Episode Analysis Moon Knight: The Goldfish Problem
Moon Knight's first episode comes out of the gate strong. Read about how the acting, directing, and editing deftly sell the story of this new member of the MCU.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for all of the MCU, the first episode of Moon Knight, and some comics spoilers about Moon Knight including what’s the deal with Steven and Marc. (Granted nothing that hasn’t already been covered by promo material, but I know some still consider that spoilery.) Read at your own risk.
Y’all, I have such trust issues.
I liked episode one of Moon Knight. I really liked episode 1 of Moon Knight. The Goldfish Problem was really well done and had such great work going on in editing and acting and directing and I HAVE BEEN BURNED BEFORE AND I HAVE PROBLEMS TRUSTING AGAIN.
Looking at you, Lovecraft Country.
(I really need to do that writeup one of these days.)
Anyway, episode 1 of Moon Knight was so well done honestly I’m wondering if I hallucinated it. Because it’s not only a good quality episode as a concept but it is leagues better in quality from anything else the Disney+ MCU has done so far. And I’m not throwing shade on all of the shows! As you know, I liked Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye. And WandaVision and What If...? had their moments albeit also with episodes and moments that totally threw all of their best efforts at a solid grade right into the nearest toilet but still!
Obviously the less said about Loki the better but either way, we’ve had enough of the MCU Disney+ shows, especially the live action ones, to have a general feel of the level of the room. Like Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye stand out not because they are necessarily the greatest TV ever created since the dawn of the medium but for turning in fairly solid work given clearly limited budgets and resources (compared proportionately to their movie counterparts, that is).
Moon Knight, on the other hand, feels movie-level to me. And I don’t know if that’s because it was given a bigger budget, which would surprise me since this is a new to the MCU character, or maybe because the show had a bigger lead time than, say, WandaVision and thus could learn from the other shows how to do things better in the Disney+ system.
Plus not for nothing but a lot of the failures of some of the shows, including WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, were due to COVID screwing up production. Possibly Moon Knight is benefiting from filming so far along during the pandemic they knew how to handle the protocols to get the job done instead of learning as they went (which the other shows all needed to do).
Regardless, one of the things which stands out to me is that, if The Goldfish Problem is any indication (there’s my trust issues again), there is a very good team working on this show. There’s a lot of handoffs here between writing, acting, directing, and editing which are seriously well done and working to sell this story. And that’s skills and talent that’s coming from the people involved so maybe Disney+ happened to hire really well this time around?
I don’t know. But I know I loved this episode and oh god this review is going to age like milk, isn’t it? I’m going to hit episode 6 and be crying about how the fuck did they make Loki look better in comparison and I HAVE SUCH TRUST ISSUES, YOU GUYS.
Okay. We’re grounding ourselves and living in the present. Let’s talk about The Goldfish Problem, and Moon Knight, and how the show is doing a great job of selling a character dealing with (spoiler alert) some form of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The Many Personalities Of Moon Knight
I’m not going to get into the full comics history here because traditionally the MCU puts its own spin on the comics characters, as well it should. But among the core concepts of Moon Knight, much as how “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” is a core concept for Tony Stark, is that the character has Dissociative Identity Disorder. (Another is that the character is Jewish, but we’ll get to that in a bit.)
Now comics are comics which means that characters with Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID, are fairly thick on the ground, especially compared to their real world counterparts. Notable Marvel characters with it include Bruce Banner/Hulk and David Haller/Legion. Marvel comics want to first and foremost tell stories about superheroes, though, so the practical, real world concerns of things like DID are often put to the wayside in lieu of what the writer thinks makes for a better story. Hence storylines which go back and forth on debating if a character actually has DID, what caused the DID if they do have it, and so on.
Moon Knight is no exception. I’ll stay away from the details on the odd chance the comics turn out to be spoilery for the show but suffice it to say that in the comics Moon Knight’s situation has been explained as everything from proper DID as would be acknowledged in the DSM to saying they aren’t personalities but rather aliases he acts out, to handwavey comic book reality things that I won’t get more specific on in case it’s a spoiler. (I have no insight here as to if it is, I’m just being cautious.)
We also know that traditionally Marvel media also feels free to play fast and loose with DID when it comes to live action. Hence things like why MCU Bruce Banner has never clarified if Hulk is a separate personality and also a cut scene from Ragnarok which implies Bruce and his dad had a fairly good relationship which, uh, no. Just trust me on that one.
(And this isn’t even getting into how the TV show of Legion removed David’s multiple personalities entirely which is one of the things about that show I’m still bitter about, thanks for asking.)
So Moon Knight’s handling in the comics may have no resemblance to what’s done in the show. But what we do know is that, at least out of the gate, they’re treating Moon Knight’s situation as Dissociative Identity Disorder since Oscar Isaac confirmed that and said that he and the show did the research and prep work that they could to try to portray DID properly.
Now this is TV and a superhero show so it’ll remain to be seen if they stick this dismount. But what little hints we got in episode 1 give me hope.
Regardless of the explanation for what’s going on, one of the challenges Oscar Isaac is dealing with in this role is portraying the different personalities. I freely confess this is the kind of thing I love in live action media when it is done well. Whether it’s one actor playing multiple characters who look like them or multiple actors having to portray each other, I eat this kind of thing up with a spoon.
But! The catch is that it has to be done well. And this is when many actors fail.
See while the job for all actors is to know how to portray different people, all too often when it comes to portraying multiple people in the same show you have actors who make the mistake of thinking they need to play characters in broad, almost cartoonish strokes so that the audience understands who is on screen at any time.
This is to say nothing of actors who can’t come up with ways to portray the characters or personalities as their own people, rather than a stereotype of a concept. And I’m sorry but here I’m going to point to Diane Guerrero on Doom Patrol as being an example of what not to do. Granted I only watched the first season so maybe she got better, but one of the reasons why I stopped watching was because it was painful to see her act out Jane’s various personalities so badly. It was very much “My First Acting Class On Pretending To Be X” type stuff and nothing that felt like true character work. Which is to say a lot of “I’m doing an accent now, I am! Listen to me being British!” and “And now I am a vewwy widdle baby goo ga go!’ type stuff and no. Just no.
I get that Jane was particularly hard given the sheer number of her personalities but if you’re not up for the challenge don’t take the job, sorry not sorry.
Conversely the deity among us mere mortals when it comes to this is none other than our future She-Hulk, Tatiana Maslany. Granted over on Orphan Black she was portraying clones and not personalities, but the work required of her was the same: she had to make each character distinct from one another while also believably portraying the clones pretending to be one another. Tatiana’s work here was a god damn master class and there’s a reason why she deserved not only the Emmy she won but far more besides. To give an idea, her acting was so brilliant that you could even tell when it was Rachel pretending to be Sarah vs Allison pretending to be Sarah based on subtle things like how she held herself and how she pronounced a vowel. Like that is layers, my friend, and she managed it while making it believable.
With Tatiana as our eternal bar which other actors must strive towards, I will say in all honesty that so far I think Oscar’s doing very well. Granted we’ve mostly only seen Steven so far so we can’t truly judge. But first up Oscar’s doing a good job of making Steven believable. Yes, he’s awkward and has an accent different from Oscar’s own, but Steven still feels lived in and real. He’s not “An Actor Portrays A Nerdy Loser.” I came out of this episode feeling very fond of Steven and wanting to give him a hug and if anything happened to him I’d kill everyone in this room and then myself.
Marc, on the other hand, we’ve only glimpsed but even so the glimpses are promising. When Marc is talking to Steven in the museum bathroom you can see he holds himself differently than Steven does in every part of his body. And again, the way he does this feels natural, not Audience Please Note I Am Someone New.
You then also get the challenge of moments when Marc hasn’t fully taken over but is influencing Steven. The obvious is when Marc wouldn’t let Steven hand over the scarab in the village but this was still great work on Oscar’s part to sell the idea that Steven was incapable of opening his hand. Here Oscar not only had to convey being unable to open his hand but being unable to do it because someone we can’t see is keeping it closed. This again could’ve been very cartoonish and over the top but instead it was sold as an actual internal struggle.
But more subtlety, and I think/hope will be part of many moments that resonate more when rewatched after the end of the six episodes, was when Arthur Harrow was up close and personal to do the scale test. Because if you watch Oscar’s face closely there’s a lot going on in that moment both with Steven’s fear and uncertainty but also glimpses of solidness and courage and accepting of a challenge which I suspect was Oscar showing Marc poking through.
There are also aspects of how the Steven/Marc dynamic is being handled which I suspect are the influence of Oscar and the team doing their homework. Once again in this I am the guy in the bus in Shang-Chi but having done work in abnormal psych and met people with DID there are certain things I see the show doing which ring true to what I know.
For example, Steven is clearly used to adapting to day to day encounters where he doesn’t know what’s going on. When the woman at the museum asks about steak night he expresses some puzzlement but doesn’t take the full step to flat out say he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. He makes one attempt to ask if she is asking him on a date but when that goes nowhere he quickly drops it. This is a not uncommon adaptation for people with all kinds of problems involving information and memory retention where, sadly, it’s often easier to smile and nod than keep asking if people can clarify and repeat things. (And that one I do know personally.)
And while we don’t yet know the full setup of how things work, we are seeing that Steven is very cut off from information up to and including that he might not be the only personality. This is handled nicely in moment such as when Konshu tells Steven to hand over the body to Marc. Lesser actors and writers would’ve immediately had Steven jump to the meta knowledge that this must mean there’s an alternate personality. Moon Knight, on the other hand, wisely remembers that for most people being told to “surrender the body” would make them think of something outside of themselves. And indeed Oscar as Steven looks around clearly worried that there’s a dead body somewhere he’s supposed to be doing something with.
Again, very early to say but it’s notes of thoughtfulness and authenticity which gives me hope.
So acting’s one of the key parts of portraying more than one personality in the same show. The other is how the show sells it, and so far they’re doing well in that regard too.
How Production on Moon Knight Sells the Story
Having recently finished a lengthy treatise on, among other things, how bad editing can ruin a project, I want to thank Moon Knight for providing an example of what good editing can do, especially when it is paired with good directing.
One of the things I’m liking about Moon Knight is that there are a lot of details which are being provided to the audience to tell the story without hitting us over the head with them. An obvious example is when Steven enters the center of that village he later needs to escape from. During the establishing shots the audience sees a food truck in the background. The camera doesn’t linger on the truck to make us go “Look! Notice this! It will be important later!!” Instead the truck is painted in bright colors so that it stands out enough for the audience to be aware of it without being distracted by it. When Steven steals it later the audience isn’t confused about where the truck came from. The information was given organically.
Likewise there are things like the sand around Steven’s bed. When we first see it we wonder why it’s there, but instead of having Steven say out loud - perhaps to his metallic friend - “And as you know, Bob, I keep sand around my bed as a way of letting me know if I went somewhere during the night.” instead they later give us a scene of Steven brushing away his footprint from when he woke up that morning. The information is there, but we’re not hit over the head with it.
Subtle storytelling like this is especially important in a show like Moon Knight seems to be which is one that is leaning on visuals and edits to sell us on the idea of an unreliable narrator. In addition to it simply being nice that the show is treating the audience as intelligent enough to notice a truck without lingering on it, it’s also what the show is doing because we are in a very tight Steven POV right now. Steven doesn’t know what is and isn’t significant so likewise the show can’t tell us that either. It’s putting us in the position that Steven is where the world doesn’t come with helpful neon signs saying “This is a clue! Pay attention to me!”
In turn this teaches us that we can’t take anything for granted. Yes, we see Steven wiping his footprint away in that sand but is that the full story of the sand? The circle around his bed seemed almost talismanic. Maybe there’s more going on there. Maybe it’s something Marc has reasons for doing which have nothing to do with Steven’s. Maybe this is something else entirely, and so on.
This lack of lampshading things is something that would get set up by the showrunner and/or director, and in Disney+ shows those tend to be the same thing so props to Mohamed Diab for having the deft hand, possibly in combination with Jeremy Slater who looks to be Moon Knight’s head writer, for all intents and purposes. (Gotta love how they get around those titles on these Disney+ shows, eh?)
But once the concept of an unreliable narrator where the audience can never be sure what is and isn’t significant is started, you need the acting, filming, and editing to bring it home. We’ve already covered Oscar’s acting. For filming and editing watch the episode and notice things like when is the camera still and when does it wobble? When are we looking at characters like we might in any TV show or movie and when are we looking at them from odd angles or positions? The sequence of Arthur finding Steven at the museum, and then Steven being attacked by the dog later that night, are good examples of how the placement and steadiness of the camera tell the story of how safe Steven feels or how solid reality is to him in that moment.
Then pair this with the edits: when do the edits come in? When do they cut the footage and what do they cut to? Jump cuts from when Steven goes away and Marc takes over are obvious, but consider things like speed and number of edits vs lengthy shots. Unlike 2021’s West Side Story where the edits were at best pointless and at worst actively taking away from the scene, here we’re seeing edits done very mindfully.
For example watch the fight in the truck again. There’s a long shot when the bad guy climbs into the back and comes to the front to fight with Steven, then rapid cuts to sell the idea that Steven’s awareness of the world is snatched away from him without his control. Then we - and Steven - pop back in to slower, longer shots as he wakes up without knowing what happened or what he’s supposed to do right now.
All of which combines into a technique I’m personally very fond of, which is shows and movies which take advantage of the unspoken visual language of this kind of storytelling to play on the audience’s assumptions. For example, if we see a shot of a character looking thoughtful, then cut to a shot of the view of a park, we assume that the character is having thoughts while looking at the park. Possibly about the park itself or the people in it. And normally this is a, for lack of a better word, correct assumption. There’s a reason why these visual shorthands exist, not the least of which is that you can never guarantee that the day you got good footage of the park is the same day you were able to film the actor looking thoughtful.
But when handled well these assumptions can play on audience expectations and tell a solid story. Examples of which include Fight Club and The Sixth Sense. Both of those movies play on audience assumptions about how visuals work to tell stories which have unexpected endings.
The key, though, is that the story has to be honest in and of itself. It has to stand up to being watched again, knowing the surprise, and realizing that the information was there all along. The audience assumptions aren't false they just aren't the complete truth. It’s the difference between deft handling of visual language to its fullest potential vs playing dirty tricks by withholding information.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that M. Night Shyamalan, when he was good, was a master at this. The Sixth Sense is a movie-long example of working audience assumptions to believe they’re seeing one thing when actually they’re seeing another. M. Night was very good at using visuals in particular to nudge the audience into thinking they knew what they were seeing, or getting them to dread what they might see, and oh it’s a shame I have to keep using the past tense here but man the good days for M. Night were nice while they lasted.
(Note to self: At some point do a writeup of why the alien video scene in Signs works so well.)
(Wait - holy shit that movie is TWENTY YEARS OLD. How. HOW????)
Bringing this back to Moon Knight, when we have things we can pick up on right away like the truck in the background and the edits in the fight scene, we can then start to wonder about what else are we making assumptions about? For example - and again I have no spoilers here - but every time we see Steven communicating with his mum we never hear her. Is her voice mail a narrative device to let Steven monologue some exposition or is it possible “mum” doesn’t actually exist? Steven tells us she’s the one sending the post cards but if Steven’s not a reliable narrator maybe that’s not true either.
Likewise notice how often Steven talks to people who don’t talk back. His mum is one, but his metallic friend is another. Is the metallic friend real? We saw the couple ask for a picture but maybe this is actually a statue that Steven has been treating like a person. When he reminded them about a tip maybe the couple thought it was a tip for him in exchange for taking their picture.
(Though Steven, at least from his point of view, reminding people to tip his friend is something that made me love him. As someone who used to rely on tips from tourists to live Steven gained beaucoup respect from me for that one.)
Also, given that we know Steven frequently blanks out on things, who’s to say the metallic friend isn’t talking back to him but Steven’s not the one who gets to hear it?
Again I have no spoilers here but you start to get the idea. The show is doing a lot of things consistently which offer great possibility for where our unreliable narrator is going to take us. Whether or not these things are going to turn into reveals, they work in and of themselves to put us in a place of questioning everything about Steven’s world the same way that he is. And if they do turn into reveals, they’re being told with a consistent enough language that the setup is there and it won’t be a cheat.
(I hope. I HOPE. God I hate my trust issues. DAMN YOU, LOVECRAFT COUNTRY!)
Anyway on to the final big thing we need to address, which is Moon Knight’s religion.
On Moon Knight Being Jewish
Sadly there’s not much to talk about here just yet but I didn’t want the first article about the show to go by without discussing how the character of Moon Knight is Jewish and that is important to who he is as a character.
Warnings for not insignificant comics spoilers at that link (assuming the show follows the comics, of course) but the non-spoilery takeaway is that in the comics Moon Knight is not only Jewish but his father is a rabbi. Moon Knight’s relationship with his religion and his father, then, are key components in shaping who he was and became as a hero.
Given that the MCU thus far has had a horrible track record with characters who are Jewish in the comics - the cross necklace Wanda, who should have been both Jewish and Romani, owned in Civil War being a very notable low light - there has been understandable concern about how Moon Knight’s Jewish heritage would be handled in the show.
Mohamed Diab has gone on the record as saying people concerned about this “will be pleased” but in a world where another notable Jewish comics character got her own TV show with what could at best be described as blink and you’ll miss them references to her religion and a showrunner who actually said the character’s religion was “not a huge thing” for her, well suffice it to say the bar for what is considered good Jewish representation in the live action superhero genre is not that high. In other words, what Mohamed Diab and the rest of the people involved with Moon Knight think of as pleasing may not resemble actually good representation.
Things are so sad on this front that by the end of the first episode of Moon Knight the best I could say is whelp, they didn’t say he’s not Jewish. No cross accessories for Steven, at the very least, which means that in one episode out of six it at least has Wanda Maximoff’s handling beat.
But on the other hand in his cluttered apartment neither did we see any hints that Steven could be Jewish either. And when I say this remember that I was one of the few people in all of the online discourse about Hawkeye who peeped that Kate’s aunt had a mezuzah on her doorway so I’ve got a good track record when the stuff is there to find.
Further complicating things is, once again, our unreliable narrator. For instance one thing we’re told about Steven is that he’s a vegan, which could have simply been a way to set up how bad he was feeling later when he agreed to eat a steak. But, much like other things which could be playing on audience assumptions, perhaps we were told he was vegan as a way to get around making it obvious that Steven also keeps Kosher. For instance, a vegan’s not going to order a ham sandwich anymore than someone keeping Kosher would.
Why would they need to hide Steven being Jewish? I don’t know. But this is a show where a lot of things are being hidden both from Steven and the audience we can’t rule out that religion is among those things.
There’s also the issue - and here I’m not speaking of spoilers but rather concepts in real life Dissociative Identity Disorder - where its not unheard of for different personalities to have different religious beliefs. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the reason why Steven’s apartment doesn’t show signs of him being Jewish is because Steven’s not Jewish but Marc is. Or perhaps Marc has more control over the apartment than Steven or the audience realizes and Marc’s not Jewish but Steven is.
So yeah. Sadly too early to say and unfortunately there’s a lot of reasons why it would actually make sense for religion to be given the same treatment as everything else going on in Steven’s life. But at the same time the show Moon Knight is going to have to work hard to prove that it understands the importance of Judaism to the character by the time the last episode airs. In the words of Nick Fury, I’ve got my eye on this.
As always, things that don’t fit anywhere else:
- Costuming and color story are among the things that are too early to draw any conclusions about. But what I’ve seen so far of Meghan Kasperlik’s work here gives me hope. It’s very basic so far but for example Arthur Harrow wears all red and his hench people have the same red in their outfits, thus providing an easy visual cue for the audience to know who is on Arthur’s side in a crowd scene like the village. Obviously Oscar Isaac is frequently put in shades of white, grey, black, and sand but there seems to be a consistency to when we see him and others in dark blue. For example he and the people around him are wearing it when Steven wakes up in the bus and spots Konshu out on the street. The shade of blue is too alike for it to feel like a coincidence, so I’m curious to see how this plays out.
- Related, in the scenes of Steven in his date night outfit, if you look carefully the black of his shirt doesn’t match the black of his pants. I have no idea if that was a deliberate costuming choice to indicate that even when he seems to match Steven doesn’t have his life together but oh man do I hope that’s the case.
- Back on the topic of directing, I appreciated how this show worked with a sense of unease and dread. For example when Steven is talking about avatars being the James Cameron movie or the cartoon show those exact same lines could’ve easily been delivered in standard MCU “quippy” fashion. Instead it was played serious, showing how Steven is so terrified that he’s babbling. I don’t hate the classic MCU quips but there’s a time and a place and this show wisely decided this was neither.
- Among the things that left me scratching my head as possibly bad or possibly things that will be explained later was how Arthur walked once he had the broken glass in his shoes. First up why is he putting broken glass in shoes that are made of wicker and have an open back besides? Is the point that the glass is going to fall out as he moves? But more to the point is that Ethan did not act like anything he was doing was painful. We only knew the glass was still in there because the Foley artists made sure we heard it crunching. So was this Ethan making a bad acting choice or was this telling us that Arthur is so used to having broken glass in his shoes he doesn’t even notice it anymore?
- Other head scratchers: Layla knows enough about Marc to know the guy’s got some kind of special burner phone and that he could’ve been dead for months but when a guy with a different accent flat out tells her he randomly found this phone in his apartment she doesn’t shut up and realize she’s not talking to the right person? I get that maybe she was initially running on shock and adrenaline from someone being on the other line at all but simplest explanation that some rando found Marc’s abandoned phone is the most likely one. Right now this kind of exists in contrast to Steven assuming Konshu meant a physical body on the ground somewhere. Layla seems to be coming from a meta knowledge of how the guy on the other end of the phone at least looks like Oscar Isaac even if he’s not going by “Marc.” Granted, maybe this will be explained later.
- I’m not joking about how everything about Steven’s personality makes me want to give him a hug and take him out for tea while he talks about Egyptian gods and and history to me. The type of character Steven is shown as being could have very easily veered into painful nerd or Nice Guy [tm] stereotypes, to say nothing of We’re Showing An Autistic Character But We’re Not Going to Say Autism So Nobody Can Accuse Us Of Doing It Wrong. Instead Steven felt like a real person and not an actor conveying broad personality types. This is a totally different type of character but, again comparing it to the GOAT, it reminds me of how Krystal on Orphan Black could’ve easily been a one note joke but Tatiana’s portrayal made her a person.
- Steven being so sweet made me hate that waiter on his behalf. You give him a filet and when he doesn’t know how he wants it you say well done? If somebody asks for well done that’s one thing. But a good waiter at a steak house of all places would never come out of the gate assuming well done for any cut of steak and especially not for something as delicate as a filet. I know London doesn’t have the tipping culture that the US does but man I hope Marc took over when it came time to pay the bill because we know Steven makes sure good tips are left and this waiter doesn’t deserve one. Jerk.
- (I have no idea if Marc doesn’t tip well or not, I just know Steven does care about tipping and thus would be likely to do so regardless.)
- Speaking of Marc as a person, I saw someone online say that the audience can clearly conclude Marc is kind and caring because he tried to replace Steven’s fish so Steven wouldn’t be upset by the loss. Personally I think our hint that Marc might be nice is that, even when Marc buys a new fish to cover his tracks, he doesn’t rip the fin off the replacement one so Steven doesn’t notice the slip-up.
- The fish was also a great bit of subtle storytelling, particularly since it played on audience knowledge based on this being a Disney+ show. Anybody who has shelled out money for Disney+ is likely to be familiar with Finding Nemo and how Nemo had a smaller fin. So, when we hear that Steven’s fish has missing fin at the beginning of the show, we assume its a Finding Nemo related Easter Egg and move on with our lives. It’s not until later when Steven, and we, see the new fish with two fins that the information comes back to us as having been significant. It’s like the move they did with the brightly colored truck all over again. Chef’s kiss.
- I also liked how in the Staying Awake montage they used the slow build to make you realize that the concepts of solving a puzzle or imagining yourself in a story applied to Steven as a person as much as they did to exercises to keep from falling asleep. That’s another moment where I feel like lesser shows would’ve hit the audience over the head with it.
- I liked the stunt work of the guy jumping into the back of the van. You can tell they had fun with going okay, we’ve got some boxes, what could we do with them to make this scene interesting? Granted the green screen was obvious, as was how at one point it was somebody throwing empty boxes into frame, but it was still enjoyable to watch. Olivier Schneider is the stunt coordinator so tip of the hat to him and his team.
- Not for nothing but we got shots of Ethan Hawke and then Oscar Isaac’s bare feet in rapid succession. Maybe there was a reason for this but hopefully that reason is not that this show is secretly being directed by Quentin Tarantino.
- Look, I love the MCU Disney+ shows as much as the next person, in some cases more, but nothing tells you how low they rank in the required MCU canon like how the Marvel Studios logo keeps getting updated without them. We’ve got the Eternals in there now but not Wanda and Sam in their new costumes? Kate Bishop at all? Multiverse of Madness is going to be here before we know it and I’m just saying between that and how much Loki had exactly zero to do with Spider-Man: No Way Home don’t set yourself up for disappointment about how much of these shows is going to appear on the big screen, okay? Enjoy what you get, is all.
- Steven looking into the three way mirror before his date was slightly on the nose given the DID issue, but on the other hand it did lay groundwork for how often mirrors and reflections became part of the storytelling once Marc finally spoke to Steven in the bathroom mirror at home. So I forgive it in the aggregate and also tip my hat to whoever had the job of keeping track of how many reflections were in each scene and which ones were proper reflections and which ones weren’t.
- Other things that, like Steven’s mum never talking on the phone, made me go hmmm: the security guard JB claims to be talking to his own mother at one point. Also Steven’s apartment is pretty large for a museum shop clerk who lives in London so that’s either Hollywood Real Estate rules or a hint that Steven (or Marc) has access to more money than a shop clerk would.
- I wonder how much they had to pay/do to convince the British Museum to let them imply their security guards are shitty and none of the museum pieces are protected by glass or alarms
- I absolutely loved the shot of Steven talking to Marc in the bathroom mirror while you saw the imprint of the hound beating the door in in the background of the reflection. That was such a great way to build tension, as well as keep selling the idea that Steven can never be sure whether what he sees is real.
- I saw somebody speculate that perhaps a future episode will show us all of the events from episode 1 but from Marc’s point of view. On the one hand I actually like this tight Steven POV where we don’t know any more than he does but on the other hand it would be an interesting challenge to see if the show can prove it kept internal consistency in how it told the story. So I wouldn’t request it if they asked me but I wouldn’t be horrified at them offering it either.
- Direct quote from my notes as I watched: “Ankle restraints as the definition of a red flag depends on the girl but this joke is low hanging fruit so I probably won’t include it in the recap.” Which seems as good a place to end this as any. Ahem.
And that does it for now! I remain cautiously optimistic about Moon Knight. I really liked it but oh god my trust issues. Don’t screw me over, show. I’m rooting for you!
With that I’ll see you next week. Thanks for reading!
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