Well it’s been quite a ride with Moon Knight. We’ve seen Oscar Issac and Ethan Hawke in challenging roles delivering good performances in a highly convoluted story of insanity and Ancient Egyptian Deities.
We’ve got Marc/ Steven in the land of the dead with a hippo in a flying boat on one side of a Stargate type portal between worlds and Layla and Harrow at odds on the other. Im genuinely curious of what people think of this show- so please consider taking both polls in this article to make your voice heard
The Stargate-like transition of Marc/ Steven to the land of the dead happened after he/they took two bullets center mass courtesy of Harrow. As we roll into the final episode there’s a lot in flux and a lot of questions to be answered.
Last week I predicted Layla would have to put on the suit to get things done in the Real World” as Marc/Steven is just trapped in the land of the dead and its many associated pocket dimensions. Also, last week it seems we wrote off Steven- at least for a time- as Marc recovers more from the trauma that seems to have occurred the night he became Khonshu’s (who is currently imprisoned in stone) Avatar.
No two ways about it, we have a bunch of things to resolve. Episode 6 -simply called Episode 6- gives us very little in the way of closure.
In a way it feels like the writers didn’t really try. It’s the first episode not to have a title. Asylum Part 2 would have been wrong because the episode title should be ‘Rise of Layla Avatar of the Hippo-God.’
It’s hard to assess what Layla is when this episode -and season- end. It’s not clear in the show. Thankfully I googled what happened and found the authorized leaks to set things straight- at least far as what Disney would have you believe happened.
There’s a brief but highly comprehensive “Previously On” segment that brings you right up to speed in about 2 minutes.
We see Harrow and his cult members confirming that on the Tomb side of the Stargate Marc/Steven is outright dead, with 2 bloodless gunshot wounds to the chest. Layla beats up some guy up, managing a silent takedown in spite of her size disadvantage. A small adjustment to her outfit and she’s disguised enough to infiltrate Harrow’s gang.
Harrow has “LEVELED UP” and we see his gear and clothes are upgraded. His “Cane of Judgement” is now more impressive to behold. At a desert roadblock he strikes his cane -now more of a staff – into the ground like Gandalf and emits an enormous burst of “Ammit’s Judgement.”
It Soul Sucks all but one of the dozens of soldiers at the roadblock. Somehow the “Vortex of Judgement” either accepts Layla as worthy or just doesn’t affect her despite the fact she’s on the wrong team. Moments later Harrow and his cult are inside great pyramid.
Last week I said I hoped there was more to freeing Khonsu from stone than just breaking a statue- turns out that’s all you need to do to free him though. To stop a super powerful Egyptian deity you trap him in a fragile statue. Anyone can break it and set that god free. It’s not exactly the Phantom Zone.
Bafflingly, Khonshu goes right into “Indecent Proposal” mode on Layla asking she be his Avatar. Khonshu has done this the last two times we’ve seen him now and he’s coming off like a creep.
In another chamber of the Great Pyramid is Harrow. He’s grabbed the small stone statue of Ammit and we see him break it, releasing Ammit’s imprisoned soul. I’m not sure where he got this statue. The other gods Avatar’s have a trophy wall of sorts for small statues, so maybe he got it there. In this show, packed with events, it can be hard to recall the chain of custody of any item or anyone’s motivations. Episode 6 is no different.
We already had Harrow showing a huge power-up BEFORE Ammit is resurrected-making us wonder WHY he needs anymore help from Ammit. He no longer needs to touch you- he can emit a huge wave of Ammit’s judgement right now. None the less he resurrects female, crocodile headed deity Ammit. She hits the ground running by misstating history like everyone else on this show.
The basic recurring historical mistake is the timeframe is off. By a lot. Apparently no one so much as googled ‘Ancient Egypt.’ If they had they’d have seen that so-called ‘Ancient Egypt’ was much further back in time than ‘two thousand years ago,’ a timeframe show has repeated consistently. It’s off by about HALF.
The truth is that what we call “Ancient Egypt” was more like 7- 5,000 years in the past. The Great Pyramid at Giza was built about 4,600 years ago by a culture that had reached its zenith after many hundreds if not thousands of years.
The point in history that’s continually referenced – TWO Thousand years ago- is far too recent. At that time Jesus would be a 22 year old carpenter. It was about 22 CE. The Roman Empire ran most of the ‘known world’; including Egypt. Two thousand years ago the pyramids were already well over two thousand years old.
Our plain heroine Layla, large pores, odd features and all, is being given a chance to be Khonshu’s Avatar and its looking like she’s going to do it.
We also have to accept that this show’s title was a bait and switch. This is a LAYLA Origin Tale. If this was the point why use Moon Knight to get there? Why not just have Layla start out as Moon Knight or the Avatar of Taraweth the Hippo-god rather than do this? Original Moon Knight could be described as appearing as just scrambled fan service. He has minimal time on screen in costume.
UPDATE- Layla’s Superhero name is Scarlet Scarab. My impression is that the name is pretty meh. We already have a Scarlet Witch – shes a Marvel comics character (now gender swapped) from a long ways back
Could it be no one cared and they had to sideload this new hero? Also; If we were always going to shortcut our way to a female hero who couldn’t act in this mess; could we have picked someone more attractive? Because Layla as written and performed- is not exactly a tour de force at action, comedy or drama. She’s subpar at all three in this show.
As a character maybe Layla’s alright- but she is not sexy or friendly and nothing she does makes sense. She showed up hating Marc, looking for his signature on divorce papers – and she sort of puts that on hold for that week’s adventure a couple of times. Two of two times shes showed up it’s been by physically colliding with Marc/ Steven OUT OF THE BLUE and stating her motivations. So far cause and effect have been hand-waved away. Things just happen. On this show people just do things.
It seems no one in Cairo has noticed a massive disturbance at the (Unguarded?) Great Pyramid as a battle of Avatars ensues- offscreen of course.
Meanwhile in the Land of the Dead Marc momentarily takes in Elysium. He immediately decides he wants none of it. He tells the hippo god that he wants to go back to being a schizophrenic insane person by re-integrating Steven- who we found out last week was just a figment of his imagination. The Steven personality stayed dead for about 6 minutes of story.
So we have conflicts on both sides of the Stargate now and its really looking like I was right about my prediction- but there’s no way to tell. Layla’s powers appeared more or less out of nowhere after she encountered a dying Avatar of some other god, so she could be anything. I was only right so far as she DOES end up a superhero- but we don’t if Khonshu is part of this or not.
For Marc, in real world terms, shedding a shell personality crafted to evade reality is called PROGRESS. Marc will have none of this though and is looking to bring back Steven. This is a tough sell since everything that was Steven was a creation of Marc- who is very much alive. The idea Steven is truly dead or not inside Marc’s mind seems to be another psychiatric inconvenience to be bypassed. Not that History and Science are why I go to the MCU- but in weird Episode 6 Up is Down, Left is Right and events just happen. Marc and Steven are side by side in the desert- that is now non-fatal to walk on. In the temple Harrow, Khonshu and Ammit are….debating?
If you’re a fan of strong acting in a stupid situation Marc’s chat with “Imaginary” Steven is actually well acted, all things considered. It ends with Steven very easily resurrected and we again have 2 bodies – one for each (known) personality. We’re in the Land of the Dead, I guess you can ‘act’ a figment of your imagination into reality, but it sure is weird. Then we really rush events.
Steven blurts out ‘The Gates still open!’ This is new- we havent been able to see this opening til now and last week the hippo told them they were trapped in the Asylum/ Land of the Dead pocket dimensions. As sandstorms close in on them we see a not so great CGI fight between Khonshu and Ammit. They’re both about twelve feet tall and can teleport around a little.
In an unclear chain of events the hippo yells to them to run and cuts off the sandstorm with her boat to buy them time. It’s as dumb as it sounds but it’s over quick and they ‘Stargate’ home. Here Marc/ Steven only has one body- but he does have the suit- which we’ve been told he didn’t have. His body rejects the bullets and he seems to be ok pretty quick. This is in direct contradiction to what the Hippo said about the suit last week. It’s been specifically said by the hippo-god that if he ‘Stargate’ returns to the tomb he would not have the suit. The suits just there because it needs to be. No one really looked at the prohibition against it being there or did anything to rectify it with dialogue. Or they just didn’t care. To put the best face on it would be to say ‘this was a dreadfully low moment for the show’s continuity.’
We also found out somewhere in the medley of scenes we have during the transition between worlds that Khonshu is now safe. He and Steven/Marc are having a debate about how to be the best Moon Knights they can be as a one body threesome. During this pointless argument we cut back to Layla having a weird conversation with one of the other Avatars.
Amitt has (momentarily) prevailed in the fight that we again cut away from. The wounded Avatar – and who knows how he got so messed up, babbles to Layla and dies. I think this was how she starts to ‘Level Up”- we don’t really have a HIGHLANDER moment where she absorbs his power though, so it’s not too clear.
We at least have everyone on the same side of the Stargate (our side?). When Harrow senses Layla’s presence in the Great Pyramid (because a dead person returned to life, screamed her name and then re-died) he starts shooting freakin’ lasers out of his staff- apparently completely at random. Then we get what amounts to a disaster medley and you have to wonder how all this could go on at a UNESCO World Heritage site outside a major city unnoticed. It does though.
May Calamawy – whose IMDB is not overly impressive- is no Oscar Issac as far as being convincing, but now she ‘plays crazy.’ Specifically, she’s having a conversation with Khonshu (or Khonshu/ Marc/Steven) and maybe Taraweeth. She verbally carries out both sides of the conversation in a collapsing tunnel. It’s pretty bad.
This seems like a pretty hard acting sell when written well and the character is likable. Layla is neither likable or well written and May Calamawy just doesn’t sell this series of rapid point of view changes. I don’t know if many actors could. It’s also dumber than dumb. They try everything they can to help her come off as two or three people in one body- like radical camera angle and lighting changes- but the sequence is a mess. It also goes on too long. Internet leaks say she’s now the Avatar of Taraweeh- the Hippo Goddess we saw in the low effort Land of the Dead.
Switching back to Steven/Marc’s point of view we then see Moon Knight can fly just like superman and that the Great Pyramid is glowing. Cairo is half an hour car trip from the Great Pyramid, so you have to wonder how that town is reacting to all this obvious tumult. You’d imagine the military would be pretty interested in this- but apparently they’re not.
In Cairo and maybe some other places Ammit’s followers are ‘Snap-Judging’ everyone- depriving many of their souls. We see Ammit outside the Great Pyramid with her head back, mouth open ingesting points of light that seem to be the souls her followers are sucking in a vampiric way.
Because things have been incoherent for some time we cut back to Layla for a costume reveal. The creators think costume reveals are information and so to them just showing us one unexplained is no big deal and an advancement of the plot.
Turns out the tunnel collapse didn’t hurt Layla at all, quite the opposite. She seems to have gotten her Power-Up now as well. Khonshu could now have two Avatars It’s just unclear. Internet leaks say she’s become Avatar of Taraweeh the hippo goddess. If they make mention of this in the show it’s pretty quick and you’ll need the subtitles (which I neglected to put on this time).
Whatever she is; her costume has no mask. She has Wonder Woman 1984 wings, matched short swords and some Egyptian looking gear she could have bought at Galaxies Edge. She seems pretty powerful now.
Meanwhile Steven/Marc/Khonshu have arrived at the Great Pyramid. They have all of one body and we’re phasing between our two iterations of Moon Knight and Khonshu himself fighting Harrow. Ammit sort of tries to figure in -but there’s a lot going on.
In Cairo- where we just saw what looked like mass murder by Harrows cult- we find out some people are just going on with life enjoying dinner out. The killing spree, ongoing insanity and ominous lights coming from the Great Pyramid just doesn’t bother a lot of people. I guess after The Snap and all the other MCU insanity the world’s been through a lot. People now just ignore an apparent apocalypse. Sure is a strange shift in tone though after seeing mass panic.
Khonshu and Ammit are fighting and talking about teaming up to stop evil- so you have to wonder why they need to work this out violently right now. Steven/Marc, who just can’t get much right in this show, manages to lose the fight against Harrow very quickly. Harrow is ready to finish him off when Layla flies in and just shoves Harrow a few dozen yards by crashing into him. Every time Layla goes to meet up with someone she physically collides with them. This is three for three now. At least this time it was on purpose.
Layla is now a mashup of Wonder Woman and ISIS from the 1970s Saturday Morning Live Action show “The Shazam – ISIS Power Hour.” The fight scene we roll into notably shows Layla just kicking ass and Steven/Marc – using BOTH Moon Knight guises (Full on Moon Knight and well dressed Mr Knight as the captions and internet leaks show us) is taking a lot of damage but prevailing. Predictably, Layla is fighting (and easily getting the better) of our Bad Guy Harrow. Suddenly we see Moon Knight start to contribute and its Layla with Khonshu/Marc/Steven and all their guises against Harrow.
We NEVER see more than one version of Marc/Khonshu/ Steven at the same time while we fight Harrow. How many physical bodies we have and how many may be Astral projections or ghosts of some kind is hard to say – but this level of intensity finally registers for the people of Cairo- who begin to flee. Layla is HEROIC, she’s saving people and kicking ass.
Meanwhile Steven/Marc is just useless and doesnt have much success at all fighting Harrow. In one particularly weird moment we see Harrow winning against Moon Knight as Khonshu is losing to Ammit- as the gods and Avatars seem to be sharing the same fate. It seems both Khonshu and Ammit are about the size of Godzilla now because we know they’re at the Great Pyramid and these people are twelve miles away in Cairo- but they’re huge from our perspective.
Its all over for Moon Knight as Harrow lines up a death-blow but in an annoying but reliable plot contrivance we phase OUT of the fight and when we phase back the actions over and the good guys have simply won. Then we see that Khonshu and Ammit really are hundreds of feet tall and Ammit seems to have just won that fight. Harrow is messed up and might be dead. While Ammit sucked souls to grow there’s actually no explanation as to why Khonshu is 20 storeys tall. He just is.
It’s worth noting Layla was radically and somewhat brutally transformed into whatever the Hell she is now minutes ago but is already the most competent and powerful character. She’s still fed up and angry though. She just angrily asks Marc the same question we have at this point – what the Hell is going on?
Soon we’re apparently back in the Great Pyramid where they throw Harrow on a slab. Layla finally disgorges some instructions. “Grab Harrow I know how to stop Ammit!” So she’s magically in the know on some Ancient Egyptian Anti-Avatar magic. “with the power of this room I can bind Ammit to Harrows body.” That’s it, that’s all she tells us. It’s a powerful room and that’s all we need to know.
We can’t tell if Harrow’s even alive or how doing this will reign in Ammit. Perhaps killing Harrow’s body MIGHT kill Ammit in an INCEPTION movie type of way? Soon they’re chanting in Ancient Egyptian and shooting purple lightning around. Somehow it works in time to save Khonshu from being strangled by Ammit’s dreadlocks (seriously). We can see that Ammit is trapped in Harrow’s body, which is moving around now- it could simply be that Harrow is dead and we’ve reanimated the corpse as Ammit- it’s not clear.
Then things get really, deeply stupid. Newly minted but highly competent superhero Layla tells Marc- whose about to end everyones problems by killing Harrow and Ammit together in one blow- he has a choice. She tells him he doesn’t have to kill mass murdering serial killer Harrow in the stupidest version of Old Star Trek’s “No! No, I won’t kill him!” moment ever conceived.
Marc refuses to kill Harrow. Khonshu seemingly opts not to either. “Release us!” Steven/Marc demands of Khonshu. For whatever reason Khonshu does. He lets Steven/Marc go and he’s Stargated back to the Asylum where Harrow is chief shrink. Then the unexpected happens- we find out that there definitely is some glass in Harrows shoes. His feet are bleeding.
Harrow’s leaving bloody footprints now. Whether or not this is reality we still cant be sure. All we see is Steven AND Mark (in one body) in both voices telling off Harrow – whose stunned to be bleeding. I can’t believe they paid this off, it still makes no sense- but it’s real. Marc/Steven tells Harrow he’s going to save the world and says the line “Laters, gators” and phases to an apartment where hes just waking up. This was a pretty stupid way to end.
We’re now back where we began. It’s Steven’s London apartment, his goldfish are back and he’s again talking to himself. We’re also again doing physical comedy. Steven/Marc are falling all over the place while the personalities crosstalk. We hit the credits and get the only Easter Egg of Season One.
Its NOT the best Easter Egg in my opinion.
In it we go BACK to the Asylum and now Harrow is a patient. He’s wheelchaired out to a limo. Inside is Khonshu, who tells him -in Bond Villain Fashion- that his elaborate plan will continue to succeed because of his ‘new friend.’ It’s the guy who just retrieved Harrow from the Asylum- seemingly by killing people.
Khonshu introduces the new character as his ‘friend, Jake Lockley” and we see it’s Oscar Issac in a bad cabbie hat. Jake tells Harrow in the most edgy way possible he’s lost and seems to shoot him a few times, though we don’t see the impact. As the white Rolls Royce (or Bentley) drives away we see it bears the licence plate SPKTR. With that season one ends.
WHAT A MESS! This whole episode has been like watching one long trailer. So many cuts and changes in Point of View. A rushed origin after 5 hours. It couldn’t be more derivative and depends on things we remember from other shows – like Batman and Stargate- to work. Disney owns Stargate now, so they can just do these things. In Loki they wholesale appropriated things from Star Trek but in Moon Knight they really just threw the kitchen sink of appropriated, unexplained ideas at you.
Franchises being liberally borrowed from by the Moon Knight Writers include a huge dose of Batman, Philip K Dick’s novels and movies based on them, Twin Peaks, The Matrix, Resident Evil, a growing amount of STARGATE and just a dash of Star Wars.
How do you review an action show with no action? We phased away from every fight in this show. What do you say about a show involving magic that makes no sense? The magic system is impossible to assess. Cause and effect don’t really seem to figure into the story and at the end we still don’t know WHY Ethan Hawke put glass in his shoes, just that he did. While they might have shot Harrow; he’s dead in a dimension we’ve seen people come back from. We just don’t know what’s real or what the prime reality is. That’s where we leave it til Season 2.
Harrow may have died three times or not at all by the end of our story. The whole series may have been a dream. The Asylum seems to be Harrows own Pocket dimension, but it’s easily flipped on him. We don’t see Layla after Khonshu just phases away. She seems to be some kind of new Superhero just called Layla.
Moon Knight was a boring and pointless circular story season one. Its not clear anything happened. The idea it was all a dream may not be that satisfying but it would make the most sense. There’s no saying what reality is after 6 hours.
We may start next season with Steven just going back to work at the museum. There’s no way to tell. This entire season will absolutely be summed up fast in an all too comprehensive “Previously On” segment that will only need to be two minutes long because we really only have two minutes of story and no real answers.
Skip Moon Knight. It’s as bad as MOONFALL but MUCH MUCH LONGER. Convoluted, incoherent and relying on internet leaks to explain the plot does not make for an enjoyable show.
Forbes says the ending demands a second season and I agree the story is incomplete- but dropping this show forever is fine too. In related news- Forbes also called the show Disney Plus First BAD Show. While this is just not accurate; we’ve seen far worse; the bloom is off the rose and Disney’s low effort storytelling is finally being called out.
To quote Forbes TV critic Scott Mendelson – Yes, I know I’m watching a superhero show set within the MCU, but there’s something dispiriting about the “solution” to a genuinely interesting “mystery” being “Yup, he’s got powers and a cool costume and will now beat up bad guys.”
We only saw maybe 6 minutes of Moon Knight in the costume and he almost never fought in it, so I’m not even sure what episode he watched. He’s pretty much right, though. This show was mostly about Layla’s origin story as idiotic hippo god Taraweeh’s(?) Avatar.
Wandvision and LOKI were worse shows. MOON KNIGHT is about as good as Falcon and the Winter Soldier- but without the ironic hilarity that made F&TWS sort of watchable. Kevin Feige needs a new drug dealer. This show was boring and confusing yet still somewhat predictable. So despite Forbes correctly saying the ending begs a second season, begging isn’t the same as making a good case. Dropping all this and forgetting about it completely is as good or better an idea.
The usual MCU cultists of course think this awful ending was great and will hate this review. You can believe the usual suspects trying to tell you how you happen to be too dumb to know this is brilliant, or take my word for it and just walk away from Moon Knight.
After this experience I’m addressing this next part right to the Writers of ALL Disney Shows- the ‘Official Plot Leak’ of your show is actually supposed to be THE SHOW ITSELF. Your Moon Knight threaded the needle maybe half the time and you used third party appropriations and internet leaks to fill in the blanks in your poorly told story the other half. This is no way to entertain.
Telling us week after week there’s “6 Easter Eggs You Missed that Make this a Masterpiece” and “Why You Weren’t Smart Enough to Understand Moon Knight” seems to be lazily counting on people to have low opinions of their own intelligence. It also alludes to a Master Story Plan that there’s no evidence of. The body that has the personas in it is apparently simultaneously in London AND Chicago at the same time as of the Easter Egg too, I guess that’s just brilliant as well. To be honest the Easter Egg was a waste of time in a likely pocket dimension they can do whatever they want with.
These stories are adrift and rudderless for the last few years and the neglect is really starting to show. It’s also re-enforcing a hatred of critical thinking. The tone of Disney Plus in general seems to be “this happened and its this way now, don’t think about it anymore.” Please, just call Peter Jackson, give him the keys to the Star Wars or MCU universe and mostly leave him alone. Disney; you’ve made a mess of both these worlds.
The show is NOT very good, does not make much sense and does not feature much of the titular character. It’s the Layla Origin Story and that’s about it. This show may be about a comic book- but the repeated misstating of an historical epoch is an insult to History, makes your audience dumber and shows laziness. No one involved in this show googled a damn thing or remembered super basic Western Civilization from high school. They misstate facts so often you end up knowing LESS about Ancient Egypt than when you went in. It was too much to ask I suppose for a show about Ancient Egypt to have any meaningful or even accurate information in it.
The cults of the Egyptian gods were being supplanted by those of the Romans in 22 AD when Khonshu says he and his pals were in power. In fact in just 14 years a new Abrahamic religion known as ‘Christianity’ pretty much spreads all through the area and resets the table. This concludes the History lesson and Moon Knight Fact Correction.
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