Spoiler alert: this article is for people watching Moon Knight on Disney+. Do not read unless you have seen episodes one to six.
Like many commenters on last week’s recap, I really didn’t see episode five of Moon Knight coming. The emotional heft was not unwelcome after four episodes of largely knockabout fun, but that kind of exploration of familial trauma was unexpected, making for one of the best episodes of MCU TV, up there with the finest moments of WandaVision and Loki.
While the quality couldn’t be denied, and it explained in granular detail why Marc is the way he is, those events didn’t do huge amounts for the plot. Yes, we saw Steven and Marc on the canal boat with a giant hippo getting their hearts weighed (there’s a sentence for you), Steven tossed overboard into the eternal sea, and Marc left to work out how to contact Layla – and free Khonshu.
One thing I’ve also been thinking about since last week, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on while writing the recap: if Marc created Steven’s personality in order to block out the beatings from his mother and give him a happy childhood, why did Steven come out when his mum was banging on the bedroom door?
Anyway, those minor gripes aside (and I’m sure someone will tell me if I’ve grasped the wrong end of the was-sceptre), I had high hopes for this finale. But I wanted a few things to happen, namely some kind of crossover with the main MCU. Not waiting for an Avenger to show up has been refreshing, but at least a nod to the wider universe is needed.
And so to the episode. After Harrow shot Marc in Egypt, we had already seen what happened to Marc and Steven in the afterlife. Now we got to see the real version of events from Harrow’s perspective. “I’m sorry it had to be this way, Marc Spector, Steven Grant, whoever else might be in there. Sometimes we need the cold light of death before we can see reality.”
As Layla looked on, horrified, Harrow made his first steps towards resurrecting Ammit, before Layla ran over to Marc’s body, where she found the golden scarab.
Out on the highway, we saw the true power of Harrow’s new staff as Layla weighed up whether to tackle him, before Taweret, speaking through the various corpses strewn around the roadside, told her that rescuing Khonshu to resurrect Marc as their best bet of taking down the be-sandalled menace.
The avatars’ reaction to Harrow’s arrival put paid to my theory about the Ennead being in on his plan, but thankfully, as Ammit rose up and began thanking Harrow for his service, although it was revealed that he sought death for the imbalance in his soul, rather than salvation, as I had assumed. We saw Layla snatch Khonhsu’s shabti and resurrect the ol’ big bird head. So good to hear F Murray Abraham’s voice again.
More than 10 minutes in, we got to see Oscar Isaac’s handsome face for the first time (I’m not counting seeing him as a corpse), as he and Taweret gazed upon Aaru. “It’s so … quiet,” he said, seemingly on the brink of tears. It was short-lived, though, as he made a quick U-turn and dashed off to save Steven. “You came back, what the hell’s wrong with you?” he asked, waking up.
Back in the tomb, Layla agreed to become Taweret’s avatar, it having been explained to her that the only way to defeat Ammit was with more avatars than were currently still alive. And so to possibly the season’s greatest moment, Layla bursting through a wall and unveiling her costume, complete with bronze wings and swords. Wrong continent, but I couldn’t help think of the Mysterious Cities of Gold, and I’m sorry to say, when she teamed up with Moon Knight to fight Harrow, I spent most of the scene wondering what their spin-off show would be called. Egyptian Falcon and the Lunar Soldier, anyone?
Meanwhile, a supersized Ammit and Khonshu fought, in something reminiscent of a Godzilla monster smash, or a Power Rangers final battle, and, beautifully designed as Ammit was, I’m pleased that CGI-fest was relatively short. Also, while it would have made most sense for Marc to kill Harrow, I’m glad he didn’t commit that act, instead asking to be released from service.
Having just about settled on what was happening with regard to the psychiatric ward and Duat, we found ourselves back in Dr Harrow’s office (my best guess here is that in being released from Khonshu’s service, Marc is dead in reality, and in the Duat again). After last week’s episode, many commenters believed the third personality, Jake Lockley, made a appearance, but I wasn’t so sure. This time around, in that office, Isaac’s accent definitely shifted to broad New York (even if the episode’s subtitles had it as Marc speaking). Of course, if it wasn’t him, who else committed all those brutal killings during Marc and Steven’s blackouts? I was expecting more definite Lockley proof than this. (I didn’t have to wait too long for that, though.)
And so we finished up, back in Steven’s London flat, he and Marc sharing a body and headspace much more harmoniously than at the beginning of the series. We then got a reprise of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Man Without Love and the first post-credits scene of the series, in which Jake Lockley took Harrow out of a psychiatric hospital, poured him into the back of a limo and shot him. “Why would I ever need anybody else, when he has no idea how troubled he truly is?” said the onlooking Khonshu of his “friend”. “Today is your turn to lose,” said Lockley, speaking Spanish, pulling the trigger.
With Marc and Steven seemingly relieved from duty, and Jake doing Khonshu’s violent bidding, does that mean the big bird pulled a trick – only pretending to release them from service, knowing full well that he had a third personality to call upon? Them finding out they’ve been played, whenever that might be, is going to be fun.
It was a satisfying, tantalising close to what is probably best described as a mixed series. On one hand, it was fresh, innovative and quite unlike anything we’ve seen before from Marvel (at least the MCU version of Marvel TV), plus Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke and May Calamawy were all wonderful throughout. On the other, the plot was meandering, Moon Knight barely featured and, after a solid start, it took a dip in episode three before sprinting to the finish with three excellent episodes.
We never got the MCU crossover I wanted/expected, either. Does Moon Knight, now that he has been established, just show up elsewhere, or does he get another season before mixing with the likes of Blade and Ghost Rider? If that is the case, I would want that second season to deal with street-level crime more akin to Daredevil rather than tomb-hopping Indiana Jones-esque capers.
What did you think of the finale? Did it “stick the landing” as people insist on saying now, for some reason? Which MCU hero would you like to see team up with Moon Knight? Have your say below, and thanks for reading …