Home Entertainment Television RECAP/REVIEW: MOON KNIGHT Episode 2 — Say Hi to Psycho Colonel Sanders

RECAP/REVIEW: MOON KNIGHT Episode 2 — Say Hi to Psycho Colonel Sanders

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, my name is Steven with a V!

Credit: Disney

After a chaotic and traumatizing meeting with Marc Spector, Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) wakes up in Moon Knight Episode 2 back in his bed. While the first episode of the series put us quite squarely in the shoes of the timid and easily flustered Steven, “Summon the Suit” goes full bore by giving us not only full conversations between Marc and Steven but also introducing Layla (May Calamawy).

But first, some revelations. Steven goes to work and finds that his night at the museum wasn’t just a bad dream, but he is responsible for destroying the bathroom at work. Because the jackals are invisible on camera and to assumedly anyone who is not an avatar, Steven gets the sack. He returns to Bertrand Crawley (Shaun Scott), who is still committed to his craft as a living statue and gives him the lowdown. While it’s still unsure if Crawley is an actual ally of Steven’s or just an easter egg for comic fans, chatting with Crawley does inspire Steven to figure out what exactly is going on with him.

Taking the key he found hidden in his apartment, Steven soon finds himself in a storage unit and coming face to face with himself. Or rather, face to face with Marc. This time, without a jackal about to kill them, they’re able to talk. Knowing that in these scenes with Marc and Steven that it’s Oscar Isaac’s brother Michael Benjamin Hernandez playing as Isaac’s body double makes enhances the enjoyment of the scenes. It’s very clear that while Marc is a seemingly very capable man, he is also one of dubious character, at least to Steven (no matter how bloody handsome he is).

Credit: Disney

In this meeting, Steven gets the details about what is going on. Marc is meant to protect the vulnerable and deliver Khonshu’s justice to those who hurt them, and Steven, the Egyptian mythology aficionado, is quick to note that Khonshu is the Egyptian god of the moon. While we are just meeting Marc, it seems clear in these episodes that there is an extreme reluctance for him to connect. He is happy to promise to leave Steven alone after all of this, he’s cut himself off from his wife, and he’s cut himself off from all connections. We know that this man is Marc Spector, but he has completely let Steven take over his body, content to hide in the shadows and come out only when needed.

The episode takes a sharp turn into horror when Steven seems determined to get himself hospitalized to free himself from Marc and ends up in a horrific chase scene with Khonshu. Here, directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson get to flex their muscles a bit and lean into the chaotic horror. Of course, it’s hardly a sharp deviation from Marvel, but they’re trying. F. Murray Abraham is delightfully sardonic as Khonshu’s voice and is reminiscent of Venom and Tom Hardy‘s take on the symbiote’s voice.

Running out of the storage container with Marc’s go-bag and a magical golden MacGuffin — sorry I meant scarab — he runs smack dab into Layla. Getting on her bike and holding on for dear life like a duchess, Steven gets another shock. He’s married. Well… Marc is married. They return to Steven’s flat and Layla is justifiably confused by what is happening. She’s there with divorce papers after Marc disappeared from her life, she only managed to find him after tracking his cell phone.

Credit: Disney

Whatever concerns I may have about Moon Knight‘s portrayal of DID, adding Calamawy’s Layla into the mix adds an exciting layer to Steven and Marc’s character. It quickly becomes clear to Layla that the man she married is not the man who has a British accent, loves French poetry, and has learned ancient Egyptian and hieroglyphics. Despite Steven’s urge to trust Layla, Marc is quick to warn him not to reveal the scarab to her as it would put her life in danger. But it’s too late and Layla spots it, calling it Ammit’s ushabti, a sort of compass that will point the user in the direction of where she is buried.

But before we can find out more the cops are banging on Steven’s door. Layla hides but one look at the gun and his fake passports and Steven is carted away. In the car, he learns more about Marc, and it is enough to make him even less trustworthy of his other personality. Not only is Marc an international fugitive, but he was a mercenary who zip-tied and executed an entire group of archaeologists at a dig site in Egypt.

This distances Steven from Marc, who Steven considers to be untrustworthy and dangerous. He’s not interested at all in hurting people and Marc is a potential murderer. When he meets Arthur (Ethan Hawke), the man is the first to realize why Steven acts so differently from Marc. And he also reveals that he knows what Khonshu is thinking because he was once an avatar of the god. He introduces Steven to his cult, between chatting in Mandarin and serving up some delicious Yucatán lentil soup, it seems like Arthur might be convincing Steven to side with him.

Credit: Disney

But, Steven sees through the smoke and mirrors. Although Khonshu is certainly manipulative and questionable, he only punishes those who have already done harm. Meanwhile, Ammit nips the proverbial plant in the bud. Would Ammit kill baby Hitler? 100% and then she’d probably kill a few of his neighborhood kids just for good measure. Steven points out that the flaw in Ammit’s logic is that in eradicating the choice of evil, she is also eradicating the choice of good. She is judging an innocent person.

When Arthur says, “Sometimes, the cure is a little taste of the disease. The difference between medicine and poison sometimes is only dosage. Consider a diseased limb. Amputation, horrific and grotesque, is necessary for the larger health.”

But obviously, Steven says, a child isn’t a diseased limb. By Ammit’s logic killing a child who might one day do something evil is okay. “You’re all into that, like, killing children and that?” he asks the cultists and Arthur. “Maybe that’s just me, but I kind of draw a line there at child murder…”

Arthur is not pleased by this but he soon gets exactly what he wants. Steven doesn’t give Layla up but she gives herself up by arriving with the scarab and pushes Marc to summon his Moon Knight suit, but Steven is not Marc and he has no idea what is going on. The two do their best to run from Arthur and his evil demonic jackals, but Layla comes to the realization that Steven is not her husband. And even cornered by the jackals, Steven is reluctant to let Marc take over after knowing what he’s done in the past.

Credit: Disney

It isn’t until he’s thrown out a window that he manages to summon the suit on instinct but… it’s not exactly the ceremonial suit of Khonshu’s temple. It’s an actual three-piece suit. Oh, Steven. What follows is a comedic twist in the episode as we watch Steven do his best to take on the invisible jackal. This is a classic display of Marvel comedy but it works here, probably because they didn’t reveal too much of this in the trailers. Steven is once again endearingly funny and optimistic but finally lets Marc take over when he realizes that people might actually get hurt.

A rooftop chase ensues and it’s another look at classic Marvel aesthetics. While not exactly anything new, I can appreciate how reminiscent it is of a comic book panel. Defeating the jackal is a success, but that’s just the battle. The war is lost as Marc realizes that he dropped the scarab. Arthur picks it up, killing a bystander in the process, and heads to Egypt.

We learn also that Marc is terrified of Khonshu choosing Layla as his next avatar and that is why he does the god’s bidding. We also get clues as to how Marc became Moon Knight, with Khonshu mentioning that when he found him he was nothing more than a corpse. Steven also gets to experience what it is like being stuck inside the body without control, recognizing that it’s painful and feels horrible. Arguing with Steven and plagued by the dread of what will happen if he doesn’t obey Khonshu, Marc shuts Steven away and goes on a bender. We next see him — and boy does he look great — in a hotel room with a beautiful view of the great pyramids.

Credit: Disney

As far as this episode compared to the first, Episode 2 feels like the most Marvel episode to date. The mythology and lore are prominent, humor is coming out in full force, and action set pieces are grand and cinematic. Does it fully embrace the potential of Moorhead and Benson as directors? Not really. You might see snippets of their influence but it feels largely the same as the first. Michael Kastelein pens the episode after serving as a writer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and some of that buddy cop chemistry is there from “The Star-Spangled Man.” Except instead of Bucky and Sam getting therapy, we get Steven and Marc yelling at each other through reflective surfaces.

While it’s far from the most innovative episode, Moon Knight Episode 2 sets up exciting character dynamics, introduces the amazing Layla El-Faouly, and takes our story out of London and onto the sands of Egypt.

Scattered Scarabs

Credit: Disney
  • The poem that Layla and Steven recite is titled “Les séparés” by french poet and novelist Marceline Debordes-Valmore, “Les séparés” is all about being separated from a lover, the forlorn feeling of being without them. The line specifically that they recite is, “Les beaux étés sas toi, c’est la nuit sans flambeau.” Roughly translated into English as, “Beautiful summers without you are like a night without light.” It’s fitting that Steven’s favorite poet is Debordes-Valmore and his interest in Egyptian mythology likely not only stems back to Khonshu but also Marc’s tie to Layla. Being her husband means he would likely know who her favorite poet is and even her favorite poem.
  • What is going on with Steven’s flat and his mother? Is she actually alive and he’s speaking to her on the phone or is he speaking to no one? Fernando Andrade will be playing his mother, Wendy Spector, but seeing as the actor is in her late 30s, it will likely be in a flashback.
  • I’m not interested at all in Ammit’s cult, but that Yucatán lentil recipe does sound amazing. When is the cult dropping the cookbook?
Credit: Disney
  • While it seems like Ammit holds a fair amount of power, if just a sliver of it can create a monster like that jackal, it seems like Khonshu is rather weak? Outside of his threats, it seems like all he can really do is cause some inclement weather.
  • In case you were dazed by that final shot of Oscar Isaac lying in his hotel room in just some underwear, there’s a small detail you might have missed (like I did the first couple of times I watched this episode). Marc is wearing a Star of David necklace in the final shot, which is the first hint at his Jewish background that we’ve seen so far.

Moon Knight streams on Disney+ on Wednesdays.

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