Wednesday, May 25, 2022

‘Moon Knight’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 1 “The Goldfish Problem”

The one you see coming is finally here. Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight has officially premiered, introducing audiences to the mind-bending, wild, and terrifying adventures of Steven Grant/Marc Spector.

Arthur Harrow

The episode opens with a man, who we’ll soon learn is named Arthur Harrow. He crushes a glass, pours the shards inside of his shoes, slips his feet into them, and walks away.

A day in the life of Steven Grant

Marvel Studios

Steven Grant wakes up, unchains himself from his bed, and looks around the room to check the various safeguards that he uses to see if he got up in the middle of the night. He calls his mom as he begins to make his way to the museum that he works at. When he arrives, he begins talking to a little girl about the artifacts on display, much to his manager Donna’s dismay — he should be selling candy, not acting like a tour guide. A co-worker approaches him to confirm if their date is still on for the following evening, although he has no recollection of asking her out. Later, he attempts to strike up a conversation with Donna about the some factual issues on the ancient Egyptian posters and banners they have on display … she doesn’t care. After clocking out for the evening, Steven chats up a street performer dressed as a golden statue (though he doesn’t appear to be very good company).

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When he gets home, Steven does some reading, and then he fixes the sand that surrounds his bed, puts tape over the door, and chains up his ankle again. However, rather than going to sleep, he puts on an audio recording designed to help keep his mind awake as he plays with a Rubik’s Cube.

Unpleasant dreams

Between one moment and the next, Steven wakes up fully dressing, laying facedown in the grass with a bloody mouth (and possibly a broken jaw). He stands and finds that he’s in a field in the outskirts of a village, and a voice tells him to go back to sleep, because he’s not supposed to be there. It orders him to surrender the body to “Marc.” As Steven looks around helplessly and pulls a golden scarab out of his pocket, the voice groans, “Oh, the idiot’s in control.” For a brief moment, a figure can be seen standing behind him (Khonshu).

Men begin shooting at Steven, so he takes off toward the village and tries to blend in. The crowd that has gathered parts reverently and bows as the man from the beginning of the episode, Arthur Harrow, passes by them. He calls a man forward to offer up his soul for judgement, announcing that he’s judging him in Ammit’s name. His cane swings back and forth as the scales tattooed on his forearm tip; he smiles when they land in favor of the man standing in front of him. An older woman approaches next, agreeing to accept her scales regardless of the outcome. Unfortunately for her, they turn red. She’s been good her entire life, but the scales see what lies ahead in her future as well. She dies. (Psycho-Pass, anyone?)

A guard walks up to Arthur and tells him that they were ambushed; someone killed two of their men. Arthur calls out to the crowd in Egyptian, and they all immediately fall to their knees … besides a clueless Steven. Arthur recognizes Steven and calls him a mercenary. He asks Steven to return the scarab, but as soon as he goes to take it out of his pocket, the voice tells him to give the other man nothing. Something prevents him from opening his hand up and handing it over, no matter what he tries. The guards haul him off and try to pry it out of his hands, and suddenly things begin to flicker. A moment later, Steven’s face is covered in blood, bodies are lying on the ground around him, and the voice sighs, “The idiot’s back.”

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Having sparked the ire of the entire crowd, Steven steals a cupcake truck (even though he doesn’t have his license). A group of cars chases him down the winding road. They begin shooting at him, and one of the men dives into the back of the truck. Steven begins to shove cupcakes in his face, apologizing profusely. Suddenly, things skip forward. Now Steven is holding a gun in his hand, and the man is lying dead in the back of the truck. He begins to panic as he tries to evade the cars still pursuing him, blacks out momentarily again, and suddenly he’s driving backwards. Unsure of what to do, he throws the gun at one of the car’s that’s chasing him. Logs begin to fall onto the road, crushing the cupcake truck and the men standing in the middle of the road waiting for him … and Steven wakes up. He laughs.

Steven loses time

As he’s eating breakfast, Steven notices that his fish Gus suddenly has two fins. Frantic, he brings him to the pet store, demanding an explanation. Apparently he was there yesterday, though he doesn’t remember that in the slightest. When he takes a look at the clock, he’s baffled, because there’s no way it’s that late in the day already. Steven rushes home to prepare for his date. When she never arrives at the restaurant, he calls her, only to realize that it’s Sunday … not Friday. He somehow lost two days.

A phone call from Layla

Marvel Studios

After drowning his sorrows in the box of chocolates he bought for his date, Steven notices a misplaced panel in his ceiling. He climbs on top of a table and finds an old flip phone and a key inside. The phone is full of missed calls from someone named Layla (and Duchamp, which means we may see Frenchie in this series), who just so happens to start calling again now that the phone is on. Flustered, Steven answers it, and Layla immediately begins to talk, saying that she’s glad he’s alive. She’s been trying to get ahold of him for months. Steven interrupts her, telling her that he just found the phone in his apartment, and she asks him what’s up with his accent. She refers to him as Marc, though he still has no idea who that is. Layla hangs up.

A voice begins to call out to him, telling him that he needs to stop. He walks into his bathroom and is terrified to find his reflecting talking to him. The lights begin to flicker in his apartment as things start flying around the room, and Steven quickly runs out into the hallway, getting in the elevator. It stops on a pitch black floor, and a terrifying creature (Khonshu) begins walking toward him. He cowers on the ground in fear, only to realize that it was just an old woman. The creature pops up beside him, and suddenly Steven wakes up on the bus on his way to work. He sees Khonshu standing on the street, and Arthur is inside the bus looking down at him when he gets off.

There’s chaos in you

Arthur corners him at the museum. Steven asks a security guard for help, but the man has the same tattoo as Arthur, and he simply says, “Praise Ammit.” Arthur tells him about Ammit and how she grew tired of waiting for sinners to commit their crimes. More of his followers begin to converge on Steven as he tries to escape, and Arthur continues to speak about Ammit and how she was betrayed by the other gods.

Arthur tauntingly talks about the voice in Steven’s head, and he tells him that he’s trying to help him. He places the cane in Steven’s hand and waits for the scales to pass judgement on him, but they simply continue to rock back and forth. “There’s chaos in you,” he says. Steven runs off, and Arthur lets him leave.

Night at the museum

Steven finishes up his shift, but as he’s on his way out, he hears a dog crying inside of the museum. Cautiously, he makes his way through the dark building. Unfortunately, the mysterious creature isn’t a dog at all — it’s a vicious jackal. Arthur’s voice rings out over the intercom, telling Steven to give him the scarab if he doesn’t want to be torn apart. The jackal chases Steven down the hallway, and he manages to hide out in a bathroom. His reflection begins speaking to him again, telling him that he can save them both if he gives him control before the jackal breaks down the door. The two argue back and forth until Steven finally agrees. The jackal makes its way into the bathroom, but it’s no match for who’s inside waiting for it now … it’s Moon Knight.

Catch the next episode of Moon Knight exclusively on Disney+ next Wednesday, April 6. Stay tuned for all of our coverage on the series, including episodic recaps and more.

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