TV review: Moon Knight episode 6

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight
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Moon Knight's sixth and final episode presents a generic and frustrating series finale, prioritising special effects and action over emotional depth. 

Spoilers lie ahead for Moon Knight episodes 1-5.

When it comes to Marvel finales – be it TV or the climax of a film – we know what to expect by now. It’ll either thrill or disappoint you to hear that the final episode of Moon Knight adheres exactly to these established parameters. If you’re watching for (admittedly slightly improved) special effects, you’re in luck – there’s plenty of towering, ferocious Egyptian Gods throwing each other around. There’s also a fair few well-choreographed battles between humans, too. What it’s lacking is the character development and emotional depth of the previous episode, Asylum. For a finale, it holds very little emotional weight, and it all feels like it’s over far too soon.

Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector is left with a large mess to clean up. Harrow (Ethan Hawke) has been left with the statue of Ammit, and is now able to free her and begin prematurely judging the entire planet’s population. The only way he can stop the Goddess is to free Khonshu from his stone prison. Oh, and escape from the afterlife. And free Steven, who ended up trapped in sand at the end of the previous episode. He can do all of that in 45 minutes, right?

Technically, yes, but not particularly well. We get off to a good start, with Marc having finally realised Steven’s importance to him. As a result, there are some quite moving moments of emotional vulnerability, where it seems that Marc Spector finally understands his own self. However, as soon as the narrative shifts away from the underworld and towards stopping Harrow and Ammit, this emotionality is left behind in favour of fight scenes and CGI. Cue the aforementioned Gods unceremoniously hurling each other around, while the human characters fight around them.

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight

Those human battles are much more engaging, with some genuinely good choreography. It also gives Layla (May Calamawy), who was sidelined last episode in favour of introspection on Marc’s part, much more to do. We got a taste of her capabilities in The Tomb, and the finale takes it even further. Sadly, the same can’t be said of Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow. For almost the entire series, he’s had a set of strong, unshakeable principles that he’s repeated to us again and again. This episode reduces him to a mere puppet, whose ultimate fate is only revealed in a post credits scene. It’s a shame to see a potentially interesting role, taken up by a talented actor, just peter out in a way that’s completely forgettable.

Which brings me to the most disappointing aspect of all – the ending. With the majority of the episode’s runtime devoted to action sequences, the rest of the plot threads get tied up rather hastily, almost as an afterthought. Layla is abruptly dropped from the narrative and treated as unimportant, and the scene designed to tie up Marc and Steven’s story is blink-and-you-miss-it. What should be an emotional moment for the character is reduced to a short epilogue. By the time the credits role, you’ll be thinking ‘is that it?’

Thankfully, it’s not quite over. The post credits scene might be disappointing for Harrow, but certainly not for our leading hero. For those unfamiliar with the comics, this will be a twist ending. But for Moon Knight fans, this will be what they’ve been waiting six episodes for. The downside to this, however, is that the show was originally advertised as a limited series. With this cliffhanger ending, it makes it clear that there’s much more yet to tell. It remains to be seen, though, whether Oscar Isaac wants to return to the role. He has previously said that there are no solid plans for a sequel.

Given the uneven quality of the series’ writing, I don’t think I would if I were him. It’s a shame that an actor as talented as Oscar Isaac has attached himself to a regrettably poorly-written project. The character is incredibly interesting, and the show had a lot of potential. However, most of this has been squandered by the uneven pacing, an ultimately weak antagonist, and taking up too much time with exposition.

Hopefully Marvel and Isaac can work something out regarding the character’s future. It would be a shame to see the only well-written part of the series go to waste.

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