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Moon Knight finale.png

The 'Moon Knight' Finale Is A Big, Dumb, Predictable CGI God-Fight

By Tori Preston | TV | May 5, 2022 |

By Tori Preston | TV | May 5, 2022 |


Moon Knight finale.png

So, that finale sure was a thing that happened, wasn’t it? The stakes were clear, the “big CGI battle” precedent was set (by every other MCU show thus far), and Moon Knight delivered exactly what we all expected it would. The plot continues to be the least interesting part of the show, so let’s dispense with it quickly, shall we?

The episode opens with Marc still dead as a doornail as Harrow loots his corpse for Ammit’s statue thingy and Layla lurks just out of sight nearby. Marc is in the afterlife, right where we left him last week, and that’s where he remains for the first 15 or so minutes of the episode. He rejects paradise and instead goes to find Steven in the sands of the Duat, and he places their newly-complete heart in Steven’s hand just as he himself is turning to dust … but then Osiris’s gate opens and revives them both, allowing them to pass back to the world of the living together. So yay: Steven isn’t dead! But their body is still riddled with bullet holes in the real world, so that’s a problem.

Meanwhile, Layla has recovered the scarab compass that Harrow unnecessarily left on Marc’s corpse and is following him back to Cairo, looking for a chance to stop him. The whole time Taweret, the very nice hippo god, is following through on her promise to send a message to Layla — telling her to release Khonshu so Khonshu can revive Marc’s body — only Taweret is going about it in the creepiest way possible by talking through dead bodies. Funereal gods, amirite? Anyway, Layla follows Harrow all the way to the Chamber of the Gods, where he releases Ammit and she releases Khonshu. Ammit makes Harrow her avatar, and Khonshu tries to make Layla his but she rejects him — and then he senses Marc’s return and rushes back to resurrect him. Steven butts in and negotiates a new deal with Khonshu: They become his avatar again in the fight to defeat Ammit, but afterward, the god will release them from their service. I’m sure Khonshu is totally trustworthy and there’s no way that’ll go wrong.

One avatar isn’t enough to defeat Ammit, though, and since Harrow wiped out all the other avatars in the Chamber, Layla makes a deal to become Taweret’s temporary avatar — and earns a cool costume with wings that definitely seems like something a hippo god would have lying around (more on that shortly).

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So while Khonshu and Ammit have a giant kaiju-esque god brawl over Cairo, Moon Knight (trading off with Mr. Knight) and Layla face off against Harrow on the streets below. Our heroes are still outmatched, though — until Marc blacks out again and find Harrow unconscious at his feet, providing him with the opportunity he needs to enact the spell that traps Ammit in Harrow for good. Khonshu demands that Marc finish Harrow off for good, but he refuses to kill the man — because doing so just to prevent the potential for future evil deeds would make him no different from Ammit. So Khonshu finally releases Marc/Steven, and they have another dream in the mental asylum “organizing principle” where they affirm that isn’t the real reality, and then they wake up back in the London flat. The end.

… Or is it?

Of course there’s an end credit scene, and this one finally addresses the elephant other sarcophagus in the room. Since the second episode, the show has teased the presence of a third personality — one unknown to Marc and Steven, and ultra-violent to boot — and two weeks ago Marc and Steven walked right past a mysterious sarcophagus in their asylum-of-the-mind that clearly held all the answers. In the end credit scene, Harrow is the one in a very real mental asylum, where he is escorted out by a man in black past a lot of dead orderlies to a Rolls Royce. In the back of the car, Harrow comes face to face with Khonshu, who reveals that he never wanted Layla as his avatar at all. He only ever wanted Marc… or more specifically, Marc’s other personality, a Spanish-speaking limo driver named Jake Lockley. Cue Oscar-as-Jake shooting Arthur Harrow.

Lockley is, indeed, Marc’s canonical third personality from the comics — he’s a cab driver who has his ears to the streets, getting information while Marc plays vigilante and Steven, the rich one, funds their deeds. Readers have always been expecting him to turn up, so it hardly comes as much of a surprise in and of itself. The real surprise is what it means for the future of a show that, as it stands, has no guaranteed future. Originally positioned as a stand-alone season, with Oscar Isaac only signed on for these six episodes, it’s now abundantly clear that the door is ajar for more Moon Knight in some form or another if Marvel so desires (and everyone agrees to come back). And while I admit that I’m underwhelmed by the predictable finale, I’m still excited enough by the core of Moon Knight — the struggle of these personalities — to want more. The dynamic that has just been established, with Marc and Steven now united in a fluid personality that can trade-off on the fly (no more talking through reflections!), and a new personality they have to contend with, could be very interesting indeed. Just maybe without another big dumb god fight.

“Are You An Egyptian Superhero?”

The other surprise of the episode is Layla’s heroic transformation as Taweret’s avatar, which for reasons that may not have been immediately apparent involved dressing her in a scarab-themed costume. The show justifies it by making sure she has the scarab compass in her possession, and the fact that her father’s nickname for her was his “little scarab,” but she also may be based on an obscure and short-lived Marvel comics character called the Scarlet Scarab. Director Mohamed Diab has been on a run of interviews this week, and it’s very clear that in his mind Layla is an original creation whether Marvel calls her the Scarlet Scarab or not. Here he is discussing it via Uproxx:

The name Scarlet Scarab is never said in the series, but we’re headed there, right?

I want to tell you that this was part of the discussion, and you’re going to find some people that are going to confirm that it’s Scarlet Scarab. For me, I think there’s room to go either there or create our own character.

I see.

You know that Marvel, it’s something very important for them to not create anything from fiction.

Right.

Everything has to stay from the comic books. For me, I feel like the way we created her is mostly completely creative, though she could be the Scarlet Scarab if we wanted. And by the way, there was a scene that we didn’t shoot that would confirm that she’s Scarlet Scarab, but I just feel it’s better to be left open and maybe play with it in the future, or not.

Here again, there’s a lot of dancing around the uncertain future of the series, but whether Layla is the Scarlet Scarab or something new, she’s still smart, fierce, courageous — and entirely deserving of being the first Egyptian superhero in the MCU.


Stray Thoughts

I’ve called Phase 4 Marvel’s “f*ck-it phase” and I think Moon Knight embodied the potential and the pitfalls of this approach. Making a show about this weird niche character was a chance for the MCU to take a risk on creating something, you know, weird and niche — and while there were some stand-out moments (episodes 1 and 5, mostly) I think the whole ended up being surprisingly ordinary. The generalist approach of appealing to everyone all the time is great when you’re putting out a movie a year, but I had hoped the benefit of Marvel rolling out multiple shows and movies a year was that they could each be more targeted, more individual, more unique. Will Disney ever let Marvel take a real risk? I guess we’ll see when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes out.

Until then, I’ll give Moon Knight credit for this: It’s a MUCH better use of Oscar Isaac than goddamn X-Men:Apocalypse.




Tori Preston is the managing editor of Pajiba. She tweets here. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.



Header Image Source: Marvel Studios/ Disney+