Marvel’s newest confusing yet captivating superhero stars in the series “Moon Knight,” which premiered on the streaming platform Disney+ on March 30. Episodes continue to be released every Wednesday as part of “phase four” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Moon Knight” stars Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant, a kind, quirky, troubled museum gift shop employee in London with undervalued love and knowledge of Egyptian culture — and Isaac’s touch to the character, a British accent. Arthur Harrow co-stars as Ethan Hawke, a man who spends his days walking on glass — literally, the episode opens with him putting glass inside his shoes in preparation for the day — serving Egyptian goddess Ammit.
There is no need for background knowledge on the comic book character Moon Knight, nor any other MCU characters, to enjoy the series. Episode one, “The Goldfish Problem,” leaves those who know nothing of the comic book character very confused — intentionally. The episode provides you with just enough information to keep you eagerly anticipating every move. What’s great is that as we learn more intriguing snippets of Grant’s life, he is learning along with us. Grant seems to be just as confused and reactionary to the craziness as us.
Spoiler alert: If you want to experience episode one and all its surprising turns firsthand, tune in to the show before reading any further.
We quickly learn that Grant is troubled, and the further along we get into the episode, the deeper we understand the truth to that sentiment. Early on, in his apartment, we see his bed riddled with restraints. He has a sleeping disorder, he explains.
As time goes on, we see his mental health battles go a little further than sleep troubles. He often blacks out, for hours, even days at a time, and has no memory of what happened when he regains consciousness.
“I can’t tell the difference between waking nights and dreams,” Grant states.
Right up until he blacks out, he is often in immense danger — from which Grant’s extensive Egyptian knowledge could not possibly save him. When he regains consciousness, he seems to have gotten out of these sticky situations, often leaving a messy, murderous trail in his footsteps. But if Grant is as horrified and perplexed as we are, who is responsible for this?
Meet Marc Spector, ex-mercenary in cahoots with Egyptian moon god Khonsu (F. Murray Abraham) whose deep, taunting voice echoes in Grant’s mind — as if he didn’t have enough to worry about. When Grant walks by reflective surfaces, he can communicate with Spector. Grant is rightly petrified as he looks at himself and hears someone else.
In the final chase of the episode while Grant is running from monstrous creatures, Spector urges him to hand over control of his body. “I am the only one that can save us,” Spector pleads. Just as Grant is attacked, the camera turns away.
With dramatic music and a slow pan, we see that the creature is defeated — not by a frightened Grant, but by someone confident, someone with white eyes and an elaborate white suit, cape and mask complete with a symbol of the moon — none other than Moon Knight.
This world-wind episode left audience members aghast: Moon Knight is Grant is Spector. We have an introduction that left us with more questions than answers. So how is Spector taking over Grant’s body? The answer leads to another spoiler alert, an explanation that is not clearly apparent from episode one: dissociative identity disorder.
“Really the whole thing is the story of a struggle with mental illness,” Isaac said in an interview.
Isaac said that the “Moon Knight” team talked to many mental health professionals and conducted thorough research to portray the disorder in a respectful way.
Whether you’re a die-hard superhero comic fan or are new to the MCU, Moon Knight is an intriguing, charming character anyone can get behind. You can stream the first four episodes on Disney+ and anticipate the final episodes in the coming weeks. Welcome to the MCU, Moon Knight.