Warning: This episode contains spoilers for “Moon Knight” episodes 1-4.
Six weeks ago, I received the first four episodes of Marvel’s “Moon Knight” ahead of time as a way to review them. Though I was excited to dive into the new show, I was perplexed about why Disney+ would share the first four episodes of a six-episode series with critics. That’s two-thirds of a show in one sitting!
I’ve had six weeks to think about it. And after rewatching the fourth episode of “Moon Knight,” the answer became clear — the episode’s cliffhanger is big enough that it helps redefine the show’s first half and sets us up for an unknown future. That is to say, it was the perfect way for critics to understand the show, but at the same time, have no idea what’s going to happen next.
The fourth episode of the series — titled “The Tomb” — brings about a conclusion we’ve been waiting for in Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) finding the tomb of Ammet and confronting Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) while inside.
There’s a fun amount of adventure and treasure hunting in this episode, bringing apt comparisons to the “Indiana Jones” and “Tomb Raider” franchises. Layla (May Calamawy) has a starring role as she seeks to find her way through the tomb. This part of the episode reminded me of what I expected the show to be — a treasure hunt not unlike “National Treasure.”
Of course, things don’t go as desired when Harrow and Marc/Steven meet in the tomb. It ends with our hero getting shot, killing him, and sending him into blackness.
Or, maybe it’s whiteness. When our hero wakes up, he’s suddenly in an all-white, padded asylum. Marc and Steven meet face-to-face for the first time (yeah, it happens). Layla is there, too, as one of the patients. Harrow sits behind a desk as one of the estate’s managers. A television in the room even plays an “Indiana Jones” knockoff based around a character named, yes, Steven Grant.
The final surprise is when Steven and Marc happen upon a giant hippopotamus — the Egyptian god Taweret.
It’s a brain-breaking final scene that reshapes everything you know about the series. In fact, before the series premiere, “Moon Knight” showrunner Mohamed Diab told me that “this is one of the shows that you are going to enjoy even the second time around.” That’s never been more clear until after the fourth episode.
The major cliffhanger to Episode 4 is a game-changer for the series. It begs us to ask whether or not the first four episodes were a dream or hallucinations. Or, maybe, Marc and Steven are now trapped in some weird alternate reality, or a multiverse dimension. There’s already a comic book answer for this — though I won’t spoil that here — that could give some clarity for those who seek it. But it truly puts us in an unknown space. We know nothing about where we are right now and have no clue about what’s going to happen next.
For a long time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s projects have felt familiar and similar. But it’s the unfamiliar and mysterious ones — like “WandaVision,” “Loki” and “Moon Knight” — that are resonating well across the fanbase. Some modern Marvel fans enjoy mystery boxes and major universe-altering twists. That’s one reason why “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has such hype around it. It deals with the unknown, and the unfamiliarity and uncertainty of our world. These shows contrast with the more logical, familiar tales of “Hawkeye” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which are more classic superhero action series.
Don’t get me wrong — “Moon Knight” hasn’t been the easiest show to watch. I’ve watched the third episode three times and can’t quite get into it. But the fourth episode of the series is one of Marvel’s best episodes to date. It shows us how good these shows can be when everything is hitting on the right cylinders.
And there are plenty more hijinks to come. Diab also told me that the final two episodes of “Moon Knight” will be a little darker compared to the early part of the show. So expect to see that moving forward.
“I want you to watch the next two episodes and it’s gonna get crazier and darker. You’re gonna love it,” Diab said.