Starting your show off with a little bit of self-mutilation for some spice is certainly one way to do it. Within the first thirty seconds, said self-mutilator is shown to have a scales of justice tattoo, at which point I said “oh, he’s a Libra.” For the uninitiated, male Libras are, respectfully, the worst, so when I saw the tattoo and his subsequent actions, things made a lot of sense. Kudos to Moon Knight for getting me on board immediately while also making me viscerally uncomfortable.
But that was just the cold open.
The show is headed by our main character Steven Grant (played by Oscar Isaac), who we are introduced to when he wakes up chained to a post next to his bed. What a visual. So we’re already clued into the fact that he has trouble with sleep. As a former sleepwalker, I get it. He then goes through his morning routine, a ritual of de-sleepwalking-ifying his apartment and getting ready for work while talking to his one-finned fish, Doug. It’s cute and funny and we get a feel for the character already. He’s just a little guy.
He gets to work and starts lecturing this little girl on ancient Egyptian mummification because he works in a museum, and it’s like oh, that’s cool. He’s an Egyptologist. But no, he actually works in the gift shop, which is a perfectly fine job, but it’s clear he’d rather be a tour guide because he knows so much and cannot be quiet. He and his boss have a bit of hostile banter, mostly from her end, and Steven gets stuck doing inventory. Also while at work Steven is approached by a woman he is going on a date with, but it’s clear he has no memory of ever asking her out or scheduling anything with her at all. Interesting.
We then get a handful of scenes that establish that Steven is a lonely guy who wants to connect with people, which is relatable, but once at home, we see him researching a specific group of Egyptian gods called the Ennead. I wonder if they’ll come up again later. Oh look, after Steven’s chained himself up again and gone to sleep, he wakes up fully clothed in the middle of an unfamiliar field with a bloody mouth and a dislocated jaw. I have no idea what’s going on and neither does he, so automatically I’m invested. Especially when he starts getting shot at because, as I’ve mentioned before, Steven’s just a little guy, so what could he possibly have done to provoke such violence? Well, the voice in his head knows all about that.
Yes, that’s right. He’s got a deep, imposing voice in his head bullying him to go back to sleep and surrender his body to someone named Marc. This is objectively funny to witness but would be terrifying to experience, I’m sure. Steven is perplexed and stumbles through the next bit of action, going in and out of consciousness as he’s being aggressively pushed to the side while a different personality takes over. I wonder who that could be. Each time it happens, Steven just loses time, waking up in a slightly different scenario than the one he left. It’s jarring and effective. This is also the time when he encounters our antagonist, played by Ethan Hawke, or as I like to call him: Mr. Glass in Shoes. His actual name is Arthur Harrow and he’s this prophet-type guy who’s allegedly a vessel for a goddess called Ammit. His power is that he holds people’s hands and through him, Ammit judges whether the person is good or bad using his scales of justice tattoo, and if the person is bad, they just drop dead. Dramatic.
Steven makes it through his first action sequence and ends up waking up back at his apartment. Gasp. Was it all just a very vivid dream? What does it all mean? And what does it mean that Doug’s fin grew back? Steven wants to know that, too, so he goes to the place he bought Doug, only to find out the employee there has had interactions with him he doesn’t remember having at all. Scary stuff, innit? But Steven doesn’t have time to dwell because he has to get ready for the date he doesn’t remember setting up, but whomp whomp, he gets stood up because his date was Friday and it’s currently Sunday, which means he lost even more time. Things are bad for poor Steven, especially when he gets home and discovers a secret compartment that’s hiding a Razor phone and a key.
The thot thickens.
The phone turns out to be another piece of the puzzle in his mounting confusion about just what the heck is going on. Someone named Layla calls asking after someone called Marc. Hmm. That pricks Steven’s ears up because while he doesn’t know who Layla is, he recognizes the name Marc. But Layla hangs up before he can ask any questions. And then, and then, Steven starts hearing Marc’s voice. He even has his own little Natalie Portman in Black Swan mirror moment. Marc is telling Steven to stop looking into whatever’s happening to him. And then Steven has an encounter with a very tall monster thing that might be a deity. And then he wakes up on the bus on the way to work because of course he does because what even is happening?
At work, Arthur and a bunch of his groupies show up to attack Steven because he has a scarab beetle that allegedly belongs to Ammit. Steven does not give Arthur the beetle like he tried to do during their last encounter. Arthur tries to judge him to death, but the scales waver and never decide if Steven is good or bad because the man is chaotic and has more than one entity living inside him, I assume. Arthur lets Steven escape, but then that night when Steven is about to leave work, Arthur sends a jackal after him, which is just so rude and over the top. But! It pushes Steven to let Marc take over his body and then Marc is revealed to be Moon Knight and it’s genuinely very cool. The cape and property damage are a bit much, but wow. What a guy.