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'Moon Knight' Episode 2 Review

A Great Follow-Up To The Series Premiere

By Culture SlatePublished 2 years ago 5 min read

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR MOON KNIGHT EPISODE 2 “Summon the Suit”

“Summon the Suit” picks up with echoes of Moon Knight beating the jackal from episode 1, then the camera moves to sand, more specifically Steven’s anti-sleepwalking sand surrounding his bed. Right off the bat, directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead seamlessly continue the visual language and motifs established in episode one, specifically utilizing upside-down shots, mirrors, and reflections. So far this visual storytelling is one of the things that really stands out about Moon Knight when comparing it to other MCU streaming shows.

The episode continues with Steven at his work, reviewing footage of the incident at the end of episode 1, but the jackal is not visible on the recordings causing Steven to further fall down the self-doubt psychosis rabbit hole, being unsure of what happened and what is happening to him. He is subsequently fired in one of the most beautifully framed and staged office scenes I have ever seen, utilizing two lamps behind him and a reflection of the glass desk to represent the duality of Steven/Marc. This further pushes the internal struggle against his multiple personas. 

RELATED: Moon Knight Provides Another Perspective On Superheroes’ Loneliness And Uniqueness

After his dismissal, Steven returns to his friend, the living statue performer, and mentions how he has found a storage locker key. Steven eventually finds the storage locker, and discovers it to be a mercenary safe house including a go-bag containing a passport for himself under the name Marc Spector. It is at this point where Oscar Isaacs really flexes his acting chops as Steven and Marc have their first conversation in a supremely performed exposition explaining what has been going on to Steven and the audience. As with most people experiencing trauma, Steven initially rejects it and attempts to flee. However, he is chased by Konshou (F. Murray Abraham) through the storage facility and then outside where he runs into Layla (May Calamawy). 

Writer Michael Kastelein then takes us through a masterclass of character introduction of Layla over the next two scenes on the way to and at Steven’s flat. We learn that Layla and Marc are married and that she knows about “the suit” aka. Moon Knight. It appears she and Marc had been tracking down the scarab together, all the while not knowing exactly of his dissociative identity disorder. Over the course of those 9 minutes, the backstory reveal on Steven/Marc is executed so incredibly well. It feels so natural as the action flows with the clearly fake detectives eventually dropping him off into the clutches of Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke).  

This is the point where the central conflict of Moon Knight unfolds, and the audience is finally given a roadmap of the direction the show will take. We see Arthur Harrow as a benevolent leader before his real intentions and methods are revealed. Harrow explains how he was the previous avatar of Khonshu but believes his reactive form of justice isn’t enough and that Ammit’s proactive justice is better and will bring light to the world. This theme of punishing people for crimes before they have committed is a familiar one in Spielberg’s Minority Report and even in the MCU’s own Project Insight from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is at this point that we really see Steven stop falling for Arthur’s benevolence and we learn his suspicions of the scarab being a compass that leads to Ammit’s tomb. Layla shows up with the scarab and goes on the run with Steven, trying to get him to “summon the suit” while showing off her own capability as a fighter. However, Harrow uses the cane’s power to summon a jackal to chase them through the streets of London. Marc really tries to push Steven to take control of their body, but he refuses to. His inability to summon Moon Knight ultimately leads him to being thrown out a window.

During his fall Steven finally yells to Khonshu to summon the suit, but instead of the Moon Knight suit, he summons a three-piece dress suit and mask. In the comics, this dress suit is what the identity Mr. Knight wears, which has caused some significant turmoil for fans of the comics given the comedic approach taken with the character in the show as opposed to the cool renegade character in the comics. I think there is still time for this look to actually evolve into the Mr. Knight established in the comics. As of right now, it seems like Steven is only able to summon the suit on his own without Marc summoning the Moon Knight. At this point, Steven tries to take on the jackal on his own and starts to gain some confidence in the Mr. Knight suit. He ultimately cedes control over the body to Marc when faced with the prospect of other people getting hurt in the streets of London. The chase ultimately ends with an absolutely gorgeous takedown of the jackal when Moon Knight catches it mid-air and impales it on a spire at ground level.

Then, we get to see Steven acting as the passenger in the mirror for the first time in the first big altercation between him and Marc. Marc reveals that he would not be alive without Khonshu and that he has been avoiding Layla to protect her from him. Marc becomes fed up with Steven and breaks the mirror just as Khonshu arrives. Khonshu confirms that Marc was nearly dead when Khonshu found him and that the body truly belongs to him and that he would take over Layla if Marc separates from him. We close on a shot of Marc drinking in a hotel room in Egypt with Steven trapped in the mirror as he was before in London, a clever parallel to the opening shot on the sand earlier in this episode.

Overall, this was a very strong follow-up to the season premiere last week and did a large amount of heavy lifting with backstory. It seems like we are going to continue to watch Marc and Steven grapple for control over their body as they go on a Macguffin chase for the scarab and Ammit’s tomb. Oscar Isaacs continues to absolutely nail the role of Steven and Marc with an extremely compelling performance by Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow. I think May Calamawy had a strong introduction in this episode and could be a great supporting role as the season moves on. The tone of the show thus far has been very dark and serious, but still has comedic moments. It is a more grounded comedy compared to MCU’s traditional quippy style.

Visually, I cannot praise this show enough. Episode 1 director Mohammed Diab and episode 2 directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead combined with the cinematography team of Gregory Middleton (Game of Thrones) and Andrew Droz Palermo (The Green Knight) are really putting on quite the performance. They elevate the show to the next level and deserve all the recognition they are getting from critics. So far, Moon Knight is 2 for 2 and looks to continue its hot streak next week with Diab returning to the director’s chair for episode 3. 

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READ NEXT: 'Moon Knight' Actress Opens Up About Her Character

Written By Corey Ross

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