Now we’re getting into the thick of it. Marvel’s Moon Knight picks up right where we left off last week on Disney+, with the sky being wondrously manipulated into the coolest light show. It opens on Khonshu turned to stone in an altar surrounded by other figures after sacrificing himself so Layla (May Calamawy) and Marc/Steven (double the Oscar Isaac) can get to Ammit’s tomb before Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke).
The six-episode series is closing in on its last act wit episode 4, “The Tomb,” which has it all: thrilling adventure, a dash of romantic comedy among archeology buds, and some gory horror bits. So be forewarned if you’re the queasy type.
Layla is (once again) the MVP of this entire episode, and starts it by utilising the flares in her gear to distract Harrow’s disciples as they shoot at her and Marc/Steven. Her Tomb Raider skillset proves quite handy; she hits the enemy truck with a flare, cleverly making the enemies fire on themselves. When Steven comes to, she’s handled everything and they drive toward Ammit’s tomb. He reveals to her that he’s in control now because Marc promised he’d leave when Khonshu leaves, and Layla asks if it was fair to her relationship with her husband not to have a say in the matter.
Since Steven is the more emotionally adept of the personalities, you get that he begins to see that he’s hurt someone he cares about. He also admits to her that Khonshu had wanted her as his avatar to make sure there’s nothing in between them. What’s tricky is that we still kind of think Marc is the original person and Steven’s the developed personality; there were no calls from “mum” this episode, which could mean it was probably Marc using that number as a way to check in on Steven when they were more split apart. Here Marc is ever more present in Steven’s reflection and watching everything unfold, including Layla and Steven flirting over how Marc would just lone wolf the mission. They agree they’re better off without him as very cute archaeology friends — who share a smooch when they find the tomb. (Marc manages to punch Steven as comeuppance though.)
Once inside the tomb, they get to know each other a little more over the course of finding clues toward discovering the tomb of Ammit’s last avatar. Looking over an eye of Horus, Steven figures out that they’re in a well-guarded labyrinth. Quickly their little gravesite date takes a freaky turn when they find a Heka priest chamber with a bloody slab in the middle. They don’t quite process that it’s fresh as they nerd out over burial entrail jars that are clearly recently used. (They’re too pure.) Steven goes on to interpret inscriptions that reveal that Ammit is encased in an Ushabti figure, very similar to the one Khonshu is also bound to, somewhere in her last avatar’s tomb. Before they can make their way through the crypt an undead Heka priest drags one of Harrow’s men onto the slab and things get pretty graphic. Horror fans will rejoice at the Universal Monsters-meets-The Descent vibes in this episode, especially when Layla gets separated from Steven. Her perilous cave scaling to find safety is full of surprise encounters and a mental mindfuck from Harrow, who peacefully watches her take on some ancient horrors. She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll slam a flare in the undead’s face.
When Layla realises Harrow’s there, he tells her that her father would be proud, as if she needs more male validation after handling less annoying monsters. Simultaneously, Steven uncovers the tomb and the identity of Ammit’s last avatar; it’s one of the earliest colonizers, Alexander the Great — of course he’d try to take power from a deity he intended to overthrow in the search of making himself godlike. Certainly didn’t feel bad seeing Steven break Alexander’s mummy face to pull Ammit’s statue from his throat. Meanwhile, Harrow just continues to mess with Layla by disclosing that Marc was one of the mercenaries who stormed in on her father’s final expedition, the one he never came back from.
As Steven celebrates the monumental discovery, the likes of which he only dreamed of, Layla enters the tomb and demands to speak to Marc. They really have no time to waste but she demands an explanation about his knowledge of her father’s death. Marc admits he was there when it happened and his partner executed everyone and shot him too. This is likely where Marc made the deal with Khonshu to be his avatar — but it also begs the question: who was the partner who turned on everyone?
But it’s too late. Harrow shows up and Marc tells Layla to run. We totally think he slipped her Ammit’s statue here, and as she gets a head start, Harrow turns on Marc and shoots him — making him fall into the pool behind the tomb.
Just as you think the episode is over, we’re transitioned to an interstitial of sorts. It’s a movie scene where a very archetypal English archeologist is leading an expedition — and it’s revealed their name is Steven Grant, who’s on the hunt for the statue of an Aztec moon god. Turns out our Steven isn’t the main character at all. He might not even be real, if the mental institution Marc is revealed to be in has anything to say about it. In a setting reminiscent of the opening of the Lemire Moon Knight run and the Clockworks setting of FX’s Legion, Marc finds himself surrounded by all the people we’ve met along the way in the “delusions of his mind.” Layla is a fellow mental patient eating a marshmallow and there’s a cupcake cart, while a game of bingo is played by the show’s ensemble in a dizzying, reality-shattering ending.
Harrow appears to be a doctor trying to help Marc overcome all the imagined storylines he believes he lived that were only inspired by the Steven Grant Tomb Buster film he brought with him — and the Moon Knight action figure he owns. In fact the Egyptian decor around them and portrait of the alps were just imagery he let his mind run away with. Suuuuuuuuuure. Harrow shares all this while wearing very distinct, green-striped clothes and giving some sage advice you’d see on new age Instagram:“No tree can ascend to the light of heaven if it doesn’t descend to the depths of hell.” This, he says while surrounded by canopic jars with the heads of the Ennead.
Uh-huh. Right. We don’t buy it for a minute and neither does Marc, who makes a break for it through the twisted nightmare of a “reality.” The halls shift out of balance like scales, and Marc frees Steven from a tomb. If that’s not wild enough, they hug it out (even though Steven has no reflection). The episode closes on a surreal, madcap, hippo-headed figure finding them. Did we google what Egyptian deity also has a hippo head immediately as the credits rolled? You bet we did! And it’s Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib), goddess of fertility and childbirth — also a member of the Ennead we haven’t met. In fact, it’s mightily suspicious that the episode opens on altars with deities encased in prisons of stone and that the asylum itself is very white, almost as if it’s a ushabti as well. We’ll find out next week!
Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+