Deception always takes a toll on a person. The real price, though, is paid by those around that person, those who we call friend, family, lover, husband or wife. There are lies at the root of the background in the latest episode of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight. The price for some of those lies are not yet shown but they are coming.
Spoilers ahead for “The Friendly Type”, the third episode of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight.
I like that we get to see more of Layla (May Calamawy) in this episode. Since her introduction in episode two (see my review here), she’s shown an easy chemistry with Marc/Steven, as well as an ability to carry herself well during the action moments in the story. We get a bit more background here while Layla is getting a fake passport created by a family friend. Layla’s father was an archeologist, spending a significant amount of time at dig sites. Apparently, Layla followed her father’s line of work in a way, working in the black market to obtain or return antiquities from her homeland of Egypt. As we learn later on in the episode, Layla’s father was murdered, with the implication being that Marc was the one responsible.
In the last episode, the two British cops who arrested Steven and took him to Arthur Harrow mentioned that Marc was suspected of killing archeologists at a dig site. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest that Khonshu directed Marc to kill those people, probably because they were getting close to the site of Ammit’s tomb. From a storytelling perspective, it would make perfect sense that this took place, since it will lead to Layla abandoning Marc (justifiably so) when it is revealed (and Arthur Harrow is most likely going to be the one who reveals that tidbit of information).
The Ennead scene was quite interesting, if a bit predictable in its pacing. Khonshu manipulating an eclipse to call the other Egyptian gods together revealed just how powerful the old god really is (and as god of the moon, it makes a certain amount of sense that he would be able to cause an eclipse to occur). The assembled avatars taking the non-interference stance, leaving the world of men to its own devices while working subtly behind the scenes, which just highlights the extreme hubris of the deities assembled.
I have to give Ethan Hawke credit here (despite the issue of his character mentioning the Armenian Genocide in the first episode, which was just in bad taste on the writing staff’s part). Harrow is able to effectively manipulate the conversation in the Ennead, highlighting both Khonshu’s vindictive nature (which the assembled gods are all too happy to accept at face value) and Marc’s mental instability as reasons why Khonshu is not to be believed. The ending of the episode, after Khonshu is imprisoned in a stone effigy for manipulating the skies again, implies that the avatar of Osiris (and potentially the god itself) is in league with Harrow in bringing back Ammit adds another layer of deceit to the mix. Harrow’s scathing rebuke of Khonshu at the end was chilling to watch, with Hawke selling the hell out of the scene with his acting.
There was a subtle moment earlier in the episode, though, that I want to focus on: the potential for a third personality emerging in Marc/Steven. During the sequences where Marc is dealing with some of Harrow’s followers in an attempt to find Ammit’s tomb, we see the same shifting camera technique and convulsions from episode one (see my review here), indicating that a shift in personality is occurring. At the end of the sequence, Marc resumes control and finds two out of the three followers dead on the ground and wielding a bloody knife. When Marc questions Steven in the reflection of a mirror, Steven states he wasn’t responsible for the killing and Marc admits that he wasn’t either. It seems that the writers of the show are pushing the idea that a third alter, one more violent than even Marc, is emerging from the fractured psyche of our lead character. That is a worrying development as the events of the episode unfold.
With Khonshu imprisoned for manipulating the skies again to reveal the night sky as it existing on the night Ammit was entombed, it appears that Marc/Steven is now without the powers of the Moon Knight moving forward. This is a classic storytelling trope and one that I find a good method for increasing the drama of the series. Without Khonshu’s power to call upon, Marc/Steven is now at an extreme disadvantage against Harrow and his machinations. To say that I’m intrigued with how this will play out in next week’s episode is an understatement.
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