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Moon Knight Episode 3: The Friendly Type

The third episode of Moon Knight dropped on Disney+ and we're doing our weekly take on this week's episode.

If you're reading this piece on the third episode, it's safe to say you've seen the first two. With that in mind, I shouldn't have to remind you of spoilers ahead, but I will. There are spoilers ahead. I also feel like by now I don't have to recap the episode for anyone. Instead, it's time to take some opinions because this episode took some risks.

First off, this episode had real "National Treasure" vibes, if "National Treasure" surrounded ancient Egyptian history and folklore, instead of American history and folklore. It was very much an episode where both sides (the good guys and bad guys if you're into that kind of reductive descriptor) are all chasing puzzle pieces. There are a few intimate conversations between Marc Spector and Layla El-Faouly which at least attempt to project some depth and character arc for these two former (are they divorced?) spouses. 

This is also the first episode where Khonshu shows even slightly that he may be a redeemable character, where he sacrifices his freedom to unlock a crucial piece of information for our heroes. His choice means the Gods (who are the most obnoxious part of the episode) exile him into stone. The golden scarab compass leads Arthur Harrow to Ammit’s tomb, and his followers begin their dig. Harrow doesn't seem to worry much about Marc/Steven and Layla. He is confident that Khonshu and the two humans will fail, and Khonshu does a great job of well, failing.

Action

While attempting to get information (which is pretty much the entire episode) we get to see better, well-lit, sequences of fight scenes that showcase the amount of work put into the production. These are welcomed scenes in daylight as opposed to a lot of the darker scenes we have seen so far. 

The Frustrating Scene

There is a scene where Khonshu (speaking through Marc/Steven) has an audience (by manipulating astronomy nbd) with the ancient Gods. They're all speaking through their avatars instead of some nondescript scene where they just show up as they want to appear. This is some impressive dedication from Marvel as they could have just gone lazy. The scene plays out in some infuriating ways, though. It had all the marking of a sitcom plot where the two people are mad at each other because of a misunderstanding that they could just immediately explain, but spend the whole episode not talking. It felt like gaslighting, especially when Harrow uses Moon Knight's dissociative identity disorder against him. Harrow's manipulative personality while portraying such a cultist hits home in this scene, though, and it may be the most redeeming part in terms of character development. Ethan Hawke is a talented actor, and he is one of the best parts of the series thus far.

More Action

What follows is one of the best action sequences in the series thus far. The late Gaspard Ulliel plays another rich man/thief plot device and it predictably goes poorly for Marc/Steven and Layla. The fight is impressive and it showcases that Layla is an absolute badass. This scene also gives us to see the dynamic between the protagonist' Steven versus Marc. When they work in concert with one another the show is more enjoyable. At the beginning of this episode, we get a glimpse of perhaps Moon Knight's third personality, known in the comic books as Jake Lockley. He is likely vicious and brutal, as both Steven and Marc balk at the idea of killing a teenage boy who attacked them. 

The Series

There is a lot this series has done well by sticking closely to the source material or ditching. Steven Grant is a "billionaire playboy" in the comics. Frankly, the MCU has seen more than enough of these. Turning Grant into a nerdier moral compass works well.  

This episode was the first one where I wondered how long the show is going to rev the engine in neutral before letting the car peel out and go. There was a lot of stop and go, relying on the previous episodes' devices that kept us engaged, despite a few enjoyable fight scenes. The next episode should hopefully provide some momentum.