This weeks episode brings us to the middle of season 1 of Moon Knight. To this point the shows been highly bipolar. Mostly we’ve seen things from the point of view of Moon Knights apparently new but primary persona- neurotic Steven Grant. In episode 1 we cut corners to reveal the suit as fast as we could. Episode 2 bought us Layla, future ex wife of Moon Knights other persona Marc.
The show’s bad guy is Arthur, played by Ethan Hawke. Last week we set stakes and provided a plot device- a golden scarab that points to the tomb of Ammit- the Egyptian deity Arthur serves. If Arthur can locate and resurrect Ammit he will have the power of life and death- something we’ve already seen him use- and I suppose supplant Khonshu as the most powerful entity in our story. We know from Arthur he at least considers Khonshu more of an Avenger who only acts after the fact and he suggests Ammit is more compassionate. Since we’ve only seen Khonshu act weird and edgy you got to wonder if he’s not right. The episode left us with with the idea that “we have two deities of dubious intent and there’s only room for one” will be the plot from here on in.
Like last time I crossed my fingers the show pulls it together, it’s as simple as having one reliable non insane narrator. Last week Layla showed up and she’s aware of all the things we don’t know. Sadly she’s fed up and angry and just scoffs at most questions. So far there’s been many events but few happenings. I turn on the subtitles and wonder if this is the week we find out enough key info for events to more or less start to make sense. Last week ended really confusingly as we somehow phased from London to Giza, Egypt.
To this point we’ve had most action take place while our point of view character is blacked out and seen Moon Knight in costume for perhaps 2 maybe 3 minutes, so in my mind I was like “Can y’all get this party started NOW?”
To me, this is the halfway point and time to orient us and this inconsistent story is running out. They have made us overly familiar with Steven. He’s not hateable but its becoming tedious to have the hero be inept, clueless, insane, phase out for all action and generally do a lot of clowning- even if it was a decently believable performance. So far my biggest issue with this show is it’s a nearly psychedelic story that gives you many events that don’t advance the plot- in fact they’re kicking the can on explaining things. We’ve learned the bare minimum from the show and a shorter, more relevant episode would be great.
This week’s episode description is “with Marc in the forefront and Harrow ahead, Marc and Layla navigate Cairo for intel” This was weird and seemed to say different people were in the lead for the race to Ammits Tomb- but it’s probably a clumsy reference to the fact the neurotic Steven persona is now in the background and we’ll mostly see Marc. They also just throw the name Harrow at you despite us only knowing Ethan Hawke as Arthur til now. The most important thing about this episode is they finally had some on screen violence and we see Moon Knight in both iterations of his suit for more like 5 minutes- which is actually a lot considering we never got a good look at him for long until now. Most of the rest of the episode was again low in relevant events. It’s better than episode 2, but its just ok.
We again have a lot of events but not a whole lot of happenings. We start with Layla making a fake (Irish?) passport with an older female friend who seems to do for Layla what Chloe did for Jack Bauer in 24. We find out Layla had a terrible father that she liked anyway.
In the Cairo area Arthur Harrow and his Cult have used the scarab to apparently locate Ammits Tomb. So for whatever reason he’s right where he needs to be to resurrect Ammit right away. We see Poe Damrung, the only way to describe Marc/Steven when we don’t know which persona is in charge; and it seems to be Marc. He’s finally fighting and kicking some ass. Its a knife fight where people seem to be looking to get disarmed. Marc prevails it seems – but Poe sees himself in a mirror-like knife blade and there’s a Marc- Steven conversation that tells us that we seem to now have another persona no one else knew of inside Poe. My heart sank. That’s just this show needs- more ambiguity and confusion. By the end of a series of schizophrenic phasings in and out by different persona’s someone inside Marc/Stevens body has again solved problems very violently. We don’t see it though, as usual- except for a suicide caused by Khonshu’s miscalculation of a person. The only guess I have is sometimes Khonshu himself takes over the body.
Once again Khonshu is a low information edge-master whose dialogue sounds cool but is mostly of no consequence. This episode was so boring so early that my first check of the timecode was at 7 minutes. It was upsetting to see this episode is nearly an hour. This was already dragging. For some reason we have abandoned calling Ethan Hawke Arthur and just started using his last name- Harrow. Edge-Master Khonshu summons a meeting of the gods, explaining that they will all be magically transported to wherever this is going down.
Khonshu edge- talks to Marc that they have to make a great case against Harrow or the other gods Avatars will be pissed. You’d think he’d get a lot of evidence first as he mentions that theres a chance the other gods will punish Khonshu very severely. He doesn’t but convenes the meeting anyway by causing an eclipse. Of course the meeting is inside the Great Pyramid. The female Avatar of Hador- goddess of music and love, actually doesn’t hate Marc- this is a first. Soon the ‘trial’ occurs- and Ethan Hawke has already said he knows this is happening, so its not surprising when he pops in too.
In the debate Harrow sort of comes out on top when he reveals that Marc is schizophrenic. Marc himself backs him up. Then we find out that Ethan Hawke used to serve Khonshu and somehow got out of it. This whole scene was needless and cringe. We already knew almost everything we heard there. Then the other Avatars actually say to Steven/ Marc/ Poe, “This is a safe space” to vent about Khonshu. This had me laughing, we’re at war for the destiny of all humanity in a safe space- inside the Great Pyramid. Its probably built by slaves and numerous tomb robbers and others died horribly there. They REALLY wanted to say ‘Safe Space.” They didn’t intend this I suppose- but our bad guy is a little cooler than any iteration of our hero. He wins the debate against the other avatars- who already said they just don’t care and won’t interfere. So he always had this one in the bag.
The next step in a fetch quest is to find a sarcophagus of a specific guy which also has the location of Ammits Tomb. He’s told it’s on the Black Market- as if that’s a real physical place. So he goes to the Black Market- which it turns out is a physical place. What makes this a good place to buy ancient dead people is a mystery, though.
Marc is no kind of secret agent or even that smart. Fortunately Layla arrives again by just rolling up on Marc- who is stupidly asking a street vendor if he knows about where to buy a 4,000 year old coffin. We dont even bother to say how Layla crashed into Marc this time. She was looking for him in a city of 10 million and she found him in hours. This is twice in two weeks shes magically appeared the very moment shes needed. The Gunga-Din guy Steven was buying water off of surely didn’t know- not that Marc considered that.
Layla has the real location of the sarcophagus. It’s with some weirdo rich guy whose well known for a huge illegal collection despite being about 28. This is where the show pancakes to the point they have to have a fight scene.
This time we mostly stick with the action but the focus is on the struggle between the perona’s inside Poe. Khonshu is, as always, saying edge-y stuff that really makes little sense. Somewhere in there we find out that Khonshu feels that if Harrow resurrects Ammit “Millions will die.” Layla just gave us that useful information without hesitation- its free of context but it’s at least sort of concrete because she’s not insane and might be right. We also find out the suit has ‘healing powers’
The fight scene is everyone against Moon Knight. Cringe reigns through bad dialogue. “Tick Tok, Tick Tok” Khonshu says. So we have a time limit. Once again Ethan Hawke shows up and he’s already got what he needs, so we have to wonder why he’s even here. The fight scene is marred with bad jokes but we see both iterations of Moon Knight.
Steven is now somewhat useful. We saw he read enough about the topic of the Egyptian Pantheon of gods to be a bit of an expert. He’s still a drag though. Then we get the dumbest way to find the tomb of Ammit ever. They will use the stars as their guide since Khonshu remembers what the sky looked like thousands of years ago. He needs to be an edge-y boy, so instead of just saying “I got this” he says “I remember that night, I REMEMBER EVERY NIGHT!!
He changes the sky to how he recalls it so the map will still work- because the stars have shifted over the centuries- never mind that you can learn to calculate this from the Boy Scout Handbook and science is aware of the way the sky looked even 4000 years ago. Khonshu indicates that he will be imprisoned by the other gods for what he’s about to do and asks that Marc be sent to rescue him later. He then changes the very stars in the sky and the whole world apparently sees this (or at least people on the nightside of the planet). Khonshu is then imprisoned in stone by the other Avatars. Layla now has map coordinates of the tombs location thanks to this trick and a talk with Steven. Harrow, back at the great pyramid, mocks Khonshu, now turned to stone. He says working for Khonshu made him crazy and this is what you get for that. That’s where episode 3 ends. Khonshu is now a 10 inch tall stone statue your boss has on his bookshelf.
I dont know if we can say much happened this week storywise. Its still a race to find Ammit’s Tomb. We get a better fight scene and some better effects in small doses- like Moon Knight getting impaled over and over til its a bit silly. He’s just fine minutes later though.
Moon Knight is just a boring show at its halfway point. Rather than letting us deal with the mess of 2 insane people in one body we now have three. Moon Knight could still improve but this episode was just edge-y and weird. Once again it doled out some information, like that we have a half dozen other avatars for other gods. Sadly the show immediately introduced a new and even more ridiculous mystery- who killed Layla’s father? All signs point to the third yet to be revealed persona in Steven/Marc’s body.
While not as outright awful as LOKI or Book of Boba Fett, this show has not had an episode as good as an average Mandalorian episode. It’s not so great so far.
This week had some fight scenes we actually saw- which is better- but cornball references to Lord of the Rings (licking a knife blade) and the constant edgeyness of Khonshu are tiresome. For the third time in three episodes I’m wondering if we get some answers next week. Like why Layla even likes Marc or how she was adulting around doing things about 10 years back when she seems to be in her mid 20s. How does she have prolonged professional rivals ? In the real world your about 25 when you get out of grad school. Layla is some kind of Archaeologist. She has had about 3 years tops since she was 25 if shes even that old. She’d an average actress but looks a lot like psycho Karli from Falcon and the Winter Soldier. If she looks like anyone its Rachel Ticotin from the original Total Recall. Im not sure what she adds to this show except snark and on and off loathing of Marc- who she is not pestering to sign their divorce papers this week.
I can’t recommend watching Moon Knight. Comics fans say its a few steps away from what they remember- for instance Layla is a new character never in comics who was created just for the show- and she’s reluctant to give us any meaningful info (so WHY?). So this is a new moon knight with a new story in a lot of ways despite looking familiar and having some familiar names. The characters we do get aren’t like their comic book counterparts. Moon Knight is just a skin on Marvels ‘Legally Different Enough Batman’ at this point.
Moon Knight is a meandering mess. It’s not as good as even MOONFALL- which was at least over in two hours. This show is heading into hour 4 without much character development or hard info. If you just want to see the guy in the suit doing physical comedy this is the show for you. He does that and little more. Well thanks for indulging my perspective. If you like what you’ve read consider following this blog, likes are also appreciated.