bangle. She reflects her anger onto Kamala, but that piece of jewelry connects four generations of women in her family, only making their relationship stronger.

In the past, fans saw Muneeba bringing Kamala down at certain points. For instance, when Kamala wants to visit AvengerCon, Muneeba refuses to let her go, unless her father goes with her, and they dress up as “big Hulk, and little Hulk.” When Kamala ends up sneaking out and attending the convention, Muneeba expresses her disappointment and makes Kamala feel like she is throwing her life away. That’s just one example of the friction in their relationship, and there are other scenes where Muneeba enforces her position of power onto her daughter. However, the latest episode in the Disney Plus series turns the table when the duo arrive in Karachi. Suddenly, their relationship isn’t the tensest one in the series.

As soon as Muneeba and Sana meet at the airport in Karachi, it is established that the two have some baggage, and they will be awkward in each other’s company. While Sana seems genuinely excited to meet her granddaughter Kamala, seeing her own daughter Muneeba after several years does not garner the same reaction. In all the chaos of the airport, the mother and daughter suddenly seem so distant, as if enveloped in a vacuum bubble. Though they do greet each other, Sana immediately remarks on how her daughter’s “skin is so dry.”

At another point in the episode, Muneeba and Sana finally have a heart-to-heart chat, when the former is cleaning the home that she grew up in. Sana reveals that all the toffee boxes around the house are the ones she kept just in case her daughter decided to return to Pakistan one day. Despite their differences, adding this little detail was a good idea as it softens the blow that is about to follow. The mother and daughter have different views on why Muneeba decided to leave. While the daughter believes that she needed a change because she was “shunned by the neighbors because of [her] crazy mother,” Sana is convinced that her daughter just wanted to get away from her. All she wanted was to share her magical stories with her daughter, and talk about their Djinn heritage, but Muneeba wanted her mother to focus on their lives.

This one scene speaks volumes about the relationship between the two women, and even the relationship that Muneeba shares with her own daughter Kamala. She grew up in a house where her mother would speak of magic and a “trail of stars” that saved her life. It only seems fair that she doesn’t want her daughter walking the same path. So, when the bangle arrives in a package at their home, Muneeba is quick to label it as junk, and store it away in the attic. A scene in the latest episode where Kamala finds her mother sitting alone in the kitchen and eating candy summarizes all their relationships perfectly. When Kamala asks Muneeba if she is doing alright, she quickly responds, “yes, you know how mothers are.”

Some of the best moments in the latest Ms. Marvel episode are the ones between Sana and Kamala, though. The scene where Sana reveals to Kamala that she is also a Djinn is funny and endearing at the same time. Ahmed is a versatile actor and brings just the right amount of magic into those scenes as the loving grandmother who has a lot of wisdom to pass on. “If you have lived like I have, lost what I have, you learn to find beauty in the pieces,” she tells Kamala, almost encouraging her granddaughter to hold onto what’s dear.

The second scene of the two on a rooftop is equally powerful, when Sana talks about partition and the pain it brought to the people of her land. It is obvious that their relationship is a more comfortable one, where Sana is able to speak her mind and share her pain with her granddaughter without having to worry about judgment. Seeing the two interact is refreshing as there is no sarcasm or underlying meanings. It is all about pure intentions and love, and almost makes it seem like Ms. Marvel is a series about the relationships between the three women. So far, this is where the show has been at its strongest, focusing on Kamala’s family and cultural implications.

Sana’s dialogues are reflective of the pain that people in the real world faced during the partition of India in 1947, and her warmth towards Kamala is relatable for audience members of any demographic. Anything else, including the beings from another dimension, seems irrelevant compared to the chemistry that the three women share. The show has placed emphasis on familial relationships from the beginning, and each episode only seems to solidify it even more, making the moments between family members the most prominent ones. It remains to be seen whether the plot about other dimensions and the Clan Destines will be able to catch up in the next two episodes.

Ms. Marvel is streaming on Disney Plus.

More: Ms. Marvel Made The Right Move Changing The Origin Of Kamala’s Powers

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