Updated: Apr 21
Directed by: Mohamed Diab, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham.
The third episode of Marvel's Moon Knight has arrived with more personality (ha) and more Khonshu than I could've hoped. Layla found Marc just as Steven did, upending their worlds and sending the Moon Knight for answers to stop Harrow from raising Ammit, the Egyptian boogeyman god. This series delights in depicting sequences of confusion, dropping us into events without much context. This mirrors our protagonist, throwing us into the mess he calls life. This episode we are dropped into the streets of Cairo and introduced to the comedic duo of Marc Spector/Steven Grant.
Marvel's Moon Knight deviates from the comics by a huge margin, but I believe this makes the show work better as its own entity. The Moon Knight canon is riddled with subtle, not-quite retcons that seek to reinvent elements of the character in each new comic run. In the series, we focus more on the people and the characters than we do the cape and cowl (at least I do.)
Episode 3 is a hairs breadth away from being a treasure hunting episode, a near miss I will lament if only for my unhealthy obsession with The Mummy and Indiana Jones. Rather than invest heavily in this "treasure hunt" (opting for a more blunt-force MacGuffin), the episode becomes more about Khonshu and his complicated . . . everything(?), including the dark mark of pain he allegedly left on Harrow.
Marc and Steven (and poor Layla) are dragged around Cairo by Khonshu. People are beaten, stabbed, shot, etc. Don't get me wrong, all of this was amazing, but the real treat was seeing Marc and Steven learn to coexist amid a more abusive relationship with the Egyptian deity. The relationship between Khonshu the moon god and his avatar is one hard to ignore in depictions of Moon Knight, but also severely complicated to express in a multi-faceted way. I think this series manages to execute this well. I know Khonshu is morally ambiguous AT BEST, but there are also moments of deep sorrow in his voice that hint at the want for redemption. You'll have to watch the episode to find out more.
I feel so terribly for Layla. If you're aware of the Moon Knight comics then you may understand a bit more from this week's episode than the average viewer. If you know, you know. That makes it more painful to watch Layla find Steven/Marc, only for him to go Cairo without her. There, she follows them with an understandably bigger grudge now. Layla deserves more than Marc, his inability to communicate reigning supreme alongside Khonshu's probable bad bed manner. It is fair to say that Moon Knight wouldn't be saving anyone or anything if Layla wasn't there to keep him honest and un-javelined (you'll see).
It's difficult to convey the essence of an episode without spoilers, but I hope this effort amounted to your enjoyment. Moon Knight Episode 3 is available on Disney+ with new episodes every Wednesday. I couldn't recommend this show more, but I will still try. Moon Knight is a sorrowful jaunt into the erratic mind of an erratic hero who just wants to do some good and find some peace. Aren't we all? Give this show your time, and I bet you'll like what you find in the moonlight.
Fill the time by reading more on Moon Knight with this RECOMMENDED READING list! You can find these at your LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP, maybe even your LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, or even still online at Amazon.
By Doug Moench & Bill Sienkiewicz
By Charlie Huston & David Finch
By Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood
By Jason Aaron & Gerardo Zaffino
For some RECOMMENDED VIEWING from Moon Knight's esteemed directors, check out:
Mohamed Diab's Amira (2021, available on Hulu), as well as Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead's Synchronic (2019, starring Anthony Mackie, available on Netflix), and The Endless (2017, available on Amazon Prime Video).
Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.