Moon Knight recap: series one, episode four – forget costumed action, this is the strongest episode yet

Steven and Marc somehow met despite sharing a body, there was plenty of tomb-based fun and things got a bit One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a hospital that was fake – wasn’t it?

Spoiler alert: this article is for people watching Moon Knight on Disney+. Do not read unless you have seen episodes one to four.


Considering my role here as the writer of this Moon Knight recap, I know I am supposed to be the one offering insight, explaining plot developments, searching for clues and positing the odd theory, so I understand it’s not that helpful when I kick things off by asking: “What on Earth was that about”?

But really, what on Earth was all that about? I was merrily watching Oscar Isaac playing second fiddle to May Calamawy in his own show and thinking about how, even though the series wasn’t going in the direction I thought it would, I was still really enjoying it. It seems like a very long time ago that we saw Moon Knight fighting rampaging hellhounds on the streets of London – or Moon Knight at all come to think of it – but the Tomb Raider/Uncharted adaptation of the opening 35 minutes of this episode were a blast, and certainly better than Tom Holland’s actual Uncharted adaptation. And then BAM. Just as I didn’t see Marc’s bullets in the chest coming, I wasn’t expecting things to go all One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, either.

Will Khonshu be freed and give Marc back his powers?
Will Khonshu be freed and give Marc back his powers? Photograph: Disney

They were all there, in the “psychiatric hospital” – and I’m using quote marks as I don’t believe it’s really a hospital … Bek the henchman, Crawley the living statue without his makeup, annoying Donna and the fake police officers Billy and Bobbi. The whole gang. Then Harrow showed up as the doctor. Thankfully, Marc smelled a rat, even in his heavily sedated state, seeing one too many details in the room for it to be coincidence – the cane, the Egyptian artefacts, the drawing of Khonshu, the repeated line about not being able to help him, those awful sandals – and made a dash for it. At this point, the hospital being a construct, a trick played by Harrow, seemed certain. When Marc smashed that window, I was fully expecting the desert to be on the other side of the door, reminiscent of the scene in The First Avenger when Captain America realised he wasn’t in the 1940s and escaped into modern-day New York. But no, the illusion, if it is an illusion, runs deeper than that.

This episode, The Tomb, asked more questions than it answered. How can Marc and Steven meet when they share a body? How can Taweret, the Egyptian goddess most closely associated with fertility, childbirth and rejuvenation, be there? Judging by the hippo’s cheery greeting, she’s happy to see Marc and Steven, and has possibly even seen them before, or knows who they are, but, given the way the episode cut to black with them screaming, they were just as confused as us viewers.

Of course, it could be that everything we’ve seen in the three-and-a-bit episodes leading up to this point happened only in Marc’s head, but that seems the least likely explanation.

Layla’s dad

Prior to all this, we got nearer the truth about Layla’s father, although there is still more to come on that front. We know that Abdullah was an “archaeologist on a mission”, and was working with a team in the desert when Marc’s partner got greedy and killed them all. All plausible, but who was Marc’s bloodthirsty partner? Is it going to be another person – and if that is the case, I don’t believe it’s a character we have already met. More likely, it’s the so-far-hinted-at maniacal third personality we may have caught a glimpse of in Cairo in episode three.

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight episode 4.
Four episodes in, we’ve learned enough about Marc, Steven, Layla and Harrow to feel invested … Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight. Photograph: Disney

What next?

Overall, I thought it was the strongest episode of the series so far. The danger with introducing a character like Moon Knight, with no obvious ties to the MCU, is that it feels rootless, given that one of the biggest draws to Marvel films and TV series is the connectivity. Now, four episodes in, while we’re still adrift, but we’ve learned enough about Marc, Steven, Layla and Harrow to feel invested.

I didn’t miss Moon Knight or Khonshu in this episode, although I might start asking questions if their absence goes on much longer. With two episodes to go, I’m still not sure what the end point will be, but I’m going to stick around to find out – and not just because I am writing these recaps and it’s my job to do so.

Notes and observations

  • The actor playing Dr Steven Grant in Tomb Busters was Joseph Millson, best known for long stints in Peak Practice and Holby City. He was also Alan Jackson in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

  • Jeff Lemire’s 2016 Moon Knight comic run had a storyline where Marc woke up in a psychiatric hospital only to be told that he’d been there for years and that he wasn’t Moon Knight. The hospital later transpired to be a fake and that Ammit, in disguise, was one of Marc’s doctors. Could that be what’s going on here?

  • Who or what was in the third sarcophagus in the hospital?

  • Taweret has never appeared in any Moon Knight or Marvel property before, making this her debut across all formats.

  • The scene where Layla and Harrow speak about her father was written in because Calamawy and Ethan Hawke wanted to spend more time on screen together. Hawke apparently went away after shooting one day and had the whole conversation mapped out by the following morning.

  • The location of Alexander the Great’s tomb is an enduring mystery, with more than 140 official attempts to find it. In 2021, Egyptian officials claimed they had found it in Siwa, near the Libyan border.

What did you think? Is the institution in Marc’s head, or a trick played by Harrow? Will Khonshu be freed and give Marc back his powers? Have your say below …


Andy Welch

The GuardianTramp

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