Let’s Talk about Moon Knight Episode 1-6
Everything has led up to this moment in Moon Knight. We’ve met two men, both of whom possess the same body.
They’ve adventured with their confused wife, who only recently learned she’s a spiritual bigamist.
They’ve warred with the Egyptian pantheon of deities and found themselves worse for wear, as one has since turned to ash…although the other is doing quite nicely.
Oh, and they’ve battled a cult whose death-dealing mission appears likely to succeed. So it’s been a lot.
Now, we’re ready to talk about Moon Knight episode 1-6, the one that fills in all remaining blanks.
A New Avatar
Welcome to The Good Place, Marc Spector! You’ve balanced your scales and earned an eternal home in the Field of Reeds! Of course, your lifelong protector, Steven Grant, turned to stone in the Duat and won’t have quite as pleasant an afterlife.
Also, cultists are poised to kill half the planet. So, you can’t quite hang that Mission Accomplished! sign quite yet. What you can do is make a call, and that’s how the end of your story begins.
First, we watch Arthur Harrow claim his Ammit figurine and prepare to bring her back to life. In the background, Layla El-Faouly mugs a cultist and snags an outfit so that she can pretend to be one of them.
She hitches a ride with world-enders. This is why your elders warned you against hitchhiking. You never know when the person might be resurrecting a banished Egyptian god.
Layla’s story grows exciting when a military security team stops the cultist convoy. Harrow raises his Crocodile Cane of Chaos and judges them.
Unsurprisingly, virtually all the military folks fail Ammit’s worthiness test. As a result, the security checkpoint crew dies screaming, save for one good person who now likes Harrow. Meanwhile, Layla is ready to strike when a dead body starts speaking to her. Yes, that’s weird.
The goddess Taweret tries to dissuade Layla from doing anything rash. She claims that Marc wants her to wait for him to “return to life.” Tawaret also offers to make Layla her avatar. Layla thinks poorly of the whole deity/avatar trade, though.
She learns that she can bring back Marc by finding the Khonshu figurine. So, that’s her side quest.
Khonshu and the Gator
As predicted and expected, the other avatars realize what Harrow is doing roughly ten minutes after it’s too late to stop them. He kills almost all of them.
Conveniently, one of them lives long enough to inform Layla of how to stop them. So yeah, Moon Knight has proven substantially more cliched than previous MCU series.
Anyway, Ammit arises from her slumber, grateful to the dude who brought her back. Harrow is notably humble and undemanding of his goddess. For her sake, she’s got an alligator head and a need for vengeance.
He keeps telling her that he’s unworthy but offers to find her a disciple whose scales are in balance. She ain’t having it. She’s on Team Harrow. Oh great, the cult leader gets more power.
Meanwhile, Layla brings Khonshu back to life. He quickly recognizes that Spector is dead and offers Layla the gig of Moon Knight. She…flatly refuses. Layla really doesn’t respect the title of an avatar. I think she’s closer to becoming a cultist.
Harrow recognizes Khonshu has arisen, though. So, Layla and her frenemy are in danger.
The Good Place
Now, we cut to paradise, where Taweret tells Spector to “enjoy your peace.” Then, after only a moment’s consideration, he chooses to go back to the Duat with Steven.
Taweret tries to talk him out of it, but the dude’s already back in the hellscape. We cut back to Khonshu, who is now debating ethics with Ammit, which seems less than productive. Ultimately, they fight. Duh.
Before the deities settle their argument, Spector finds his stone twin and starts to harden himself. They’ll be together for eternity soon. Marc just keeps talking, though. Finally, he eventually says the magic words by revealing that Steven is “the only real superpower I ever had.”
The magic gate opens, and both dudes turn from stone to flesh. Yay, friendship and personal growth! Unfortunately, their shared epiphany causes a sandstorm for…reasons. So they won’t make it to the gate without help.
The deus ex machina here is an actual deus, as Taweret’s sand-ship arrives to know down the sand and allow the men to return to the land of the living. Look, this doesn’t have to make any sense as long as there’s a fantastic sand-ship action sequence.
We do get one of the greatest lines in the MCU thus far, though. Steven notices the inbound ship and simply shouts, “HIPPO!!!”
A Living Spector
Khonshu and Ammit’s fight goes about as well as you’d think. Khonshu has no believers, while Ammit’s followers have the place surrounded. Ammit offers to spare Khonshu, but he’d rather die than watch her vision for humanity.
Just then, Marc Spector comes back to life. Khonshu knows immediately.
The deity teleports to his avatar, where he offers the opportunity to “rise and live again.” Interestingly, we’ve got two Moon Knights in play now, as Marc and Steven flip-flip at a moment’s notice. It’s a superhero team-up with only one superhero.
Spector and Steven take this opportunity to renegotiate terms with Khonshu. They receive a promise of their freedom.
Then, we cut back to the temple, where Layla is in peril. At this point, Taweret communicates through another dead body and offers the avatar gig again.
With no better options on the table, Layla reconsiders. Although nobody ever says the name, this superhero is the Scarlet Scarab, an obscure comic book character.
We’re short on plot and heavy on action this week. Finally. With all the pieces on the board, the show heads straight to the finish. Ammit’s cultists “judge everyone” to get more souls in their master’s possession. She’s a growing gator.
Meanwhile, Harrow encounters Super Lala for the first time. She looks vaguely like Wonder Woman 1984 with a gold outfit and wings. Also, Harrow encounters the double Moon Knights and quickly learns that they’re better as a duo.
Perhaps the best moment from the fight occurs when Marvel emphasizes the significance of representation. Layla rescues a little girl from a bus. Confused, she asks if Layla is an Egyptian superhero. After a moment’s reflection, she proudly says yes.
This is the best part of the episode, other than the hippo joke, at least before the credits Meanwhile, Khonshu and Ammit continue to debate right and wrong. She views them as having the same purpose, only she doesn’t wait for the crime before administering punishment.
Yes, this whole story breaks down as two different evaluations: human duality and the importance of personal choice. My wife correctly points out that Ammit shares vaguely the same goal as Thanos, who also wanted to eliminate half the people. He just didn’t care whether the good ones or bad ones survived.
Back in the land of the avatars, during the climactic battle with Harrow, something unexpected happens. Harrow has Spector at a disadvantage and appears likely to kill him. Then, just like in previous episodes, a blackout occurs.
When Spector regains control, he has violently disabled Harrow with a moon blade in a way that has horrified Layla. Yup, there’s another personality in there.
The only way to defeat Ammit is to imprison her in a human vessel. So, obviously, they pick Harrow. Khonshu demands that his avatar(s) kill Harrow afterward. Steven and Spector refuse. But hold that thought.
The “happy ending” occurs when Khonshu releases the avatars from their agreement, per his word. Then, we cut to one last attempt at a swerve as we go back to Doctor Harrow’s office.
Once again, Spector debates the nature of reality. Finally, something (his mind? Khonshu?) enlightens him about the truth. When Dr. Harrow walks, his footprints leave a trail of blood, which just feels right given all the Egyptians he just killed.
Spector phases out of this reality with one final comment, “We’d rather go save the world. Laters, gators.”
At this point, we return to Steven’s bedroom, wherein the cycle starts anew. Again, the human duality of Moon Knight remains chained to the bed for its/their own safety.
The aquarium does include two fish, though. Also, the twin personalities are working in harmony. And that appears to be the end of the tale. Until…
The Post-Credits Reveal
We cut to an asylum where a new patient spills his cup. It’s Arthur Harrow, who looks drugged up and not at all unhappy. Alas, a nattily attired individual takes control of his wheelchair and wheels him out of the building.
During this trip, Harrow notices a dead orderly lying in a pool of their own blood. The driver escorts him to a stretch limousine. Inside, Harrow discovers Khonshu and informs the deity that he cannot hurt Harrow or Ammit.
At this point, Khonshu introduces Harrow to his “friend, Jake Lockley.” It’s Spector and Steven’s third personality, one taken straight from the comics. Lockley is the underworld heavy who does the dirty work for Moon Knight since he has all the street connections.
In this instance, his task requires nothing challenging. Lockley merely points the gun at Harrow/Ammit and pulls the trigger. Yes, Khonshu remains in control of one of Spector’s personalities, and it’s been lurking under the surface the whole time.
Many of those blackouts throughout the season weren’t Steven turning into Spector. Instead, the third personality took control to do the dirty stuff. Jack Lockley is the killer of the trio. And he remains fully committed to Khonshu.
That’s where the story ends, with a limo with a license plate of SPKTR leaving the asylum.
Overall, I have to say that I wanted to like Moon Knight more than I actually did. Even modulating my opinions away from the Batman expectations I had at the beginning, I found some of the storytelling trite and predictable.
We’ve all grown to expect a lot from MCU stories, which means they’re in competition with one another, something I regret. Still, I believe that even on its own merits, Moon Knight lacks a certain something that would elevate it in terms of satisfactory viewing.
We have dazzling, award-worthy performances from Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke. And the character of Taweret is instantly engaging. I also quite like Layla, whose confusion throughout the story adds to our own.
Somehow, the sum feels like less than the parts, though. Frankly, this series needs a second season to fill in the blanks and add more sustained and better storytelling. Currently, Isaac has finished his contractual obligations. Still, I expect more since the Lockley reveal feels like a setup rather than a conclusion.
If you want to know all the ways Marvel hinted at Lockley’s presence, the official website has enumerated them. Overall, I’d still give Moon Knight a B+ due to Hawke and Isaac’s work, but I think it’s my least favorite of the live-action MCU shows thus far.