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Breaking Down Disney+’s “Moon Knight”

disney+ Moon Knight tv show

Written by Angela Rairden

I have to be completely honest at the start of this blog and admit that I have never read a Moon Knight comic, which is a large part of why it’s taken me until four episodes in to write about it here.

For the uninitiated, the plot of Disney+’s Moon Knight series is perhaps best described as being a bit chaotic. Our main character (portrayed rather brilliantly by Oscar Isaac) suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID), a fact which casts him as an unreliable narrator. In episode one, we are introduced to Steven Grant, a somewhat neurotic Brit who works in the gift shop of a museum and appears to have no real friends or family. Obsessed with ancient Egypt, Steven dreams of being a tour guide at the museum. However, he believes that he suffers from a sleepwalking disorder and therefore chains his own ankle to his bedpost at night in his London flat to prevent himself from waking up in strange places.

Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant

By episode two, it’s become clear that Steven is deeply troubled as he’s not only suffering blackouts but he’s also hearing two other voices, both distinct from his own. In a complete departure from his role as the calm and cool Poe Dameron character in Star Wars, Isaac does an exceptional job of portraying the panicky, anxiety-ridden Steven. To be honest, I found Steven’s nervous and cowardly behavior to be borderline annoying as he ran from, well, every situation that he found himself in.

Still, there was a creepy and mysterious element to this show that kept me interested. We learn that one of the voices that Steven is hearing belongs to and the ghoulish, skeletal (and very cool!) creature that we’ve mostly just caught peripheral glimpses of up to this point are one and the same - the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. The source of the Moon Knight suit and its wearer’s regenerative abilities, Khonshu introduces a magical element in the show which seems to be the way the MCU is trending as of late with both Doctor Strange in the Multi-Verse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder set to release this year. Which, personally, I am not mad about. Particularly in Moon Knight as, like Steven, I have also had a bit of an obsession with ancient Egypt.

Egyptian moon god Khonshu, which only our main character can see or hear

The other voice belongs to Steven’s other personality – the American mercenary Marc Spector.

Marc/Steven communicate w/each other through their reflections...here we see Khonshu behind him/them

Marc seems to be more or less Steven’s opposite. Whereas Steven recoils from blood, violence, and killing, Marc feels at home when immersed in these elements. Furthermore, while Steven enjoys research and studying ancient cultures and languages, Marc is a man of action who essentially wants to physically fight his way through any obstacles that he comes up against and can’t be bothered to stop and analyze the minutia along the way. From what I’ve read about the comics, it seems that they portray Marc as the primary/first personality and Steven (and perhaps others?) as the more secondary personality, whereas the show has introduced us to Steven first.

Different versions of the Moon Knight suit is summoned depending upon which personality summons it

Given that Marc is a mercenary and, as we learn more about Marc’s past and how he became Moon Knight in the first place, it seems likely that he created Steven as a coping mechanism for some of the things he’s endured. The fact that this main character has a mental illness and is still perceived as a heroic character says a lot about the integrity of this show. Furthermore, the dichotomy between the two personalities becomes a constant source of tension and is its own subplot in the show, with Isaac once again showcasing his remarkable acting chops as he switches between the two. 

By episode four, I thought I had a pretty good handle on what this show was about. However, the episodes concludes in such a way that throws viewers off yet again, as we delve even deeper into Steven/Marc’s very unique situation than we had previously. Moon Knight has proven itself adept at keeping its audience guessing, and I’m looking forward to next Wednesday’s episode! Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to start picking up the Moon Knight comic, as well.

 

Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.



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