It’s Steven versus Marc and a new set of threads in this week’s episode. Loads of spoilers inside.
The second episode of Moon Knight gives us more answers as to how Marc and Steven’s ability works. Filled with moments of conflict, laughter, and genuine fear: Moon Knight has been a unique journey thus far in that it’s really Marvel’s first real foray into horror. With cults and Gods and boogeyman-like, Khonshus. There’s really just so much to unpack in this episode.
How much of what we see is happening in Steven/Marc’s head versus not, we don’t fully know. But we’re starting to get the picture. Continuing from last week, we do see Marc’s battle with the jackal shows how nobody else seems to see this battle unfold. It’s really the switch between both Steven and Marc that makes this one entertaining. It also serves as an insight into how it looks to the rest of the world, as there’s a lot of D.I.D. conflicts between the two men and goes back and forth rather often in this episode.
You can hear my take with special guests Victor Catano, Karissa Laurel, and Mary Fan on The Workprint Podcast.
What’s surprising: is that we learn how Marc has a bit of a life of his own. This episode sees a full introduction to Layla, Marc’s wife, and possible living tomb raider, with whom, Steven seems absolutely smitten with. We also get an elaboration as to the nature of the Scarab being the compass to find the goddess Ammit and an explanation as to the nature of Khonshu.
To be honest, it’s a LOT of exposition. Though it’s done in clever ways that don’t stall the story progression. If that wasn’t enough, we get even more badass Moon Knight battle scenes, the coolest thing of which, is easily the Mr. Knight costume that Steven’s variant of Moon Knight gets to utilize. Because a pretty snazzy all-white costume of a three-piece suit just looks sublime.
Atop of this, we get clear-cut motivations regarding Ethan Hawke’s Arthur, who was a former avatar for Khonshu as well though now fights to mostly keep the peace. Again, good introduction. As Hawke has done great work in the few moments we get of him on screen.
So it’s a good episode, right? Where is the actual problem?
At six episodes I think the problem is they’re forcing a comic script’s pacing into a tv show format. That there’s definitely a pacing issue within the series. Because there’s a lot to enjoy in Moon Knight, but I have to wonder if episodes would’ve been better had they been divided into two?
That instead of doing 45 to 52 minute-long episodes, the series might have actually worked better if they extended into 22-minute drops of two episodes, giving us more space to digest some of the material would have definitely helped.
Because the problem with Moon Knight isn’t that it’s not working as a series. The writing is hitting the beats and progressing forward in fun ways and the acting is rather excellent. The issue is that we’re supposed to feel conflicted in the Steven versus Marc story arcs; particularly, in the fear that Steven has that Marc’s a stonecold killer. Or a secret agent of Khonshu of sorts.
The problem is though that it doesn’t really work? There are just too many moments of Steven being upset at Marc, but to be honest, we’ve never really developed the time to truly understand why he’s distrustful. That despite all that set up in episode 1, I think this one just tries to do too much in a short runtime. Because Steven versus Marc on who’s in control and whose lives are being ruined? I’m not entirely sold. But I do find this entertaining.