Moon Knight: Steven Grant of the Giftshop

Moon Knight | Season 1 | Episode 1 : The Goldfish Problem
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For a quick read, go to Review. For a complete summary, go to Recap.

KBear Recap [Read  time: 2-4 min]

Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) walks with broken glass in his shoes. Steven Grant/Marc Spector/Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac) wakes up with his ankle chained to the bed. He did it to himself to keep  from sleep walking. He has sand around his bed and tape on his door to check to see if he had left his apartment. He checks on his one fin goldfish Gus, talks to his mom on the phone and runs to catch the bus to work. He works in a museum giftshop in London. He and a little girl (Anouk Christiansen) discuss Egyptian pyramids and pharaohs. His boss Donna (Lucy Thackeray) thinks he’s an idiot and doesn’t want him bothering her. Dylan (Saffron Hocking) checks on their date, he doesn’t remember asking her but is happy to be going on it. Later that evening he talks to Crawley (Shaun Scott) who works as a living statue, about his upcoming date. Steven listens to a meditation app on staying awake while reading the Ennead about Egyptian gods and doing a Rubik’s Cube. He wakes up in the Swiss Alps.

Steven waves at two men in a tower who proceed to shoot at him. A voice orders him to run. He runs into a village, which is full of Arthur Harrow’s followers. Harrow judges a man for the Egyptian goddess Ammit to determine if he’s a good man. The scales that are tattooed on his arms swings along with his cane, it determines the man is good, but an elderly woman isn’t as lucky as the scales determine she is to die, probably for something she was going to do in the future. Steven is captured, Harrow wants the golden scarab beetle he stole. Steven wants to give it to him, but the voice won’t let Steven it and takes over his body. Some of Harrow’s followers grab him and take the scarab, Steven blacks out and when he wakes up, the men who grabbed him are dead, and he’s holding the bloody scarab. A car chase in a cupcake van follows and every time Steven blacks out, he wakes up to the mayhem he has committed. After some logs take out some of Harrow’s men on the mountain road, Steven wakes up chained to his bed, he thinks maybe it was a dream.

His goldfish has two fins now, he goes to the steak house for his date, Dylan isn’t there. He calls her, she tells him he stood her up, their date was on Friday, it’s Sunday. Steven sadly orders his steak. When he gets home, he finds a cubby hole that has a key and an old cell phone. Someone named Layla (May Calamawy) has been constantly calling him. When he calls her back, she asks Marc where he has been for the past few months. Steven asks her why she called him Marc; she hangs up. He hears Marc’s voice telling him to stop looking. The building starts to shake, his lights flicker and he runs into the hallway. A monstrous figure follows him. Steven runs into the elevator but instead of a shrouded figure with a large beak entering, an elderly woman (Anne Kavanagh) comes in. She’s shaken by how strange Steven is behaving. When she leaves the elevator, he turns around and  faces Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham), the voice he has been hearing. Steven wakes up on the bus, Harrow is also there.

The museum is full of Ammit followers, Harrow calls for Steven. He explains what Ammit plans to do to humanity. Harrow tries to judge Steven, but he can’t, he tells Steven there is chaos in him. Later that evening, Steven thinks he hears a dog. It’s not a dog but a demon jackal. In the bathroom Marc tells Steven he can save him, but he must turn his body over to him. Steven transfers control of their body and Marc transforms into Moon Knight. He proceeds to destroy the bathroom and the jackal.

KBear Review [Read time: 3-5 minutes]

I haven’t read the Moon Knight comics, but I have heard of the character before, some people have described him as Marvel’s Batman. The MCU changed some aspects of the character around, so now he’s the broke Batman with more mental issues.

Here’s an article on Dissociative Identity Disorder that might help you understand Steven’s condition. We spend the first episode primarily with Steven Grant, who is a mild-mannered museum giftshop worker. He’s someone who most people just ignore, while his boss treats him like a bumbling idiot. He lives in terror of going to sleep because he doesn’t know where he’ll be when he wakes up. He hears a voice in his head, it’s the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, who can’t seem to stand this alter.

There’s a lot of humor in hearing the voice of F. Murray Abraham berate Steven. There’s also another voice he hears, Marc Spector, who is a badass mercenary and the primary alter. He’s the one who turns into Moon Knight. We only saw Marc’s reflection in mirrors and finally in the bathroom. We’ll learn more about him as the series goes on. We also met Arthur Harrow who heads an Ammit cult. He is a true believer and lunatic.

Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke are excellent in their roles. Isaac nails the panic and desperation that Steven lives in, while Hawke embodies the cult leader. In articles he states he based his character on David Koresh, the cult leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Most of the action was suggestive, Steven would black out and when he’d wake up, Marc would have done something cool and violent. The chase scene in the cupcake van was both exciting and funny, we got to see cool action, with the humor of Steven waking up to more and more outlandish situations. The show moved at a good pace, mixing the humor, horror, and sadness of Steven’s life effortlessly.  

Final Thoughts

Interesting discussion between the little girl in the museum and Steven, it seems to hint at the larger story.

Who was Steven talking to on the phone when he was talking to his mother?

Was it Marc who asked Dylan out on the date to the steak house? Steven is a vegetarian so it seems like that wouldn’t have been the place he picked for the date.

Is Crawley stuck listening to Steven because he’s a living statue and can’t break character or because he likes him.

What is the scarab for?

Great physical comedy when Khonshu [or Marc] won’t let Steven hand the scarab to Harrow.

Nice jump scare when Steven sees Khonshu in the elevator.

Funny scene when the elderly lady in the elevator was trying to get away from Steven.

Khonshu really hates Steven. He calls him a worm, a parasite, an idiot. He really hates dealing with him.

Another funny scene at the pet shop where Steven argues with the store clerk about Gus now having two fins. I guess Marc changes ‘Gus’ every time he dies when Steven is gone.

Give Oscar Isaac his Emmy for the steakhouse scene. It was heartbreaking watching Steven fall apart because he missed his date.

Scene in the museum between Harrow and Steven, very tense. “Steven Grant of the giftshop.”

Moon Knight beating down the jackal creature, brutal and satisfying.

Hope Donna is judged by Arthur Harrow. It won’t take those scales long to decide her fate.  

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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