I wish I had something to take away from episode three of Moon Knight, “The Friendly Type,” but there isn’t much to say about it. I left it feeling nothing, completely neutral, which is better than coming away negative on it, but not by much. There are definite positives for this week’s installment, but the majority of it just left me with zero takeaways.
This episode picks up with Marc Spector now being in control of his body, Steven is now trapped within him. He’s in Egypt on the trail of Arthur Harrow, who now has Khonshu’s scarab which is leading him to Ammit’s tomb. Of course, it’s Marc’s (and Steven’s) mission to stop him from setting Ammit free.
As always, Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke are fantastic, despite Hawke not having much to do this week. He’s great in the scenes he’s in — I just wish he was in more of them. Isaac is perfect in this role, or roles, depending on how you look at it. His Marc and Steven couldn’t be more different from each other, which is an interesting place to be for an actor playing dual roles.
Outside of the phenomenal performances, the episode doesn’t have a lot to offer. The first half of the episode was a very neutral experience for me. Sure, there’s some interesting stuff in there, especially the court with the Egyptian gods, but it can’t bring me over complete neutrality.
The episode does get better, and more interesting, as it progresses. The last third is, admittedly, pretty great, but it doesn’t really put it over the top for me. The main action scene toward the end is easily the best action scene the series has had so far. Seeing Moon Knight in action, fighting for the first time in this series, is really cool. It’s brutal, not bloody, but it doesn’t matter because the impact is there. It’s definitely the most violent a Disney+ series has been, at least so far.
The effects, which have been an issue previously, are mostly great this week. Khonshu doesn’t look as good as last week, probably because he’s lit much more directly this week. Still, the worst effects this week are about on par with the best effects in previous weeks. There’s a real showcase moment at the end of the episode which is truly gorgeous. I can only assume the majority of the effects work went into that scene. It’s impressive, to say the least.
It’s become obvious to me as Moon Knight progresses that it’s trying to be a really long movie instead of being a TV show, more along the lines of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier than Loki or WandaVision. That’s not really an issue in itself, but Marvel has had more success with the latter two than the former.
I think the reason this sticks out so much to me is that I don’t see where Marc or Moon Knight will fit into the MCU going forward. He can’t be an Avenger. He can’t just show up to fight a big bad — it wouldn’t make sense, so he’ll end up in this weird limbo after this six-episode limited series comes to an end. I would rather this be a Loki situation where there’s a clear future for the character(s) going forward, but that seems unlikely. Yes, I wanted this series to be as disconnected from the MCU as possible, but even with the disconnect that’s (mostly) there, I still want there to be a place for these characters to reside and that place just doesn’t exist right now.
I see where this series is heading. There’s a clear point Moon Knight is going to end at, but it’s what’s beyond that which is most interesting to me. I like these characters, I like these actors, but this story is just very underwhelming. With the central mystery gone, Moon Knight has struggled to find another identity. Halfway through, my expectations are not high, but my hopes are.