Moon Knight: The Friendly Type
April 13, 2022 6:27 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Khonshu meets some old friends. Harrow starts digging for Ammit. Steven makes himself useful. Layla returns to the land of her birth. Marc punches things.
posted by 1970s Antihero (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Foley of Harrow (E Hawke) walking around the Pyramid interior was very well done and also MAJOR SQUICK.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:32 AM on April 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don't read the comics - so I'm now wondering *how many* personalities can inhabit Steven's/ Marc's body?

Also Layla can seemingly hold her own in a fight- holy smokes - so it makes sense that Khonshu is eyeing her up to be his next potential Vessel.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:38 AM on April 13, 2022

I thought this was a good episode, and the mystery of who was in control when neither Marc nor Steven were is a smart way to use the storytelling methods already established by the show to hook the watcher. I also liked Mogart as a villain, and was saddened and dumbfounded by learning Gaspard Ulliel had passed away in an accident. The scenes set on the streets in Egypt were also really refreshing, feeling like they were real places, instead of the sets they probably were.

But… Marc just isn’t as interesting as Steven. He’s a badass who can turn into an even badassier badass when threatened. The extent of his moral complexity is whether an opponent is old enough to kill.

Steven, meanwhile, is someone who has power thrust upon him, who is not enticed by the prospects of being a badass, who’d much rather just study the artifacts, history, society and literature of ancient Egypt. Also, he’s funny, while Marc is one of nature’s straightmen.

All that said, the first two episodes got me invested enough in the story to have me pay attention even during the clunky courtroom scene.

May Calamwayy has managed to imbue a fairly thinly written character with real emotional resonance. In the conversation in the boat, and also the passport making scene, she managed to draw out the nuances of Layla’s character with real skill.
posted by Kattullus at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Madripoor was mentioned, MCU first callout I think!
posted by ellieBOA at 8:04 AM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Much better episode, as it had lot more interaction between characters and pushed the narrative along. The Steven vs Marc dynamic is turning out to be pretty good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 AM on April 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Damn, Khonshu is an idiot.
Marc: Why don't we call in the other gods?
Khonshu: We definitely can't do that, it's very dangerous. Wait! I have an idea. [Calls in the other gods in the most over the top way possible]
Khonshu: our argument must be iron clad or the gods will not side with us. [yells dramatically about Ammit but provides no actual information or proof; the gods do not side with him]

Oscar Isaac cracked me up speaking as Khonshu in the pyramid, though.

Layla likes Steven! He is as good looking as Marc but is a nerdy sweetheart, so I get it.

There is a third (at least) identity, but unfortunately for Steven he is even more bloodthirsty than Marc. Is this the one who asked out Steven's coworker? Why would any of them (besides potentially Steven, who didn't do it) do that?
posted by Missense Mutation at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2022 [14 favorites]

Yeah, the trial was just silly. They offered up no evidence, didn't even mention the scarab thing, and Harrow was able to blandly lie/dissemble his way out of it. I think the only reason for it was to lock away Konshu at the end of the episode.
posted by Spike Glee at 11:47 AM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

This was a very satisfying episode. I love the Egyptian mythology stuff, and the secret chamber within the Great Pyramid.

The pantheon believing Harrow was pretty thin, but I did enjoy the hint of history with the Goddess of love and music (sorry I don’t recall her name).
posted by Fleebnork at 12:20 PM on April 13, 2022

Madripoor was mentioned, MCU first callout I think!

Madripoor turned up in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it was a setting for some of it.
posted by fight or flight at 12:20 PM on April 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

My wife tells me the star map would presumably have been made of linen. She knows these things, because BA in history, and then some archaeology grad school, and then she became a professional bookbinder & conservator.

And I have never seen her recoil from a screen like she did at the sight of people piecing together a 2000-year-old linen artifact with packing tape.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:43 PM on April 13, 2022 [21 favorites]

The fight scene was very fun and Moon Knight-y, I liked the bit where MK got hedgehogged with all the spears and just looked annoyed about it.

Opening scenes and the bits in Egypt (read: Budapest) were many shades of Raiders of the Lost Arc/The Mummy (there were moments when May Calamawy was definitely echoing Rachel Weisz's look) but that's not a bad thing.

Could they not have just worked out where the stars used to be? I'm pretty sure this is a thing computers can do these days.
posted by fight or flight at 12:55 PM on April 13, 2022

I'm sure that there is software to see where the stars were 2000 years ago, but would they know where to find it? I don't.
Also, they're in the middle of nowhere. I doubt they have a great internet connection.
posted by Spike Glee at 1:00 PM on April 13, 2022

Madripoor was mentioned, MCU first callout I think!

Nope, we saw a poster for the Global Repatriation Council in a previous episode.
posted by Pendragon at 1:01 PM on April 13, 2022 [6 favorites]

Also, RIP Gaspard Ulliel.
posted by Pendragon at 1:05 PM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Also, they're in the middle of nowhere. I doubt they have a great internet connection.

So how was Layla using her Samsung tablet and connecting to Google Maps/Earth/whatever app it was that told her the coordinates of the stars?
posted by fight or flight at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah the scene would’ve worked better for me if she didn’t have a tablet – maybe it could’ve been damaged or something. Not as if Star Walk is expensive to download!
posted by adrianhon at 1:25 PM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm sure that there is software to see where the stars were 2000 years ago, but would they know where to find it? I don't.

I would just Google "App to find star positions 2000 years ago" and go from there.

Basically, it seems like this is a complete non problem, to the point where I wonder why it was even in the script.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on April 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

Considering the interstellar drift was a legit plot point in the first episode of Stargate SG-1, the western pop cultural highpoint of using Egyptian lore for entertainment (I kid), and iirc, that exchange had them using a tablet and no internet to figure out the original star position, I'm willing to handwave it as an offline software, even if it doesn't fit the norms of device usage these days. I guess that's the trade-off of having the Middle East/North African setting shot without the infamous yellow sandy exotic filter (which I appreciate!). Less exoticism, more outright technobable ??? but it's only inevitable as MCU keeps straddling both strands of their superhero coterie imo.
posted by cendawanita at 3:07 PM on April 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Now that I've typed that out, if they had any sort of sense of humour about it all, and considering how Mohamed Diab was pretty consistent about the opportunity to represent Egypt as an actual place and people, I wouldn't be surprised if the Stargate franchise didn't come up regularly when they're breaking the story down. Layla already seems more like a riposte to Indiana Jones in the little character choices. In that light, that the sympathetic God Marc spoke to being Hathor has an additional amusing note (since she was a straight up baddie in the early seasons of SG-1 and a hyper-sexualized one). I say this knowing nothing of the MK comics lore itself of course.
posted by cendawanita at 3:19 PM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

We finally get to see Mohamed Diab's take on Moon Knight's Cairo! I have never been to Egypt, but for whatever it's worth, it felt pretty grounded to me. I liked some of the little touches like Layla drinking from her bag of juice and the family dancing on the boat (and making Marc and Layla feel nostalgic) and the cab driver getting aggravated by Marc for suddenly speaking Arabic and then running off without paying. I know the pitch for this show is about it being a "globetrotting" adventure, but I hope we get to stay in Egypt for quite a while longer. Since Khonsu is trapped there, maybe that means we'll have to?

Layla was fantastic in this episode. Her murdered archeologist father and her half-finished investigation into his death is all very intriguing. She also is a fierce fighter. I loved that her pretty necklace was a weapon. And how she creepily stared into the guy's eyes as she killed him. I mean, damn. Kinda bloodthirsty but I'm here for it.

SO MANY PEOPLE died in this episode, though, like forty or more? What kind of security guard is willing to kill and die for some rich guy's sarcophagus? Especially his *destroyed* sarcophagus? I'd be like, "sorry boss, but lethal force over an object is not happening. Even a cool object." They must all be members of some cult led by the horse riding guy. No way people are behaving like that if they're not in a cult.

Also, did anybody else get vibes of Medieval Times from the horse-riding setup? Because I sure did.

Despite Khonsu being maddeningly impulsive in this episode, I started feeling pretty sympathetic to him for once. He just seems like he's so far out of his depth. Harrow's running circles around him, and Harrow is just some guy with a magic cane! I also felt for Khonsu with his forlorn muttering that the last time he went to a meeting of the gods, they banished him. And his somehow even more forlorn, "I remember all the nights." This is weird to say, but Khonsu seemed almost childlike to me? For some reason, I keep thinking of him as a child relative to the other gods, and his impulsivity and name calling and never being able to get things quite right, like he's perpetually playing catch up -- it all seems childlike. I've listened to a couple podcasts about the previous episodes, and one of the hosts was saying that in the comics, Khonsu has an almost paternal relationship with Marc. But I'm not seeing that at all here. To be honest, I think that the scene of Khonsu and Steven spinning the sky was a big part of me liking him more, too. He called Steven by name for once, and the spinning was so incredibly cool, and he sacrificed his freedom for it. Even though I guess his goal of stopping Ammit is actually pretty altruistic? Is Khonsu getting anything out of it other than saving lives?

Anyhow, Harrow is such a slimeball. Him using Marc's mental health to discredit him (and Khonsu) to the gods was so low. And you could tell it was at least partly out of jealousy, because the guy seems obsessed with being rejected as Khonsu's avatar. I'm curious about that backstory, too, because Marc has to kill A LOT of people for Khonsu. It seems like the defining thing about being Khonsu's avatar, in fact. And Harrow said he enjoyed dishing out "justice" on Khonsu's behalf, and he is constantly killing people now. What's with that?! Did he get a taste for killing as the avatar and liked it too well, so Khonsu cut him loose and now he's trying to find ways to do more of it? But "justified" killings (kinda sorta) of course, like the egotistical snot he is.

I was pretty shocked that Marc told the gods that he needs help. That was heartbreaking. because then they all just sat there shocked and silent, and it seemed clear that him asking for help only served to diminish him in their eyes, and wasn't going to actually get him any.

Marc being difficult and uncommunicative and then shrugging it off as "I don't talk about stuff" was incredibly aggravating, but I think also good writing. Marc and Layla's dynamic was interesting. On the one hand, I could totally see them as a couple. Aside from having chemistry, it really felt like they had history. When Marc was being difficult, Layla glossed over it like she was used to him being this way, had seen it for day after day after day, and saw beyond it immediately. But on the other hand, I could see why they aren't a very strong couple. Just very unwilling to be vulnerable with each other. Marc was trying to be as closed off as possible, of course. When Layla said that just because Marc doesn't talk about things it doesn't mean they shouldn't have, it felt like she was highlighting a fatal flaw in their relationship. But Layla refused to be vulnerable or open, either, when she said that she was there because of the mission and not for Marc. I mean, I can believe that Layla wants to save millions of lives! But she wasn't tracking Marc's phone and immediately jetting over to some random London storage facility because of Harrow, she did that because she loves Marc. I think she wants to save lives, but I think she also wants to have an adventure with Marc again, because she loved that and loves him, and hopes they can reconnect that way.

I'm very curious about what happened a few months ago that made things unmanageable for him again. And what "unmanageable" means in that context. I get the feeling whatever happened is something personal to Marc, or something personal between him and Layla. His relationship with Khonsu seems relatively unchanged, but he immediately dropped out of Layla's life and tried as much as possible to drop out of even his own life. It was also interesting that Harrow said that Marc is keeping things from Layla so she won't know him well enough to judge him, and Marc said later that Layla doesn't know him at all. And something seems to *still* be happening with him, because this third person who is showing up and using the body sometimes, and who is even more vicious than Moon Knight or Marc, seems to be totally unknown even to Marc. Having some unknown murderer just show up and take over whenever seems like the opposite of "managed."

To be fair to Marc, I thought it was actually very reasonable when he said that he hadn't told Layla about having DID because it was well managed. I mean, he still should have at least informed her. But if she had only known him while he was successfully managing it, the information on its own was going to be basically meaningless to her anyhow. And him convincing her of the seriousness of what could happen or has happened would mean dredging up some of the worst of his past, and who would do that with a crappy goal like convincing their SO that, despite how much their SO believes in them, they really are delicate and unstable?

I don't know enough about DID to know if the show is handling that specifically in a relatively realistic way, but I'm impressed with how realistically they've been handling the social and emotional aspects of having a serious mental illness. I would never have expected that from a fantastical superhero show. To be honest, it's so realistic that I actually find it a bit triggering and was wondering if it's a good idea to keep watching. But obviously I'm going to keep watching. It's really resonating with me.
posted by rue72 at 3:56 PM on April 13, 2022 [7 favorites]

Nope, we saw a poster for the Global Repatriation Council in a previous episode.

Yep, it's said "Be reunited with your better half" - which fits perfectly with this show.
posted by crossoverman at 4:22 PM on April 13, 2022

As much as Khonshu is turning out to be the Big Dumb Loud Asshole of the Gods, I think that it would be fun to see Layla summon the suit, just for a tiny bit. She's pretty kickass even without it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:34 PM on April 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also, too, I'm really digging the soundtrack--does anyone have any suggestions for something roughly equivalent/adjacent to it?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:53 PM on April 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

I dig that the sound mastering has Khonsu's voice centered/ faked "inside your" head when speaking to MK, even if you only have an ok-adjusted speaker setup, instead of where Khonsu appears on screen (unlike all other character's voice channels which are spatially located relative to where they are on screen).

Appreciated the Horse Grounds as an excuse to do a Spear Cavalry v (a single, albeit unconventional) Infantry set piece.
posted by porpoise at 9:33 PM on April 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

rue72: Her murdered archeologist father and her half-finished investigation into his death is all very intriguing.

It seems likely to me, that it will turn out that Marc will have had something to do with Layla’s father’s death.

If Layla then becomes unsure as to whether Harrow is a bad guy or not, I will metaphorically throw things.
posted by Kattullus at 10:35 PM on April 13, 2022

I’m hugely enjoying Moon Knight and the discussion here. Knowing nothing of the comics, I’m more interested in Steven than Marc - Marc so far is your standard brooding uncommunicative type with a guilty past, but Steven is more sympathetic, funnier and I like the essential goodness of his nature. I would watch an entire episode which was just the two of them bickering.

It’s a bit intriguing that this show is unlike virtually everything else in the MCU in that it’s not clearly flagged as taking place at a particular point in time. I think someone mentioned there’s a poster in the background somewhere that suggests it’s post-blip? It’s not obvious though.

It would be hilarious if it turned out Steven thought he’d been blipped for five years but actually Marc was entirely in control for that whole period, explaining how he had time to meet and marry Layla and fall in with Konshu without disrupting Steven’s life during that time.
posted by damsel with a dulcimer at 2:56 AM on April 14, 2022 [7 favorites]

So I Googled and there are multiple open source sky map apps which let you change the date. Cartes du Ciel / SkyChart "can calculate with dates in the range from -200'000 to +200'000 years."

That's a download only though (Windows, OS-X, Linux, BSD). I couldn't find an online one that goes back before 1800.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:10 AM on April 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I liked the episode though! Good mix of action and comedy, and it advanced the plot.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:15 AM on April 14, 2022

It seems likely to me, that it will turn out that Marc will have had something to do with Layla’s father’s death.

If Layla then becomes unsure as to whether Harrow is a bad guy or not, I will metaphorically throw things.

Yeah, especially since it seems like the killing at the dig site was a huge deal and her dad was an archeologist.

But I’m confused about the timeline — when Layla’s dad died relative to when Marc met her relative to when he was resurrected by Khonsu relative to when Steven came into existence. I think that confusion is purposeful on the part of the show. But it seemed like Layla’s dad died a long time ago, didn’t Layla say something like a decade when she was talking to the passport lady? And Marc’s crisis started only 2-3 months ago. Could something that happened a decade ago bring up something 2-3 months ago that’s so serious that it sent Marc’s life into a tailspin that’s still getting worse? Maybe or even probably, but it’s hard for me to imagine what. If Marc had killed Layla’s dad or been involved in his death, wouldn’t he have known that years ago? I also think it’s really callous for Marc to tell Layla “it doesn’t matter” if what happened had to do with her father. Not that Marc can’t be callous, but what a choice of words.

I’m pretty confident that Layla isn’t going to be OK with Harrow, because on the boat it sounded like she assumed she would be one of the ones killed by him. And even if she’s mad at Marc, I can’t imagine her being OK with millions of people dying because of it. I can see her wanting “justice” of Khonsu’s type, though. I can see her wanting to become Moon Knight herself because something comes up about her father’s death and she goes on a “justice” kick.
posted by rue72 at 3:46 AM on April 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Maybe I was reading the situation wrong, but isn't the passport lady her mother?
posted by Grangousier at 4:55 AM on April 14, 2022

I too got the Mom vibe, but couldn’t swear that it was biological.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 AM on April 14, 2022

So I Googled and there are multiple open source sky map apps which let you change the date.

Maybe the point is that Khonshu doesn't say, "I remember the exact date it happened," but rather "I remember what the sky looked like on the night it happened."
posted by straight at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also, even if Khonshu remembers the date, there’s a 99% chance of error trying to convert from whatever weird dating system he uses to "days before January 1st, 1970," or whatever it is the software wants.
posted by straight at 12:58 PM on April 14, 2022

"Of course I remember, Mark. It was the 473rd day of the reign of Thutmose III. Just type that into your Skychart."
posted by straight at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2022 [8 favorites]

Holy crap. According to Wikipedia:

The day of Thutmose III's accession is known to be I Shemu day four, and astronomical observations can be used to establish the exact dates of the beginning and end of the king's reign (assuming the low chronology) from 28 April 1479 BC to 11 March 1425 BC respectively.

So much for that joke.
posted by straight at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2022 [26 favorites]

Though would Khonshu know that conversion? I suspect not. Steven would, though! "Funny thing about dates, innit?"

The next episode was the last one initially screened for critics and it evidently goes some places—looking forward to it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:27 PM on April 14, 2022

I think the third personality is the one from the comics and not Khonshu, because it seems like this is the personality who asked out the woman from the museum on a date to a steakhouse. Steven clearly had no idea about and Marc doesn't seem like he wants to be in any sort of romantic relationship at the moment.
posted by wasabifooting at 5:40 AM on April 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oscar Isaac cracked me up speaking as Khonshu in the pyramid, though.

It was so good! I was trying to explain why I'm enjoying this show so much (most Disney + shows have been insipid IMO), and I finally decided it's because Moon Knight is the most like Venom. These properties are chock full of incredible talent who are absolutely slumming it and having a great time. Just Oscar Isaac being like "why don't I talk meekly British sometimes" and "when Khonshu speaks it's like the words are being punched out of me; no other god avatar will do this." It's so funny.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:55 AM on April 15, 2022 [7 favorites]

And his somehow even more forlorn, "I remember all the nights."

People can bag on the MCU all they like, but we just got a moment of actual pathos from an Egyptian god.

I would just Google "App to find star positions 2000 years ago" and go from there.

It's a big thing in mystery writing circles about how there are certain plots that do not work in an age of smartphones. I think this is a similar case--maybe instead of using the power of a god, you just look it up with an app.
posted by MrBadExample at 11:10 PM on April 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

I watched the episode a second time with Fleebnork Jr. (10). He liked the Moon Knight stuff, but the rest is a bit talky for his taste. It’s not a criticism of the show, just an observation. It’s sometimes hard to pin down what he will watch as he matures and his attention span improves. He tends to do better in a movie theater where there are no other distractions.

I really enjoyed getting to see some of the Egyptian pantheon. I have always liked Egyptian mythology, did reports on it back in my school days. I like how they teleport to the inside of the Great Pyramid, which suggests that it contains a space not detectable by archaeologists. Perhaps it’s a somewhat extradimensional space.

It was enjoyable to see Steven and Marc trade off as they begin to trust each other’s areas of expertise. Steven is the brains, Marc is the brawn, a yet unknown third personality is vicious and remains to be seen.

It’s also interesting how the Moon Knight suit is healing armor (as Khonshu said), yet the Mr. Knight suit that Steven wears seems not to be as protective? Or possibly he was just scared of the attacks during the fight scene.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2022

"when Khonshu speaks it's like the words are being punched out of me; no other god avatar will do this."

That panicked thing he was doing with his eyes was brilliant.
posted by MrBadExample at 1:58 PM on April 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I love that Knonshu is this arrogant, manipulative shit who’s full of himself, it’s a nice change of pace. And disliked by other gods! Yet he’s trying to do some good, so he can go in all sorts of places. Plus his visual design is striking.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:23 PM on April 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was thinking watching this episode that maybe Khonshu might appear, in a flashback or something, as an alive birdman with flesh and feathers instead of a skull, and maybe he just appears all dead because he’s just being a pouty edgelord.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:36 PM on April 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

We turned Disney+ back on since enough things had come out that we wanted to see. I expected we'd go straight for Obi-Wan but instead we binged this over the 4th of July. I really love the relationship starting to form between Marc and Steven, and having Layla and Khonshu as part of the weird formation is great. I love Layla a lot.

On the whole, the acting of the Marc/Steven/Voice of Khonshu has been incredible. It looked so painful having a god's voice bellow out of human lungs. And yeah, the gods were a little thick, but I think that's mostly because they really think Khonshu is kind of a dick and are looking for a reason to lock him up.

The sky moving was so gorgeous. Really otherworldly. And I really love Khonshu's visual design, it's fantastic.
posted by PussKillian at 11:24 AM on July 5, 2022 [4 favorites]

Why on earth does Harrow keep showing up to taunt them and give a monologue? It doesn't seem very bright.
posted by medusa at 10:40 AM on September 4, 2022

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