Each week, Darren from @darrenmoviereviews will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Moon Knight and the show’s overall connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Into Amit’s tomb we go! On the latest episode of Moon Knight, we get a great throwback to the Indiana Jones films plus some dabbling with horror within the MCU, all before a revelation that could set the rest of the series on a new path.
The first thirty minutes of this episode are great! It feels like a mix of Indiana Jones and The Mummy as Stephen and Layla enter Amit’s tomb in a race against Harrow and his men. It’s an exciting plot that provides a new sense of adventure to the MCU as we have never really got such a great adventure moment like this before, other than Star Lord on Morag during the opening credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the addition of the mummies brings that Amblin-esque horror to the MCU that definitely had me jumping on my couch. It’s scary enough that it will startle you, but not scary enough to make this completely unwatchable for any younger viewers that have been following this series. If this is any indication to the horror elements that we could see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in a few weeks, we are all in for a treat with Sam Raimi at the helm of that film.
However, in the final ten minutes of the episode there is a massive twist that changes the course of the series. And I won’t say anything more on it until after my recap to protect from any spoilers.
And into spoiler territory we go. If you have not seen this week’s episode of Moon Knight, stop reading now. If you have, keep on reading to find out what we learnt in this week’s episode…
With Konshu imprisoned in the Pyramid of Giza by the gods, we return to Layla and Stephen in the desert. Layla is trying to wake Stephen up, who is drained of all energy after helping Konshu turn back the night sky, but a car full of Harrow’s men appears. Layla hides, but as they move in on Stephen’s unconscious body, she lights a flare and gets their attention. She throws the flare onto their vehicle, setting off their ammunition, destroying their vehicle. Stepehn then wakes up, and Layla drives them to Amit’s tomb.
In the car, Layla says they cannot lose any time as Harrow is already in the tomb searching for Amit. She urges Stephen to let Marc take over, but Stephen says no. He tells Layla of his and Marc’s deal for Marc to disappear when they were done with Konshu. In the mirror, Marc reminds Stephen that he didn’t just mean himself, but Layla as well. Knowing of this deal, Layla tells Stephen that she should have been made aware of this deal as it would involve Marc disappearing from her life for good. Marc tries to get Stephen to let him take over, but Stephen stands by their deal and refuses.
Arriving at Amit’s tomb, all of Harrow’s men have already entered the tomb. Layla and Stephen begin collecting supplies from Harrow’s base. While doing so, Marc tells Stephen that Stephen should be more scared as Moon Knight is no longer able to protect them and that he has to be smart about what he does. Stephen tells Marc that his body’s muscle memory will kick in, remembering Moon Knight’s moves, but Marc is less convinced and reminds him that Stephen needs to watch out for Layla too. But Marc also threatens Stephen should Stephen make a move on his wife. As they exit the supplies tent, the camera lingers on crates with splattered blood, teasing the danger that lies within Amit’s tomb.
As they are gearing up to descend into Amit’s tomb, Stephen tells Layla that Konshu wanted to make her his next avatar, and that is why Marc is pushing her away. With such a display of honesty, Layla asks Stephen why he is telling her this. Stephen tells her that he thought she deserved to know the truth. Though Layla is more frustrated with Marc, telling Stephen that this was not his call and that she doesn’t need protection. However, she notes that honesty is more of a “Stephen thing” and the two share a kiss. And despite some weird tension between them, Layla tells Stephen that she’s into it before descending into Amit’s tomb. Though Marc is clearly not impressed with the kiss and causes Stephen to punch himself in the face.
Inside the entrance chamber of the tomb, Layla draws symbols in the sand to honour her father. She tells Stephen that he was an archeologist on a mission, a dream that he died for. But she knows her father would be proud of her having found Amit’s tomb and standing in the proof he was searching for, before venturing further into the tomb. As they explore, they realize that the tomb itself is a maze. Stephen deduces that the tomb is structured to resemble the Eye of Horus, for protection in the afterlife. Knowing this, Layla compares the shape to the different parts of the body and concludes which path they should follow to find Amit’s tomb, knowing that they are looking for Amit’s last avatar.
Following the path Layla selected, the next room they enter is covered with fresh blood, human flesh, and discarded weapons. Detecting danger, Layla urges that they need to keep moving, but Stephen notices an upper portion to this room that could have another exit. Stephen climbs up, discovering ancient text detailing that Amit was bound to items in the tomb and the secondary exit he thought would be there. As he is about to exit that room, gunfire breaks out and he urges Layla to hide as they know it’s Harrow’s men firing the weapons. As she is hiding, a creature that appears to be a re-animated mummy enters the room and puts one of Harrow’s men on the table before killing him and cutting him open to remove his organs. Layla slowly tries to move away from the table, but makes a noise as doing so which catches the mummy’s attention. The mummy begins looking for her, but notices Stephen on the upper level and jumps up there. To save Stephen, Layla smashes an ancient jar containing organs, which gets the mummy to return to the lower level. But as the mummy returns, Stephen pushes a table onto the mummy, destroying it and allowing Layla to escape the room.
The path leads Layla to the next chamber which has a giant chasm and a narrow ledge along the side that grants her access to the other side of the chamber. Layla begins traversing along the edge, but another mummy is in the walls and jumps out and grabs Layla. This forces Layla to jump, but she manages to leap to the other side of the chasm and avoids falling to her death. But the mummy jumps out from behind Layla, resulting in a struggle. Though for a second Layla’s fate doesn’t look good, she manages to light a flare and shoves it into the mummy’s eye before kicking the mummy into the chasm. As the mummy is falling, it tries to drag Layla down but she grabs onto the ledge and manages to pull herself back up. As she does, Harrow enters the chamber on the other side of the chasm.
Following the upper pathway from the previous chamber, Stephen makes his way into the inner tomb while Marc lectures him about kissing Layla and telling her the truth about what he was doing. In the inner tomb, Stephen notices Masadonian writings on the wall, deducing that this must be the long lost tomb of Alexander the Great. Stephen opens the sarcophagus, and knowing that Alexander must have been Amit’s avatar, or her literal voice, begins removing the bandaging from Alexander’s head. He then breaks open Alexander’s jaw, and sticks his hand into Alexander to search for the statue housing Amit.
From the otherside of the chasm, Harrow compliments Layla on her handling of the mummy, but Layla just tells him that he is being condescending. As she exits that chamber, Harrow calls Layla by the name her father used to call her by, catching her off guard and causing her to return to speak with him. Harrow tells Layla that her father would be proud of her. But, he goes further and tells Layla that when he used the scales to read Marc/Stephen, that he learnt a truth that Marc has not told Layla. Layla can see that Harrow is dying to tell her this truth, and tells him to do so. Doing exactly that, Harrow tells Layla that her father was murdered by mercenaries, but that no one knows who the men were. Layla asks if he is suggesting if it was Marc, and Harrow just asks her what she thinks, clearly toying with her. Harrow tells her that Marc remembers everything that happened that day, and that one man stood out to Marc: her father. Learning this, Layla is emotionally shaken and asks Harrow if he’s done. Harrow says that he hopes Layla can find closure as she leaves the chamber. After she leaves, one of his men appears and tells Harrow that Stephen has found another way into the inner tomb.
Back in the inner tomb, Stephen has discovered the statue containing Amit inside Alexander the Great. Layla enters the inner tomb, and he exclaims with glee that they have won as they found Amit before Harrow. But Layla asks Stepehn if Marc can hear her and asks him what happened to her father. Marc takes over, and tells Layla that they have to leave and he will explain everything once they are safe. But Layla demands the truth, asking him point blank if he murdered her father. Marc then admits to Layla being present when her father was killed. Layla asks how it happens. Marc then recounts that his partner got greedy at a dig site and killed everyone, despite Marc’s efforts to save her father. Layla tells Marc that he brought the killer to her father, and Marc says that he didn’t mean to and that his partner shot him as well. He then tells her that he should have died that day, and has been trying to tell her the truth ever since they met. Though, Layla takes this as the reason they met is because Marc had a guilty conscience. But Harrow’s men appear in the inner tomb, causing the conversation to end.
Marc makes a stand to distract Harrow’s men to buy Layla time to find a way out of the tomb. Harrow joins his men, and begins talking to Marc about his first morning without Konshu and how the quiet was liberating. He tells Marc that he is a free man now, but with freedom comes a choice. But Marc doesn’t make any move, and as a result Harrow’s men move in. Marc easily disarms Harrow’s men, but Harrow shoots Marc in the chest repeatedly. In hiding, Layla watches this all unfold as Marc staggers backwards and falls into the moat of water surrounding Alexander the Great’s sarcophagus.
In the water, Marc sinks into a blackness, to the point that there is only a singular circle of light… which turns into a flashlight. The screen shifts to a square aspect ratio, with a grainy image. A young man appears holding the flashlight, trekking through the jungle looking for an Aztec ruin. He is accompanied by an archeologist: a Dr. Stephen Grant! The aspect ratio then shifts again, revealing that someone is watching a movie.
We are suddenly in a psychiatric hospital, where Layla is one of the nurses. And her patient: Marc. Nurse Layla tells Marc that she turned off the movie, as he had already watched it five times this week and is taking Marc to his favourite spot. In the reflection of the glass walls, Marc can see Stephen and tries talking to him. Though as he looks around the room, we see a Moon Knight action figure lying on the floor and other items from the previous episodes. A voice then begins talking to Marc, telling Marc that he is struggling differentiating between what is real and what is in his head. The voice is revealed to be Marc’s physician, which is Harrow. Harrow’s office is full of Egyptian relics and items that resemble items from the previous episodes, suggesting that Marc has made up everything we have experienced so far in his head. Harrow continues, talking about how they had to sedate Marc due to his behaviour. He then begins discussing the psychic world they live in, and that they can only make inferences about reality. He then asks Marc for an honest assessment of his situation. Marc tells his doctor that everything reminds him of… but cannot find the words to describe it. Harrow suggests Marc’s past, or of Stephen? Marc asks Harrow if he knows Stephen, to which Harrow says of course but says he wants to talk to Marc. Harrow tells Marc that he is suffering from mental illness, but that he knows that Marc can be healed. Clearly confused as to what is happening, Marc struggles to escape the room and smashes the glass on the door. Two orderlies enter the room, trying to restrain Marc, but Marc manges to fight them off and escapes into the hallway.
Running down the hallway, Marc hides in a room trying to lose the orderlies chasing him. The orderlies run by the room, not noticing that Marc is hiding in there. But Marc notices a sarcophagus in the room. And someone is clearly locked inside of it, trying to break out. Marc removes the lid of the sarcophagus, revealing that Stephen is inside. Both Marc and Stephen are confused at how they can both exist as two separate people. Marc asks Stephen what the last thing he remembers is, to which Stephen replies: Harrow shooting them in Amit’s tomb. In fear of being discovered, Marc tells Stephen they need to leave now. As they run down the hallway, they pass another room which has another sarcophagus in it, with someone inside of it trying to break out. They don’t open this one, instead running to the exit. The doors to the exit open, revealing a hippopotamus that is most likely an Egyptian god. The hippopotamus says “hi” to them, causing both Marc and Stephen to scream… with the episode cutting to black.
THAT TWIST! Has anything we seen so far in this series been real? Or is this purgatory given that Marc/Stephen were just shot by Harrow? What is going on? To say that this is one of the biggest twists to date in the MCU would be an understatement. Apart from the shocking ending to Avengers: Infinity War when our heroes lost or when H.Y.D.R.A. was revealed to still be active within S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we have not witnessed anything this shocking in a MCU story to date. It’s a bold narrative move which on one hand I love, but on the other hand has me nervous as to it’s timing in the series. Coming in at the end of the fourth episode, we only have two episodes left to explore this twist and wrap the story up. Obviously, this is the entry point for Moon Knight within the MCU, but we need some closure to his story and I’m concerned that with the episodes only being about forty minutes each, that we won’t have enough to fully explore this twist and conclude the story that was previously happening. Assuming that what we had previously seen was real, and not a delusion of Marc.
Some sort of explanation lies in the hippo god that appears in the episode’s final moments: Taweret. Taweret is the Egyptian god of fertility and rejuvenation, and this is not the first time she has appeared in the show. She appeared in the first episode of the series as a stuffed animal in the gift shop at the National Museum. Given her powers in Egyptian mythology, Taweret could be present to grant Marc/Stephen new life after being shot by Harrow and could help them break out of whatever spell they are under. That is assuming this is a spell. It is one possible theory to explain what is happening, and with everything we’ve seen, I don’t have any other ideas as this twist is so mind boggling!
Where are Marc and Stephen? Is this purgatory? Has the entire series been a delusion of Marc’s? Or is this their mind playing tricks on them? Check back next week for the next Moon Knight recap to find out if we learn the answers to any of these questions and what new questions are formed as a result. Check back next week for the next Moon Knight recap to find out if we learn the answers to any of these questions and what new questions are formed as a result.