Moon Knight: Gods and Monsters

You talkin’ to me?

Disney+ has done several remarkable series with various Marvel characters. The least-known to non-comic readers so far has got to be Moon Knight, which has been a fantastic ride. They’ve taken bits of Moon Knight’s story from the comics and adapted it into something new. Sadly, these series tend to be short and this is the sixth and final episode. Where we left things, Marc is in the afterlife, Steven seems to have died (neat trick in the afterlife), Khonshu is trapped, and Layla is hiding from Harrow’s minions. Now they need to find a way to wrap everything up in what’s reported to be the shortest finale so far for the Disney/Marvel series. There’s a lot of ground to cover in “Gods and Monsters.” As a season (and apparently series) finale, there will be spoilers below.

Harrow hasn’t seemed like a standard villain most of the time, and even here, he not only isn’t gloating, but seems actually a bit sad about what’s happened to Marc/Steven. While Harrow leads his triumphant followers on to the next phase of their campaign, Layla has a tearful farewell and then shows once again what a badass she is. Harrow’s team heads out in a convoy towards Cairo, with an unexpected stowaway. Now, I may well be reading too much into things, and I probably am, but I find it interesting that this came out on May 4th, Star Wars Day, and that when Harrow and company arrive at a roadblock, his response to a guard’s demand is, “You don’t need to see my papers.” Very Ben Kenobi as they arrive in Mos Eisley. Like I said, probably stretching things. The guards don’t fare very well, but as the chaos ensues, Layla gets a very long-distance message.

Arriving at the pyramids, Harrow and his followers start climbing and then he uses a modified prop he’s had for a while and gains access to a special chamber we’ve seen before. Then there’s one of those scenes where the supposedly wise group catches on to something they should have seen before just a bit too late. Things don’t go well for some notional good guys, and then Harrow achieves what he’s been striving for. Credit where it’s due, Harrow shows that he really believes what he’s been talking about all this time, and doesn’t consider himself exempt from the system he’s been preaching. Harrow has a very interesting conversation, and ends up coming out of it better than it first seemed he would. Slinking around in the background, Layla stages her own rescue operation and refuses a deal she’s offered. That was probably a good call. As two old acquaintances meet up, Harrow realizes he has company and sends out a search party.

On a wholly different plane, Marc tries to understand what’s happened to him, and Tawaret plays tour guide and voice of doom. He makes a big decision and rushes to do what he thinks is right, leaving behind a very confused goddess. While gods rage at each other, Marc gives an impressive speech, and then there’s a last-minute escape with some unexpected help. With the return of Marc and Steven, the situation changes and Khonshu gives his avatar a bit of a boost. They don’t ignore Marc’s previous wounds; in fact they do a great job showing him shaking them off.

Marc, Steven, and Khonshu have a conference, and the god finds himself in the very different position of having to negotiate instead of dictate. With circumstances so desperate, we see a new power for Moon Knight. They’ve definitely left the comic book version behind, but they make it work really well. As things get worse and Ammit receives new sacrifices and grows in power, Layla makes her own decision and changes the status quo yet again. Actually, so many things change in this episode, I’m not sure you could argue there really is a status quo this time out. As some things fall apart, Layla debuts a new look and dives into the fight.

There’s a huge, multi-part fight that takes up a good bit of the rest of the episode, and it’s done really, remarkably well. Layla never gets a codename or a new credit, but an interview form Marvel has confirmed she’s a version of the Scarlet Scarab, an obscure character from Marvel’s World War II era. She looks great, although I’m not sure how you get her new look from who her patron is. As Moon Knight (changing back and forth to Mr. Knight) and our new Scarab (her father did call her that, if you recall) take on a horde of cultists, there’s a much larger battle going on. We’ve seen some high-end fights in the MCU before, but this one is up there in both scope and power level. Layla also gets a nice moment of public recognition and, if we get to see her again, I suspect she might be better-known than Moon Knight himself, at least within the world of the MCU. Even with the two of them working together, things are looking bad, and then something unexpected happens. The good guys get a much-needed win, although Marc and Steven are both a bit confused as to what happened, and Layla seems shocked.

They don’t have time to puzzle things out, as Layla found out how to end this fight and guides Marc through what has to happen. Ammit meets a new fate, and Marc decides he doesn’t have to bow to Khonshu’s whims. The god of the moon isn’t happy about this, but he has to accept it. Marc and Steven return to a familiar setting, but they prove to have learned and manage to get themselves out. The final scene (almost) does a nice job balancing things we’ve seen before with a new spin on what’s happening as Marc and Steven seem to be starting a new chapter in their lives. Or life. Whichever applies. For the first time, there’s a mid-credit scene, which wraps up a loose end, shows how slick Khonshu is, and lets us see something that’s been hinted at but not really seen before. This ends the series.

Of all the Disney+ series so far, only Loki is confirmed for a second season. Wanda is in the upcoming (as I write this) Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and the new Captain America is getting his own movie, presumably with Bucky alongside him again. Hawkeye is not getting a second season, and rumors swirls as to whether or not Jeremy Renner will pick up the bow again. As for Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac has said there are no concrete plans for another season, and that his contract was just for these six episodes. As popular as the show has been, I really hope we get to see Moon Knight, Marc, Steven, Jake, and Layla again, but there’s no confirmation of that anywhere aside from a strong hint form Kevin Feige a while back.

What I liked: Really, everything. I’ve had nothing but good things to say about this series, and this finale didn’t change that. The acting, especially on Oscar Isaac’s part (and May Calamawy’s) was incredible. Ethan Hawke was a different kind of villain, and he really made it work. The effects were fantastic, and this series, especially the finale, had some great visuals. The actors who were just voice appearances for the various gods all did a great job. While I really enjoy the connectedness of the MCU, this series did a great job standing alone with no crossovers or guest stars or cameos.

What I didn’t: I’m really curious as to what happened to Layla at the end of the episode. It would have been nice if she got a name onscreen instead of in an interview elsewhere. We don’t known when, or realistically if, Moon Knight and company will be back, although I think everyone involved would be foolish to walk away at this point. I guess we’ll see.

I’m giving the finale a 5 out of 5, and the season a 4.5 out of 5. I really hope we get to see more of this.

The next Disney+ series will be Ms. Marvel, which begins on June 8th, roughly a month from when Moon Knight finished.

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