Moon Knight Episode 2 Review

The second episode of Moon Knight dropped on Disney Plus earlier today and I for one was hoping we would get some payoffs and answers. There’s some of that but its mostly comedy and edgy-ness. The episode title is “Summon The Suit,” and it struck me as kind of dumb, but I put that out of my mind…only to be reminded again and again. This term is spoken a few times in the episode. The title’s at least accurate.

So of course I know by now to carefully note the episode description. “With little time to react Steven is thrust into a war of the gods as a mysterious new partner arrives.” My first thought was “That’s absolutely relatable, I get caught between angry gods all the time!” The next thought was- “this show was goofy and rambling last week and now this week we’re going this heavy?”

Last time the episode description had key info left out of the show- so don’t miss it. It’s a must with this Disney content. The tiled pic for the episode shows Oscar Issac regarding a brunette woman, so I’m sure she’s going to be very important. Then I turn on the subtitles because that’s where character names are revealed.

We start off with some physical comedy as we have Steven fumbling with the self containment traps he creates to see if he’s been sleep walking. There’s more peering in the mirror quizzically talking to himself. At work at the museum he sees the aftermath of last week’s episode ending fight scene. His friend the security guard allows him to see the video footage from the security cams, which he clearly has not seen himself yet. The video shows Steven sobbing and hiding. There’s no evidence on video of the demon dog- which Steven calls a jackal- that chased him down. Cameras only show Steven as we usually see him, not in costume.

He’s fired and advised to get mental help. Then they really make a lot of him returning his name tag. Its not a swipe pass or a photo ID, it just has his first name. It doesn’t even have the name of the museum. The only reason to take it is so we see more reflections on the glass table. I get why they wanted the shot, but just some name tag with no affiliation? Do they know for sure they will only hire another Steven? It reduces him too much to really be respected. “We’ll be taking that name back, too.”?? Wow. I’m sure they will fight his unemployment- and that’ll be a problem because he will need it to pay off the damages. When they reveal later he’ll be charged if he doesn’t pay for what happened all I could think was “You told him he was mentally ill then fired him because he’s unpredictably violent. Why would you ever make him any madder? Blow off the damages!”

Steven is made to seem really unimportant. They reduce him a lot with insults and failures. It sort of comes together clumsily and it feels real weird. Cleaning out his pockets he finds some keys that he doesn’t recognize. He expresses his problems to a gold painted mime in a park because he’s an idiot in the guise of Steven. It’s just stuff we don’t need done weirdly.

Steven tracks down the storage facility the keys are from and the guard knows his unit number and face, so he doesn’t check the computer- which Steven kind of could benefit from. The storage unit is clean and sterile but it’s obvious he sometimes sleeps there. In the unit is a bag with weapons he handles like they’re radioactive. This is about the same pace as last week and this part is so boring it’s when I first checked the time code. It was 10 minutes in.

Also in Steven’s loot bag are a few million euros and a US Passport for Marc Spector. The picture on it is of course the face of Steven/Marc. There’s also the scarab he swiped from Ethan Hawke last week and he’s glad to see it. It’s apparently magic or has some kind of mechanism that deploys the wings and allows the scarab to hover about the base it seemed connected to in a weird way. Then the show gets weirder.

Steven speaks to the Scarab, which is dumb, but for now he’s not an idiot, surmising its some kind of compass and that it ‘doesn’t point north’- something he shouldn’t be able to know in this windowless room inside some storage facility. It’s a little like Jack Sparrow’s magic compass. Then he talks to his reflection again. Both he and his reflection are pretty fed up. He is literally at odds with himself. “Mirror Marc” tells Steven hes just annoying and in the way, so he needs him to go to sleep.

Marc explains that they are kind of like Avatars and they serve an entity called Khonshu- the Egyptian moon-god. Khonshu’s the giant skeletal bird-man we see from time to time. They “protect the vulnerable” and other things that sort of sound vaguely Batman-like. In this conversation Steven remarks to himself that he’s handsome and then he laughs at the idea he’s a Batman-ish Egyptian Moon Knight.

So the explanation is that it all makes sense but you wouldn’t understand. I hit the episode ID and confirm I’m not watching Star Trek Discovery because this is just not useful information. We just joked about this and it seems we’re moving on. Marc offers to let Steven have control of the body they share -without mentioning any terms except he needs control immediately to deal with a few issues. Steven balks at this idea. He grabs the bag full of cash and guns and says he plans to turn himself in.

Some lines may have been cut but no one told the closed captioning people, so we see ‘Oh, God..Oh, God’ on screen as we see lights go on and off and it appears Steven is being stalked by supernatural forces in the storage facility hallway. He runs around in a panic and we get “whimpering” as an on screen subtitle.

So far Steven is a nut and a coward whose composure and intelligence comes and goes. Thirteen minutes in we’re getting dense with events and we have endless self monologues, cryptic edge talk and recurring self confrontation similar to the Gollum- Smeagol dynamic from “Lord of the Rings.”

Eventually he sees the very tall skeletal bird we’ve seen before. Subtitles tell us this is Khonsu. He’s about as well crafted a monster as New Orleans Mardi Gras or Greenwich Village Halloween parade super sized skeleton suit- which is good but not about to blow you away because we’ve seen stuff this good just at street fairs. Then things get really dumb. Not so much unamusing, Oscar Issac is convincing, but it’s dumb and our primary character Steven is neurotic. It makes the show feel slower.

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Steven runs out of the museum and collides with a woman on a scooter. “Marc?!” she says. Steven replies “Layla?”

Turns out we’ve just met Layla, the mysterious female voice on the phone from episode 1. What an amazing coincidence! They flee riding double on the scooter. Fortunately she has an extra helmet for coward Steven. She speaks in exhibition and its clunky as hell. She asks/tells him ‘is this steven a new personality?” Steven is overwrought and full of fear, thankfully, Layla is saving him. Then we find out it’s not a coincidence at all because she says she tracked his phone and doesn’t elaborate, inferring it’s stupid for him to ask about this amazing coincidence. Layla says she was there because she tracked his phone and thats it.

This bothered me because they had just sidestepped explaining to Steven and us just how he ended up serving Khonshu by calling it ridiculous and then moving on. Explaining a legitimate question and a huge plot contrivance via a throw away line is a precarious choice. It works when used well, but to use it to first shortcut around explaining Moon Knight’s origin and powers might be too cute to work. They need to readdress this so we know more about how this whole scenario came to be.

In the case of Steven balking at the idea there even is a Moon Knight makes too much sense for him to accept a quippy reply and move on. He knows there’s something going on and has some curiosity- just not enough to overcome a snarky non answer to his expressions of doubt.

hey’re saying ‘it makes sense, you just can’t understand it.” It gets much worse later when Steven needs key info on his Moon Knight persona. I again wonder if this is Star Trek Discovery. This was the first glimmer of possible problems. He’d been on the move, he was just well inside a windowless building. The throw away line is awkward but it was too convenient to pass up for the writers.

Her timing was beyond perfect, she ended up at that spot riding by at the exact moment he needs saving and she just says she tracked his 2007 phone. So she was just hours or less away, we know only that. Did she hop a jet in New York or scooter over from another part of London? So far Layla hasn’t said anything useful in orienting us. We know nothing about these characters. We don’t know where they’re from or where they live. So just how did she end up there? Maybe the throw away line is ok, but this is a huge contrivance. The way went about it invites a lot of questions I’m not sure were intentional.

Mentioning something that needs to be explained and getting a pithy, edgey non answer about it being too brainy for you, scoffing outright at answering or making some non relevant joke is not actual information. It’s a lazy writing device called ‘lampshading’ and it’s not a good sign. “I tracked your phone” is just too thin for that much good luck. “I’ve been driving this damn scooter triangulating all night” would have been better. At least we would know more or less where she came from and there’s an implied local assets, like a tracking system. As it is? She could have a Quinn-Jet or the Time Stone. Captain Marvel could have dropped her off.

This is a real problem in this episode because Layla is the only non-insane character. Unfortunately, she’s too glib and frustrated to simply answer questions. This is especially strange after she realizes Steven is a different personality and doesn’t know what Marc knows. She picks up on it so quickly – in just seconds – that she’s surely seen it before. So why is she so frustrated and vague explaining key things everyone already knows or has no use for but us and Steven? At one point they’re in danger and Steven needs to know some things to use his powers. Still, she’s simply not helpful. There’s no good reason. I’m wondering if she’s just going to simply scoff at all questions and leave us wondering all season.

What we don’t know and weren’t allowed to ask is now cryptically unspooled by Layla, but what we get is sparse. Layla gives a fragmentary account of how Moon Knights powers work. It didn’t really clear much up. We merely find out he has to ‘summon’ his Moon Knight Suit and he’s a lot tougher when he has it on. That’s about as much as we find out. It’s really cringe. Another bit of relevant info is spilled out during their scooter ride, “I’m still your wife.” Ugh!

This has been a tedious 15 minutes. Then the characters start to bicker. The solution is that going to Steven’s flat will explain everything. This makes little sense but we’re just moving along with lots of boring but complex events happening non stop. Steven/Marc’s wife Layla is ok looking, but the real advantage is she’s not an idiot, just very short on patience. She also looks too young to be married to anyone, especially Oscar Issac, who looks great for 43 but appears about 15 years older than his ‘wife.” This also makes no sense, but I approve of the message!

They continue their info dump conversations. We find out that Steven can read and speak French, likes poetry and that reading hieroglyphics is so easy even someone as dumb as him can do it. This is because they’re very much like an alphabet. I don’t how true this is, but I do know that even if it is, there’s still a need to understand a dead language- which they’re nice enough to say. So Steven is a savant. Now there’s a surprise of sorts, we find out Layla hates this guy and just needs him to sign their divorce papers- something she says he’s long wanted. This is why she’s chasing after him. Apparently she doesn’t know of the “No Contest” or “Abandonment” methods of divorce. Then we pump the cringe up to 11 as Steven, Marc and Layla argue and overtalk.

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Then Steven/Mark gets a good yelling at and dressing down. He shows her the scarab that’s been driving the plot despite his Mark persona telling him not to do anything of the sort. That when an older male and a bald female cop (please don’t tell Will Smith I said that) just show up. We get her name in the captions (DC Kennedy) so we know she’s the important cop. Kennedy talks to Steven/Marc like hes an idiot because people just do that to him. The ‘cops’ enter his place and search through his bags with no kind of warrant or cause. It’s pretty obvious they’re not that legit but no one really challenges them.

At the halfway point of the episode all we know is that everyone but Steven knows a lot about Steven. Then the ‘cops’ tell him that he’s nuts for thinking hes going to jail and he should sort of shut up and sit tight. We’ve spent 80 minutes of this story being confronted with the idea our hero is an idiot and maybe he’s hallucinating- however the shows called Moon Knight, so we know it’s pretty much real.

Then Arthur aka Ethan Hawke shows up and he’s got control of the cop car radio and door locks. He’s somewhat nicer now. Hes up to speed on Steven’s issues, including the Khonsu thing. He’s seems to be saying he’s like Niles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or maybe Alfred from Batman. Hes transformed a slummy corner of London into a hippie commune of multilingual geniuses who (I guess) follow him. We saw Arthur sort of kill someone in Episode 1, so this is all pretty weird. Steven/Marc is hallucinating or seeing stuff only he can see and has another voice in his head mocking him. It’s pretty scattershot. We have a meal and things are pretty damn SPAWN-like as far as the flow of the story. No one talks like a regular person in the conversation between Arthur and Steve/Marc. Khonshu stands a bit away mocking it all with cryptic self laudatory comments (I AM Justice!). Then we find out Ethan Hawke might be able to hear Khonshu better than Steven.

For no real reason they talk about being vegans and eat. I guess it’s Cinema Verite? The whole thing feels like he’s giving Steven therapy. We learn that Arthur’s take is Khonshu is a pretty flawed guardian. He is not about saving people. The word Vengeance gets used a lot in about 2 minutes. Then we talk about Ammit- some other god described as ‘a weird crocodile lady”by Steven.This was strange as well. He should have some passion for Egyptology considering he recently read up on it in the hopes of becoming a tour guide at the museum.

Arthur claims that Ammit is a better protector and that the scarab is ‘a compass to her tomb” and they need to ‘resurrect her.’ This will allow a Pre-Crime Prevention capacity similar to Minority Report, but with magic. Then people who apparently WILL do evil can be stopped by being killed in a soul sucking ritual.

I’m not sure why Arthur needs to resurrect anyone. He already has the power he says he’s looking to obtain, we saw him use it last week. Twice. So he doesn’t really seem to need to do this at all. We still don’t know why he puts broken glass in his shoes either. Ethan Hawke might still be able to make this character work. He did manage to do the whole Bond Villain “charming to menacing transition” pretty convincingly despite the dialogue only making just so much sense.

Then we have a microcosm of the “Would it be ok to kill Hitler as a child?” logic game and it’s all edge. They work through the analogy clumsily and Arthur is using Nazi-like medical analogies about amputation and the greater good. Then we find out that Arthur’s odd looking cane is sort of like Ammit’s version of The One Ring, holding some of her power. I suppose this is how its able to suck out peoples life essence and have them drop dead sometimes in his strange ‘Judgement Ritual’ we saw last week.

I guess the fact Steven knows Layla has the Scarab that Arthur wants but isn’t giving this info up is showing him growing a bit of a spine. Before we can consider that Layla is suddenly shock-revealed. She’s in the middle of the room somehow and confronts them holding the scarab over her head. This is presented as being pretty unnerving and Arthur is acting like she has a live grenade. “Summon the suit” she says, to Stevens complete confusion. He’s clueless as to what she means and that’s when she partly explains his Moon Knight suit to him. The first step is to summon it.

Since Steven is unable to summon said suit everyone moves in on him and Layla. The pair flee Arthur and his cult followers. It’s all Layla kicking grown ass mens asses and Steven is as useless as Robot Picard. Arthur summons some kind of demon dog that only Steven sees- but its able to knock him out a window- so something is there. As he falls about two floors out the window he lands transformed into a different iteration of Moon Knight from episode 1. This time he has a white formal type suit and a white wrestlers hood. This is accomplished by yelling “Suit! Suit! Suit!”

Fortunately Marc is there like Clippy, Tutoring. Then we get a fight scene against an invisible enemy. It’s mostly played for laughs with Layla doing all the fighting as Steven takes all the punches. If you like really slap-sticky stuff I guess this is good, but I’m completely confused on the tone of the situation.

Eventually Steven gives in and lets Marc control his body and the Suit looks a lot different and more formidable right away. Now because of the fact we have only unreliable information from a split personality character it’s hard to say who sees what, but Layla reacts like she sees the demon jackal too. At this point the show starts to feel like a Batman video game, specifically Arkham City.

Moon Knights shadow is the focus of a scene and damn is it EVER close to just being “Legally different enough Batman.” Moon Knight DOES look pretty cool. Then we finally see the action and with that Moon Knight pretty quickly dusts off this monster, giving it a pretty gruesome death before its just turns to sand and falls away into nothing. So Moon Knights enemies seem to self-clean. There’ll be few if any signs that this happened in a few moments. Moon Knight tried slashing the jackal with his strange circular, detachable chest piece before impaling it on a church steeple- he seems to be able to recover that using the Force or something like it. Maybe hes still ‘Marc’ when he transforms back to a human, we cant tell what his accent is because he just mutters then screams.

Switching back to Ethan Hawke we see that the male cop type has recovered the Scarab. Arthur takes it and to thank his pal for recovering it he sucks the life out of him. This is kind of strange because he doesn’t seem to use the “One Ring Cane” we spent time setting up to do it. Layla, on her scooter, sees this from a distance. There’s 11 minutes left and I’m only just so entertained. Even worse we find out boring Steven is still around, but now his personality is the one in the mirror. Marc makes a pledge to sort of dissolve and leave Steven alone in their shared body.

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gabor Kotschy. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Marc and Steven have a debate but Marc shows he can focus more and sort of dispel Steven. What’s changed is now Steven is somewhat in on what’s happening. We know Marc sort of has a karmic sort of debt he owes. Once again what they describe sounds pretty Batman-like. Then Khonshu shows up again and he’s just too edgy to take seriously. Khonshu tells our pal ‘Poe Dammrung’ he wasn’t supposed to interfere. Not sure what this means since Steven was going to get himself killed trying to use the Suit. However, now it’s Marc’s turn to get owned – literally. Khonshu says the Marc/Steven body isn’t Marc’s to give away. Its property of Khonshu. Then in a quick change in tone he tells Marc he’s worth protecting and sounding like Ghost Alfred or older Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. Then Khonshu’s creepy again and says they both like killing off the demon jackals and opposing Arthur.

The plan is to get to Ammit’s tomb first. Then Khonshu’s dickishly reveals that if Marc screws up the next Moon Knight will be Layla in an implicative way, its clear enough though. This is apparently what Marc meant when he told Steven he was protecting Layla.We have three sympathetic characters. Two are the same man and the other is female. Khonshu says the next Moon Knight will be a ‘she.’ So he means Layla.

Khonshu is always edgy and low info. Then we transition to what seems to be Marc/Steven’s apartment. Marc is in charge, buts he’s drinking, hard. Throwing open the window there’s only one place we can be. We see the Pyramids at Giza. He maybe two miles away from The Great Pyramid. Rap music ends the episode.

This episode brings us to 96 minutes of Moon Knight all together. Here’s what we know- We lack a reliable point of view character. Khonshu is a bipolar mix of the Joker, Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Marc seemingly can stay in charge as long as he wants, but seems whoever is in charge of Poe’s body at the moment has the last word in whether they give control to the other personality. Steven is getting caught up on the what he’s a part of and Layla is smarter than anyone.

Ethan Hawke’s Bad Guy Arthur’s powers are unclear. He has a one ring soul sucking cane he uses to kill people that we spend time talking about, but he doesn’t always need to use it to suck souls out. Arthur says he needs to resurrect Ammit to do this even though we’ve already seen he can and he does it publicly all the time. The people he wants dead simply die at his will if he’s touching them it seems.

At any point Khonshu could replace Moon Knight, who is already wearing on his nerves. We can count on Khonshu for nothing but low information, edgy threats with some validation salted in. So far our biggest mystery has been solved through a plot contrivance that’s kind of laughable when Steven just collides with Layla. So episode 2 is a not exactly a masterpiece of cause and effect despite a throw away line or two. Events happen quickly, the show is fast paced yet still feels slow. There’s time in these shows to craft a better story, but key plot points seem to get rushed or are lampshaded with jokes. The Moon Knight Suit can sort of change its look and deploys more or less like the Venom Symbiant.

Episode 2 was ok but it was a slog. It was better than episode one, but that isn’t the highest bar. We have some stuff here that seems cool, but Moon Knight in this iteration is sort of a mystery still. His origin as far as we can tell is he’s a formerly bad person who has to atone for his sins and therefore must serve Khonshu. We got some more information this week but this time I did feel some frustration. People owning Marc/ Steven is already old and I’d like to see someone in this show other than the bad guy show some agency in pursuit of whatever it is we’re up to next week, which seems to be a race to Ammit’s Tomb.

Why we should want Khonshu to win is still a mystery. We could go comic at any moment and then get nothing but an edgy moment with a distant, threatening Khonshu as context.

After two episodes it’s fair to say Moon Knight is reliably chaotic, edgy and only gives so much info per episode. Layla is our smartest, least insane character, but we don’t really know if she can see the demon jackals. She’s about the only person not hallucinating or under supernatural control, so we probably need to know more of what she’s seeing to gauge what’s going on. As it stands it’s fair to call the events up to now pretty confusing, but Ethan Hawke’s Arthur is shaping up to be our bad guy.

The show will try to play interesting Lord of the Rings-like self confrontations with Marc vs Steven in reflective surfaces with mixed success. This week lacked the touch of David Lynch I sensed last week, to its detriment. Disneyfied David Lynch is starting to look like the goal here- but they aren’t really doing amazing camera work and it’s actually less grounded than a lot of Lynch’s work. This week felt more like Sam Raimi, but again, just not overly coherent.

The credit sequence is really cool and is probably the best part of the show. Subtitles are mandatory in my opinion. I also think the music is poorly applied and possibly just not that good. It sounds a bit generic so far. Well, thanks for indulging my perspective. If you like what you’ve read, go ahead and follow this blog. Likes are also appreciated.

CHEERS!

By Captain Teag

Welcome Aboard! The Captain logs reviews of Pop Culture, movies and TV, Disney, MCU, DCEU, Star Trek, Star Wars, War Movies and MORE! Feel free follow and join my motley crew! Today the we Sail the Ship into History! After 10 years I think I'm finally getting the hang of this! Likes GREATLY Appreciated! CHEERS!

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