Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4: “The Tomb” Review: Does Anything Matter Anymore?

*** Spoiler Alert***

Prior to the first episode of Moon Knight being dropped on Disney Plus, the first four episodes were shown to critics early. This suggests that even in a series that is only six episodes, there would be some big twist or something; be prepared to realize that the wool was being pulled over your eyes, and we’d realize that we were being misdirected the entire time.

Going into this new episode, one can’t help but think, “really?” In the last episode, Konshu literally caused world-changing astronomical events (an unscheduled eclipse and a pullback to history of the very stars as they were two thousand years ago), and the episode before that had a whole bunch of “movie coincidences” (like how Layla just happened to show up at the right time, and some strange cultists who follow Arthur and spend their time droning on watching nature documentaries. Throughout the series, Oscar Isaac has been doing the heavy lifting, and it’s been a constant push and pull between MarcSpectre and Steven Grant and possibly a third personality. But his performance, which is intriguing at first, becomes more and more one-note as it spreads across some banal Indiana Jones-esq cliches. For the majority of the latest episode, “The Tomb,” these cliches reach the breaking point for the viewer: yes: they find Ammit in the tomb! Not really him, but his ushabti (one of those little stone statues like the one the other gods trapped Konshu inside of), and this requires Steve to fish this tiny statue out of the throat of the mummified corpse of Alexander the Great himself. Yes, this all sounds a bit too lofty, a bit too grand, and that the only way it could have felt even more artificial is if the tomb belonged to King Tut.

No, they didn’t find King Tut, thankfully. But most of the episode was spent walking around inside this tomb, shuffling about, and finding creepy stuff. It was slow and rather boring. At one point, Steve and Layla get separated, and Layla finds herself on a narrow precipice, righting some demon guard or something. The precipice, of course, becomes much wider when needed, so she actually has room to take down and fight this thing while on the cliff. After sending the nasty-looking dude off the cliff, she sees Arthur. Despite Arthur talking (in his usual low tone) from across a great chasm, at least twenty feet away, they are able to have a conversation in whispers about intimate personal information that, of course, Arthur already knows about her. As with the previous episodes, Arthur is a very helpful villain, and all the heroes have to do is talk to him, and he’ll get around to delivering all of the necessary exposition. This is so very helpful – not just to the hero – but to the people who are paying money to watch the show. Thanks, Arthur.

And thanks, Marvel studios, for slap-dashing this show together. It’s about here that even the spoilers will stop. The last ten minutes of this episode are so unexpected that you probably suspected that this was the case once you were finished watching the first episode. Is he crazy? Is he just living a delusion? Yup, if you were thinking it, so were the writers!

Yet, if it was just a matter of Marc being crazy and Steven being some kind of delusion, that isn’t really enough of a twist to make it worth four episodes of buildup. So they have to add something even more.

Of course, it will all come out in the wash. Remember the cool Moon Knight stuff, that cloaked hero with the crescent moon weapons? You won’t find him in this episode, and if this superhero alter-ego of Marc (or the well-dressed version of him that is the alter-ego of Steven) shows up in one of the last two episodes, it really won’t matter. The Moon Knight show demonstrates one thing: you can’t do “cool” and “absurd” in the same series.

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