Moon Knight’s second episode sees Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant persona hopping up the “apples and pears”—as he would gratingly say—of the British Museum to see what sort of ruckus he caused at the tail end of the opener, when the titular, costumed hero himself showed up to destroy a bathroom.
Grant and his museum guard friend take a look at the security camera footage, and while Moon Knight did seem to have ruined the shitter like only an Anubis of a Taco Bell dog could, there’s no evidence of Steven turning into a white-hooded superhero. Even Disney-Marvel knew that whole sequence and its oddly-draped cape looked too shoddy to bother showing again.
Since Steven is acting insane and definitely blew out the men’s room, he’s let go from his gift shop job. So it’s time for him to solve a mystery.
Remember how he found a storage unit key hidden in his flat? (Swear to god, this show fits in more British-isms per minute than anything made by the BBC. It’s like a cartoon spy inventing a UK persona at the last second, and now he has to say “Oi, bruv, you fancy a biscuit on the lift, ya posh gov’na?” every other line.) Well, now he’s figuring out where he can use that key.
Steven may not have the Batman-like skills of his Marc Spector personality, but here we see that he’s at least enough of a detective to realize he can just go to the storage company’s various locations and ask about having a unit there. And… It works!
So Steven gets into Spector’s storage, and he’s quick to realize his counterpart is something of a Bourne. He’s got a cot in there (certainly there are precautions to keep people from living in their storage units, but anyway), but more surprisingly, he also has a duffle bag packed with a gun and a passport for his American-born persona. Weird, right? Because bullets aren’t even part of the random bullshit Moon Knight blasts at people.
Spector, the alternate personality who appears only as an increasingly-exhausting gimmick of mirror images, soon shows up in the reflection of this oddly-shiny storage unit to plead for Steven to give up control of Isaac’s lil’ body. They have this whole Steve Urkel vs. Stefan Urquelle split-screen thing going between nerd and cool guy, and it is just insufferable. Rightly, Steven just decides to fuck off out of that scene.
He exits the unit into the hallway, but he’s quickly confronted by the series’ second-largest foe: F. Murray Abraham doing this Venom routine of being a God-like monstrosity who keeps badgering the hero to kill people through bad voice-over.
Steven, again rightly, decides to again fuck off. But before he does, episode directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead give Moon Knight one of its few and already most inexplicable visual flourishes. Panicked at the sight of the bird-skull-headed Egyptian moon god Khonshu before him, Steven screams, and there’s one second of a freeze-frame that ever-so-slightly zooms in.
If the directors had committed to this moment as a bit of genre styling—maybe keep it going for a few seconds, play an exaggerated minor chord—it could have been a bit of fun. But as it’s compromised on here, it needs to be watched multiple times to ensure it isn’t just a streaming stutter. It’s not. It’s just incredibly impotent. But at least it’s in line with the series’ theme of giving only fleeting looks at its more interesting personality.
Anyway, after his ever-so-brief digital pause, Stevesy gets out of there and onto the street, where he’s quickly picked up on motorcycle. It’s Layla! The woman from Marc’s hidden mobile phone! And his WIFE. Turns out, Marc Spector is a wife guy.
She takes him back to his place, where Layla is like, “You can drop the British accent thing,” and he’s all, “Wow, we actually love the same poet. Maybe we have a great connection through this studious personality even as you’re apparently divorcing me as the badass guy.”
Interrupting this amnesiatic rom-com bit, a couple ostensible cops show up. They steal off with Steven while Layla steals off with the little gold scarab that is this show’s lazy MacGuffin.
The “cops” haul Steven off to Ethan Hawke’s cult commune, which seems to be sort of London’s Freetown Christiania—a place in the city with its own laws, but where you can also get cheap or free lentil soup. He’s there to learn the show’s central conflict of ideologies.
Hawke is like, “Look, so you have F. Murray Abraham’s Venom inside you being obnoxious, right? Well, that god is no good because he’s like a cop: he’s rarely if ever preventing crime, instead just going after the bad guys after the fact. Meanwhile, this other ancient Egyptian god within me is more like Minority Report: she goes after the bad guys before they commit the crimes, and since I never actually finished Minority Report, I see no way this could be a flawed system, ethically or otherwise.”
Ethan Hawke wants the scarab, but Steven, as we know, does not actually have it. It’s fine, because Layla shows up with it soon after. She won’t give it up either, though, so Hawke resorts to desperate measures: summoning a gross, undead-looking dog thing.
Steven and Layla run off into a room full of mummies and sarcophagi and otherwise bundled bodies, and for some reason Steven’s reaction is to say, “I’m going to die in an evil magician’s man-cave!” It is in no way at all a “man-cave,” but very funny to say the term as an already-dated modern reference! At least give it a mini-fridge with some Miller Lites and canopic jars inside or something, for fuck’s sake.
The dog ends up getting into said man-cave, and Steven jumps out the window to finally summon “the suit” Layla kept hoping he would produce. Sort of.
See, instead of summoning the overly-busy version of the Moon Knight classic costume the MCU has given us thus far, he instead manifests the “Mr. Knight” costume of the comics—but again made too busy with the dorky additions of shit like an Eldredge-knotted tie. It’s nonetheless mostly just a white three-piece with a white mask.
Saving a ton on CGI, Mr. Steven Knight and Layla then fight this jackal in the eyes of the latter. That is to say, we don’t even see the jackal he’s fighting, because it’s invisible to mortals or whatever.
Honestly, it’s pretty anticlimactic to just fight this single undead dog thing, but it comes at a time when every Elden Ring player knows just how rough that can be, so it works well enough. Mr. Knight takes off his jacket (should removing part of the suit he expressly summoned to protect him be allowed?) and gives a good punch in the mouth to the stray god-dog.
“I did it! You got planted,” he cheers. “Layla, did ya see that?” Anyone who has seen a movie before knows his fanfare is soon to be interrupted by an injurious punchline.
Of course, it is. He gets attacked by the dog right amidst that speech! Comedy!
Finally, with the stray dog literally just lightly shoving bystanders at this point, completely ignoring the guy who just decked him, Steven has a little convo with his mirror self.
“Look, man,” Marc’s reflection says, “More people are going to be shoved by this lackadaisical dog if you do not let me take over.” So Steven lets Marc take over.
Now, instead of Mr. Knight fighting the ghost dog, we’re on to Moon Knight proper fighting the ghost dog. This is a time when it’s great that Moon Knight is a streaming series instead of a movie, because if it were in a theater, some people would have cheered at this point. As if this or any of us deserve that.
It’s not a big deal here, though. Moon Knight and his dreadfully CGI-draped cape lure in the dog and quickly impale him on a statue spike thing. Phew!
But, hey, what about that gosh-darned golden scarab we’re for some reason concerned about?
It’s on the ground, apparently. Some dude grabs it, and soon after, Ethan Hawke has it in his own hand. And then we get to the show’s ever rising high-water mark of what stupid shit they can get the star of Amadeus to say in his abominable Venom routine.
“Where are we going,” Spector asks the crummy computer-rendered deity that is F. Murray Abraham.
He responds: “Where the hell do you think?”
With the reveal that Khonshu went all in on an Airbnb with a bedroom view of the Great Pyramids of Giza, we learn that Moon Knight is indeed headed exactly where the hell we thought. Welcome to fabulous Egypt! See you there in the next episode of this dumb thing.