Moon Knight Recap: Episode 4, “Far Side of the Moon

Well, it’s time for Tomb Raider to do some tomb raiding. Or just about, at least.

First, we’re left off where Moon Knight’s third episode closed, with Steven unconscious from doing so much magic star-rotating (and, let’s not forget, the ejection of F. Birdie Abraham from his psyche). Lara Crofn’t is concerned beside him, and they’re in the middle of the desert.

Suddenly, for reasons that are never fully clear nor relevant, some guys in a truck with a mounted machine gun pull up and start blasting with no questions asked. Ostensibly, they’re some of Ethan Hawke’s hired mercs, but as we’ll see momentarily, Moonie and Tombie aren’t even anywhere near the tomb site—which is itself guarded in no way whatsoever. So who knows. The main thing is to establish that our new Tomb Raider’s main weapon is not dual pistols but dual flares. She loves flares, folks.

She manages to use the flares to take the cronies out, and, the evening ruined, she and Steven start their drive out to wherever the constellation coordinates told Google Maps was the location of the tomb (see: last episode!). Marc pleads with Steven to let him take over for the mission ahead, as it will be “dangerous,” but Stevesy isn’t having it. In this version of 1999’s The Mummy, the scaredy UK guy is taking front seat to the brash American in romancing this beautiful curly-haired woman as they investigate an Egyptian tomb.

Not wanting to be detected, they park the SUV some distance from the dig site and walk the rest of the way. Marvel did not want to invest too much in this completely unnecessary montage of their traversing the desert, so they just play the most generic stock music possible over this. It’s probably a track called “Middle East Adventure.”

When they finally reach the site, it turns out no one is guarding it at all. Tomb Raider uses the opportunity to raid the camp for more of her beloved flares. Steven uses the opportunity to argue with Marc and drop a “plonker” on him. Oscar Isaac’s pocket guide to Britishisms pays off more and more every episode.

Now, finally, it’s time to raid a tomb. BUT FIRST: a weird, lingering kiss. And a weird, lingering shot of a tool that almost no one will be able to identify until later in the episode.

So they get inside there and, despite having barely ventured in, Tomb Raider’s tomb raiding knowledge tells her this place is a maze. Thankfully, Steven’s Egyptology knowledge also immediately solves this just-invented problem. He’s got a bizarre feeling this place must be shaped like a specific Egyptian eye symbol, and further reasons that they must reach the tip of the eye’s “tongue” to get whatever MacGuffin we’re on at this point.

They head off down the tongue tunnel, but pretty quickly things get even grosser than the term “tongue tunnel.” There’s a room with some embalming tables in it—and it’s pretty clear they’ve been used recently.

Is Ethan Hawke embalming people for some reason? Nope. The culprit? GHOULS!

When Marc was all worried about “danger,” you were probably thinking he was referencing Ethan Hawke and his hired guns, but no, the danger of the tomb is GHOULS. The embalming is being done by some chittering freaks straight out of a Skyrim dungeon. And there’s a lot that’s funny about this.

Firstly is the question of why? Removing organs and placing them in canopic jars was a sacred rite to preserve the royal viscera that may be needed in the afterlife. But this ghoul is just doing it for what looks like a white tourist he dragged in? Is this like in zombie comedies where the zombies keep doing their rote tasks out of habit? Is there another ghoul outside endlessly dragging giant blocks to build a pyramid? What is happening here?

Secondly, how funny is it how half-assed he’s going about it? He’s just tossing the guts at the jars! Some don’t even go in! It’s this ancient, respected tradition reserved for the powerful and wealthy, and he’s just doing it to this dude and treating it like he’s butchering a chicken.

But what this baffling scene does seemingly clear up is what it was the camera forebodingly lingered on at the tomb’s entrance: an embalming tool! So there must be some other ghoul somewhere frantically patting his pockets, like, “Shit, where’s my brain hook? I swear I just had it…” Good luck replacing that, asshole.

Anyway, thanks to this ghoul encounter, Tomb Raider and Steven get split up.

She ends up in a contrived little ledge set-piece where she has to fight a ghoul. She wins!

Meanwhile, Steven is off finding the tomb’s sarcophagus. He finds it! And you’re not going to believe who’s inside: Alexander the Great. Isn’t it fun when they get a big name for such a small TV part?

Back at Ghoul Ledge, the long-MIA Ethan Hawke is finally showing his face. Sadly, he’s here with some bad news. Sorry, Tomb Raider, but Marc may have murdered your dad.

Back at the sarcophagus, Steven is just about to open it. It’s weird they didn’t cut around that bit, because when you see the size of this thing’s stone lid, it’s like, there is no way this little guy is moving that. Alas, as Isaac’s Poe Dameron might say, he does somehow.

Whatever it is he’s even looking for here isn’t just sitting on top of the mummy. Steven suspects it must lie “somewhere the average looter wouldn’t think to look.”

Oh, shit, this guy’s about to reach up in Alexander the Great’s mummified asshole!

In the latest disappointment from a frequently disappointing series, he doesn’t. Just like with the tomb’s so-called maze, the answer is just “tongue area” again. Not exactly a Riddle of the Sphinx, is it?

Steven reaches down the legendary Macedonian’s dried-up gullet and plucks forth…

Another little figurine like the one that trapped Khonshu. Apparently that’s what we were after all this time. When it comes to Moon Knight, if it’s not a tongue, you better believe it’s a bauble.

Tomb Raider has now caught up, and she wants answers from Marc. After a switcheroo (is it not weird that, even without Khonshu in him, the dissociative identity disorder is treated like it’s still sort of magic?), she asks whether he killed her dad. He’s like, “No, of course not! I mean, sure, I was there, but…”

The conflict isn’t quite resolved, though, cut short by the arrival of—you guessed it—four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke. His own little bauble, the golden scarab, guided him straight to them and the figurine! You’d actually think he would have beat them there by a good day if he’s being guided straight to the prize, but here we are.

There’s a short skirmish and Ethan Hawke fires two rounds into our moon man. Oscar Isaac’s body splashes into the crypt’s pools, and he fades into the white light of the episode’s big twist.

He awakens in a catatonic haze inside a surreally bright, sterile mental institution. This kind of overdesigned, overexposed hospital look has been done to death at this point, but given the production thus far, kudos for at least trying something visually. On the television plays a VHS copy of the Steven Grant adventure Tomb Buster, soon to be accused of having exceedingly poor production value and of “mak[ing] a real meal out of a lunar god” (self awareness, Moon Knight?). Tomb Raider is another patient there. Marc grips a Moon Knight action figure. In an office filled with Egyptian imagery sits Marc’s doctor, none other than star of stage and screen Ethan Hawke—still in his stupid little shoes.

Was this entire series a psychiatric episode? It’s at least a solid device of an excuse for why Moon Knight is such a particularly lukewarm entry in an often middling “cinematic universe.”

Well, if it was a hallucination, Marc Spector isn’t having it. He flees Ethan Hawke down the hall, where he comes upon another twist: inside another easy-open sarcophagus, it’s Steven!

We’ve got two Oscar Isaacs! The slashfic community must have just exploded.

They take off back down the hall together and come across the episode’s final, hammiest twist: a bipedal CGI hippo that has the duo shrieking. Has Moon Knight, like Will Smith, appeased Jada Pinkett Smith, giving the title hero a Madagascar crossover?

Nah, it’s just another comic relief of an Egyptian god. Meet Tawaret. Disappointingly, not voiced by F. Murray Abraham.

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