Comics On TV

Moon Knight Episode 4: Tomb Raiding, Cliff Hanging, and Mind Blowing

The Marvel series goes full Indiana Jones in its newest episode.

by | April 20, 2022 | Comments

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

While many mysteries remain after Moon Knight’s fourth episode, the journey of Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), Marc Spector (also Isaac), and Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) proves to be something we hardly expected from the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a tomb-raiding adventure more akin to The Mummy or Indiana Jones than Iron Man or Thor. And that’s just the beginning as the episode also generates the opportunity for the most unlikely pair of people to meet. But what could it all mean for our trio of archaeologically-inclined adventurers and their cliffhanger status? Let’s take a look at the fourth episode and see if we can’t excavate some answers.

Or, at the very least, follow the scientific method (where applicable) and come up with a hypothesis or three.

Spoiler alert: The following contains details about Moon Knight episode 104, “The Tomb.” Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers.

The Murder of Abdallah El-Faouly

Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Gabor Kotschy/Marvel Studios)

The best place to start is, perhaps, with the murder of Layla’s father, Abdallah, as it presents a whole new set of variables to consider. For one, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke, pictured above) invoking his name seemingly disproves the notion we presented last week that Layla’s name might be a cover to obscure her own tomb raiding. Although, that still makes one wonder why she would need a phony passport to return to Egypt…

Beyond its impact on our own guesses, the scene in which Layla confronts Marc about the night her father died introduces new details about their relationship, Marc’s past, and a possible reason for Steven to exist.

Let’s start with what Marc tells us about the night of the murder. His partner “got greedy” and killed everyone at Abdallah’s dig site. Marc attempted to save Abdallah, but ended up shot by his partner. This is fairly consistent with Moon Knight’s origin back in the comics, in which he allowed Marlene’s father, also an archeologist, to be killed by his employer — a merc with warlord ambitions named Bushman — and ended up bleeding out before a statue of Khonshu. But considering how often Marc has lied or omitted details to Layla, his account may not be truthful. The truth is more Steven’s thing.

Oscar Isaac and May Calamawy in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Csaba Aknay/Marvel Studios)

But one thing that does come clear, as Layla herself suggests, is that Marc sought her out as some sort of atonement. Their relationship began because he wanted to apologize for his part in Abdallah’s murder, but (as seems typical for this version of Marc) he could never say the words and married her instead. Not exactly the sort of meet-cute you’d hope for, but it is also another echo of Marlene from the comics. She not only witnessed the death of her father, but saw Marc’s first transformation into Moon Knight. And thinking about it now, it may explain why she preferred to call Marc “Steven” despite knowing about his other identities.

Layla also has a solid connection with the Steven of the television series. Although, one has to wonder how much of Steven’s bookish charm was employed when Marc first met her. But a better question to ask at this point is when did Steven emerge? Presuming he’s not the primary, he could have begun as a persona more attuned to Layla’s needs. Although, her constant comments about how different he is from Marc suggests he may not have appeared until after Marc decided to leave her.

Back in the comics, Steven was the first alter to appear, and considering how much a life he seems to have in London, we’re inclined to think he’s been around for a very long time. And until the show gives more specific details of Marc’s past as a mercenary or Steven’s life before his DID changed everything, our guesses need to suffice.

Raiders of the Lost Tomb

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Csaba Aknay/Marvel Studios)

Choosing Alexander the Great to be Ammit’s last avatar is a masterstroke on the part of the writing team. A Macedonian with aims to rule the world certainly seems like someone who would be sympathetic to Ammit’s ideas. And it is easy to see how — in the MCU at least — her powers aided his goals. It also continues the interesting theme seen with the Ennead last week in their willingness to choose avatars from outside of Egypt. Although, as Steven noted, Alexander had a claim in the region and managed to establish a pharaonic dynasty in his wake.

But the absence of Alexander’s tomb in the real world means it could appear here as anything the production needed it to be within the MCU. The choice they went with is something far more like Indiana Jones or The Mummy movies than we ever would have expected. With an apparent maze to confuse Harrow and his team, the crypt also came equipped with two Heka priests who would not be out of place fighting with Brendan Fraser. Besides offering camp value and a certain amount of horror-type thrill when one of the priests attacks Layla, they also more strongly introduce the notion of the supernatural into Moon Knight and the MCU.

Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Gabor Kotschy/Marvel Studios)

To be clear, that thread is already present with Ammit’s jackals and the Ennead itself. But the presence of out-and-out undead mummy guards, especially without a more specific explanation, feels like another step into an unexplainable supernatural beyond the science-as-magic of Asgard or the attempt to explain the Mystic Arts as co-existing with the science of the physical world in Doctor Strange.

It leaves us wondering how Marvel will explain the difference between the apparent supernatural powers of the Ennead and the well-established fact that the Asgardians are an alien species with a physical existence out in the cosmos. The mention of the Overvoid, a realm outside conventional reality, is one way to set them apart. But with word of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) setting out to destroy all the pantheons in Thor: Love and Thunder, we expect an answer sooner rather than later.

Living in the Psychic World

Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Csaba Aknay/Marvel Studios)

Although readers of Moon Knight comics across the last 10 years or so may have suspected the eventual appearance of a psychiatric ward, it still came as a surprise to see realized in this exact way — via Harrow literally shooting Marc in the chest and a transition to a cheesily-produced Indiana Jones knock-off. Presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio no less!

But then Marc finds himself tied to a wheelchair in a stark-white hospital. Crawley (Shaun Scott) is there as a bingo announcer and even Steven’s old boss, Donna (Lucy Thackery), is present as a patient. The imagery is familiar — it is a genre TV tradition to position the hero as someone who has been committed for at least one episode – but it also has a specific context to Moon Knight as an imaginary psych ward was the first battlefield between Marc and Ammit back in the comics.

In that instance, Ammit presented herself as Dr. Emmet with two faithful orderlies named Bobbi and Billy (also seen in the series in the form of actors Ann Akinjirin and David Ganly). The intention was to break Marc, Steven, and several other alters down so the remaining personality would be more willing to accept Khonshu’s plans. A secondary objective was to also break the bonds with Marlene, Crawley, and Gena, a third Moon Knight associate. The scheme backfired, of course, resulting in a greater understanding between Marc, Steven, and Jake Lockley, the third persona we still expect to see on Moon Knight before the season’s end. In fact, plenty of people on Twitter believe he already made an appearance in the second sarcophagus Marc spotted in the ward.

And much like the ward in that comic book story, the one in this episode offers a unique and dynamic way for Marc and Steven to share the same space. Consider just how at odds they were throughout the episode until the moment they had a chance to hug one another. We’d be willing to guess that was the real purpose for the sanitarium delusion in lieu of a further ploy by Harrow or Ammit.

We’re also going to guess Taweret (Antonia Salib), the anthropomorphized hippopotamus glimpsed in the final moments, intercepted Marc and Steven’s consciousnesses and set up the ward from Marc’s own memories so he and Steven could confront some of their issues. According to Egyptian mythology, Taweret is a fertility goddess who, along with a number of other household goddesses resembling hippopotami, offers protection. She is also said to be a calming force and, boy, does Marc need some calm at the moment.

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight episode 104

(Photo by Csaba Aknay/Marvel Studios)

Also of note is the suggestion that Taweret and those other hippos may be aspects of one singular goddess — something which could make her sympathetic to Moon Knight’s condition. If she is here to provide Marc and Steven (and maybe Jake) a chance to clear the air and present a united front against Harrow and Ammit, it would be a profound development in the way the Egyptian gods have been seen in the show so far. Their apathy even in the face of Ammit’s escape is still puzzling.

But it also leads to a question: Why would she help the Fist of Khonshu? It may have to do more with Ammit, as both goddesses are depicted with hippopotamus traits. Also, as Taweret played a role in funeral customs, it is also possible she is preparing Marc and Steven for the Duat. Honestly, we’d love to see the pair complete the path of the dead just to see how they defend their actions when their hearts are weighed. At the same time, though, we need them back in the material world next week even if we know Layla can get away (with the ushabti of Ammit) all by herself.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Walt Disney Pictures women toy story medical drama name the review ITV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards AMC Plus sag awards TV One WarnerMedia critic resources spider-verse golden globe awards Spike scary saw Mudbound dark sequel king arthur Amazon Prime Video boxing HBO Max Hallmark book laika Endgame USA wonder woman Lucasfilm WGN CMT Tomatazos prank Reality anime 93rd Oscars festivals all-time video Heroines Best Actor black Disney Channel jamie lee curtis Martial Arts Ellie Kemper Animation 71st Emmy Awards japanese Paramount Network facebook mutant obituary Pixar Summer Comics on TV E3 Esquire President 72 Emmy Awards Super Bowl Spectrum Originals CW Seed Showtime Ghostbusters kaiju leaderboard sports cartoon 21st Century Fox Opinion Women's History Month transformers Paramount Sony Pictures Comedy Interview Image Comics Fantasy Television Academy international psychological thriller debate fresh anthology Star Wars Apple comic Apple TV+ adenture 4/20 MGM crime thriller aapi Hear Us Out Tumblr sopranos Hallmark Christmas movies Turner GLAAD PlayStation marvel comics The Academy vampires Best and Worst Oscars Columbia Pictures BET dreamworks Amazon Prime canceled TV shows Box Office The Witch CBS All Access zombies ratings RT History mcc jurassic park thriller TNT Valentine's Day rotten movies we love 79th Golden Globes Awards strong female leads Shondaland Television Critics Association Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Crunchyroll FXX true crime based on movie TCA Winter 2020 toronto revenge live event book adaptation quibi remakes Sundance 24 frames Best Actress TV comic book movie spinoff blaxploitation cancelled TV shows Acorn TV TCA 2017 emmy awards social media screenings Alien Broadway Captain marvel gangster Rom-Com Comic-Con@Home 2021 YouTube joker films Watching Series docuseries HBO FX on Hulu singing competition mockumentary OWN The Walking Dead new star wars movies Quiz spy thriller nfl GoT Emmy Nominations Comic Book IMDb TV spanish adventure james bond dexter Baby Yoda 73rd Emmy Awards technology 90s National Geographic Ovation DirecTV cults binge dramedy cars genre slasher TruTV cinemax rt labs BBC One Set visit zero dark thirty El Rey heist movie The CW Universal Black History Month South by Southwest Film Festival japan TCA Warner Bros. stoner Starz ghosts Extras documentary christmas movies Disney Plus Elton John 2018 2016 theme song teaser green book Sneak Peek MCU batman Peacock 2017 talk show robots Reality Competition Best Director parents dc AMC movie godzilla cooking halloween feel good trailers concert art house universal monsters CNN YouTube Red Holiday Oscar rotten The Arrangement independent Disney Lifetime live action TBS period drama LGBTQ Creative Arts Emmys lord of the rings Syfy Podcast Premiere Dates black comedy Polls and Games DC Universe TCA Awards renewed TV shows composers USA Network hidden camera Comedy Central dragons Thanksgiving new zealand Biopics slashers award winner IFC Films PaleyFest aliens 99% deadpool 2020 Wes Anderson Brie Larson know your critic Fox Searchlight X-Men Emmys BBC Spring TV witnail Country historical drama kids french APB blockbusters supernatural Freeform BBC America Anna Paquin venice latino boxoffice posters hist diversity worst movies fast and furious TCM Epix Cartoon Network Adult Swim TLC king kong Video Games cats romance miniseries Stephen King series Vudu Holidays CBS Infographic HFPA target Marvel animated directors razzies legend 20th Century Fox spider-man DGA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina politics comic books crime drama The Purge Musicals asian-american YouTube Premium comedies Pacific Islander Food Network stand-up comedy mob Black Mirror new york Netflix Christmas movies finale SundanceTV rt archives sequels Chernobyl television comic book movies vs. marvel cinematic universe FOX elevated horror hollywood The Walt Disney Company Year in Review cops Red Carpet festival romantic comedy Pirates Action HBO Go tv talk Certified Fresh ViacomCBS BET Awards reboot scene in color pirates of the caribbean Amazon Rocketman YA ABC Family Netflix Classic Film cancelled Star Trek History rom-coms Fargo documentaries Mystery First Look spain Sci-Fi Lionsgate Tarantino Logo what to watch Schedule worst Prime Video Instagram Live streaming casting dceu Family ID Calendar Best Picture NBA TIFF Funimation Trivia versus Universal Pictures Disney+ Disney Plus Film A&E Travel Channel video on demand Academy Awards Western indiana jones golden globes chucky Grammys ESPN VICE police drama Teen Winners dogs Mindy Kaling American Society of Cinematographers political drama superhero Song of Ice and Fire MSNBC justice league superman Toys blockbuster 45 2019 Nat Geo BAFTA Rocky Pop 1990s E! RT21 streamig cancelled television disaster serial killer IFC sitcom breaking bad Marvel Television scary movies 007 Pet Sematary Dark Horse Comics Tags: Comedy Music action-comedy Masterpiece SXSW 2022 psycho Fall TV San Diego Comic-Con Photos PBS LGBT werewolf Turner Classic Movies Fox News Arrowverse streaming movies comiccon doctor who ABC italian news Writers Guild of America movies Drama rt labs critics edition stop motion Cannes biography Marvel Studios canceled Pride Month Rock docudrama telelvision A24 popular Crackle VH1 See It Skip It Paramount Plus foreign richard e. Grant 2021 Superheroes Election Pop TV Kids & Family Shudder royal family harry potter classics halloween tv screen actors guild cancelled TV series Cosplay south america Lifetime Christmas movies First Reviews Countdown 2015 game show football Binge Guide die hard Marathons 94th Oscars Superheroe discovery suspense Nickelodeon space hispanic mission: impossible biopic nbcuniversal hispanic heritage month Amazon Studios archives free movies Christmas Legendary VOD trophy FX olympics Disney streaming service crossover war children's TV ABC Signature child's play adaptation Neflix New York Comic Con scorecard Mary poppins indie DC streaming service Awards criterion basketball critics MTV high school nature spanish language natural history Hulu TV Land science fiction travel crime Britbox Horror a nightmare on elm street GIFs obi wan Tubi australia Trailer twilight NYCC kong Musical Bravo Character Guide satire Apple TV Plus Tokyo Olympics Sundance Now monster movies best reviews Awards Tour SDCC franchise OneApp Mary Tyler Moore Trophy Talk Nominations Film Festival NBC Exclusive Video SXSW young adult Winter TV Mary Poppins Returns Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sundance TV Discovery Channel TV renewals Avengers DC Comics unscripted comics TV movies game of thrones zombie