*Warning: The following piece contains spoilers for episode six of Moon Knight*
Our journey with Moon Knight has ended on the highest of possible notes. If you’ve been following my ruminations with MCU television shows for a while now, I’ve always thought that the weakest part of their series has been their half-baked climaxes that quickly resolve any lingering plot threads the show had set up with pretty dull action sequences. I was particularly disappointed at the conclusion of Hawkeye, which reintroduced Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk through a chilling opening scene, only for him to…not be in the forefront for the majority of the final battle with the protagonists. Loki had the only series finale of a Marvel TV show so far that I loved, with a perfect introduction to Jonathan Majors’ Kang, who is poised to be the next “big bad” of the MCU’s Multiverse saga. But through one simple creative decision, the Moon Knight finale skyrocketed the series as the best the MCU has to offer on Disney+ so far.
In rather unfortunate circumstances, it all came down to Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) making a deal with the Goddess Tawaret (Antonia Salib) to become her avatar for one brief moment and become the Scarlet Scarab. Then the rest of the episode is everything Wonder Woman 1984 ever dreamed of, with an impeccable confrontation between Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), Marc Spector/Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), and Layla. And it’s in that very moment where the incredible outweighs the episode’s slight flaws.
With slight flaws, it’s a nitpick, but one that could divide audiences. During the heat of the final battle, both Layla and Marc are weakened by Harrow, who has been possessed by Ammit (Sofia Danu/Saba Mubarak)’s spirit. Harrow has the upper hand and is about to suck Marc’s soul. However, Marc ultimately gets up and kills every one of Harrow’s henchmen, including neutralizing the antagonist, but we don’t see it. Instead, the series cuts to after the battle, signaling that Jake Lockley took control of the body and murdered everyone on sight. Of course, that’s just foreshadowing for a post-credit scene and a setup for the next season (or film, whatever Marvel’s plans are), but it would’ve been cool to see Jake going at it and introducing Marc’s third personality like this instead of during a post-credit scene that tied up a loose end.
The climax of any Marvel title should always be the best part because it gives fans their wildest dreams come true. And seeing Layla become the Scarlet Scarab for one brief moment felt too good to be true. Of course, the cherry on top could’ve been seeing Lockley kill everyone instead of the show implying that he did it off-screen, but I understand that it could’ve been too much or too brutal. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be R-rated (or TV-MA) for us to know how dangerous of a personality Jake is; just a taste of what’s to come for the character next could’ve made the episode better.
But who am I to complain? The episode kicked major ass as soon as Layla came into the battle in the complete Scarlet Scarab get up. Yes, it’s a departure from the comic book character, but does it matter? The first Egyptian superhero in the MCU is here, and boy does Calamawy deliver one heck of a fight inside the best action scene of the series. I’ve complained about how poor the editing has been during the show’s entirety. Still, director Mohamed Diab and cinematographer Gregory Middleton ensure that their shots linger enough for us to appreciate what’s happening on screen and enjoy the whole can of whoop-ass Marc/Steven/Jake, and Layla gives to Harrow.
Calamawy’s best moments as Layla are also in the sixth episode. Take away the time she suits up as the Scarlet Scarab, and you still get two impeccable moments filled with emotional power. The first, where she sees Marc’s dead body lying near the tomb of Alexander the Great and breaks down in tears, is a decisive moment and an incredible reminder of the love she has for Marc. The second is where she gets possessed by Tawaret’s spirit (before suiting up) and struggles to balance both of her personalities, à la Tom Hardy in Venom. It’s awesome and the perfect demonstration of why she was cast as Layla in the first place. Calamawy opens up to Layla’s vulnerabilities as a human being through her relationship with Steven while simultaneously juggling through a plethora of emotions whenever Marc shifts between personalities (and being incredibly badass. That’s a plus). She shares terrific chemistry with Isaac during the climax, which is poised to grow should there be a second season or their characters appear somewhere else.
Brushing off some of the minor flaws I had in the early episodes and in the finale, Moon Knight remains a magical experience. Its first episode enthralled me from beginning to end, its fourth episode bemused me through its Test Dream of a finale, while the fifth episode broke me to no end through Marc’s somber backstory. But the sixth episode solidified it as the best MCU Disney+ series so far and brilliantly wrapped up its event with one of the most memorable Phase Four moments in any title I’ve seen so far. I’ve been largely unimpressed with the Disney+ content Marvel has done so far, so trust me when I say that Moon Knight ruled and that I will gladly pay an uptick in my subscription for 100 more seasons of it. Heck, if every single Disney+ Marvel series were Moon Knight-related, I’d watch ‘em all. Bring it.
All episodes of Moon Knight are now streaming on Disney+.