What to Watch Verdict
More action, more mythology, some great character development and big spectacle keep the Moon Knight winning streak going
Fun action sequences
Intriguing mysteries introduced
The gods' council and Oscar Isaac's amazing performance
More info on Layla and her relationship with Marc
Brilliant uses of Khonshu in the episode
Some of the VFX in action scenes are dodgy
Harrow continues to be crafty but uninteresting
One of the smartest things Moon Knight has done has been to sparingly use the caped superhero each episode, retaining the focus on the conflict between Steven and Marc. This third episode gives us the most screen time with Marc in the suit but also presents strongest case that this hero is only as good as both his personalities. It’s a smart move to make us like all sides of this character first and keep the costume and the powers secondary, which is ultimately where the MCU really excels.
After Marc/Steven (Oscar Isaac) headed to Egypt in episode 2, episode 3 picks up with Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) trying to catch up with him. After she showed her action chops last week, we get a chance to learn a bit more about Layla as she forges a passport to get into Cairo. We don't know exactly what Layla did in the past, but she is told to "avoid her old haunts" and has connections to some dangerous individuals. Despite the mystery, there’s something very likable about Calamawy’s performance; it's great to see more of her and how she fits into the story.
We then get to Marc, fully in control of his (or Steven’s) body, and in hot pursuit of witnesses that can lead him to Harrow (Ethan Hawke), who is using the scarab to find the tomb of Ammit. A pretty funny scene has him facing off against a really stylish group of mercenaries who like licking knives. Right as he’s about to get answers, he’s interrupted by Steven.
The interesting thing about this episode is how it’s an inverse of the past two. We're seeing things through Marc’s perspective, with the blackouts occurring when Steven takes control. Steven may have a good heart, but he definitely gets in the way of results. Still, its hilarious to see the confusion of the goons when Marc asks them to stop after Steven just told them they could go.
As Marc keeps blacking out, he wakes up with a knife driven into one of the mercenaries. He’s shocked that Steven would kill someone, but we all know he wouldn’t (right?). This begs the question who was in control during these violent outbursts? We assume Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham). But could there be a possible third personality at work here?
Without any witnesses, Marc needs Khonshu to summon a council of avatars for the other Egyptian gods to accuse Harrow of crimes of trying to unleash Ammit. This is super risky given the gods' proclivity towards imprisoning other gods that violate their rules of making mortals aware of their existence. This leads to a fascinating scene involving Egyptian deity politics, in which we see what an outcast Khonshu truly is among his peers.
It also leads to him being discredited thanks to Harrow’s crafty manipulations, exposing Marc’s dissociative identity condition. Alas, the gods are jerks and ignore things. So much credit has to be given to Oscar Isaac’s performance. With a simple change in tone and some physical commitment, we’re able to see who’s controlling Marc/Steven through the entire scene without the need to rely on any sort of VFX or Khonshu imagery. It’s incredible.
Following the failure of the forum, Marc finds Layla and they team up to try to find the tomb of Ammit by other means. Layla’s former associate in crime, Anton Mogart (Gaspard Ulliel) is in possession of a casket that has a star map that will show them the way.
The journey to visit Mogart allows us to really see the excellent chemistry Isaac has with Calamawy. It also reveals some shady stuff that went down with Layla’s father and Marc. It also showcases Steven’s strengths in Egyptology. Best of all, it gives us some world class Moon Knight action.
Once more the cinematography is gorgeous, from the panel-like formation of Moon Knight’s cape into a crescent moon, and the hero facing off against several people on horses. To be honest though, the VFX look a bit off in this scene.
Should also mention that for his limited screen time, the late Gaspard Ulliel gives a fun, dastardly performance. It’s a shame we won’t get to see more of Mogart, given he is the Midnight Man in the original Moon Knight comics.
Marc and Layla get away with the map they need, only there’s a problem. They don’t know how to read it. So Marc is forced to do something he’s been avoiding the whole episode: letting Steven out. It works. Steven’s deep rooted knowledge of Egyptology enables him to interpret the map, but the map is useless, because it could only be properly read if the sky were in the exact same position it was thousands of years ago the night it was created.
Thankfully, Steven and Marc are avatars of a very handy Egyptian deity. This leads to one of the most visually stunning and incredibly unique scenes ever produced in the MCU: Steven, as Mr. Knight, and Khonshu reform the night sky. It’s a dazzling and gorgeous scene and it yields results, not only allowing Steven and Layla to find the temple of Ammit, but also enabling Khonshu to trust Steven more.
Unfortunately, it’s not without a cost. The event leads to Khonshu being imprisoned by his fellow gods for altering the nature of the sky and, for now, Steven/Marc have lost the power of the Moon Knight. Thankfully, as this show has demonstrated, we won’t need the suit or the powers of Khonshu to make this story absolutely gripping.
New episodes of Moon Knight premiere exclusively on Disney Plus on Wednesdays.
Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland.
You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.