In the latest episode of Ms. MarvelKamala (Iman Vellani) finds herself smack dab in the middle of The Partition in the year 1947. With only two episodes left, there are so many questions we have after that episode, but first and foremost, let’s examine where she is and what is so important about the Partition.
What is the Partition?
Prior to 1947, India was under British Rule. When India won its independence in 1947, the country split up into two individual states, India and Pakistan. Pakistan was split into two areas, Pakistan and East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh in 1971. The separation mostly came down to the strife between the Hindu and the Muslim religions. It certainly did not help that the British accelerated the handing over of power nearly a year earlier than anticipated, causing a historic tragedy of epic proportion. Millions were made to flee to their respective countries ending in the deaths of up to 2 million people. This event led to the displacement of refugees and resulted in generational trauma that has been passed down. Over the years, the tensions are still quite visible, and it is quite difficult to visit family across the borders; some have never been back to their home of origin since The Partition.
This, of course, is a very basic summary as there are many more nuances to the entire situation that we’re not getting into here. But I highly encourage you to read more about this event that has been woefully underrepresented in the telling of global history.
What We Know About Kamala’s Family and Partition
In Episode 2, Kamala’s brother, Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) is telling his fiancée, Tyesha (Travina Springer) the story of their family history during the Partition. Aamir and his father, Yusuf (Mohan Kapur) tell Tyesha about Kamala’s great-grandmother, Aisha (Mehwish Hayat). It seems that Aisha is from another realm. She and Najma (Nimra Bucha) and the crew of ClanDestine Djinn’s are desperate to get back to their realm. We are still unaware of what happened to Aisha that fateful night when she discovered the bangle, but Najma and the other three in the group have clearly been around all this time still trying to find a way back after being exiled so many years ago. Najma and the group haven’t seen Aisha since she disappeared during the Partition, but they do know that Kamala’s bangle is the only way to get home again.
Aisha’s daughter and Kamala’s grandmother, Sana (Samina Ahmad) was a toddler during Partition and was separated from her parents during the bedlam at the train station. During the chaos, Sana was desperate to find her parents before the last train departed for Pakistan. But Sana managed to miraculously find what she describes as a “trail of stars,” which led her to reunite with her father with moments to spare before the train left the station. A story so sad, that even a generation later, Kamala’s mother Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff) can barely stand listening to it.
How The Partition Plays Into Episode 4
At the beginning of Episode 4, Sana tells Kamala about her memories of Partition with her parents and the great fear she had when she was separated from them. She shares photos of her parents and recounts the events of that night. Kamala listens and offers empathy to her clearly still suffering grandmother. Sana is less than surprised at the reveal of the bangle and Kamala’s newfound power. She knew full well what she was sending her and whose hands she wanted that bangle in. After all, it has clearly been in the family since at least Aisha and has done miraculous things ever since. It is a little unclear why Muneeba is so skeptical about it though. Is it just because the neighbors were talking some smack? Or is there something more to this story?
Out on the streets of Karachi, Kamala dons her new mask, courtesy of the lovelorn Bruno (Matt Lintz). She encounters a fellow in a red mask, later revealed to be Kareem (Aramis Knight), a member of the Red Daggers. He takes Kamala to meet Waleed (Farhan Akhtar), the leader of the Red Daggers who explains to her (finally) exactly who Aisha is and what Najma wants. Even worse news, Najma and the ClanDestines have escaped from the pathetic excuse for a maximum-security prison and have arrived in Karachi to once again try and reclaim the bangle, so they can get home.
As the episode comes to a close, an epic chase and fight scene ensues through the streets of Karachi as Kamala, aided by her new Red Dagger friends trying to escape the Clandestines. Unfortunately, Waleed is forced to sacrifice himself to save Kamala. Finally, it seems Kamala and Kareem are cornered and are forced to face the Clandestines head-on. When it comes down to a final confrontation, Najma attacks Kamala, and her weapon slams directly into Kamala’s bangle. After a flash of light, Kamala finds herself smack dab in the middle of the train station in 1947 as the Partition is happening. Suddenly the stories Sana was telling her about Partition are right in front of her eyes, and she witnesses the horrors of families being forced to separate in order to escape on the sparse trains left. Kamala makes her way up to the top of the train and is taken aback as she witnesses the vastness of the refugees desperate for escape and knowing full well the tragedy that is about to unfold. There simply are not enough trains to carry all the people to safety and Kamala is well aware of how badly this was going to end. Even worse, she knows that Sana, as a toddler, is out there somewhere desperately searching for her parents. This does not seem to be a vision like the previous ones she has had of the trains, this is reality at its most gruesome. It is one thing to hear the stories of the Partition, it is quite another to witness it firsthand. And Kamala is going to have to take it all in and process what the real reason is the bangle has found its way to her arm.
And in the midst of all the darkness, we’ll find out if the trail of stars is provided by Aisha, or could it be an actual bootstrap paradox where Kamala herself is the one who shines Sana to safety?