Moon Knight is arguably one of the most obscure characters to make the jump from the comics to the MCU. I’ve been a fan of the character for years, and wasn’t sure what to expect from this series. It has been fantastic, especially Oscar Isaac’s acting and the visuals. The tormented soul that is Marc Spector has a complicated life in any version of it, and things are certainly not easy for him on this series. Now he has to deal with major complications from last episode and a lot of unexpected developments in “The Tomb.”
Following up on last episode, we see that Khonshu isn’t likely to be able to help Marc (or anyone else) in the near future, and possibly get an idea why the meeting of the Avatars was so small compared to the Egyptian pantheon. Not only did the end of last episode not go well for the god of the moon, it took a substantial toll on Steven as well. Layla shows once again that she’s no damsel in distress as she takes care of Steven and deals with some new enemies. I can see why Khonshu has been interested in her as his new avatar.
The next day, Layla and Steven drive along, following their only lead. There’s a very complicated and unique conversation/argument involving, at various times, Layla, Steven, and Marc. The Steven/Marc disagreement continues as they reach Harrow’s camp and search the place, not finding a few things they really should have by now. After some more awkwardness, Steven and Layla prepare to descend into the tomb everyone’s been looking for throughout this series. Steven, despite being understandably nervous, is also giddily excited at being on an adventure that plays to his strengths. Marc continues to be displeased with assorted developments, and points out some sobering consequences of last episode’s events to Steven before taking some more direct action. Finally making it down into the tomb, Layla leaves a mark as a memorial for someone, and Steven continues to nerd out over what he’s seeing. Layla shares a bit more about her past, and Steven shows his specialty. I have a lot of questions about just where and how Steven gained this knowledge, but I can put those aside for now.
The pair (trio?) have made a few discoveries that raise some important questions about Harrow’s crew, and, after a bit of exploration and a new series of discoveries, they find out some of what’s been happening. It’s not great news for our heroes. Things start resembling an Indiana Jones movie, or possibly part of Brandon Fraiser’s Mummy franchise, and Steven and Layla have to split up. Layla once again shows she’s a total badass, and seems to have specialized in a rather unusual choice of weapon. While she deals with her foe and then runs into another unwelcome face, Steven finds himself in something that would astound the archeological world in either the MCU or our real one. It’s one of the great undiscovered tombs, and Steven is thrilled. While Layla has a discussion she’d rather avoid, Steven breaks so many rules of archeology that assorted explorers probably feel a collective shiver go up their spines without knowing why. He ends up having to do something he really doesn’t want to, goaded on by Marc.
Harrow taunts Layla with some information, seeking to drive a wedge between her and Marc, and parts of his story sound a lot like Moon Knight’s origin in the comics. Steven completes his side-quest, but his triumph is short-lived as Layla finds him and demands to speak to Marc. After some humorous miscommunication, Marc takes control and fills in more detail that is, again, very similar to Moon Knight’s story from the comics. Layla comes to some shattering realizations, and I’d say their relationship is in even worse shape than it was before, which is kind of impressive. Their emotional discussion is interrupted when Harrow’s men start closing in. Marc tells Layla to take off while he makes a stand and buys her some time. He grabs a weapon that is similar to an item from Moon Knight’s arsenal in the comics, and makes a good accounting of himself, but has some serious disadvantages in the fight.
That goes badly, which is no real surprise. What is a great surprise is where Marc ends up next. It’s a bit like Dorothy waking up back in Kansas at the end of The Wizard of Oz. I suspect this scene was a lot of fun to film, and features a lot of familiar faces. As the weirdness unfolds, there’s an unexpected meeting, a valiant attempt at escape, and then an encounter that is startling on many levels to end the episode.
What I liked: Oscar Isaac is turning in an amazing performance. I’m really impressed at how he’s handling what has to be a very challenging role. Or roles. Layla is a fantastic character who I’d like to see more of. She’s slowly emerging as what could be a blending of Frenchie and Marlene from Moon Knight’s early days in the comics. Ethan Hawke is also doing a great job as Arthur Harrow. The visuals, from effects to set design, continue to be fantastic. I like how they are weaving in more of Moon Knight’s comic book origin. I wonder if Khonshu’s dilemma will lead Marc to come up with a version of the Moon Knight costume that’s closer to the original from the books. The end sequence was really well done, and that very last bit was a really entertaining note to end the episode on.
What I didn’t: They messed up some of the action sequences, or at least some of the blocking. I’m not sure how two experienced adventurers, or at least one and a half, managed to find themselves without weapons. They missed at least one chance to arm themselves.
Despite my few minor quibbles above, I’m really enjoying this series. I’m saddened to hear that, per the submission guidelines for tv shows, Disney/Marvel seems to have decided this series won’t continue past this season. Then again, Kevin Feige keeps saying Moon Knight will have a bigger role in the MCU after this introduction to the character, but apparently Oscar Isaac’s contract is just for this show.
All of the complications to one side, this was a great episode. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. On the one hand, I can’t wait for next week, but on the other, there are only two episodes left.