Moon Knight Episode 4 Breakdown – “The Tomb”
Last week on Marvel’s Moon Knight, Marc Spector and Steven Grant were somewhat able to reconcile shared control over “the body.” Arthur Harrow convinced the Ennead he was innocent, and Khonshu was imprisoned in stone. Despite these setbacks, Layla and Steven were able to find Ammit’s final resting place.
Thus Moon Knight episode 4, “The Tomb,” begins with Layla and Steven attempting to capture Ammit’s ushabti before Arthur Harrow can free her. Steven and Layla’s journey is fraught with peril. It is impacted greatly by tensions between Marc and Steven as well as secrets from Marc’s past. Below, read our recap and review, plus a discussion of that twist.
“The Tomb” opens with a sinister scene. Khonshu, now imprisoned as an ushabti figure, is clearly sitting this episode out. An Ennead member places Khonshu’s ushabti on a square shelf. As the camera zooms out, we see more and more ushabti on the shelves. Once we’ve finally panned out, there are far more than expected.
This begs the question, of course — when Khonshu is (hopefully) freed, will these other Gods come with him? Also, why has the Ennead imprisoned so many other gods?
After tracking the path to Ammit’s tomb, Layla and an unconscious Steven are ambushed in the desert. Layla eventually gets them safely into a jeep. When Steven regains consciousness, he is still Steven — Marc can’t or won’t take over. We’re not sure why until we’re reminded of an earlier deal made between the two men.
Here’s the thing. Marc promised to stay “on the inside” once he was done serving Khonshu. With Khonshu gone, Steven plans to stay out. And he’s got a lot of reasons to want control. He’s in Egypt, his favorite place to study. Also, he’s clearly developing romantic feelings for Layla. Plus, Marc is very violent and Steven does not approve. Much to Marc’s chagrin, he just has to watch Steven put himself first during this mission.
Layla and Steven end up at Arthur Harrow’s abandoned camp. There are supplies, camels, goats, and tents. Lacking their own resources, they steal anything left behind in order to follow Harrow safely into Ammit’s tomb. That excavated opening looms behind them in many shots, promising a plunge into darkness and a harrowing adventure.
Supplies aren’t all that’s stolen during this scene. While Layla and Steven are getting ready to belay into the tomb, Steven steals a kiss. It’s gentle, nervous. Layla reciprocates, though she expresses confusion because of her relationship with Marc and seems conflicted about her attraction. Of course, no one is nearly as emotional as Marc. Although he can’t take over the entire body, he gains control of their fist and sends Marc flying with a swift punch in the face.
I’ve Got My Eye On You
Personal drama aside, there’s lots of work to do. So Steven and Layla descend into the pit. They walk around a maze of sand and ancient maps. Layla notices a pile of bullets, unsure of what Harrow’s men would be shooting at. But they’re soon distracted by one mystery because of another.
Horus’ eye appears above them, clueing Steven in that this is the tomb of someone extremely wealthy and influential. With wide eyes he reaches an astounding verdict: Ammit’s last Avatar was a pharaoh. Giddy, Steven uses the Eye of Horus to point them in the right direction. Yet the best laid plans often go awry … and feature lots of fresh blood.
What the Heka?
After correctly decoding the Eye of Horus’ six pointed map, Layla and Steven discover a collection of tomb guardians. These priests of Heka were entombed along with the pharaoh to protect him. But after Steven’s remark about the sphinxes springing to life to tell him riddles, and Marvel’s recent forays into zombies with What If…?, the audience is a little concerned.
Rightly so! Steven’s distracted geeking out and Layla is hunting for Ammit’s stone statue — the ushabti. In the next instant they’re besieged by one of Harrow’s men. But Harrow’s employee is on the run from something far scarier. A decrepit Heka mummy stabs the man. Then it methodically removes the man’s organs as Steven and Layla desperately attempt to flee.
A Tomb of One’s Own
Things can’t go well for our protagonists. It’s an adventure story, after all, and an escapade through a tomb at that. Therefore the Heka is hot on their tails. Layla and Steven separate, agreeing to meet in the tomb on their own time and in their own ways. Steven definitely chooses the better path. Higher up in the cave, he is almost already at the tomb.
Layla, on the other hand, is trapped at a chasm. To add to her peril, the Heka picked her to pursue. She fights for life and for breath as she hugs her way across the cavern wall, giving Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones vibes alike. When she has to scrap with the Heka, she’s victorious. Yet it’s also refreshing to watch her lie on the ground and get angry at her situation. Before she was calm and collected in the face of danger, but this one really got to her (because it almost got her), and that’s important to show.
(Not So) Great Expectations
Meanwhile Steven is having the time of his life with all the ancient Egyptian artifacts inside the pharaoh’s tomb. Among them he also finds Macedonian script. Connecting all the dots, he exclaims with jubilation that this must be the long lost tomb of Alexander the Great.
We get a dramatic swell of music before we’re back to Layla, who has also found some company in the otherwise deserted area. Condescending as ever, Arthur Harrow mocks Layla with the nickname “my little scarab.” We finally get more information about Layla’s father. He was an archeologist, killed during an excavation under shady circumstances. Layla leaves her discussion with Harrow far more shaken before. She’s convinced more than ever that Marc had something to do with Abdullah El-Faouly’s untimely demise.
Find Your Voice
Then we’re back with Steven! He’s very stressed because he has to completely disrespect Alexander the Great’s corpse in order to retrieve Ammit’s ushabti. As Alexander was the “voice of Ammit,” Steven reasons the figure is in Alexander’s throat/chest. He unwraps the bandages, breaks the corpse’s jaw, and reaches inside to take Ammit. And he gets her! But we don’t get to celebrate for long.
Layla sweeps into the tomb, hurting and rageful. She demands answers from Marc, who takes over the body for this conversation. Did Steven allow this? Or did Marc fight hard enough to get this moment? Either way, Marc finally admits he was present when Layla’s father died. It was Marc’s partner who murdered every witness — including Marc, who should have died that night.
The Rest Is Silence
Interestingly enough, in the Moon Knight comics this “greedy partner” is actually Marc’s brother. And that fateful night is the night that Marc Spector agreed to be Khonshu’s Avatar. Will this be expanded, either through a longer conversation or a flashback? And when will Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp, who saved Marc’s life back then, make his appearance? He was in Marc’s call history way back in episode 1, after all.
Unfortunately, Frenchie doesn’t swoop in to save Marc when Arthur Harrow arrives. Arthur shoots Marc twice after quoting William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Marc falls into the water around the tomb as Layla watches, horrified. Slowly, Marc falls into deep, all encompassing darkness. He sinks.
I Don’t Wanna Be Sedated
This is when things get a little… experimental. Reminding us very much of FX’s Legion, we cut to a low budget VHS tape with an intrepid protagonist named Dr. Steven Grant. Watching the tape is a wheelchair bound Marc Spector, surrounded by patients and orderlies. The room is gleaming white. The bingo cards are crisp and clean. Marc’s clutching a Moon Knight action figure in his hand.
Everything is familiar, and thus even more off-putting. Layla is another patient who repeats some of Steven’s lines from real life. The orderlies are Harrow’s followers. There’s a goldfish in a bowl by the wall. Another patient even draws a hummingbird with a Khonshu head. Snapshots of places Marc has been hang on a whiteboard. Is this a hallucination? Dream sequence? Purgatory?
The Doctor Is In(sane)
Whatever this psychic limbo is called, Arthur Harrow is also here as a doctor. He’s just as well spoken as before. Explaining that two different definitions of a physical object can both be accurate, he reminds Steven that belief and reality are all a question of context. If we take him as possibly talking to the audience, it’s even more fun — we can decide this place is whatever we want it to be until we’re told otherwise.
Obviously Marc doesn’t see the serenity of it. And he shouldn’t. He’s trapped, held captive by the man who shot him. So he runs. And runs and runs, finally popping into a room with another sarcophagus. Inside is a screaming Steven.
Wait, how can Marc and Steven both occupy separate bodies in this space? The guys are just as confused and amazed as we are. But they don’t have time to ponder this. After a quick hug and some catching up, they’re off to the races once more. During their escape we glimpse a third sarcophagus in a different room. Another personality? Maybe the one who did all the slaughtering in episode 3?
Marc and Steven don’t seem too interested in its contents. Instead they make it to the exit. The doors open, revealing the goddess Taweret with her hippopotamus head. She waves and says “hi” in a cheery, high-pitched voice. Marc and Steven back away screaming. Clearly they’ve forgotten that Taweret is a goddess of protection. She’s even associated with safe travel to the underworld. But we expect they’ll be reminded of that expediently.
For even more official details from Marvel, check out their behind the scenes info here about everything Moon Knight. Next week we might delve deeper into the relationships between members of the Ennead not just as Avatars, but as themselves. And we’re sure ready to spend more time in Steven and Marc’s shared psychic space. Could they free Khonshu from here? Who will have the body if/when the bullet wounds heal? The penultimate Moon Knight episode sure has a lot of ground to cover.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. What was your favorite moment from episode 4? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!