The Moon Knight is darkest before the dawn as Disney+ gives us the new episode, “The Tomb.”
Despite how different every Marvel Cinematic Universe miniseries has been from each other, nearly all of them have raised the stakes at the end of the fourth episode. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had John Walker kill a man in cold blood, Loki had Loki getting pruned, and Hawkeye saw the return of Yelena Belova trying to kill Clint Barton. Episode 4 of Moon Knight proves to be no exception to that rule, raising the bar with a fascinating episode and a shocking ending.
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The episode picks up right after the last, with Steven Grant pinpointing the location of Ammit’s tomb while losing his powers. The opening sets the tone for an episode with a greater focus on darker, quieter tension rather than loud, bombastic action. This is the first episode not to feature the Moon Knight in his full costumed glory, and somehow, the show still works. The greater focus on Grant and Layla works well, as the show continues to expand its scope.
The episode has Layla and Grant venturing through the desert as Grant reveals the deal that Spector would leave once they took care of Ammit. Grant’s crush on Layla comes to fruition as he kisses her, to Spector’s dismay. The dynamic between Spector and Grant continues to be entertaining due to their constant conflict. Furthermore, the visual effects used to have Spector speak to Grant through a reflection within one shot is what really sells the situation. The filmmaking magic on display is impressive throughout the entire episode, and Stefania Cella’s production design continues to shine through with the marvelous sets.
If Episode 3 of Moon Knight leaned into the action scenes of Indiana Jones, Episode 4 leans into the mystery aspects of that series. With sequences that feel similar to the final act of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this show has been doing an excellent job with the intrigue and darkness that feels wholly unique to this installment of the MCU. With the blood trails and human remains that run rampant throughout “The Tomb,” the show embraces a darker, edgier tone. It’s fascinating, gripping, and revolutionary in all the right ways.
This is a remarkable and thrilling episode, with a phenomenal sequence where Layla walks along the cavern’s edge and is attacked by a Heka Priest in an expert jump scare. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead helm the episode adeptly, knowing how to handle the Priests like a suspenseful horror thriller. In addition, the Priests have a wonderfully unique design that proves to be creepy and chill-inducing. Afterward, Harrow reveals to Layla that Spector was the one who killed her father, Abdallah.
In the emotional scenes where Layla discovers this and confronts Spector about it, she grows into a more interesting character. May Calamawy is superb in this episode, and she is a perfect onscreen match for Oscar Isaac’s dual personalities. Ethan Hawke continues to shine as Harrow, the antagonist hell-bent on bringing back Ammit. In a shocking scene, Harrow shoots Spector, and the episode suddenly transforms into a 1980s VHS movie with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
As Spector wakes up in Putnam Psychiatric Hospital, we have the most mind-blowing moment in MCU history. The miniseries is over halfway done, and they chose the perfect time to pull the rug out from under the audience. The visual details in the final sequence are show-stopping, as we see the street performer, the Rubik’s Cube, the cupcake, and the goldfish – all references to moments in earlier episodes. This is where the show embraces its psychological thriller elements, with a twist right out of Identity and Shutter Island.
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At first, it appears the events of the series so far had been in his mind. However, when Spector remembers getting shot by Harrow and discovers Grant in a separate body, it appears that everything is real. Spector and Grant run into a talking hippo named Taweret, then shriek at the cherry on top of this deliciously strange sundae. I don’t know what happened in the last ten minutes of “The Tomb,” and I don’t know what will happen next. All I know is that my jaw was gaping for several minutes during the ending of this episode.
With mind-bending twists and revelations wrapped in a thrilling, weird show, I cannot express how excited I am to see where the story goes next.
What I hope, beyond all else, is that Moon Knight sticks the superhero landing.
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