Marvel’s Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney +, with the premiere episode, “The Goldfish Problem” now available to watch. Moon Knight is one of Marvel’s most complex heroes, and a lot of viewers will be discovering the character for the first time through this show. In order to help guide fans along (and to inform fans that haven’t yet had a chance to see the episode, we’ll be doing weekly recaps of Moon Knight‘s episodes, explaining the major topics, developments, or new elements that have been introduced.
(WARNING: Moon Knight Episode 1 SPOILERS Follow!)
Foes Come First
Moon Knight begins with an opening scene of a character getting dressed in the morning – a character who is revealed to be Ethan Hawke’s villain character, Arthur Harrow. The scene sets the tone for who Harrow is, by showing the religious zealot ritualistically laying out a towel, filling a glass of water (half-full or half-empty, take your pick), creating a zen-like hum by rubbing a wet finger around the rim, drinking the water, then smashing the glass within the rolled-up towel using his ceremonial cane, and distributing the broken shards of glass into his sandals. Though it pains him greatly, Harrow stands and walks out of his temple lair with the glass presumably stabbing his feet. Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand” plays over the scene.
After the scene introducing Harrow, the track switches to “A Man Without Love” by Engelbert Humperdinck, as we meet Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) in London. Steven wakes up to find himself strapped into bed by the ankle. He goes through his morning routine of feeding his one-fin fish Gus, taking a strip of tape off his door, and calling his “Mum.” [NOTE: Upon repeat viewing, this introduction is left wonderfully ambiguous as to whether it is Steven or Marc initially in control here.]
Steven is visibly drowsy on his way to work at the museum gift shop; his boss Donna (Lucy Thackeray) does not seem to like him, but he managed to land a steak dinner date with the lovely tour guide Dylan (Saffron Hocking) – a date Steven does not even remember making. Even though he works in the gift shop, Seven still seems to know a great deal about Egyptian history – going so far as pointing a mistake the museum made on a promo poster.
Outside of work, Steven lives a lonely, solitary, life, barely noticeable to anyone, and spending his nights talking to a street performer who is posing as a statue. His bedtime ritual is just as strange as his mornings, including pouring sand all around his bed, locking himself in an ankle strap, playing with a Rubix Cube, and listening to self-help tapes. Bottom line: Steven does not want to go to sleep. But sleep inevitably does catch up to him.
… And that’s when things get really weird.
When he finally does fall to sleep, Steven Grant suddenly awakes in the middle of a field outside a quaint European village, with his face all kinds of busted up. Turns out, “Steven” has just intervened in an attempt by Harrow’s forces to steal a scarab totem, forcing “Steven” to jump out the window in an attempted escape.
As Steven tries to piece together what’s happening, he is contacted by a strange commanding voice (Konshu), who demands he “return the body to Marc.” With gunman on his tail, a very confused and panicked Steven sneaks into the nearby village. Steven tries to hide in the crowd of Harrow’s flock of worshipers, but he quickly singled out by the cult leader, who reveals that he indeed has mystical powers of insight and life-or-death judgment, which are sworn to the service of the Egyptian goddess, Ammit.
Harrow seems to recognize Steven / Marc as a mercenary and tries to persuade him to return the scarab – an act Konshu will not allow “Steven” to do. Harrow loses patience and commands his forces to seize Steven, who blacks out again, only to awaken all bloodied from taking down Harrow’s men in combat. What happens next is a thrilling chase sequence on foot and in cars; Steven keeps blacking out and awakening to find he has James Bond-level skills. The scene ends with the road being flattened by a landslide of logs, only for Steven to blackout and wake up in his bed, as usual.
The Goldfish Problem
… Or is it a usual day? Steven has to question that when he finds his goldfish Gus suddenly has two fins instead of one.
A trip to the local pet store starts to reveal to Steven that he’s missing significant time. The store owner is yelling about some confrontational visit he paid to the store the day before; he shows up for his date two days late (and one girl short); and he discovers a hidden panel in the wall of his apartment. Not a usual day at all.
Supernatural Secret Agent Man
In the hidden wall panel, Steven discovers a cell phone and a storage unit key. He activates the phone and finds someone named “Layla” who has been trying to get in touch with “Marc” for months. But even weirder than that: making contact with Layla sparks something drastic, as Steven finds his own reflection is talking back to him, and a nightmarish entity (Konshu) is appearing before him like something out of a horror movie.
There’s little respite for Steven at his job: Harrow is there waiting for him, totally surprised that “Steven” is actually a gift shop worker (a reference to “Steven Grant” being a simple alias in the comics). Harrow tries to recruit Steven / Marc with the story of Ammit and teasing his knowledge of Steven’s condition. Steven faces Harrow’s judgment and finds there is “chaos” inside of him, which prompts the villain to let him go – at least for the moment.
Moon Knight Vs. Jackal
Even though Harrow lets “Steven” go, Steven discovers to his own horror that Harrow releases a dog-like mystical beast into the museum after hours, to attack him. That violent confrontation forces Steven to seek shelter in the museum bathroom. There, in front of the mirrors, Steven is contacted by “Marc” who begs to be put into control. Steven surrenders control, and Marc unleashes “Moon Knight.”
The final shot of the episode is Moon Knight pounding the jackal beast to a pulp on the bathroom floor.
What did you think of Moon Knight‘s premiere episode? Was it as satisfying as you hoped?
Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney +.
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