In the “Moon Knight” recap, Steven Grant realizes there’s something chaotic happening inside of him as he battles to maintain control over his own psyche…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Not since “WandaVision” debuted as the first ever Marvel Studios production on Disney+ has a series presented such an intriguing and original premise as what will surely unfold for six episodes in the new show “Moon Knight” starring Oscar Isaac.
Now first and foremost a warning — much like “WandaVision,” it’s safe to say that “Moon Knight” is going to require some patience to fully understand what’s happening with this character with the biggest revelations likely not happening until very deep into the series.
That said, comic book purists have been itching to see Moon Knight realized in live action form so this series promises a lot of twists and turns not to mention a whole bunch of mind fuckery.
Originally introduced in 1975, Moon Knight has undergone a lot of character changes over the years but the most faithful interpretation seems to be the one used for this series where Marc Spector is a man haunted by dissociative identity disorder — multiple personalities — that transform him into many different people, all of whom are also consumed by a powerful force driven from an ancient Egyptian god known as Khonshu.
In the comics, Marc Spector was a mercenary who was left for dead in the Egyptian desert before he had a spiritual awakening after connecting with the god Khonshu, who granted him extraordinary powers and saved his life in exchange for his servitude. This allowed Spector to take on his new role as Moon Knight — a powerful avenger that gave him new purpose while continuing to follow Khonshu’s commands.
Of course, Marc was still suffering from dissociative identity disorder that he developed as a child after learning that a close friend of his Jewish family was actually a Nazi deserter and secretly a serial killer of Jews. That trauma splintered Marc’s psyche and led him to creating multiple personalities including one known as Steven Grant and another who becomes a cab driver named Jake Lockley. At one point, Spector even took on a different persona as Moon Knight when he became “Mr. Knight,” which is where he appeared in an all-white suit while still wearing the Moon Knight mask.
Judging by the first episode, it appears that a big part of this origin story will remain the same for the series after being introduced to Steven Grant and then hearing the voice of both Marc Spector and Khonshu speaking inside his head. It’s a truly fascinating premise and a performance piece for Isaac, who has to constantly bounce in and out of characters while trying to maintain some semblance of sanity.
With that background information in mind, let’s recap the debut episode of “Moon Knight” titled “The Goldfish Problem”…
Chaos In You
When we first meet Steven Grant, he’s waking up in the morning with chains wrapped to his ankle, sand surrounding his bed and tape along the crack of his door to ensure that he hasn’t gotten up and walked anywhere in the middle of the night. These various precautions become more clear later in the episode as Steven is understandably shaken that he often wakes up in strange places with no knowledge whatsoever how he arrived there or what he did to get there either.
On this particular morning, Steven is relieved to wake up to his apartment with nothing else disturbed so he gets ready for work. He eats breakfast and even makes a call to his mother, who we have to assume isn’t actually on the other end of the phone because he’s constantly speaking to her but it never seems like he gets much of a response.
After nearly falling asleep on the bus, Steven arrives at his job in a local London museum where he’s more than happy to pass along all of his knowledge about ancient Egypt except for one small problem — he’s actually just a clerk at the museum gift shop and not a particularly adept clerk at that.
Steven is happy to hear about a date he has with a co-worker, although even as she mentions it to him, he has no memory of actually agreeing to this dinner. He spends the rest of the day trying to stay off his manager’s bad side while being told repeatedly about his absenteeism not to mention how he’s constantly late to work.
After leaving the museum, Steven stops by a local park where he sits and talks to apparently the only friend he’s got — a street performer painted gold as a statue, who doesn’t appear to have much say at all in this particular relationship. Still, Steven tells the gold man his woes about how he desperately tries to stay awake at night to fight whatever impulses continuously drag him out of the house without his knowledge. He’s happy about the date he has coming up but Steven is also concerned about eventually returning to his flat where the bed has ankle restraints tied to it.
That night after returning home, Marc once again tries to keep his mind awake so he never drifts off to sleep.
He reads texts about Egypt and attempts to solve a Rubik’s cube but his best efforts to fight off slumber eventually fail as he doses off and wakes up in the middle of a field the next day. Steven opens his eyes to the surprise that his jaw hurts, his mouth is bloodied and he’s holding onto a golden scarab that he clearly didn’t have when he fell asleep.
Steven is also shocked to hear a rather loud voice ringing in his head — it’s the voice belonging to the moon god Khonshu, who mocks and insults him as “the idiot” while trying to convince him to let “Marc” take over again. He barely gets the chance to figure out his surroundings until Steven is accosted by a pair of gunmen who are shooting first without asking any questions.
He flees down into a village where Steven soon finds himself in the middle of cult worshipping an enigmatic leader who emerges amongst them. The man is Arthur Harrow (played by Ethan Hawke), who we first meet at the start of the episode after he takes a drink and smashes a glass before putting the shards into the sandals that he’ll wear all day long.
The penance seems harsh but it appears Arthur is nothing if not committed to his religion.
When he walks into his cult, the people separate like the Red Sea for Moses and he eventually ends up in the town square where he prepares to pass judgment on some of his followers. He ends up getting two volunteers — the first man is declared good after a mysterious scale tattoo on Arthur’s arm shakes before turning green to signify that this person is pure of heart.
When an old lady walks up for the same judgment, Arthur’s scales turn red and the woman pleads with him that she’s done nothing but good her entire life. Sadly, Arthur tells her that judgment can come even if she’s only going to do something evil years from now — and a moment later, the woman’s soul is sucked from her body and she falls to the ground like a decayed corpse.
When Arthur turns to face his followers, who all bow before him, Steven is last to kneel and that’s when his cover is blown. He’s confronted by Arther, who requests that the golden scarab be returned to him, but as much as Steven wants to hand it over, the forces inside his body refuse to let it go.
No matter how many times he tries to give Arther the scarab, Steven’s body won’t actually allow him to do it.
Finally Arthur orders his men to grab Steven but that backfires spectacularly after the dimwitted gift shop clerk blacks out and when he wakes up again, all of the assailants are knocked out or dead and he’s still holding onto that scarab.
Steven finally takes the cue to run away while listening to the booming voice inside his head to stop trying to hand over the golden scarab.
He gets into a truck to make his escape and it appears Steven is doomed to die or be captured but every moment where it appears he’s finished, another blackout happens and he wakes up to find more bad guys dead or defeated. It’s a rather trippy sequence combined with a harrowing car chase along a winding mountain road but obviously Steven survives even if he’s not exactly sure how any of this is actually happening to him.
Just when it looks like his truck will be wiped out by some falling timber, Steven blacks out again except this time he wakes up in his apartment still chained to his bed. Steven believes this all must have been a dream because nothing is disturbed — until he notices that the fish he bought suddenly has two fins instead of one.
He returns to the pet store where the clerk tells him that he just purchased this fish a day earlier and all of them have two fins. Steven still doesn’t quite understands what’s happening but he’s cut short after realizing the time because his date is starting soon.
After rushing home to change clothes, Steven makes it to the restaurant but sadly he ends up sitting there alone until he places a call to his supposed date. She screams at him for ghosting her when they were supposed to meet for dinner two nights earlier.
That’s when Steven realizes that it’s Sunday — and his last memory came from Thursday night.
He goes home to commiserate this latest occasion where he’s lost time but Steven’s problems only get deeper when he discovers a table has been moved in his apartment and a part of his wall has been moved to provide a hiding space where he finds a car key and a cell phone.
The phone is riddled with missed calls from someone named Layla — along with one from Duchamp, who is a longtime associate of Marc Spector in the comic book. He calls Layla back and she’s livid that he’s taken this long to respond while also wondering why he’s speaking in this strange British accent. More disturbing, however, is when she screams ‘what’s wrong with you Marc?’ — and the line goes dead before he can get any answers.
Steven then begins hearing yet another voice in his head — this one actually belonging to Marc Spector — but that only sends him fleeing from his own home after everything starts shaking as if an earthquake is hitting London.
As he runs to the elevator, Steven is then confronted by the embodiment of the moon god Khonshu, who comes to him in rather frightening fashion before he disappears again when another person enters with him. Khonshu surprises Steven yet again but this time he wakes up the next day while riding the bus to work again — without any knowledge whatsoever how he got there.
Once he’s inside the museum, Steven is confronted by Arthur Harrow, who was surprised to learn that the name “Steven Grant” wasn’t some alias. Arthur, along with some of his followers who happen to work at the museum, corner Steven so they can have a conversation.
It’s there Arthur reveals his true nature as a follower of the Egyptian god Ammit — known in texts as the devourer of the dead. Arthur explains that Ammit was the god who passed judgment on sinners but she eventually got tired of just handing down punishment to those who were already guilty so she started to pursue those who would eventually commit atrocities like some sort of ancient “Minority Report” system at work.
But Arthur explains that Ammit was betrayed by her fellow gods and even her own avatar before being imprisoned. Now he’s using her power to pass judgment on the world with plans for a much larger scale execution in the works for the wicked and unholy.
Arthur then offers to judge Steven in the same way he did those two followers in his village except his scale doesn’t flash good or evil. Instead, the scale just rattles and refuses to balance, which leads Arthur to tell Steven that there’s chaos in him before the timid gift shop clerk runs away.
Later that night after another mind-numbing shift working the gift shop counter, Steven is ready to return to his home when he starts to hear the sounds of a whimpering dog in the distance. Steven tries to pursue the sound but he soon discovers that the dog isn’t whimpering at all but rather a gigantic mutant jackal that’s chasing after him to get back what he took from Arthur Harrow
Steven manages to barricade himself in a bathroom but the creature is banging down the door and it won’t be long before it gets through. That’s when Steven is confronted by his other personality — Marc Spector appears in the mirror to beg him to hand over control so he can save them both.
Realizing that his options are limited, Steven blacks out and Marc takes over before transforming into the mystical Moon Knight — the living avatar to the moon god Khonshu.
The jackal creature bursts through the door only to get pummeled into the ground by Moon Knight, who finally turns to face the camera as his full costume is finally revealed.
The episode ends there with the revelation of Moon Knight but it’s clear this series will have more than a few twists and turns along the way as Marc Spector attempts to maintain control over his many personalities while also working to discover more about Arthur Harrow and his mysterious Ammit worshipping cult. There’s lots of work to do, especially if Marc can manage to control himself without allowing Steven to emerge again but it’s safe to say this battle is far from over.
“Moon Knight” will return for a new episode next Wednesday on Disney+