Moon Knight (2022) s01e05 – Asylum

Some of this episode of “Moon Knight” is the best written the series has been. There’s also an all CGI Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility who’s an anthropomorphic hippopotamus and is absolutely adorable and should have her own show. Voiced by Antonia Salib, the character should’ve narrated “Moon Knight” or something. It’d have made the show a lot more entertaining.

So, even though there’s the adorable CGI hippo lady and some compelling writing, it’s also definitionally the least exciting episode of the show so far. As Ethan Hawke brings about the end of the world in the real world, Oscar Isaac—both versions, the angry mercenary, and the hapless Brit—are on Salib’s sail barge in the Egyptian underworld. They’re dead and on their way to the afterlife, which will be Hell if angry Isaac doesn’t tell hapless Isaac all their life secrets via interactive flashbacks. At some point in the episode, everyone decides it’d be better if Salib helps resurrect Isaac so he can save the world—“Moon Knight”’s best punchline at this point would be Isaac being too late but Thanos’s snap foiling Hawke’s plan.

How will Isaac get back to life? Unclear because he’s still got to go through his flashbacks. Instead, hippo goddess Salib is going to get a message to May Calamawy (who does not appear in this episode) in the real world and tell her to free F. Murray Abraham from his statue prison, which would require her to break into the Great Pyramid of Giza and defeat the Egyptian gods in doing so. Abraham will then be able to resurrect Isaac or something. This part of the episode is not the better-written part of the episode. Quite the opposite. Especially since they rush through it because they know it’s hurried nonsense.

“Moon Knight”’s also only got one episode left, which means… whatever happens when Isaac saves the Marvel Cinematic Universe next time isn’t going to be elaborate. There’s just not time for it. The only thing it’s guaranteed to be is disappointing. Because even the hippo lady ends up being disappointing. She’s not in the episode anywhere near enough, and the opening suggests she’s a bait and switch, something to get you back for yet another tedious entry. Because while Isaac and Isaac are journeying through flashbacks to reveal the truth, one or the other Isaac is also “leaping” to the delusion where Hawke’s a psychiatrist trying to help Isaac with his problems and not a C-tier Marvel villain.

Now, Hawke’s still great, and his getup this episode, which hapless Isaac describes as “Ned Flanders,” also reminds of Stan Lee. Hawke should do a Stan Lee biopic. And Isaac’s also great. At times. That “series best” writing is just giving Isaac enough to act off, especially since he Parent Traps it through most of the episode; sometimes, there are two great Isaac performances at once. Not often; usually, it’s one or the other (for some reason, hapless Isaac’s a little taller than angry Isaac), but sometimes.

The flashbacks focus on Isaac’s abusive mother, Fernanda Andrade (sort of), and she’s a one-note movie harpy mom. Dad Rey Lucas makes more of an impression, but only because he’s costumed to look like Rick Moranis, which would’ve been an excellent casting get. Pointless, but at least amusing.

Abraham, who sat out last episode, has one scene this time, and he’s terrible as always. His casting is another one of “Moon Knight”’s bewildering questions, along with how’d such a boring show get greenlighted and why’d they hire Mohamed Diab to direct any of it. At least there aren’t any fight scenes for Diab to screw up, but still. It’s a profoundly pointless production.

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