In the “Moon Knight” recap, Marc finally deals with the trauma from his past as he comes face-to-face with the events that led to his current condition…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If last week’s episode of “Moon Knight” ended in a bizarre way, the penultimate installment both attempted to continue confusing viewers while simultaneously revealing everything that’s been hidden about Marc Spector since the series began.
A central narrative throughout the show has been Marc’s mental health and the struggles he’s faced while affected by dissociative identity disorder but the reason for his split personalities had never been revealed previously. All that’s been known is Marc shares his psyche with another part of himself named Steven Grant and there’s even been hints of a third person sharing the same body, although it’s unclear if we’ll get to that one before the season is over.
A quick recap for last week — Marc and Layla managed to get inside Ammit’s tomb but they were unable to prevent Arthur Harrow and his followers from doing the exact same thing. In order to save Layla and allow her time to escape, Marc sacrificed himself, which ended with him being shot and killed.
In the aftermath of his apparent death, Marc woke up in a psychiatric ward where it appears he’s a long term patient dealing with a whole lot of issues — not the least of which is some fantasy he’s built up in his own head about being an avatar to a mood god and gallivanting around Egypt on a grand adventure to stop his arch nemesis from freeing an ancient god hell bent on passing judgment on the world.
It all sounds rather crazy, especially to Marc’s doctor Arthur Harrow, which is only the latest in a number of mindbending moments. The episode ends with Marc running away from his therapy session only to find his alter ego Steven Grant in the same hospital — as the two parts finally connect in this warped version of reality. The episode ended with Marc running into a giant hippopotamus, which was probably the least strange thing that unfolded.
That’s exactly where we pick up this week with Marc and Steven dealing with the hippo and the revelation about their true location and what it will take to escape.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “Moon Knight” titled Asylum…
Born of a Broken Man
After running into the giant hippopotamus in the hallway, Marc reverts back to the psych ward setting for a conversation with Dr. Harrow, who is trying to get him to differentiate between the common sense of the real world and the nonsense that keeps drawing him back to this fantasy land. While this version of Dr. Harrow is somehow still attempting to manipulate Marc, he also manages to speak some truth about his patient’s fractured psyche as he continues to try and tear down the walls between the various personalities living inside him.
Marc eventually breaks free from the session with Dr. Harrow only to reemerge in the hallway with Steven along with Taweret — the goddess of women and children — who is serving as a guide to the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, which is where all of them are currently. You see, Marc Spector is very much dead from the gunshot wound he suffered at the hands of Arthur Harrow and this journey will determine whether or not he’s accepted into the Field of Reeds (heaven) or drawn down into the pits of damnation (hell) where he’ll remain for eternity.
Taweret along with Steven explain that to gain entry into paradise, they must balance the scales of justice — weighing their hearts against the feather of truth, which essentially means finding inner peace and reconciling with everything done in life before being allowed to crossover to the next plane of existence. Failure to balance those scales means that Marc, Steven and whoever else is living inside that body will be left in the Duat where they will be frozen in sand for the rest of time.
Realizing that their hearts are full, which means Marc and Steven don’t really know everything about each other and the past they share, Taweret suggests they start diving back into their memories because they are operating on limited time before coming to the end of this journey when they’ll be judged.
Back inside, which is disguised to look like the psych ward, Marc suggests just killing Taweret and taking the ship for themselves but Steven quickly shoots down that idea. Instead, he decides to start exploring these various rooms, which represent different memories locked away inside Marc’s head.
The first room is where Steven sees himself standing near a car on the side of a street but Marc plays it off as if this memory means nothing — when in reality it means everything but more on that later.
The next room is filled with the corpses of the people Marc has killed in service to Khonshu as he wiped out evil doers and punished them under direction of the moon god. That’s when a little boy appears and Steven gives chase before realizing that this is a younger version of himself that Marc desperately doesn’t want him to see.
What Steven discovers is that he once lived with a loving family including his mother, father and little brother Randall.
Of course, Steven has no memory that he ever had a little brother, which begins to speak to the trauma that caused the split in Marc’s psyche in the first place. It turns out, Marc and Randall went to play in a nearby cave, which would get flooded whenever it rained.
Marc took his brother in there despite urging from his mother not to go near that place if it started to rain and sadly Randall got caught up in the flooding, which led to his death. In the aftermath of that tragic incident, Marc’s mother begins to blame him for Randall’s death despite still being a child himself at the time when the accident happened.
Now this is different from the comic book origin because Marc’s brother Randall actually deals with his own mental illness before taking on a serial killer persona known as Hatchet-Man and then eventually taking on a moniker similar to his brother as Shadowknight. As for the tragedy that causes a split in his psyche, Marc discovers that a close friend of his family is actually a Nazi, who is now a serial killer of Jews. The revelation damages Marc and that’s when he splits off into different personalities for the first time.
In this version, Marc is tormented by the mistake ended with his brother’s death but things are made even more dire thanks to his mother unyielding cruelty towards him. After one particularly nasty encounter, Marc retreats to his room and his mother comes banging on the door, which is when he looks up and sees a poster for “Tomb Buster” with lead character Dr. Steven Grant.
As he attempted to escape the torment from his mother, Marc created Steven as an outlet to avoid the pain, which soon turns physical after his mother begins a pattern of abuse that lasts for many years. It seems Marc transformed into Steven as a way to protect himself from the vicious beatings and the psychological torture that he had to endure from his mother for all those years.
That’s why when we first met Steven earlier this season, he was talking to his mother on the phone everyday because Marc wanted him to maintain some kind of memory that connected to a better time in his life when he still had his family.
Marc also takes a trip to the Egyptian desert where he reveals to Steven that he previously served in the military before working with his former commanding officer named Bushman on a series of mercenary missions. On one job that took them to a pyramid in Egypt, Bushman decided he didn’t want any witnesses so he sought to slaughter all of the archeologists working alongside them.
Marc did everything he could to save them — including Layla’s father — but Bushman gunned them all down. Marc suffered mortal wounds but before he perished, Khonshu appeared while offering a reprieve to save his life in exchange for becoming his avatar.
One thing Harrow got right — Khonshu feasted on Marc because he had a fractured mind and he was essentially a broken man ready to die when he first interacted with the moon god. Khonshu saw someone he could control and that’s exactly what Marc became for him.
That revelation confirmed that Marc didn’t kill Layla’s father but he was also unable to stop the man he previously worked for from carrying out the deed himself.
And finally, Marc arrives at the last split in his mind, which came just two months ago after his mother passed away and he returned home for her shiva. Unable to go back inside his childhood home due to the trauma he endured at her hands, Marc broke down in the middle of the street but then Steven emerged again out of nowhere.
Marc reveals that was the first time his two halves started really bleeding into each other’s lives because he was affected by his mother’s death and the resurfaced memories of the torment he suffered from her for so long. Steven attempts to console his other half while making Marc understand that he was just a child when his brother died and he never deserved the abuse he endured at his mother’s hands.
After sharing those memories, Marc and Steven have finally learned everything about each other.
As for the trip to the Egyptian underworld, Taweret agrees to turn the ship around and guide them to the gates of Osiris after seeing many more souls falling into Duat earlier than expected. It’s a sign that Harrow has managed to free Ammit and she’s judging souls across the globe before sending them to eternal damnation for unforgivable sins she expects them to commit one day.
Realizing that this is going to be bad for the whole world, Taweret agrees to help Marc escape the underworld while sending word to Layla to free Khonshu, who in term will help to resurrect his avatar despite the bullet lodged in his body right now. As much as Marc wants to be free of Khonshu, he also knows this is the only way he can live again and stop Harrow before even more people are killed.
There’s only one problem — the scales of justice never balanced and the undead begin emerging from the underworld to drag Marc down to hell.
With Marc battling for his life, Steven finally realizes that he possesses the same skills as his counterpart so he begins to fight off the zombies. Sadly, Steven ends up being the one to fall overboard as the ship continues to move towards the gates.
Marc calls out to save Steven but he’s held down by the dead until he’s frozen in sand just as Taweret predicted it would happen. When Steven is left for the underworld, Marc’s scales suddenly balanced because he’s managed to let go of the other personality he created in order to shield himself from the pain and torment he suffered from his mother for all those years.
A second later, Marc appears in the Field of Reeds as he ascended to heaven now that he’s found peace in his heart after dealing with all that trauma from his past.
Next week brings the “Moon Knight” finale and there’s a lot to unpack as Marc will undoubtedly return to the land of the living with a mission to stop Harrow once and for all but does that mean Steven is gone forever? What about that third personality that seemingly exists inside of him as well?
Hopefully all those answers will be revealed when “Moon Knight” returns next Wednesday on Disney+ for the sixth and final episode!