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Ms. Marvel Is All About Teen Life – With a Dash of Superpowers

As a superhero origin show, Disney+’s Ms. Marvel doesn’t neglect the intricacies of normal life for the teenage Kamala Khan. It embraces the drama.

The following contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel Season 1, Episode 2, “Crushed,” now streaming on Disney+

Ms. Marvel‘s Season 1, Episode 2, “Crushed,” gave viewers an in-depth look at the life of Kamala Khan in all its teenage glory. With a more personal glimpse at Kamala’s daily life when she’s not fully obsessed with AvengerCon, it showcased her social interactions and family dynamics, while giving her character a new boost of confidence. It developed slowly and with nuance, unfolding layers of friendship, jealousy and even secrets.

This teenage journey started with Kamala proudly walking the hall of her school in a gloriously reversed montage of the same emotional dejection scenes of Episode 1, until she met up with Bruno, who was eager to discuss her new superpowers. Several conspiratorial whispers later, their other friend, Nakia, joined them and the talk turned to Zoe, now eagerly relating the chaos and her rescue at AvengerCon as only the popular high schooler can.

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Basking in the attention and raking in the followers, Zoe took full advantage of being the popular girl, but in a fresh spin, as she never came across as the “mean girl.” Yes, Zoe is the darling of the school, the one with the followers and admirers, but as yet free of any bullying or cruel behavior. She’s a bit vapid and shallow, perhaps, but not mean. And later in the episode when she was questioned by the authorities about her encounter with the new superhero, she showed some character by keeping silent.

Zoe even invited the new male student, Kamran (Kamala’s secret crush), to her party. In an amusing teen moment, the invite caused Ms. Khan to immediately reverse her stance on attending. At this party Kamran took an interest in Kamala, to her delight and Bruno’s annoyance. Several fast-paced scenes commenced as the cops showed up and Kamran whisked off Kamala, Bruno and Nakia in his car, where he and Kamala start bonding over shared interests.

RELATED: Ms. Marvel Fixes the MCU’s Biggest Diversity Problem

Bruno, clearly jealous and relegated to a third wheel, interrupted their conversation every chance he could. With Kamala oblivious to Bruno, her attention glued to Kamran, and Nakia in the back smirking over the situation, the scene played out with a lighthearted spin on the beginnings of a teen love triangle. Later, confident in his command of Kamala’s attention, Kamran gave her his number and offered to give her driving lessons; Kamala jumped at the chance to spend time with him. This led to another instance of teen angst, when Kamala’s brother sees them out together, and Kamala starts lying to avoid being chastised or questioned.

Romantic entanglements weren’t the only teen drama explored, either. More insights focused on culture with a look at the mosque where Kamala and Nakia attended services. It was a very subtle presentation of youth pushing against tradition, with Nakia and Kamala rushing in to avoid being late (with a gentle reprimand) and other teens paying more attention to Instagram than the service. That disruption segued into the neglected conditions of the women’s section of the mosque and Nakia running for a place on the mosque’s board. Her later campaigning scenes at the festival were a delight, showcasing her intelligence and prowess at political maneuvering.

And while most of the show focused on Kamala’s life, viewers were treated to a realistic training sequence (involving a lot of mistakes and falling down) where she explored her powers. As well, some enigmatic family history was revealed that tied into Kamala’s new powers. And while life as a teenager might be filled with dramatic angst, her family secrets look to make things even more problematic. For as the ending revealed, her new would-be boyfriend, Kamran, was not exactly what he appeared.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel stream Wednesdays on Disney+.

A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. When not watching the latest Marvel TV show or movie, she’s busy writing and publishing horror/fantasy books and stories.

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