Gods and Monsters Manages to Pull Off the Impossible, and Wraps Up Moon Knight With Style
So here we are again, with me covering Moon Knight. But the way I like to look at it is that it’s just a matter of balancing the scales (see what I did there?). Since Christian ably covered the first three episodes, I’m simply covering the back half. And boy, what a back half Moon Knight had! I wasn’t sure they could pull off a satisfying conclusion in one episode, but they did more than that. They executed another rousing action-packed climax that led me to one concrete opinion—we need another season of Moon Knight from Disney+.
Gods and Monsters begins where we last saw Layla—in the tomb after Marc was fatally shot by Harrow. Harrow grabs the ushabti Marc / Steven found, and cracks it open, supercharging and transforming his already powerful gator staff. Thus the villain is ready to spread Ammit’s judgment to all of Egypt, starting with an unlucky security detail.
Meanwhile, Layla is hiding and taking it all in. She’s overwhelmed with grief over the death of her husband, and she’s ready for vengeance. She follows Harrow’s caravan in secret. She has plans of vengeance and a knife handy, but unfortunately Harrow is much more powerful now. He can affect multiple people with his sorcery at once, judging their worthiness. If they’re deemed worthy, they live. If not, they die, their souls sent to Ammit.
Despite all this, Layla is ready and willing to knife him, until she gets saved at the last minute by our favorite hippo goddess, Taweret. Apparently she can possess the bodies of the dead, and does so to communicate Marc’s situation to Layla. She tells the mortal woman she must rescue Khonshu first if there’s any chance of Marc being brought back to life. She also asks Layla to be her avatar, which struck me as funny. Maybe all the Egyptian gods are just waiting for an opportune time to ask a worthy mortal to be their ride or die bitch? Either way, Layla passes for the moment, but we’ll return to that later.
As for Marc, he should be at peace in the Field of Reeds, but he feels enormous guilt for letting Steven get turned into sand during last week’s episode. So much so that he forgoes peace and tranquility, and risks everything to get Steven back. And luckily for all of us, he succeeds at the very last minute, right as he’s about to turn into sand himself. Maybe the gods were merciful, but regardless, his bond with Steven is renewed. Marc tells Steven that he was “the only superpower he ever had” and they both rush through Osiris’ open doors to the realm of the living before the desert consumes them.
Far too late, the avatars of the other gods realize Harrow has been deceiving them, and they try and stop him. Unfortunately, he’s much too powerful for mere judges now, and he makes quick work of them. The only good thing is the battle buys Layla time to free Khonshu, albeit right after Ammit is released herself. And boy howdy, Ammit lives up to the hype. She’s big, bad and brutal. The only curious thing is that she seemingly has no idea who Harrow is, despite him utilizing her power. Which struck me as odd, but it’s the only part of the episode that felt out of place.
Despite not knowing Harrow well, Ammit is more than ready for this broken man to become her avatar. Which I took more as a sign of convenience than any moral ambiguity on her part. Because the one thing we know about the Egyptian gods is they are dedicated to their goals, and stick to them no matter the consequences. And Ammit wants to gobble up all the souls of the unworthy and punish any who did or might commit a crime in the future.
Another thing Gods and Monsters made very clear, at least to me, is how untrustworthy Khonshu is. Sure, he’s technically fighting on team Moon Knight, but he’s more than willing to bend the truth to serve his aims. He quickly tries to recruit Layla to be his avatar, but she angrily refuses. The only good thing he does is tell her how to beat Ammit, which is binding her soul in a weaker form so she can be imprisoned. The tricky part is that the gator goddess is incredibly powerful, and more than a match for the sneaky old bird.
Gods and Monsters also features some epic fights. As anybody that’s a fan of the Marvel shows on Disney+ knows, the series tend to save the truly epic battle scenes for the last episode. Moon Knight is no exception, but I feel there’s nothing wrong with this model. It’s just good storytelling to save the climactic action for the final arc, and have it pave the way for the end of the tale. And boy are there some amazing fight scenes here.
Ammit and Khonshu duke it out on several occasions, a renewed Moon Knight has a particularly epic fight scene where he alternates between Marc and Steven fluidly, and both hold their own. But the big surprise in Gods and Monsters is that Taweret’s deal to make Layla her avatar happens, and Layla becomes the heroic Scarlet Scarab! I admit to not being familiar with the character, but apparently it’s a riff on a Marvel hero from the 70s. All you need to know is that this version of Scarlet Scarab is like an Egyptian Wonder Woman, and she kicks all sorts of ass. She can fly and deflect bullets with her wings, and she’s just awesome. Which did throw my crazy theory about Layla becoming Ammit’s host into the dumpster, but I’m not even upset.
In the big fight scene, something weird happens, and Marc and Steven both lose time. When they awake, they’re suddenly victorious, despite having been on the verge of defeat. Still, they manage to bind Ammit inside Harrow’s body, but they refuse Khonshu’s order to kill the goddess. Finally, Khonshu abides by the deal Steven struck with him earlier, and releases the two personalities from his service.
Just when I was getting comfortable I knew what was going on, the episode has Marc and Steven wake up in an asylum AGAIN. They ask Harrow about reality, and notice the psychiatrist version of the man is leaving behind bloody footprints. Then they wake up again, chained to their bed, and it seems all is mostly well. Until the scene during the credits. I won’t ruin it, but suffice to say Christian’s theory about Jake Lockley turned out to be correct, and I’m now adamant we get another season of Moon Knight.
All in all, I was really happy to cover Moon Knight. It’s a show that not only honors an obscure and complex character, but it also illustrates the fragility of the human mind when confronted by loss. Not to mention the whole discussion about free will versus punishment of crime. Best of all, the show manages to pull off what I call an Inception move, and makes it so multiple interpretations of the series can be completely accurate. A great Disney+ series, and one I hope continues.