This review contains spoilers for Marvel’s Moon Knight
Moon Knight Episode 2
“Is Marc Spector just imagining all this?” has been a question that Marvel Comics has waltzed with before, and episode two of Moon Knight, “Summon the Suit”, also decides it’s fair game via his alternate identity. As such, we join Steven Grant after his encounter with the jackal while he attempts to figure out how much of the horrifying experience was caught on camera. The answer is none, bar Steven pelting it about the museum with the wind up his arse, but at the end of the footage we see Marc give the camera a surly look, and Steven is understandably upset.
The damage to the museum’s toilets is certainly very real. Steven is summarily fired for his part in their destruction while his HR manager offers him an opportunity to attend a mental health group. To his credit, Steven is starting to think it might be a good idea regardless of his current employment status, but he decides to seek further proof that Marc, Khonshu, and Harrow are all real nonetheless. After chatting to Crawley and using a storage locker key as a clue, Steven discovers the safe place where Marc stores his gun, money, and passport, and the disgusted way Steven discarded said gun absolutely slayed me; Isaac is doing some phenomenal physical comedy in this show.
Steven also finds the golden scarab he stole as Marc during episode one, and Marc and Steven finally have a heart-to-heart where “handsome” Marc finally explains that he serves the moon god Khonshu, and is his avatar on earth. Marc has been tasked with protecting the vulnerable and dealing out justice. Naturally, Steven believes this to be utter nonsense, so he takes Marc’s things and runs away, pursued by a terrifying vision of Khonshu.
Having featured as a disembodied voice in the previous episode, Layla has since tracked the flip phone. She is apparently Marc’s estranged wife who he abandoned some time ago. She is aware that he is the Moon Knight, and has seemingly processed that wild information long ago, but when Steven desperately tries to convince Layla that he isn’t Marc, she is confused.
In a reflection, Marc is distressed by Layla’s arrival, even as Steven expresses a love for French poetry and hieroglyphics – Layla’s own passions. It appears that Marc’s alternate identity has unwittingly embraced these things as a way to stay close to Layla. This is all quite heart-breaking, and I love all the subtle character work in this episode. I might be in the minority here, but I also appreciate the way the show uses reflective surfaces to underscore the conflict between Marc and Steven. The set design really helps; it’s been sublime so far.
Arthur Harrow’s followers arrive and take Steven to his base, where Harrow realizes that Marc is mentally unwell and decides to open up about his evil plan. This includes the first of two twists I was definitely not expecting: Harrow is one of Khonshu’s former avatars, and now despises him. He tells Steven he cannot trust the moon god; that his justice comes too late. Ammit can eliminate people before they’ve even done anything bad! Isn’t that better? No! No, it isn’t! Goddamn it, Harrow. Hawke is such a stellar actor that we almost buy into it, mind.
Anyway, Harrow wants to use the scarab to find Ammit’s tomb and free her (yikes), but Steven thinks his vision of a world purged of ‘potential’ evildoers is deeply flawed, and he’s right! Luckily, Layla arrives and distracts Harrow with the scarab before he can mess with Steven’s head any further, and he responds by summoning another jackal from the underworld. Get a new schtick, Harrow, jackals are played out now my dude.
At this point in the episode, Moon Knight is ready to upset some Marvel Comics fans, because as Steven and Layla try to escape, Steven manages to summon his own Moon Knight suit: the dapper Mr. Knight version created by Declan Shalvey and Warren Ellis for their iconic series. A few Moon Knight purists are bound to be pissed off that the flailing, hapless Grant is the one portraying the historically ice cool Mr. Knight, but eh, whatever. I’m fine with it. Besides, Steven might grow into it.
Regardless of the style, the suit protects Steven and he now has enhanced strength. It definitely doesn’t make him a great fighter, but he enjoys scrapping with Harrow’s creature and eventually manages to save both his own life and Layla’s by relinquishing control of his body to Marc, who dons the fully caped version of the costume and makes light work of the beast. It’s good fun, and there’s a ton of really appealing gothic framing in the sequence.
Turns out Steven and Marc have to take the L, though, as Harrow acquires the scarab after it is lost in battle, and Harrow’s mask slips when he kills a homeless man without Ammit’s judgement in play. Marc and Steven then have a heated discussion where Marc says that whoever is in their body now seems has the most strength and control over their mind. Marc says he plans to disappear and let Steven have his body after he has finished repaying his debt to Khonshu, but he is also worried that Khonshu plans to make Layla the next Moon Knight.
Steven hates all the danger and violence inherent to Marc’s life and gets upset, provoking Marc. Khonshu doesn’t help by acting like a Billy Big Bollocks about their agreement, having no time for Marc’s increasing mental health issues and inferring that since he saved Marc’s life, his body now belongs to him. As a result, Marc grumpily heads to Egypt to stop Harrow.
That’s it for this week, but can I just add that I love the show’s end credits? They’re really slick! Cracking score, too.