We’ve reached the end of Moon Knight … or have we? The first Disney+ MCU series not starring an established Avenger has come to a close. Has Marc Spector grown into his own as a superhero, or has he given up the cloth entirely? Surprisingly, the finale doesn’t give us a definitive answer, so let’s break down what we saw. This time, it’s not about what comes next or when we’ll see Oscar Isaac or May El Calamawy in the MCU again. It’s about finishing what they started.
The episode kicks off with Harrow, who retrieves Ammit’s ushabti from Marc’s dead body and takes it to Giza so he can unleash the goddess there. (Seriously? He has to go to another place after spending half the series locating the tomb?! This show has its characters getting their steps in.) Harrow does his absolute worst Jedi impression, telling some Egyptian cops, “I don’t need to show you my papers, you need to show us your soul” before blasting them with his upgraded Ammit staff.
Tagging along is Layla, in disguise, who refuses an initial call to become the hippo goddess Taweret’s avatar when the plucky goddess offers, speaking to her via dead people. As Harrow’s team breaches Giza, the Ennead members inside seem shocked that someone is trying to unleash Ammit. If only they had been warned by a sexy mercenary asking for help! Ain’t that just the way? But as Harrow kills the Ennead avatars, unleashes Ammit, and pledges himself to her, Layla frees Khonshu. He tells her that only an Avatar can rebind Ammit … of course.
Meanwhile, in the Field of Reeds, Marc enjoys a moment of peace and quiet, though he doesn’t feel good leaving Steven behind, so he returns to the Duat and finds his sandy alter. Marc thanks Steven for saving him and calls him the only real superpower he ever had. United, they run through the gate back into their mortal body, where Khonshu heals their wounds. Moon Knight is back, baby. This time, he transitions seamlessly between Marc and Steven. They work together. They have different, equally effective fighting techniques. They give Layla different compliments.
Speaking of … Layla also receives a bit of an upgrade in the finale. If there’s one thing the Disney+ MCU shows have in common, it’s a finale makeover. She agrees to become Taweret’s avatar temporarily and gets fitted with a shiny outfit and metal wings. Taweret and Layla make for a fun team almost immediately. She may hang out in the afterlife, but the hippo is not nearly as angsty as Khonshu. She also doesn’t make deals or demand servitude from Layla, which is nice.
Speaking of hippos, Ammit eats up souls like a hungry hungry hippo before our gang regroups and intervenes. Marc/Steven and Layla take on Arthur Harrow while Khonshu and Ammit go all Godzilla vs. Kong. They’re about to lose when — once again — Marc blacks out. When he comes to, he has an axe to Harrow’s head and all of Harrow’s men are dead. He’s confused. Layla’s confused. But they still need to bind Ammit to a human host, which they do with Harrow. Khonshu urges Marc to kill Harrow with Ammit inside of him, but Marc refuses.
Marc and Steven demand that Khonshu set them free, and the Moon God complies … or does he? They wake up back in London, safe and sound and sharing a body to the tune of “A Man Without Love” one last time. But unbeknownst to them, they still serve Khonshu thanks to a cap-wearing, Spanish-speaking alter named Jake Lockley. In the mid-credits scene, Jake abducts a now mentally ill Arthur Harrow and shoots him point-blank from the driver’s seat of a limo.
Khonshu reveals that he never intended for Layla to be the next avatar — why would he, when he could just call upon one of Marc’s other alters that he doesn’t even know exists? Jake’s the one who committed mass murder at multiple points during the season. Jake’s the one who betrayed Marc and Steven with a V. Sing it with me: It was Jake Lockley all along.
Wait. Nope. It’s not that simple. There was a scene in between Khonshu allegedly “releasing” the guys and the last Engelbert Humperdinck needle drop that kind of throws everything off-balance. Marc and Steven wake back up in the hospital where Harrow was their doctor. “So this is what reality looks like?” Steven asks. “The imagination is very real,” Dr. Harrow replies. “This chair, the desk, the light were all first created in the imagination.” Does that imply that the office is imaginary, or not? Harrow’s feet start bleeding. “I don’t think you know as much as you think you do,” Steven says with a smirk. He and Marc reject the doctor’s diagnosis and choose instead to save the world. Uhhhh, how are they gonna do that? Also, what just happened?!
There are many ways to interpret that sticky wicket of an interlude. It could be a flashback to the moment when Marc and Steven went through the gates of Osiris and chose life/heroism. Perhaps Khonshu knocked Steven and Marc’s consciousnesses back to Taweret’s boat when he “released him” so that he could talk to Jake. Perhaps this is Marc and Steven’s dream, but they can tell the difference now between it and their waking life.
Or, you know, the entire show was a delusion imagined by Marc Spector to cope, including the mid-credits scene with Jake Lockley exacting revenge on Harrow. It’s genuinely very cool that a show within a franchise that has been volleying up the next thing since 2008 (the MCU’s feature, not a bug, after all) is comfortable with this show having an uncertain ending.
Personally, I’m going with it being a dream — mostly because otherwise, Layla might not exist? I have to believe that she’s on her way to Marc and Steven’s apartment at the end of the episode with coffee and donuts. Or that she’s living her own life as Taweret’s winged avatar and a friggin’ Egyptian superhero. I’m also going to believe that the mid-credits scene is really happening, and Harrow became mentally ill with Ammit bound inside of him. Jake’s presence implies that Marc is not imagining everything from inside a hospital. How could he imagine someone he’s not aware of? Now, if we do happen to see Moon Knight again in the MCU, we know that it’s Jake and an anti-hero. He may be a killer, but we don’t need to go so far as to call him an evil alter just yet — that’s a harmful stereotype ripped right out of a soap opera. We just can’t trust him for now.
For the moment, the “truth” of Moon Knight doesn’t actually matter. The show has not, at the time of this recap, been renewed for a second season. Isaac has not signed on to any other MCU projects. This could be the stand-alone Marvel project that some viewers hoped it would be. (If you want other MCU-adjacent but not -dependent shows, I recommend Runaways, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, Cloak & Dagger, and Helstrom … but not, remarkably, Inhumans.) That’s all for now, folks. There’s no denying that there is more story to tell with Moon Knight, but season one wrapped things up pretty nicely. Marc Spector stopped Ammit, made peace with his childhood trauma, alter, and wife, and thinks he’s free from Khonshu. It’s not true, but maybe it’s enough.
Out of Orbit
• In the mid-credits scene, Harrow is interned at Sienkiewicz Psychiatric Hospital. In real life, Bill Sienkiewicz is a comic-book artist who, would you believe it, was one of the first to pencil/draw Moon Knight.
• According to Marvel.com, Layla’s superhero name is Scarlet Scarab. Can we seriously not come up with another shade of red to name superheroes? It’s a cool name and inspired by a comic character named Abdul Faoul. Layla’s father was called Abdallah El-Faouly … the clues have been there this whole time!
• Khonshu’s new blazer and Jake’s car with the SPKTR license plate are right out of the comics as well.
• “How long is a piece of string” is a really good colloquialism.
• Khonshu and Ammit definitely kissed, right? There was a vibe? Wish they had done less philosophical debating and more lost-love reminiscing. Oh well.