Moon Knight has been quite the ride. That's such a cliche phrase but I cannot escape that description. The series has purposefully been chaotic so that its overall narrative could come through to the viewer. After having just watched the finale, I couldn't help but feel like the finale finally played it safe. This is not a judgment. From chaotic episode after chaotic episode, it was nice to be served a plate of steak and potatoes.
Was It Playing It Safe?
I mean, at one point two megazords were having a full-on kaiju fight outside the pyramids in Cairo. When I opine that the episode played it safe, I meant from a story level. I don't want to parse the entire plot as I have done in the past. What I will do is describe a few of the biggest moments in the episode. Spoilers ahead, as always. Layla rejecting Khonshu was surprisingly one of the biggest pay-offs of the series. We knew Khonshu was going to offer her to be his avatar, and that she was going to have to make a choice. It was fulfilling to see her reject him out of hand. When Layla inevitably became a superhero, it was not a letdown either. Her costume was almost cooler looking than Moon Knight's. For the comic purists, we got at least a little Jake Lockley content. Don't skip the ending credits, folks. The Lockley insertion may have just seemed like window dressing fan service, but when you think back to the early episode when Steven is woefully confused by who Khonshu is speaking to, this tied it together nicely. We're left to assume Marc was the one Khonshu was constantly leading, but it turns out it was Lockley all along. Lockley also tied up Harrow's loose ends pretty definitively.
The Finale Final Thoughts
This is my last Moon Knight piece and I want the emotions to stand taller than the story, which is what Moon Knight did best.
Tonally, the show was chaotic at best. We saw a series that looked like an Inception-Esque show about mental illness from one episode and then an ancient Egyptian, Indiana Jones-Esque treasure series in the next one. As a whole, it blended into a fun popcorn series that shined on the performances, visuals, and emotions. Oscar Isaac is a powerhouse actor in small indie pieces and larger-than-life Disney/Marvel comic book shows. May Calamawy isn't given a ton to do but manages to shine as Layla El-Faouly, and Ethan Hawke has transitioned well from his young smoldering years as an actor into his older smoldering years. He manages to seem like a real person as much as one can as an antagonist in a series like this.
I don't think I ever got as emotionally touched/saddened during a comic show or film as I did during episode five. It was a daring and bold choice to devote an entire middle episode to explaining how the protagonist developed his dissociative identity disorder. It was integral to the arc, but a lot of other popcorn series would not have done it. Moon Knight's brilliance was in the risks, emotions, and performances. On those alone, this series was a resounding success.