Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.
I’m wholly pleased with Gods and Monsters, which manages to wrap up all the ongoing threads for this season of Moon Knight in a satisfying way while opening the doors to a potential second season. I hope we get more, but given Marvel’s production pipeline, it feels like that would be years away, at best.
This chapter opens with Marc Spector in the Field of Reeds. He’s been accepted into the Egyptian afterlife (or, more accurately, believes himself worthy of it). But he denies eternal peace and chooses to save Steven Grant instead, having come to understand the necessity of both of his selves. “You’re my greatest superpower,” Marc says to Steven, in what is probably the high point of this season. To Marvel Studios’ credit, its choice to make this a character drama first and foremost has paid off. Whatever other flaws Moon Knight has — and, sure, it has plenty — the show works because of Oscar Isaac’s commitment to his characters.
Marc / Steven escape the afterlife with the help of Layla (May Calamawy), who frees Khonshu from his prison just as Harrow (Ethan Hawke) awakens Ammit. Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) in turn raises Marc from the dead; “rise, my Moon Knight” is such a great line. The battle is joined on two fronts — Giant Ammit versus Khonshu in a kaiju engage in a battle only those gifted by the gods can see while Moon Knight and Harrow duke it out. In this moment, Marc and Steven work together, their Moon Knight costume changing depending on which personality is in charge at the given moment. It’s a neat conceit that works beautifully. Their newfound partnership also allows Steven to embrace Marc’s fighting abilities, giving fans of Mr. Knight the truncheon beat-downs they’ve been hoping to see.
Moon Knight has trouble with Harrow, but fortunately has help in the form of Taweret, the helpful hippo goddess, who chooses Layla as her avatar and transforms her into Egypt’s first MCU hero: Scarlet Scarab. As much as Moon Knight has rested on Isaac’s shoulders, they also put a lot of greatness into Layla as well. Her ascension into superheroism is unexpected and very satisfying.
Everything resolves pretty cleanly. Marc blacks out to find Harrow and his men defeated. He refuses to kill his nemesis despite Khonshu’s insistence and then requests to be released from his costumed curse. One final sequence in their asylum gives Marc and Steven closure with the metaphysical side of the show, and the two awaken as Steven did in the first episode, except now they live a life as parts of a whole man.
That’s the end of Moon Knight, at least this season. It’s a satisfying, if straightforward, wrap-up to the whole story. The greatest mystery left untouched is why Marc / Steven keep blacking out and waking up surrounded by bodies … so it’s a good thing Marvel pioneered the modern form of post-credits cookies.
In the post-credits, Harrow is in his own real-world asylum, his mind broken by Ammit. A mysterious man in leather gloves picks him up and puts him in a white limo, where a suit-clad Khonshu awaits. Khonshu reveals that he did not actually release Marc / Steven from his service and that they’re more broken than they know. The driver screen pulls down and reveals Oscar Isaac … as Jake Lockley, the much-hinted at third personality within Marc Spector’s body. He shoots Harrow and drives off, revealing the white limo’s license plate: SPKTR.
Presumably, the villain of a hypothetical second season can now be sharing the same body as our heroes. It’s an interesting approach to the Lockley character, and I really hope we get to see how that plays out.
Anyway, I really liked this show. It approached Moon Knight on its own terms and gave each episode an entertaining identity of its own. We had a car chase, a tomb raid, a mind-fuck cliffhanger, a journey through the Egyptian underworld, a street fight and a kaiju battle for good measure — all guided by one of the best performances in the franchise and a great supporting cast. I guess I could go through the flaws, but I don’t really care about them.
In terms of Marvel, nothing new, although I am looking forward to finally getting my hands on two large Moon Knight Omnibus editions that arrive this month: Moon Knight Vol. 2 (collecting the end of the classic run by Doug Moench) and Moon Knight by Houston, et. al (collecting the 2005 run I don’t actually like that much). The Marvel Legends 6″ scale Moon Knight figures that I have on pre-order probably won’t arrive until 2023.
I’d love to get my hands on a Scarlet Scarab. Her costume is great. Book-wise, I really hope the success of the show results in more big Moon Knight collections. At this point, only a few pieces of the character’s history remain uncollected. Now is the time!