If you’re anything like me, and you simply adore the 1999 masterpiece that is The Mummy, you got a real kick out of the latest episode of Moon Knight. This episode really dove into the adventure and horror angle often associated with Ancient Egypt, while also serving up essential character moments. Then, just when things seemed at their most dire, the show pulled the rug from under us and then things got really weird, but in a good way.
After the events of last week’s episode, Steven/Marc find themselves without the powers of Khonsu. That means no healing, no superpowers, nada. Steven’s knocked out and utterly useless when Harrow’s men arrive, but thankfully Layla is quick on her feet and is able to take out the truck. From there, the duo head towards Ammit’s tomb and Steven, who is falling in love with Layla (Marc’s wife), opts to reveal Marc’s intentions for running away from her before she kissed him. Steven is clearly interested in Layla (and vice versa) and it was interesting to see Steven open up about Khonshu’s plans for Layla and why Marc was keeping her at arm’s length in the past. It was a nice contrast to a moment later on in the episode, when Marc is in control and he finds himself face to face with questions about Layla’s father. Marc’s immediate reaction is “let’s get out of here, I’ll tell you later”, which fits this character trait Marc has to keep her at arm’s length. Despite being the same person, Marc and Steven couldn’t be any more different and it’s quite interesting to see how their values and ethics change.
In the middle of all this character drama though is some awesome archeology stuff. Steven and Layla have to navigate the tomb, which is full of puzzles, artifacts and creepy creatures hiding in the dark. This episode really embraced the horror and is perhaps the most intense Marvel has been to date. Blood-soaked canopic jars and an altar with tiny bits of gore could be seen, blood trails on the ground and one of those creatures rips a man open and removes his organs. This was out of focus and out of frame, but we understood perfectly what was happening. The sound effects of the creatures were also pretty creepy and I was reminded of something like The Conjuring when one yanked Layla into the dark. Oh, and Steven fishing for the statuette of Ammit inside the mummified mouth of Alexander the Great was gross and wildly entertaining in a horrifying kind of way. I love that this show is pushing the boundaries of both genre and the TV-14 rating.
And then the show pulled the rug out from under us.
In the final ten minutes or so of the show, after Steven was shot down by Harrow, we find ourselves in an asylum of sorts. Right away, 12 Monkeys came to mind. The show doesn’t explain what’s going on and we’re left wondering “what’s happening” for this entire runtime. Did everything up until this point happen in Steven/Marc’s head? Is this real? It’s a little unknown, but there are enough clues in the mise-en-scene to suggest this is some sort of dream world or equivalent.
But we do see Marc and Steven actually interacting with each other here face to face after Marc escapes an interrogation by Harrow, personified here as a shrink. Marc flees and finds Steven hiding in his own sarcophagus, which is why I think there’s a third personality hiding in that second one. We also get another tease that there will be a third personality, yet to be revealed, hiding in that second sarcophagus. The show has offered many clues to a third character and this is the most direct one to date I think.
The episode ends with the Egyptian god Taweret showing up and saying hi, much to the fear of Marc and Steven. I hope the CG talking hippo god won’t be too weird next week, but as it stands, this was a wild and spooky trip down into the tomb.