Men will literally serve an Egyptian god as their avatar on Earth instead of going to therapy. Marc knows he needs help. He admits to his ex-wife and a friggin’ council of gods and goddesses that he’s not good at asking for help, but he’s buried himself in Khonshu’s work rather than work on himself. Marc has a single goal in the third episode of Moon Knight that, lucky for us, makes for a bracing, streamlined hour of television: find Ammit’s tomb before Arthur Harrow. But our newest Marvel hero has a lot of emotional labor left to do.
The previous episode may have ended with Marc drunk and depressed in his Cairo hotel room, but this one begins with him leaping into action — with some interruptions from his alter … or alters. Marc chases a group of young men across several rooftops and demands to know Harrow’s location. Not wanting his body to commit more acts of violence, Steven takes over, and Marc wakes up in a cab with no memory of how he got there. He resumes his chase, blacks out again, and wakes up this time having murdered almost all of them. Neither Steven nor Marc remembers doing this. Ruh-roh!
Could this be the work of Jake Lockley? That’s the name given to Moon Knight’s third-most prominent alter, a cab driver in Marvel comics. But if this is Jake, something tells me his skill set is a little more particular than the one required by most cabbies. I have another theory. The security guard at the museum where Steven used to work called him Scotty. What if the guard isn’t rude, and Scotty has been showing up to his alter’s job? Anyway, keep this mystery person on the back burner because more pressing matters take precedence in the episode.
Since they can’t simply follow Harrow to his dig site, Khonshu decides to do something theatrical. You may not like the Moon God’s violent streak, but you gotta love his flair for the dramatic. He uses his limited powers to cause a partial eclipse. This gets the attention of the Ennead, the high council of Egyptian gods, who send their avatars to meet with Marc and Khonshu. There, hopefully, he can get them to deal with Arthur and Ammit.
Inside the pyramid of Giza, Khonshu speaks through Marc and warns the Ennead of Harrow’s plan. What plays out is honestly reminiscent of trying to report an offensive tweet to Twitter. Khonshu/Marc makes his case. The Ennead brings in Arthur to hear his side of the story. Instead of defending himself, Arthur points out that Marc is mentally ill and accuses Khonshu of abusing him. The Ennead then decides that the accused has not violated the rules and terms of service and lets him go.
Arthur does make some interesting points about Khonshu’s role in all of this. He was, after all, the Moon God’s avatar before Marc Spector. He claims Khonshu manipulated him. At the end of the episode, Arthur says that had Khonshu not “broken him completely,” he would never have learned “the value of healing.” But he’s still planning to commit genocide in Ammit’s name, so in the immortal words of Brooklyn Nine-Nine: cool motive, still murder.
Before departing the pyramid of Giza, one of the other avatars pulls Marc aside and tells him about another place where he might find the location of Ammit’s tomb. Two thousand years ago, it was encrypted on another sarcophagus that has since ended up on the black market. Luckily, he knows someone familiar with the black market and antiquities — his ex-wife. After trying and failing to get info from a juice vendor, Marc teams up with Layla.
Layla takes him to Anton Mogart, played by Gaspard Ulliel in one of his final roles. Ulliel died in a skiing accident earlier this year, and the episode is dedicated to him. Anton is an eccentric collector who happens to know Layla and happens to have the sarcophagus they’re seeking. Unfortunately, Arthur also happens to show up, and a fight ensues. He tempts Anton to join his side. Arthur hints to Layla that there’s more to her archaeologist father’s death than she realizes. Didn’t we hear something in the previous episode about Marc Spector murdering a team of archaeologists at a dig site? Seems dubious.
Hopefully, this is not the last we see of Mogart in Moon Knight, and not just because of Ulliel’s tragic and untimely death. The character, known as Midnight Man in Marvel comics, is unlike other villains we’ve seen in the MCU. He’s not interested in dismantling world orders. He’s just kind of a snoot and a pain in the neck. More snoots in the MCU!
Marc and Layla take the stolen fragments from the tomb to the desert and work on finding the encrypted constellation that will lead them to Ammit’s tomb. They need help from Steven, so Marc lets him drive for a bit. Steven cracks the code, and Layla is at the ready with the coolest star app I have ever seen … but there’s a problem. The stars have moved ever so slightly over the millennia. Khonshu offers a solution that comes with a price. With Steven’s help, he’ll turn the night sky back to that night so they can get the coordinates, knowing the Ennead will imprison him in stone for manipulating the sky again, provided Marc frees him once they’re finished. It works, but it means Layla, Marc, Steven, and whoever else will have to find Arthur and stop him without the help of Khonshu’s powers or the Moon Knight suit.
Speaking of the trio, there’s definitely a vibe brewing between Layla and Steven, right? Let’s back up for a second because this episode gave us a look into Layla’s relationship with her husband that we haven’t seen before. Marc and Layla are complicated in a grown-up way that we don’t often see in heightened superhero stories. They’re clearly a good team. They communicate a lot with just their eyes and hands. They’re somehow honest with each other about not being honest with each other. When Layla complains that she hasn’t known the man she married as more secrets have been revealed, Marc responds, “You haven’t. You don’t.” It’s not smarmy or patronizing. It’s genuine, even though he’s clearly still keeping secrets from her about her father.
On the other hand, Steven declared that he would never divorce Layla minutes after meeting her, and in this week’s episode, her face softens when Steven shows up. Is Moon Knight setting up the MCU’s most bizarre love triangle yet? Or is this setting up a future conflict in which Marc will have to decide whether to let Steven take over the body they share for good or continue to work in tandem? If Layla seems happier with Steven than she was with him, that could push Marc further in that direction.
Out of Orbit
• Did Layla’s forgery associate give her homemade Turkish delight? Can I have some? Also, according to the subtitles, this character’s name is Lagaro, a name she shares with an Egyptian Marvel comics character known as Dynaman.
• Loki went to a renaissance fair, Hawkeye goes LARPing in the park, and now Moon Knight has introduced a character who engages in al-mermah, the oldest Egyptian form of jousting/fencing. Is Marvel Studios full of nerds?!
• Anton’s right-hand man Bek briefly mentions that Anton and Layla have a history in Madripoor, a Marvel location that was introduced on screen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That is the first time anything from the MCU has been referenced directly in this series. It also has me worried that Layla has some connection to Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who runs Madripoor as the Power Broker, and/or Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her growing team of MCU anti-heroes.
• The Egyptian gods in attendance at the Ennead court are Hathor, Horus, Isis, Tefnut, and Osiris. (Neither Khonshu nor Ammit are members of the supergroup.) In the first episode, Steven pointed out to his boss that there are nine members of the Ennead, and only five appeared on the poster for the museum’s Ennead exhibit. Only five showed up to the meeting. There are four empty chairs. That is likely not a coincidence!
• You may have noticed Marc wearing a black Chicago Cubs hat. Much like Vanessa Hudgens in The Princess Switch, Marc Spector hails from the Windy City.