Moon Knight episode 2 — out now on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — is a bit curious second chapter for the new Marvel Cinematic Universe series. Even though it lasts for 50 minutes including credits, it doesn’t feel like a lot happens on Moon Knight episode 2. That may be because it’s made up of less than half a dozen scenes in total. It largely sketches out the world of Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) — the life Steven Grant (Isaac) and the audience don’t know about. We learn Marc has a wife in Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) and that they went on adventures together. Moon Knight episode 2 also hints that the Egyptian moon god Khonshu — we got a confirmation on his name here — saved Marc from a near-death experience.
Meanwhile, Steven’s life continues to unravel. He loses his London museum job in Moon Knight episode 2. He finds out he’s been punching people with his bare hands at night for years. (I get they are two personalities, but it’s one body. Shouldn’t he feel it in his arms and legs in the morning?) And he ends the new Moon Knight episode without control over his body — and whenever he does wake up, he’s going to discover he’s travelled a continent away, from Europe to Africa, with Moon Knight episode 2 ending in Egypt. Fitting that a series involving multiple Egyptian gods — not to mention, an Egyptian director and an Egyptian-Palestinian actress — would go there. I suppose the show’s setting is going to change for at least one, if not more, episodes.
For what it’s worth, Steven got his own take on the Moon Knight costume. Unlike Marc’s traditional cape-and-hood version, his version of Moon Knight wears an off-white three-piece suit, with a tight-fitting full-face mask that has a crescent-shaped symbol in the middle of the forehead. It’s known as Mr. Knight, the Moon Knight episode 2 credits reveal.
And oh, we also got clued into the villain’s big plan. In Moon Knight episode 2, cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) reveals he wants to resurrect the Egyptian goddess Ammit — which is why he’s been after Steven, because apparently the Scarab is useful is finding Ammit. With Moon Knight episode 2 ending in Egypt, I’m betting we will learn more about Ammit in Moon Knight episode 3.
Moon Knight episode 2 — directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, and written by Michael Kastelein — picks up right after where episode 1 left off. Or at least, where Moon Knight episode 1 ended for our scared little gift shop-ist Steven Grant. Steven wakes up in bed with nightmares of what happened with the creature. But he’s chained to his bed like always. After all, he has no memories once he transfers control of his body to Marc Spector, which is what Steven did in episode 1. Having discovered that Marc speaks to him at times through mirrors, Steven tries to talk to Marc in the bathroom mirror, but he gets no reply.
Steven heads into work on Moon Knight episode 2, where he encounters security guy JB (Alexander Cobb) as he’s about to go through last night’s security footage. But strangely, there’s nothing of that Egyptian jackal — as Steven calls that weird looking supernatural jackal from episode 1 — on the CCTVs. All we see is Steven running scared making a mess, and Marc staring at the camera as he exited the museum. Naturally, his employers, the National Art Gallery, are letting him go for the damage he caused, but not before they offer him psychological help.
On his way back to his flat in Moon Knight episode 2, Steven speaks to the living statue Crawley (Shaun Scott), and tells him about the things — a flip phone and a key — he found hidden in his flat. Now unemployed, Steven goes looking for a storage locker that the key belongs to, and finds it after five attempts. Inside, he finds a bed, some boxes, and a bag. Said bug has a gun, lots of money, and an American passport with the name Marc Spector. Alternate identity confirmed! And oh, there’s also that Scarab that Arthur kept asking Steven for in Moon Knight episode 1. As Steven clicks open the Scarab, a part of it hovers and points in a direction — Steven realises it’s not pointing north like a compass.
Just then, Marc returns in the reflection of the storage locker in Moon Knight episode 2. Naturally, Steven wants to know who he is — and why he has access to items that are usually the territory of secret agents. Marc says: “I serve Khonshu, I’m his Avatar. We protect the vulnerable and we deliver Khonshu’s justice on those who deserve it.” Steven remarks that it’s the stupidest thing he has ever heard. “I eat one piece of steak and bang, I go bonkers,” Steven notes, in what is one of the best jokes from the new Marvel series. (I would also like to point out the stupidity of Isaac saying the word avatar like the movie Avatar. So much for Diab’s claims over authentic representation, when he can’t even get his American actors to say a Sanskrit-origin word like it’s meant to be said.)
Marc tells Steven that he will disappear if he just stays out of his lane and lets him finish the job he needs to for Khonshu. But Steven tells him that he’s never giving him control again. In fact, he’s never going to sleep again if that’s what it takes to keep Marc away. Steven says that he’s going to the authorities with everything he’s found on Marc, and hopes that the NHS — that’s the British public healthcare system — will pump him with enough pills that he can’t remember any of this. But just as Steven leaves the storage locker on Moon Knight episode 2, the lights start to flicker. He once again sees that weird-looking giant figure from episode 1, except this time it comes closer.
Steven begins to run in Moon Knight episode 2, exiting the storage locker premises and then the building, only to trip over himself and fall on the street next to an incoming scooter. Said scooter turns out to be driven by Layla — the woman on the phone in episode 1 — who tells Steven that she found him by tracking his phone. “I thought you wanted me to,” she remarks. Layla then reveals she’s his wife — technically, she’s Marc’s wife — and she’s been wondering why he just disappeared on her. She thought he would be fine because he had the suit (wait, she knows?!) but she was also worried he got kidnapped again (wait, when was he kidnapped before?). Steven just asks her to get him back to his flat, where he will explain everything.
Back at his flat, Layla is bemused to see that Steven is into things that she was known for. Steven’s favourite French poet is actually Layla’s favourite French poet. Steven is studying hieroglyphics and the Egyptian alphabet, which is something Layla already knows. Layla then turns the conversation on Moon Knight episode 2, noting that he (she means Marc) sent her divorce papers but never signed them. Steven says he would never divorce her — buddy, you were never married to her — and that he’s going to tell her everything unlike Marc who keeps lying. But just as he’s about to pull the Scarab out of the bag, Marc gets in his head and tells him he’s doing all of it to protect Layla. If you involve her, it’ll be your fault if they come after Layla, Marc remarks.
That gets Steven to stop, but he’s said too much already. Layla’s interest is now piqued and she wants to know what he has in the bag. She snatches it away from him and finds the Scarab within. Layla is aghast, noting that they — Marc and she — fought side by side for the Scarab. Except Steven doesn’t remember their life together or their adventures. It seems Marc has been keeping things from Layla for a while. And he’s further pushing her away by divorcing her.
Before their talk can go any further, the police come knocking on Steven’s door in Moon Knight episode 2. As they go through his flat — sorry, don’t they need a warrant? — they inevitably find the Marc Spector passport. Layla had escaped through a window before the police entered. They already believe he has stolen something — are they here for the Scarab? Though how would they know about that? — and now he’s also on the hook for forging a passport. As the police take him in, they discover that Marc Spector is an international fugitive. He was part of a team of mercenaries that hit a dig site in Egypt, and executed archaeologists by shooting them in the back of the head. Something is up though, because instead of arriving at a police station, they pull up in a back alley.
Ah, they are dummy cops — and they’ve taken him to Arthur. As Steven gets out of the car, Arthur asks him: “Do you think Khonshu chose you because your mind would be easy to break or because it’s broken already?” Wait, is Arthur referring to that tall thingy with a bird skull for a head? It would seem so, which confirms my Moon Knight episode 1 suspicions. That really is Khonshu, the Egyptian moon god.
Anyway, back to Moon Knight episode 2. Steven says that he’s not broken, he just needs some help. Arthur says that’s what he’s here for. Khonshu returns and instructs Steven to kill Arthur, which Arthur predicts. Huh, how did he know? Arthur continues with his pitch, informing Steven that the neighbourhood they stand in once had the highest crime rate in the city. Arthur helped and now, people don’t even lock their doors at night. The two then walk into a community kitchen, where Arthur notes that the food is free — he calls out the lentil soup by name, which is basically dal but fancier — as Steven sees folks enjoy what looks like a pleasant natural history documentary.
Just as some nearby metal trays fall down, Arthur notes that Khonshu often throws temper tantrums and that’s why he was banished by other Egyptian gods. Also, his policy on vengeance didn’t sit well with others. Khonshu keeps speaking to Steven in between, telling him he only punishes those who have done harm. Arthur then reveals on Moon Knight episode 2 that he’s able to predict Khonshu’s words because he was his former Avatar — before Marc. He then notes that Khonshu’s judgment arrives after evil has been done. “Ammit knows this and she uproots them before any evil is done,” Arthur adds. We must resurrect Ammit, Arthur notes, and we need the Scarab to find her. So, the Moon Knight villain’s big plan is to resurrect an Egyptian god? Um, cool.
Naturally, Steven brings up the point we’ve all thought of by now. If Ammit judges pre-evil, isn’t the person innocent? How can a thought be evil? How can you kill a child 30 years before they will do something? This speaks to the oft-cited question around killing baby Hitler. Arthur spins a metaphor, claiming how one might amputate a limb to prevent an infection from spreading across a body. Steven neatly points out that a child is not a diseased limb, before turning around to speak to Arthur’s brainwashed followers, and wondering if they don’t draw the line at child murder. Arthur pivots on Moon Knight episode 2, changing the topic to his cane. It contains a sliver of Ammit’s power, which is how he’s able to judge people using the supernatural scales of his justice on his arm.
Even just hearing about the cane, everyone — including Steven and Arthur’s followers — takes a step away from Arthur. The cult leader demands that Steven hand over the Scarab, but he says he doesn’t have it. This time, he’s not even lying. Just then, Layla emerges out of nowhere and announces she has the Scarab, holding it up for all to see. Layla then walks towards Steven on Moon Knight episode 2, asking him to summon the suit so they can get out of there in one piece. But Steven keeps misunderstanding her — and Layla has no choice but to then just make a dash for it with Steven. A calm Arthur buries his cane into the ground, from which another Egyptian jackal emerges.
As Layla and Steven look for a way out of the community kitchen, Layla reveals that she’s more than capable of handling herself physically. Unfortunately, they eventually corner themselves, and are forced to bolt a giant door and hide behind it. Here once again, Layla pesters Steven to summon the suit — especially with the Egyptian jackal trying to break the door down — but he seems incapable of doing it or unwilling to hand the body to Marc. As the giant door swings open, Moon Knight episode 2 tells us that Layla can’t see the jackal. Only Steven/Marc can. As Steven is thrown out of the window, he desperately tries to “summon the suit” by repeating the words ad infinitum — and luckily makes a perfect superhero landing just in time.
Excerpt the suit Steven has summoned on Moon Knight episode 2 has little bearing to the one we saw at the end of episode 1. Marc, via a reflection, wonders what’s up. Why do you have us dressed as “psycho Colonel Sanders”? You asked for a suit, this is a suit, Steven protests. This isn’t Khonshu’s ceremonial armour, Marc tells him. Their bickering has to pause though, as bigger matters are afoot.
The Egyptian jackal jumps out and takes Steven to the cleaners. The fact that he doesn’t die is, I suppose, thanks to the protection afforded by Khonshu. Which is exactly why I don’t understand how Layla escapes with minimal injuries after being hammered by the jackal. Steven tries to get back at the beast and even lands a solid punch, but he finally realises that the task is too much for him. He finally relents and hands over control. Marc spins around and changes the battleground, leading the jackal for a chase across rooftops. He eventually pulls off a swaggering move, timing a mid-air neck stab to perfection, before grabbing the jackal’s body and impaling him. Moon Knight has lacked in exciting action beats, but this one delivers.
But in the chase with the beast, Marc discovers he dropped the Scarab which has — obviously — ended up with Arthur. Well, not directly, but Layla sees him kill someone for it before she drives away on her scooter on Moon Knight episode 2.
Back to Marc, who now finds himself on the outside while Steven is stuck on the inside. Steven wants him to hand over control — and he also has more questions about their past. Marc reveals he’s been doing this mercenary and Khonshu business for a long time, but he will go away once his debt is repaid. If it weren’t for Khonshu, we wouldn’t be alive, Marc notes on Moon Knight episode 2. His servitude to Khonshu means he has to do certain things. Steven remarks that Marc hurts people and he’s leaving his wife. I’m trying to protect her, Marc claims, because Khonshu wants her as my replacement.
Just then, Khonshu reappears, noting that Marc has failed on his promise. He was supposed to keep Steven at bay and ensure he didn’t throw a spanner in their works. Marc says he can handle it, though Khonshu doesn’t seem so sure. Marc tells Khonshu that he wants to be left alone once the work is done. “You enjoy the work I’ve for you, we need each other,” Khonshu tries to placate his avatar. But Marc isn’t in the mood for it in Moon Knight episode 2. “You may not like my next candidate, near and dear as she is to you,” Khonshu now adds menacingly, hinting at what Marc just told us about Khonshu’s intentions for Layla.
“Where are we going?” a frustrated Marc asks, now that the Scarab is lost. “Where do you think?” Khonshu says mockingly. The answer is quite obvious to anyone who’s been watching Moon Knight closely. Moon Knight episode 2 cuts to a room, where we see Marc drinking straight from a bottle, before he gets up and looks out the balcony for the audience’s sake. We’ve got pyramids in the distance — I don’t think I need to tell you where we are.
(For those wondering, the Moon Knight episode 2 end credits song is “El Melouk” by Ahmed Saad feat. 3enba, and Double Zuksh.)