For about five minutes, this episode’s the best episode of “Moon Knight.” It immediately goes downhill and even when it’s the best “Moon Knight,” it’s still rocky, but for a moment it clicks. The episode with May Calamawy getting a fake passport so she can go to Egypt—Oscar Isaac went without her last episode—and Calamawy's got a huge exposition dump with the forger, a “how did you not stunt cast this part” Barbara Rosenblat. Turns out Calamawy's dad was an Indiana Jones-type and now she steals artifacts away from European thieves and returns them to their original owners.
Maybe. It gets shockingly more specific about Western museums robbing other countries of their physical heritage than I thought the Disney Channel would allow. Though there’s also a dead kid joke in the episode so maybe no one’s paying attention, which also would explain how this series got put into production. Clearly no one cares, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired F. Murray Abraham (who, this episode reveals, isn’t miscast, just giving a lousy performance), and they would’ve gotten directors who didn’t make Calamawy and Isaac such a charisma vacuum.
Also someone might have noticed this episode’s entirely pointless. In a show about a pointless character—unless you want some cool art, which doesn’t even translate to live action—doing pointless things, they somehow managed to waste an entire hour. The episode’s all about Isaac not being able to find Ethan Hawke’s dig site. He tries interrogating local toughs, which gets problematic whenever he sees himself in a mirror and the hapless, nice guy version of Isaac tells the mean guy, mercenary version to stop.
Director Mohamed Diab did the first episode of the series, which had Isaac entirely in hapless mode, so he’s had some experience directing it but apparently he forgot and now it’s just terrible. Hapless Isaac is simultaneously suicidally naive, unintentionally irresistible (to Calamawy, at least), and an expert movie Egyptologist. Movie Egyptologist meaning whenever they get to one of the puzzles in the level, hapless Isaac knows exactly how to solve it, while hard-living professional mercenary mean Isaac can’t do a single thing right.
The episode’s got three writers—Beau DeMayo, Peter Cameron, Sabir Pirzada (all new to the series)—and somehow none of them are any good. At least not on “Moon Knight,” because no one writes good Moon Knight. Well-written Moon Knight is not a thing in comics and now, obviously, not in TV either.
The episode also reveals the Egyptian gods are hanging around Earth watching human events unfold without interfering—kind of Eternal of them–and have world-wide teleportation powers. They do not, however, have access to satellites or drones. The whole episode’s about trying to find Hawke’s hundred person dig site, remember. And there’s no way to find it without someone sharing the pin in Google Maps.
There’s finally mention of the MCU, but not about Thanos, superheroes, Thor (do the Asgardian alien gods hang out with the presumably alien Egyptian gods). No, instead they mention a location from “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” giving Calamawy a bunch of incongruous backstory.
The episode also introduces Gaspard Ulliel as a Egypto-phile Bond villain who doesn’t know Ancient Egypt stuff is magic, actually, but finally finds out. Ulliel does as well as can be expected with bad writing and bad direction.
Sadly, this episode doesn’t have any great Hawke “rising above the material” scenes. It has him not drowning in it, but nothing more.
At least it’s only six episodes.