Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.
There will be a lot of talk about this episode’s cliffhanger, which finally introduces the “mental hospital” element popularized by Jeff Lemire’s seminal 2016 run on the Moon Knight comic. That particular story was a self-contained epic of questionable reality; whether it was all in Marc Spector’s head is left up for debate by the final issue. Thankfully, the show does not embrace that level of ambiguity. We have a pretty decent idea that everything seen in the closing minutes is happening in Marc’s head or some form of afterlife he has entered after being mercilessly shot by Arthur Harrow during their confrontation in the tomb of Alexander the Great.
Frankly, that is a great sentence to be able to write.
So before we break down that ending, let’s talk about the fun that builds up to it.
While Arthur Harrow and company dig in the desert, Marc Spector and his estranged wife, Layla, have managed to locate a tomb that will help them in their quest to stop Ammit. Without Khonshu (who has been captured in a statue), Marc is no longer able to summon the Moon Knight and the alter Steven Grant is unwilling to let his more action-capable identity out again. It’s not a great situation, given the physicality of their mission, but Steven’s Egyptian knowledge has its own usefulness. He’s also starting to fall in love with Layla, which further pisses off Marc.
Fans of The Mummy will be pleased with this outing, which pits our heroes against some nasty undead creatures in a fight that also physically separates them. It’s a nice injection of horror action after last week’s more straightforward superhero material.
After dispatching her pursuer, Layla comes face to face with Harrow, who tells her Marc was part of the mercenary team that killed her father. This is part of Moon Knight’s classic origin, albeit in that story, Layla (there, Marlene) was present and knew Marc died heroically while defending her father. The exposition is a little awkward here because we know Marc isn’t a murderer, but it’s still a necessary narrative bump in the road for them.
Thanks to Oscar Isaac’s performance, Steven remains the most interesting part of the show. Steven’s authentic excitement at their adventure into ancient Egypt is really cute. His crush on Layla is sweet, too, and manages not to feel skeevy or strange despite the nature of sharing a body with Marc.
Of course, that ending twist gives us a mechanism to finally see Marc Spector and Steven Grant onscreen together. After he’s shot by Harrow, Marc wakes up in his mind hospital, which is all white and filled with other characters from the rest of the show. Layla is there, as is Crawley and Steven’s boss from the museum’s gift shop. He holds on to a Moon Knight Marvel Legends figure (which I own!) while watching an old B-movie starring British actor Steven Grant. Harrow appears as Marc’s doctor and therapist. Sensing something is off, Marc runs out of Harrow’s office with orderlies in pursuit. He finds a room with a sarcophagus that contains Steven. After Marc frees Steven, the two continue running, passing a room with another sarcophagus they dare not open; is that the Jake Lockley persona? They make it to the end of a hall, open the door and see the Egyptian god Taweret standing there. They scream.
It’s nice to see Isaac performing against himself, and if the next episode is all about Marc and Steven’s backstory, and those two identities coming to terms with one another, it will be a real treat. The show’s greatest weakness so far has been its incorporation of larger mythological elements that feel like they could belong anywhere else. When Moon Knight focuses on its main character and his multiple personalities, it sings to me.
I wouldn’t mind a good Steven Grant: Tomb Raider figure, with his cool white outfit.