‘Moon Knight’ Episode 4’s Shocking Ending Gives the Show the Jolt It Needs
The following post contains SPOILERS for Moon Knight Episode 4.
Most of the first three episodes of Moon Knight were extremely predictable. Following the template of countless Moon Knight Marvel comics, it shows the title character to be an extremely mentally unwell man, one torn between multiple identities, including the mercenary Marc Spector, the meek museum employee Steven Grant, and the magical warrior Moon Knight. They all come into conflict with a cult that worships the Egyptian god Ammit, and chase a variety of mystic MacGuffins around the world. It’s Batman meets Identity meets Indiana Jones. And very little of it was surprising.
At least until the end of Episode 4.
Hunting through Ammit’s tomb, Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector is shot by Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), the leader of the Ammit cult. And then... he dies! The end!
Okay, not the end. Moments later, Marc Spector is seemingly alive somehow, and locked away in some kind of psychiatric hospital. Every other character seen on the show is also in the asylum; Hawke’s Harrow is now his therapist, for example, while the hospital orderlies were previously seen as the cops who were investigating the incident at Steven Grant’s museum.
Over and over there are echoes of the three episodes that came before; there’s a Rubix cube, one of the scarab toys that was originally seen in the museum gift shop, a cupcake trolley like the cupcake truck Steven used to escape from the Ammit cult in the first episode, and so on.
The episode, titled “The Tomb,” ends on a cliffhanger, with Marc discovering Steven in an Egyptian sarcophagus — for the moment, at least, they are two distinct people instead of two personalities sharing a single body — and then bumping into an anthropomorphic hippo dressed in ancient Egyptian garb. Aaaaaand roll credits.
A lot of this material is taken from writer Jeff Lemire and artist Greg Smallwood’s recent run of Moon Knight comics, where the title character wakes up in an insane asylum with no memory of how he got there, Those comics could offer the answer to the question of exactly what is happening in these scenes on the Moon Knight TV show, or the series could take the story in a totally different direction.
The whole show could be a figment of Marc’s imagination — or of Steven’s, or a third character all together. Or the hunt for Ammit’s tomb could be real, and Marc could have actually died, and the hospital is a strange sort of afterlife or purgatory for his soul. (Remember: Marc Spector died once already; that’s how he became Moon Knight in the first place. So he could die and get resurrected again.) Or the entire asylum could be some kind of manipulation by Harrow and his cult, using some of their god’s power (and maybe some psychotropic drugs).
From my perspective, it really doesn’t matter where the show goes from here, because this alone made things much more interesting than the more formulaic treasure hunt of the earlier episodes. For once, I can’t predict where Moon Knight is going. With a weekly episodic story, that should be part of the fun.
New episodes of Moon Knight premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+ — sign up for Disney+ here.