The Following Recap/Review Contains Spoilers for Episode 4 of ‘Moon Knight’. For a review of Episode 3, click here.
Moon Knight returns this week with a fourth episode that continues to play on the Marc/Steven dynamic all while following up the archeological adventure from the previous episode. After Khonshu was sealed in the previous episode, Steven and Layla embark into the depths of an Egyptian tomb to stop Arthur Harrow. The week’s Moon Knight takes a bit more of a demented turn. As the Indiana Jones-type adventure shifts from Raiders and into Temple of Doom with its imagery.
As Layla and Steven navigate the catacombs, tonally we get tense scares similar to that of the first episode. They’re separated in the labyrinth by grotesque-looking creatures, each is forced to rely on their own wits. It’s interesting to see Steven/Marc in a new vulnerable position. With Khonshu it seems that the powers of the Moon Knight suit are gone as well. The dynamic of Steven/Marc vying for control is given a new angle as well. As Layla and Steven grow closer, Marc gets irritated.
Steven, not wanting to give control yet, takes the lead in this episode. Oscar Isaac acts opposite himself for some of this episode. It works to great effect, as Moon Knight uses duality to develop both characters. Moreover, these “separate” performances from Isaac still entertain.
Layla (May Calamawy), meanwhile, shares her scenes with Harrow. Ethan Hawke continues to play the role to eh best of his ability. While his motivations are typical and eerily similar to another MCU antagonist, Hawke elevates the material. Moreover, his revelation of what Marc did to Layla’s father is a powerful moment in the episode. This leads to a falling out between Marc and Layla. Not only does the revelation add a new layer to Marc’s relationship with her as well as delves into his origin story.
However, the revelation comes at an odd time in the episode. It leads to a somewhat forced confrontation between Marc and Harrow. Still, the character work is admirable and helps make the tension and stakes in the episode that much better. Although Marc found the seal first, Harrow simply shoots Marc, who no longer has Khonshu with him.
The episode takes a completely different turn at this point. In what seems like a facility for those mentally unwell, Marc/Steven finds himself at a loss. Holding a Moon Knight figure and confined to a wheelchair, the imagery is an unsettling and jarring change.
In this new world, Hawke as Harrow is seemingly the doctor of the facility. He speaks to Marc about a “film” he constantly watches, titled Tomb Buster. The meta-commentary of this psychiatric ward in regards to Marc’s current predicament is unnerving and intriguing. It feels like an odd and psychedelic retrospective on Marc’s life up to this point.
Finding Steven in a sarcophagus, Marc frees him. The two finally seem separate but working together. Seeing other sarcophagi in other rooms, it can only be assumed these are other personalities that haven’t manifested. Marc and Steven eventually stumble upon another mythic creature, before the episode comes to an abrupt end.
Half archeological adventure, half psychological thrill ride, Moon Knight continues to juggle different tones and themes. The fourth episode is no exception. With great performances and strong execution of high concept scenarios, Moon Knight manages to keep its head above the water of being the same as all the other MCU projects. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 8/10