Moon Knight Episode 5 Recap, “Asylum”

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac in moon knight
screenshot: Disney +

How do you make an origin story when its storytelling tropes have gotten too rickety to do without sounding lazy—or worse yet, non-fictional?

If you are the team behind moon knight, you have to do it five episodes in that series of the same title. Oh, and instead of accurately presenting said origin story, I instead decided to break it down and encapsulate it into a mind-boggling scenario. And you have to give it to the show, the gamble pays off. As a tight episode of sorts, this visit to a psychological minefield in a psych ward was a great way to help color in some of Mark and Stephen’s dramatic stories as we prepared for what promises to be an exciting third chapter.

But maybe we should start with the first bomb that fell at the top of the episode: “I’m afraid you’re already dead.” There is no other way to get around it. Yes, our shattered hero has been shot and now finds himself in the afterlife. Well, not quite, like Taweret (the hippopotamus goddess who We all freaked out last week) Shows: a after life. There’s a lot and Stephen and Mark (“So are you two twins?” “Well, sort of…”) find themselves in the realm of Duat, the Egyptian underworld.

Now, why does it look like a psych ward (they couldn’t handle it Really It sounds) simple: “We’re crazy,” Mark deadpans.

As a narrative conceit, though, putting Mark and Stephen squarely in a psych ward where their memories are stored and where they must wrestle with common pain and shame if they ever hope to return to the land of the living in time to stop Harrow and save Lily, is actually pretty genius . Is it a narrative shorthand to make a story through the greatest shockwaves? certainly. But given the show’s attention (however slight) to mental health and the ways in which we develop coping mechanisms to deal with what we’d rather forget, it’s no surprise that you have moon knight It becomes a divided psychodrama along the lines of Nolan.

This setup also means we covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Brother’s death! A hateful mother! Deliberate dismissal! Mercenary strike went wrong! Faustian deal for an Egyptian god! Shiva finally breaks our hero’s weak grip on his divided reality! Fight with sandy zombies! And in the end a heartbreaking self-sacrifice!

Thus, while at the narrative level, we got the missing puzzle pieces that allow us to get a complete picture of Mark (and more than that, who Stephen is), what worked best for me was the psychological way the perception of the wing mingled with the weight of the legends of the heart, allowing the view By bringing two main themes together. Namely: How can we do good when we’re broken?

Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke in moon knight
screenshot: Disney +

moon knight, Between Harrow’s philosophical musings about Amit’s relationship and Mark’s tormented relationship with Honcho and Stephen, a story has set up for itself that hinges on our notions of justice and links it to mental health issues. Mark, as we know, was horribly wounded by the death of his brother and his mother’s dark anger. Is that what made him such a perfect avatar for Koncho? It was his “broken mind” that so deeply mesmerized God, after all. This raises questions about why one might feel it appropriate that a “revenge fist” should be welcome. Does justice, as Khuncho imagines it, require one to deviate from his passions? What would it look like if/when Mark finds himself whole and reunites with Khuncho? Could healing lead to a fairer kind of justice?

The answers will likely be in the future. In the meantime, let us find some desired calm in the field of reeds as the calming tone tempts us to think that we have come, as the song played at the end suggests, to the house we know on the other side of the sun. until then!

stray notes

  • Just as I paid tribute to F. Murray Abraham’s voice work for Khonshu, I have to take the time to stress how refreshing it was to have Taweret Antonia Cross in the mix. For a show that has continued to take the line between harsh psychological and mythological drama and straightforward comedy, it was great to have her tender voice bring Taweret to life and give us some welcoming flair. There’s a brief moment when Taweret licks her lips as she prepares to announce something to Mark and Stephen that I haven’t thought of since I’ve seen him.
  • Talk about welcoming elevation. This episode may have leaned too heavily on ruthless family drama/trauma, but it was also, unsurprisingly, a really funny take on the friendly comedy. Isaac, of course, hits pretty well with himself (and with a cross) but it was great to watch Stephen and Mark wrestle with each other before, well, we figured out exactly the answer to such a question.
  • Well, for the most part, Isaac paternity trap– Works really well all the time; It helps that Mark and Stephen rarely interact physically. Except for that punch that… the less talked about, the better (read: it was the one moment that really got me out).
  • back Tomb Buster! It makes sense why we only showed one clip a few episodes ago; It wasn’t just a chance for moon knight a crew to craft a parody; We were poised for a twist at the heart of this episode.
  • So maybe it’s because we’ve been switching between the psych suite and elsewhere, but I guess we finally need to talk about just how dark the show is? Like, it’s not “Wayne’s Parents Kill Again” dark but Really dark. I know it comes with territory. We’re in caves and tombs and deserts at night and in oppressive wood-panelled houses, but surely there are ways to light up those spaces so I don’t have a hard time trying to figure out what’s going on? I coughed those moments into my own home setting (which, honestly, might be the case) but was especially distracted in this episode during that one scene. You know the one. Perhaps that’s why I loved the psychological ward scenes; I didn’t have to scrutinize to enjoy it.