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Marvel Studios' Moon Knight went full Indiana Jones and The Mummy (we're talking about the Brendan Fraser version, of course) in its third episode on Disney+. Swapping the streets of London for the shifting sands of Egypt, the latest MCU television series dove further into its divine mythology as well as the relationship between Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy).
Plus, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) has found Ammit's tomb out in the desert and unlike Belloq and his Nazi backers in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the stoic cult leader and his fanatical disciples are most certainly digging in the right place. Millions of lives hang in the balance as the show manages to keep itself mostly separate from the rest of the MCU.
Let's discuss all that went down this week, shall we?
***WARNING: The following contains major plot spoilers for Episode 3 of Moon Knight***
Episode 3 ("The Friendly Type") opens not with a major action set piece, but with a quieter character moment between Layla and a woman (her mother, perhaps?) preparing a fake passport so the ex-Mrs. Spector can follow Marc to Cairo where he ended up at the end of Episode 2. As the phony document comes together, we learn a bit more about Layla's background.
She hasn't been to Egypt in a decade, but there are still plenty of folks who'd rather she never showed her face in town again. It's got something to do with her stealing ancient relics, though Layla holds a more noble, Robin Hood-esque view of the situation. "I don't steal," she says. "I take them off the black market and return them to their rightful owners." She quickly adds: "I might keep a few to pay the bills."
Fair enough. Let's call it a comfortable middle ground between greedy tomb raider and Indy's "It belongs in a museum!" philosophy.
We also learn that Layla's father was an archaeologist with an unorthodox way of going about his job. Something happened to dear old dad out in the harsh, unforgiving desert — something rather painful based on the context clues — and mom warns about the dangers of opening old wounds (or in this case, plumbing the tombs of loss and regret). Per the closed captioning for Episode 3, the document expert's name is Lagaro, which, as Nerdist points out, may be a super deep-cut reference to a Marvel character from the '40s named Dynaman, who was born during the time of the pharaohs.
Cut to the actual desert where Harrow and his followers have used the mystical scarab to find the location of Ammit's final resting place. Luckily, it's still buried deep within the dunes, which means the end of the world is still a ways off. An ecstatic Harrow is informed by one of his hench-people that Marc Spector is hot on their trail, but nothing can ruin this joyous moment of discovery for the antagonist who wants to nip evil in the bud before it has a chance to take hold. Cool motive, still murder.
Up on the rooftops of Cairo, Marc pursues a number of Ammit acolytes who would rather die than give up any information. Steven pops up in reflective surfaces, urging Marc to show mercy wherever possible. The only problem? Marc keeps blacking out and in one instance, he comes to surrounded by freshly-murdered corpses, which Steven claims he had nothing to do with. This will no doubt continue to stoke the embers of a growing fan theory, which posits that Moon Knight will eventually reveal Jake Lockley, another one of Marc's alter egos from the original comics.
With no leads left to follow, Khonshu (voiced to perfection by Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) shows up with a rather dangerous idea: he'll cause a lunar eclipse, effectively calling for a meeting of the gods and their avatars in an effort to stop Harrow from unleashing Ammit. But if Khonshu — who was banished by the others long ago — messes with the sky again, he'll be trapped inside a stone prison.
This meeting of deities takes place within the Great Pyramid of Giza with the avatars of Hathor, Horus, Isis, Tefnut, and Osiris. The gods possess their human proxies and while the majority of them are cool, calm, and collected, Isaac shows his commitment to the role with scene-chewing dialogue like "Spare me your self-righteous threats! I was banished for not abandoning humanity like the rest of you!"
The other council members argue that they did not abandon humanity — they simply decided not to meddle in the mortal affairs and what's more: their avatars are only meant to observe. How Eternals of them.
In any case, Harrow is summoned and turns the whole trial around on Marc, asserting that Khonshu has taken advantage of "a man who literally does not know his own name." With insufficient evidence to convict Harrow, the villain is allowed to walk free and everyone takes their leave. That is everyone except Hathor's avatar who informs Marc that an individual known as Senfu was tasked with recording the location of Ammit's secret tomb if the gods ever decided to show mercy and release her.
Marc heads back to the streets of Cairo where he asks around for the whereabouts of Senfu's sarcophagus. He doesn't have much luck in this endeavor until Layla shows up to lend a helping hand. However, she makes it quite plain that her involvement is not for Marc's benefit, but for herself and everyone else who will die if Harrow succeeds. Nevertheless, the two do share a tender moment together, with Marc admitting that he's not great at talking out his problems. Dude's gonna need some serious therapy once this is all over.
Tapping into her network of contacts, Layla learns that the sarcophagus is in the possession of a notorious collector by the name of Anton Mogart. The character — who first appeared in the third issue of Moon Knight's first-ever solo run in the early 1980s — gained the monicker of "Midnight Man" due to his reputation for stealing priceless jewels and works of art once the clock struck twelve.
Marc and Layla arrive at Mogart's compound and meet with the collector's head of security, Bek, who delivers the show's first significant connection to the wider Marvel Universe when he name-drops Madripoor (last seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier). Mogart allows our heroes to take a look at Senfu's sarcophagus, which is coded with the location of Ammit's tomb, according to Steven, who demands that Marc give him control of the body. This one-sided bickering arouses too much suspicion and Marc and Layla are held at gunpoint.
Harrow shows up and makes mention of Layla's father being murdered. He also strongly hints that Marc had a hand in it. Before any dark secrets can come to light, a fight breaks out. Marc dons the Moon Knight costume and lays waste to his enemies in a badass action sequence that also features a brief appearance by Mr. Knight. Steven wants to prevent any more violence, but happily cedes control to the Marc when he's stabbed with a spear used for El-Mermah (an Egyptian fencing game played on horseback).
Once the dust settles, Layla tries to grill Marc over what Harrow said about her father's death, but he deflects, stating that it was just a psychological tactic to divide them. The pair head out into the desert in the hopes of solving the puzzle pieces left in the sarcophagus.
Steven takes over and, using his knowledge of Ancient Egypt, puts together a star map, which points to Ammit's tomb. Unfortunately, the diagram is useless without knowledge of the position the stars were in on the night that Senfu created the map all those centuries ago. Given his association with the moon, Khonshu remembers every night sky that ever was.
The god shows a softer side to Steven, whom he has belittled and berated up until this point, and asks for his help in turning back the atmospheric clock. Their combined powers do the trick, but this final transgression cannot stand. Sure enough, the other gods make good on their threat and imprison Khonshu within a stone effigy. What this means for Marc/Steven moving forward remains to be seen. Can they still channel the armor, stamina, and invincibility gifted to them by Khonshu while he's imprisoned? Maybe, maybe not.
Speaking to the stone statue of Khonshu, Harrow reflects on his time as the moon god's fist of vengeance. He admits that dealing out pain as the former Moon Knight gave him immense pleasure. Despite all the pain and torment that Khonshu put him through, Harrow admits that he needed to suffer in order to realize his true purpose in life. "I owe my victory to you," declares the baddie. Cut to black.
Moon Knight streams on Disney+ every Wednesday.
If you're looking for more content set against the backdrop of Ancient Egyptian culture and mythology, The Prince of Egypt and The Mummy animated series (inspired by the beloved 1999 film) are currently streaming on Peacock. The OG 1999 live action The Mummy is also available on a variety of platforms.