Warning: Minor spoilers ahead! These short recaps are meant for fans to break down the most recent episode and speculate about those ahead. It’ll be a much more fun read if you’ve watched Moon Knight first, we promise.
Like many of you, I’ve been waiting for Moon Knight since Marvel’s first announcement. Its release date, March 30th, became a bright spot on my calendar amidst the murky sea of my midterms. I prepared myself with several YouTube recaps made by Marvel comic book nerds, watched the trailer a few hundred times, and waited. That day finally came. When I woke up the following morning, my younger brother, in a text, pronounced it: “best episode of a Marvel show so far.”
And I wholeheartedly agree.
When a Marvel episode opens with a Bob Dylan song, you know you’re in for a treat. Moon Knight’s vibes thus far are simply…cool. And by “cool,” I mean the uncool sort of cool. That Oscar Isaac (40-year-old heartthrob, but heartthrob no less) would star as our protagonist, a “mild-mannered gift-shop employee” named Steven Grant, did not prepare me for quite how pitiful yet how endearing Steven would be. I love that the newest Marvel superhero gets stood up in the first episode. I love that he gets told to shut up about his nerdy passion for ancient Egyptian mythology by his boss. “That’s actually crushing to hear” is Stephen’s dry response: humorous but devastating. After all, I doubt I’m the only Marvel fan tired of being asked to “tone it down.” On behalf of nerds everywhere—Slater, Diab, Isaac—I salute you.
The show only hints at violence, eschewing the choreographed action scenes, state-of-the-art tech, and fancy CGI that characterizes much of Marvel’s production. And isn’t that refreshing? The shifts between absurd humour and pure terror are speedy and effortless. At one point, Steven even apologizes for killing people, raising his hands covered in blood, reiterating “Sorry! Sorry!” in Isaac’s ridiculous British accent. How does this lonely gift-shoppist suddenly become embroiled in a plot to steal a golden scarab from a very scary cult run by men with guns? Absolutely no clue. At this point, Steven has found himself intruding on Marc’s mission, Marc being his mercenary alter-ego—same body, completely different location. It’s crazy. It’s brilliant! It’s the magic of seamless film editing. In this way, Moon Knight manages to fulfill fan expectations while giving typical Marvel conventions a fresh update.
Like the best Marvel openers, I have many questions. How did Steven and Marc’s personalities emerge? The first episode appears to be their first interaction, but it also begins in medias res. If this is the first time Steven has caught Marc in control of his body, why does he insist on his elaborate nighttime rituals? The sand circle around his bed, the door taped to know if the entrance to his apartment has been breached, the chain fixing his ankle to his bed frame—why? I question, too, if this is the first time Steven has ‘skipped’ a few days of his life, and the “goldfish problem” still remains a problem. Finally, who is Khonshu, and how did he get involved with Steven/Marc? (What a great introduction to the Egyptian god controlling your mind, though, whose voice booming inside your head labels you the “idiot” and commands you to go back to sleep.) I am very excited to join Steven as he unravels these questions throughout the series.
While waiting for the next episode, I think I’ll start brushing up on Egyptian mythology. Admit it; you’ve already googled the Wikipedia page for Khonshu and Ammit, haven’t you?