Moon Knight (2022) s01e06 – Gods and Monsters

So, “Moon Knight” finishes considerably worse than expected. It’s got a bad ending, but the ending isn’t anywhere near the biggest problem. It’s got some—well, a—a missed opportunity. They underuse Antonia Salib’s character, who only appears in a couple scenes, one in long shot, but talks to May Calamawy through corpses and then her body, never appearing. It’d have been cool if Salib’s hippo goddess had appeared and Calamawy had gotten to interact with her.

Instead, Calamawy mugs her way through a superhero origin scene, and, wow, is she terrible. Calamawy’s superhero arc in this episode is easily the most successful thing, even though it’s absolutely pointless because director Mohamed Diab is even worse at directing two good guys fighting a bad guy than he is one-to-one. He’s so bad. So, so bad.

And if Diab’s direction weren’t terrible, the episode might squeak by, even with the execrable writing (credited to Jeremy Slater, Peter Cameron, and Sabir Pirzada). Diab manages to make a kaiju fight boring, which is never a good sign. Admittedly, he’s got talking kaiju—F. Murray Abraham’s bird god and his nemesis, a crocodile god, voiced by Saba Mubarak—and the performances are ghastly. Abraham’s not good in “Moon Knight,” he’s particularly bad in this episode, but he’s at least got some personality. Mubarak’s just as bad, with absolutely none. She does get some of the worst writing I’ve sat through in a while; I do need to be fair on that point. It would take one hell of a performance to get through that dialogue. Not even Ethan Hawke can rise above the material like usual this time. He ends up covered in Slater, Cameron, and Pirzada’s excrement, too, dripping off of him, line by line.

But he’s not atrocious. Abraham and Mubarak are atrocious, and, frankly, whoever directed their performances is incompetent. Diab or whoever. They’re voice performances. Have them do it again until it’s not terrible. Hell, hire a random person off the street. Hell, use Siri. Like, anything would be better.

Actually, given Mubarak implies she at least likes Abraham enough for them to be co-rulers of the world, do it funny. Get a couple to do it. Make it a bit. Something. Anything. Anything with some personality. But no. Because it’s “Moon Knight,” and the only personality they want is Oscar Isaac talking to himself in different voices. And even then, not too much, in case he’s accidentally good, and someone wakes up long enough to realize what they’re watching.

The writing’s also incredibly lazy. It’s like they heard the “Indiana Jones doesn’t matter to Raiders’s plot” thing and thought they should ape it. How does the episode resolve the Gordian cliffhanger from last time? It’s fine; Calamawy hangs around Harrow, who takes her through the level.

In a different superhero show or movie, Calamawy might work out with her new superhero thing. She goes from zero to hero immediately; there’s no onboarding process. Less bad writing, mildly competent direction, she might work out. Not here. No, not here.

Isaac and Hawke, who have spent the series posturing like they’re developing characters, eschew such ambitions for the finale. Maybe passively; the writing eschews any acting ambitions for them. It’s worse for Hawke; Isaac’s in the franchise now, so there are limits; Hawke could’ve done something, and instead, he gets a terrible fight scene—there’s no superhero fight like Moon Knight, Hawkgirl (oops, sorry, Isis, oops, sorry, Wing Lady), and Cane Guy. It doesn’t have to be terrible because the characters are silly-looking together. Diab’s just maladroit at directing action scenes.

There are a lot of experienced actors in this show—Abraham, Hawke, Isaac; lots of years, lots of nominations (only one Oscar, but still), lots of experience. Salib acts circles them, and everyone else. With a voice performance, with maybe twenty lines. Hopefully, Hawke got a new swimming pool or something. And Isaac will get to be in New Avengers: Endgame Part II or whatever (not the A-tier, but the backup plan). But, wow, “Moon Knight” sucked.

It’s a shitty show. Like , Moon Knight’s a dull, pointless comic. But it’s a shitty TV show.

Egads, it’s a shitty TV show.