“Marc Spector has no idea how troubled he truly is.” So Khonshu tells Harrow at the end of the Moon Knight finale (right before one hell of a reveal; more on that in a bit). And in a way, it makes sense that we would close out this six-episode storyline with what feels like the thesis statement of the entire show. After all, Moon Knight has been a journey through Marc’s attempt to make himself whole, to grapple with his demons (or, god, as it may be the case), to face his trauma and, presumably find a way to live his life without being wedded to a being who’d nudge him not just toward craven justice but also ruthless vengeance.
The final scene of the episode proper suggests there’s been progress. We are back in Steven’s London flat. We are back listening to Engelbert Humperdinck’s “A Man Without Love.” We are back at the beginning. We have come full circle. Except, we are no longer watching a hapless Steven (Oscar Isaac) fumble his way through his apartment trying to figure out, as episode one was titled, “The Goldfish Problem.” Instead, he and Marc have found a way to cohabitate, easily shuttling back and forth (Isaac, doing masterful work). Only, you and I and every avid Marvel fan watching knows it was never going to be as simple as that. There was no way Khonshu would’ve allowed his avatar to leave him.
But that’s what the post-credits scene is for.
For all intents and purposes, this is the ending we’re offered: a riff on a happy ending wherein a fragmented, tortured, and trauma-scarred young boy finally reconciles his two selves into one heart and can now move through the world with aplomb. It wasn’t an easy road nor was it a simple one. In fact, it required rebuking the chance at a peaceful heaven, a choice that Marc did all too willingly so he could save Steven, the part of himself that had kept him sane. “You saved me,” Marc tells Steven, “I survived because I knew I wasn’t alone. You are the only superpower I ever had.” This, yes, is as hackneyed as it reads on the page, but there’s no denying the sentiment gets at what Moon Knight was always wrestling with. Here was a self-sacrifice that felt like a stab at redemption, a chance to right wrongs and make amends even when it may feel futile.
Which brings us back to Amit, arguably the weakest part of the finale, though a necessary part of it. This is where the series has long been building toward: Harrow unleashing Amit on the people of Cairo and creating the urgent crisis that would then require a final face-off, both between gods and between their respective avatars where the many philosophical differences that felt crucial to this fight melted away into a rather simplified version of “us” vs “them,” the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” So yes, in true Marvel fashion, we end with a fight that has the highest stakes imaginable (souls are being judged and expelled from people’s bodies when deemed “evil”), at night (of course, as we’ve learned, most of the FX-heavy ones always do), and in otherwise relatively empty public spaces (here it’s only one family who end up being would-be-collateral).
If it is to be expected, at least it delivered great hand-to-hand combat between Harrow, Moon Knight, Mr. Knight, and Layla. Yes! Layla, who refuses to become Khonshu’s avatar but relents when it’s Taweret who offers her a similar deal. These have always been the most thrilling sequences throughout the show and watching Marc and Steven fight in tandem was a lot of fun—the kind of scene that, had this played to a packed theater, would have elicited plenty of cheering from the crowd.
It’s no spoiler to say they succeed and Amit/Harrow are, for all intents and purposes, defeated. Moon Knight was always careening toward being an extended introduction to the lore of this Marvel character who we may or may not see in future installments. And in that sense, the Disney+ miniseries delivered. If it all ended up in a rather predictable manner (ahead of its post-credits scene, which was a different kind of expected twist), that’s more to do with the constraints of the genre as it’s been construed of late than with anything specific to this title. I asked before how one could craft an engaging type of origin story without merely going through the motions of one, and in a way, Moon Knight delivered. But, in another, its six episode run can’t help but feel like preamble, perhaps because we’ve now been conditioned to expect what’s to come, what’s ahead. Whether that’s a second season or a feature-film appearance, I don’t know, but I can’t begrudge any of us wanting to see more of Isaac in this role (roles, I guess).
- Okay, now we can talk about that post-credits scene. This being a Marvel property, there was no way we weren’t gonna get one. And here, as is so often the case, what we get is an introduction to a new character—or, rather, to a familiar one. He’s been at the edges of the show the entire time, rattling in a sarcophagus in Marc’s psych ward, committing brutal crimes in moments of blackouts…yes, we finally meet the third personality: Jake Lockley. And to differentiate him from Steven’s laughable English accent and Marc’s brutish American one, it seems Jake is a fluent Spanish speaker. It’s on him that the bloodiest of Khonshu’s missions fall, and it is no different here; Marc and Steven may have spared Harrow but not him. It’s a hell of a way to end this run, a reminder that Marc/Steven still don’t know all there is to know about themselves.
- When Taweret is talking to Layla and encouraging her to become her avatar, she mentions that she has a fab outfit; and, true to her word, Layla’s “Egyptian superhero” (as an impressionable girl puts it) ensemble is truly fabulous, gold wings and all. Here’s a reminder that costume designer Meghan Kasperlik really outdid herself this entire season, mostly for refusing to do that thing wherein a live action costume often feels drab in comparison to their comic-book counterpart. Here, Mr. Knight, Moon Knight, and Layla as Taweret’s avatar all look great, both still and in motion kicking ass.
- Speaking of Mr. Knight, watching him in the full-blown fight scene, now totally in control of his newfound strength, was thrilling. But the one moment I can’t get out of my head is him dusting off his suit mid-fight (right after hitting Harrow), only to have that one moment of confidence be immediately deflated as he’s attacked right away. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but it struck me as a perfect way to remind us that stunt choreography during fights like these can and should have a feel for personality.
- But also: The one great moment that will likely live on as a GIF is the one where Moon Knight jumps over a car, splaying his cape. It’s not quite his “bullet-time” moment but it has that same kind of instant iconicity about it (same for him jumping up toward the full moon, his cape shaped like a crescent). Which is to say: There was some lovely imagery throughout the episode, courtesy of director Mohamed Diab, who was able, episode to episode, to create a lovely visual grammar for this most tortured of caped superheroes.