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Moon Knight Review: Why Episode 5 Is Darker For the Better

Moon Knight episode 5 review dark Marvel
By Russ Milheim

After what sure seemed like the death of Marc Spector last week on Moon Knight, fans had no idea what to expect going forward in Episode 5—well, besides spending some more time with a talking Hippo. The Goddess in question, Taweret, was great and provided a fun distraction from the darker corners the story explored in the minutes surrounding the audience’s moments with her.

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Episode 5 of Moon Knight.

The episode reached some pretty dark places as viewers learned that Marc created Steven to get away from the emotional and physical abuse of his mother, who blamed him for the death of his brother.

A tragic backstory was always the expectation when it came to how the character’s mental struggles began, and the creatives behind the scenes handled it all extremely well. Oscar Isaac did an incredible job portraying both Marc and Steven as they journeyed through the recesses of their minds.

Now, it's time to take a deep dive into why Moon Knight Episode 5 succeeds so well with its darker storyline.

Marc Spector’s Shattered Psyche

Marc Spector
Marvel

The reveal that Steven is a creation out of a desire for innocence is the perfect summation of his character. Even since the first episode, he’s been the poster child for the term: always letting his naivety shine through, exuberating child-like wonder, and looking at situations in an impossibly optimistic way.

If this is truly Steven’s end, having his time run out right after basically losing the innocence for which he was created is a very poignant and heartbreaking way to go. But who will take his place? Or maybe the mental strain of this whole experience will end up creating room for more than just Steven in Marc’s mind.

It’s almost surprising that Marc didn’t conjure up a personality rooted in that of his late brother. While the event of his sibling’s death was revealed for the first time here, hopefully, in the future, their relationship gets some more exploration, as does the two's time in that fateful flooded cave.

The Origin of Moon Knight

Moon Knight origin
Marvel

We also got to see the very moment Marc Spector became the Avatar of Khonshu—and even get his Moon Knight moniker. Disappointingly, it was rather fleeting, though there were understandably other memories that needed tending to.

It is worth noting that the absence of Marc’s rival Bushman was a rather glaring omission. While it has felt natural to not see him up until this point, having now gone through our hero’s actual origin, it’s started to become obvious how the creatives have been avoiding the villain’s proper introduction.

The desire to keep the story focused on Spector and his current predicament, not to mention the series’ villain Arthur Harrow, is understandable—but even a brief appearance seems like it could have done some good, especially when it comes to relating with Layla’s dilemma.

A Fantastic Exploration of Trauma

Moon Knight Trauma
Marvel

Moon Knight’s fifth installment was a fantastic exploration of trauma and the mental struggles of Dissociative Identity Disorder. With only one episode left, many questions are raised, chief among them being: can the show wrap all of this story up tightly in one hour? Fingers crossed that the series won’t be a victim to a lackluster finale like some of Marvel Studios’ Disney+ outings have been so far.

Furthermore, is Steven Grant actually dead for good, or will he make a grand return when Marc assumably reaches the land of the living once more? It’s safe to say that fans likely won’t ever have a Moon Knight without multiple personalities, so a return from Steven seems probable. Though, there are always other personalities who could fill the newly vacated spot.

Hopefully, Steven will make it back, seeing as it would look like Arthur Harrow has successfully raised Ammit—so Marc could use all the help he can get. Maybe it's about time he opened that other sarcophagus.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.