*Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 4 of Moon Knight*
Those who said that Moon Knight’s fourth episode would change everything were…right. It changes our perception of Steven Grant/Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac)’s double identities and makes us question the reality of the show in its entirety. Did Steven/Marc (or Jake Lockley?) make up that they were the conduit of Khonshu (Karim El Hakim & F. Murray Abraham) and that Moon Knight doesn’t exist? Their adventures with Layla (May Calamawy) were just a fabrication? Or, even better, the evil Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) is nothing but an overzealous psychiatrist? Of course, we can just throw in the towel and give up trying to discern what’s real or fake in Steven/Marc’s adventure because every time we think we’ve figured it out, here’s a CGI Hippopotamus.
No, really, this is how the episode ends. With a CGI hippopotamus Tawaret (Antonia Salib). But since we’re so knee-deep into Steven/Marc/(Jake?)’s mind, inside a psychiatric hospital, we have no idea anymore if we can trust our protagonist, who, in this episode, is looking for a Pharaoh’s sarcophagus. It’ll lead Steven and Layla in finding Ammit’s tomb. Of course, that is if they can get past the flesh-eating zombies (Heka Priests) in their way.
For those disappointed in the lack of brutality or horror in the past few episodes, look no further than Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead to deliver effective jumpscares and terrifying tomb zombies to satiate your thirst for the supernatural. This also opens the door for the MCU to go into a “scary” direction, progressively leading us to a Multiverse of Madness or, better yet, Midnight Sons. I want to be scared if you’re telling me that we’re getting a “scary” project. Episode four of Moon Knight brings in the scares in a tense confrontation between Steven, Layla, and undead Heka Priests. It gives us a good fright, with the zombies decimating a body and devouring its flesh, which we don’t necessarily see, but we are treated to the undead taking out a liver and putting it in a bucket. Yum.
Layla and Steven get separated, which leads to her being confronted by another undead priest, leading her to impale its face with a flare in one of the most satisfying tension-releasing scenes of the year. Andrew Droz Palermo’s tight cinematography and Ahmed Hafez’s editing exacerbate the sequence’s suspense, while May Calamawy kicks major ass. Finally, the show isn’t afraid of leaning fully into its supernatural nature while being as brutal as a TV-14 show may allow, which, surprisingly, gives its filmmakers lots of leeway to show blood and a zombie’s face being impaled by a flare. It’s pretty cool and gives me hope that subsequent supernatural-related properties won’t shy away from being violent.
Their adventure takes another surprising turn. Marc reveals to Layla how he was implicated in his father’s death. Calamawy’s emotional range is superb during the sequence, but the gut punch comes when Harrow shoots him in cold blood after refusing to give him Alexander the Great’s ushabti. What happens next is beyond your wildest dreams, as the show quickly turns from a pure Indiana Jones/The Mummy-esque adventure to The Test Dream (the best Sopranos episode), but with Moon Knight. Finally, Marc wakes up in a psychiatric hospital, seemingly having made up what we’ve seen in the past four episodes.
But since we can’t trust his mind, this could be a very elaborate “test dream,” in which Marc, Steven (and soon Jake will join them…he’s been teased too many times that I’m inclined to say he will appear in some capacity in the next two episodes), have to confront their “inner demons,” through a dream sequence, where everything becomes apparent. Then, finally, he will regain Khonshu’s spirit to become Moon Knight yet again and fight Harrow. This looks to be the direction that the series is going, but it seems too predictable for the 180s the show keeps giving us. But I’ll admit that this is the first time I have genuinely no clue where the series is going, and it kept me on edge further than the last two episodes did, with almost no action and no Moon Knight. I do know this; they’re keeping Steven/Marc away from Moon Knight for most of the series so that he’ll fully accept the suit in episode 6 and kick lots and lots of ass. That’s my wish, but until then, your guess as to where the series will go is as good as mine.
Episode four of Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.