Marvel moon knight presents its craziest episode yet, which draws on Oscar star Isaac’s acting even more than before and dives deeper into the psyches of the characters. Let’s take a look at this episode to see if there’s anything to glean from its many twists, turns, and hippo cameos.
To start off, the main thing that caught my eye in Episode 4 is the complete absence of the titular Moon Knight figure. The Batman-style character doesn’t appear in the episode, and I honestly didn’t care. In fact, I completely forgot about it until I started writing this review. I think it goes to show how good the characters are in this series, that it doesn’t have to rely on action to drive its story. Here we have a unique exploration of the character of a broken man trying to reconcile many aspects of his broken personality.
By the time Mark wakes up in the mental hospital in the final act, there is enough doubt to accept this as a possible reality. Even though we know this whole fragment is a terrible illusion… perhaps.
In any case, the episode begins with Khonsu’s shabti (in which the moon god is trapped) being placed on a robe next to a bunch of other tiny statues. I’m assuming it’s the gods that were also put on timeout. This raises some interesting questions about gods in general. They strictly follow a certain set of established rules and punish those who back down. So who keeps them in check? Who wrote these rules? And what are these trapped gods doing while they are imprisoned in their prison – sleeping? Meditate? Read? Or, as the genie once said, “Phenomenal cosmic power! Small, small living space.
Layla and Steven
Layla is stranded in the desert with an unconscious Mark/Steven and must fight exactly one enemy vehicle, which she does without breaking a sweat. Further proof that a young woman is more than capable of gaining the power of a Moon Knight, which I am still convinced will happen.
After a short act, Steven and Layla have an intimate conversation as they drive to their next destination, or Ammit’s grave. He tells her about Mark’s plan to disappear forever after completing the current mission, which upsets Layla. «Hasn’t he already disappeared from your life,» Stephen muses as Mark watches him grimly from the mirror.
“The suit was his best feature,” Layla says. It’s just below the waist. “Besides, I know him. He would like to be the lone wolf in all of this. This is not happening. We’re not going to do that.»
«No,» Stephen agrees. “Just you, me, and the open road…”
Layla takes a break.
“We’ll walk from here,” she says.
– Yes OK.
I can’t say enough about how timely Isaac is coming to this show comically.
The duo embark on a long journey that will take them past red rocks, goats, and beautiful scenery before they stumble upon a campsite. Steven argues with Mark over body control. The first assumes that muscle memory from previous experiences that he cannot remember will eventually work. “I’m not sure that’s how it works,” Mark says.
Are you in love with my wife? Mark asks pointedly. The answer is definitely yes, since Layla and Steven seem to get along pretty well with each other, which makes sense because he’s a really nice guy. Mark is too gloomy, probably because he has the whole world on his shoulders, but he could brighten up a little.
At one point, Layla starts kissing and Steven wisely steps back and tells her that Mark is protecting her from Honshu. This seems to anger her even more, although at this stage of the journey, this whole love triangle seems a little superficial. Maybe discuss the relationship after you destroyed the evil god?
However, the conversation rallies Steven enough to kiss Layla before she jumps into the hole. He watches her descend and then suddenly hits himself at the funniest moment of the entire show. Clearly, Mark isn’t thrilled about Steven’s budding relationship with his wife.
Eventually, Steven lands on the floor below, and as Layla helps him up, he yells, «Oh, look at you,» which makes her blush. Also, he talks about giant animal statues sticking out of the walls. The man is blind. “If they came to life right now,” he says, “and gave me a riddle for the passage, I would be delighted. I’d shit myself, but I’d be ecstatic.»
At this stage of the show, I’m not sure who I like more. Mark is clearly a tough warrior in the traditional sense of the word. He is tough, stern and holds back his emotions. However, he is also a little dull in terms of personality and carries the same determined gaze from scene to scene. Steven, on the other hand, is like a wild child who is out of the house for the first time in his life. Everything is new and interesting. However, he is also a kind and decent person who keeps his heart on his sleeve. Who are we rooting for? This is a good issue for the show.
The conversation turns to Layla’s father, and we sit in uneasiness, knowing exactly how this plot point will play out. The big reveal comes much later in the episode when Layla hears the truth from Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke and his damned hair) and it’s rather unimpressive; and in line with what I expected: Mark’s ex-boyfriend killed her dad during his mercenary days, an event he witnessed but failed to prevent. The guilt he felt after the incident eventually led him to Layla.
CONNECTED: Fortnite adds MCU Moon Knight skin to Battle Royale
Returning to the main plot, Steven and Layla are doing archeology and eventually stumble upon Ammit’s grave. They also discover brutal undead priests who create a graceful tension – the shot of Layla getting sucked into a dark passage (twice!) is amazing. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead make excellent use of shadows and contrast to heighten the horror aspect. Make no mistake, this episode is creepy as hell, but also a lot of fun.
At some point, Layla has to fight off the priest, using the exposed bones of his arm as knives. She stabs him in the face with a flare and throws him off a cliff. And the best part is that in the series, these moments are reproduced quite directly. There’s no punch line, no winks at the camera, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it more than other Marvel shows so far.
Anyway, we return to Stephen, who (along with Mark) finds the tomb of Alexander the Great. Apparently, the legendary warrior was once an avatar of Ammit. The pair deduce that Ammit’s shabti is stuck in Alexander’s mouth and manage to pull out the small wooden thing without losing their stomachs in the process.
Layla returns from her conversation with Arthur and decides (for some reason) to pick a fight with Mark (who is taking control of his body) right then and there. Again, can we wait until the adventure subsides before we get to the family issues? Nope. The argument delays the pair long enough for Arthur to make his move, which he does by shooting our weary warrior (twice!).
Mark falls into some kind of psychotic trance and wakes up in a mental hospital where, in one form or another, key aspects of the series exist. For example, Stephen Grant is a character in a 1990s Disney-made TV movie called tomb raider. Leila is a patient and Artur is a doctor. Khonshu even looks like a drawing on a piece of paper. Although we ultimately know that this whole sequence is a farce – isn’t it? — the series did a good enough job of sowing reasonable doubt that we bought the facade.
However, how cool would it be if Mark really was crazy? I mean what a twist, right? And by cool, I mean sad for him, but cool in terms of the whole series, because no one foresaw it.
Eventually, Mark spots Arthur’s cane and after a short exchange, he manages to break free and escape. He runs down the hallway, which is slanted like in Inception, and finds Stephen stuck in a sarcophagus. (We also see another sarcophagus, presumably with Mark/Steven’s third person locked inside.) A quick chase ensues, leading the pair to double doors, where they come face to face with an Egyptian hippo who, after a pause, says calmly, «Hello .»
RELATED: Moon Knight Explained: Who Is Episode 4 Behemoth
No, really. After everything Mark and Steven have seen so far, this is by far the strangest encounter they’ve come across and the pair can only yell at the giant animal. Cut to black.
This episode may be my favorite of the season so far. Mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in the MCU. In four episodes, we got lovable characters, good action, an interesting storyline, and timely humor. Where is it going? No idea, which is good.
Moon Knight. Episode 4 Notes:
- I’m still waiting for Arthur to do something other than toss his luscious locks. He achieved a lot in moving the plot forward, but mostly remained in the background, waiting for Ammit’s arrival. He always seems to be one step behind Mark/Steven, but somehow also one step ahead… Does he need them to summon Ammit? Or is he just a lazy donkey who likes to manipulate others to do hard work? How did he know Layla would keep Mark/Steven long enough for him to bring Ammit back? Did he have a plan B in case plan A failed? He almost seems to know what’s going to happen before it happens, or maybe I’m reading too much into his character.
- I really like May Kalamawi in this series. She has Rachel Weisz in Mommy charm that is hard to ignore. Her chemistry with Isaac is one of the show’s highlights so far.
- They have to release Ammit at some point, right? Since it’s a Marvel feature and all, I’m fully expecting a big fight scene between Moon Knight and the evil god in the final episode. However, I wholeheartedly welcome the ending, which focuses solely on the ongoing feud between Mark and Steven.
- Who or what is the third person in Mark/Steven’s head? How does this relate to the series? (This is more of a rhetoric as I try to avoid any spoilers, including those found in the comics.)
- I was able to talk to series composer Hesham Nazih (look for an interview on Monday) and he brought up an interesting question: this is one of the few superheroes who does not use his powers. Where Spider-Man, Iron Man and other Marvel heroes don their costumes with pride, Mark wears his costumes reluctantly. There are not many such heroes. I can think of Bruce Banner/Hulk and some of the X-Men, but it’s a cool detail when a character hates their massive power, mostly because they hate the source.
- Another shoutout to directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead who did a hell of a job balancing the various elements of action, horror and people in the episode. There’s a ton of dialogue with exposition, but it mostly feels natural; and filmed so as not to slow down the pace. This is a difficult task.
- I’m not sure who I root for more, Steven or Mark. Both have positive qualities, but Mark seems to carry a lot of guilt for cheating death, which makes him a little less likable. In that case, go ahead, Stephen go!
- I liked how Layla originally wanted to kiss Steven because he reminded her of Mark – smells and all – which he quickly shut down. The second time she kissed Stephen was because of Stephen. Nice little detail.
- The behemoth at the end of the episode appears to be the Egyptian god Taweret. Again, I don’t want to spoil any surprises, suffice it to say that there’s a great interview with head writer/executive producer Jeremy Slater. marvel.com about the character you can check if you are so inclined.
- Guys, there are living, breathing gods in the MCU, so the question is: what is the ending of this phase of the franchise? Sure, Kevin Feige and company seem to draw heavily on various mythologies, but to what end? How to surpass Thanos? Can our new set of Avengers take on a real god? Or God? No idea but moon knight laid down some interesting breadcrumbs that I’m looking forward to.