Let’s Talk about ‘Moon Knight’ Episode 1-1
With the episode debuting to a fantastic reception, let’s talk about Moon Knight Episode 1-1
Is reality objective or subjective?
Many people would argue on the side of the objective, but a new Marvel series tells the story of a character who believes otherwise.
Yes, the Moon’s Knight has joined the MCU. Who is this person, though? Is it Steven Grant or Marc Spector or maybe even Arthur Harrow?
We’ll debate this fact as we talk about Moon Knight episode 1-1, The Goldfish Problem. And I have to ask. Is that a Ted Lasso reference?
Meet Steven Grant
Moon Knight chooses an unusual path at the start. Even though we’re learning the hero’s story, we start with Arthur Harrow. And he’s weird.
Yes, we watch with growing horror as he smashes glass into shards, puts them in sandals, and then – you know it’s happening – wears the sandals.
As far as self-discipline exercises go, that one’s on the harsh side.
After that bit of weirdness, the Marvel credits pop, and then we meet Marc Spector, Steven Grant.
This dude is shockingly nerdish and squirrely. He also chains his ankles to bed each night. I know that we’re not supposed to kink-shame now, but…
Anyway, the Oracle of Delphi once said to know thyself. In this endeavor, Grant is clearly failing.
Dude has a relationship with a fish and a mother whose voice we never hear. My money’s on her having died years ago.
Grant’s one of the shadow people in life. Nobody cares what he thinks or says, including the broom salesman outside his front door, his boss, and his “friend,” the security guard.
Frankly, the episode beats this point over the viewer’s head a bit much. Grant’s boss is so obnoxious that Ricky Gervais finds her over the top.
Perhaps the weirdest moment involves a discussion between Steven and a gold statue whom I’m 99.97 percent certain will come to life during this series.
Marvel is pushing hard on the fact that this dude’s so lonely and unseen that his best friend is an inanimate statue.
So, we’re suffering through the prolonged set-up in anticipation of the surprises.
The Surprises Begin
Do you ever experience a dream so real that you question the very nature of reality for a time?
That’s the curse of Steven Grant. The apparently British man – he has the accent anyway – awakens in a strange place.
An abandoned castle rests on the hill. When Grant approaches, people start shooting at him.
Meanwhile, the voice in his head, the one that sounds like F. Murray Abraham, keeps calling him The Idiot. And it’s getting louder.
Grant finds himself escaping gunfire as he reaches a small, modern town. There, people fall in line as their leader approaches.
Yup, that dude is Arthur Harrow, presumably with shattered glass cutting his toes. He uses a cane, which strikes me as a need of his own creation.
What follows next is straight out of Bioshock Infinite. A clearly demented cult figure tests the righteousness of some followers.
Harrow does this “in Ammit’s name with but a fraction of her power.” One dude passes and earns the declaration of “the face of a good man.”
An older woman takes the test as well. She fails and then immediately drops dead.
Before a third test can occur, Harrow’s soldiers alert him to the presence of a nonbeliever.
Here’s where the fun begins.
The Goldfish Problem
Harrow quickly recognizes Grant not as himself but as the “Mercenary.” Yes, that means Marc Spector.
Grant swears that he’s just a dude who works at a gift shop, but then he discovers a scarab in his possession. So naturally, Harrow wants that and asks for it.
The voice in Grant’s head won’t allow him to hand it over. After several failed attempts, the soldiers ultimately take it from him.
Here’s where The Goldfish Problem reveals itself. In Ted Lasso, the new soccer coach informs a player that goldfish have the shortest memories on the planet.
Lasso tells his charge, “Be a goldfish.” A dear friend actually bought me a hoodie that has this message on it.
For Grant, he picks a strange time to be a goldfish. When Harrow’s people take the scarab, he blacks out. Then, a moment later, his consciousness returns.
Grant looks down and notices several dead bodies. Also, the scarab is dripping with blood.
A chase scene ensues that mirrors the one from Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, only if John “The Cat” Robey kept blacking out every few moments.
Grant steals a cupcake truck and drives through some curvy roads. All of them hang precariously over the mountainside. If he goes over the edge, he’s the Moon Splat instead.
Occasionally, the henchpeople catch up to the cupcake truck because it goes at, you know, cupcake truck speed.
Then, Grant blacks out and awakens to more dead people and crashed vehicles. Also, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go is playing, which heightens the trauma.
In these moments, we can already tell the enticing conceit of Moon Knight.
A man who cannot differentiate fiction from reality faces (presumably) impossible events that he isn’t sure are really happening. He’s the goldfish.
The Day After
Grant survives the events, almost accidentally, and wakes up in his flat the next morning.
Some surprises are in store for him, as his fish has grown a second fin. The woman at the pet shop remembers him from the previous day.
So, the unmistakable implication is that something happened to the old fish, forcing Spector to replace it before Grant noticed anything. That’s far from the last inexplicable event, either.
Grant takes an elevator to the basement, only to encounter flashing lights and then come face to face with the Moon Knight.
Later, he notices this Egyptian creature in the streets, but that’s not all. Harrow takes the same bus to find Grant and retrieve the scarab.
Grant’s surprise doubles when he pleads for help, only to learn that the cult leader’s follower works as one of the security guards at the museum.
Harrow expresses confusion that Grant had been honest earlier about working in the gift shop. Alas, it made the shop boy that much easier to find.
What follows is an exceptional demonstration in scale. First, Harrow tries to explain why Ammit’s way would save humanity.
Ammit apparently knows the entirety of a person’s history and judges them accordingly. My wife points out that it’s like the pre-cogs in Minority Report.
Grant won’t hand over the scarab, though. So, he flees to the darkest part of the museum.
Here, some of the creatures come to life (I guess?) and hunt for him. At this point, the terrified man hides in a bathroom full of mirrors.
There, Marc Spector appears and offers his assistance. A desperate Grant agrees.
The next thing we see is a terrified Egyptian creature desperately trying to escape its fate. It…doesn’t. The Moon Knight punches it into oblivion.
Setting the Table
Only a few minutes into the episode, we learn that Ammit has empowered Harrow with the ability to judge the worth of humans.
Conversely, the Moon Knight doesn’t appear, at least not physically, until the 41-minute mark.
That’s when we get the first glimpse of the bright cowl, the one that’s Marvel’s answer to Batman’s cowl.
Therein lies the gist of this story. Marc Spector somehow resides inside a hidden but very public identity, Steven Grant.
When Grant is in charge, normalcy reigns. Then, when Spector takes the wheel, stuff gets shattered.
Also, Grant hears a literal voice in his head, one that doesn’t think much of him at all.
Spector functions as an enigmatic mystery here rather than the main character, at least thus far.
Conversely, Harrow is at least real enough to visit a museum and search for a scarab.
Still, I have questions. Why did Grant suddenly wake up in the countryside, close to where Harrow would hold court that day?
Just how many people follow Ammit if a random museum security guard is in Harrow’s thrall?
Also, how much of this should we take at face value since we’re dealing with an unreliable narrator?
I’m not going to worry about that part, though. Instead, I’ll spend the next week watching the final 60 seconds of this episode on a loop.
I’m in love with the sequence when Grant chooses to let Spector in, the glyphs flash on the walls, and then the sink shatters.
Also, that first reveal of the Moon Knight is *chef’s kiss*!
Overall, I find the episode slow and am not crazy about the museum/what a nerd parts that go several minutes too long.
Everything from the introduction of the scarab on is A+ stuff, though. I’m hooked. Let us know what you thought of Moon Knight Episode 1 Below!