Who exactly is Layla El-Faouly? Pretty much the only star of Moon Knight who isn’t played by Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy’s character owns a backstory as interesting as any in the show so far. During episode three, we hear mention of a tomb-raiding past and a mysterious dad who sounds a lot like Indiana Jones – plus plenty of other promising hints too.
And that’s alongside her current actions too. This week she grabs a fake passport and follows body-sharing hero Marc/Steven (Isaac) and Ethan Hawke villain Arthur Harrow to Egypt, joining the race to find ancient crocodile goddess Ammit’s tomb. There we find Marc beating up kids on the rooftops of Cairo. Briefly catching dissociative identity Steven in the reflection of a shiny machete blade, his consciousness skips in and out just in time to stop Steven hijacking their body and catching the first flight back to London.
With Marc in control of the host body, we’re now seeing a reverse of the setup from the first two episodes – with Steven able to jump in and take control whenever things get hairy. “If you’ve got a problem with the body count I suggest you stop listening to that stupid pigeon!” he yells from a wing mirror, back in Ricky Gervais/Russell Brand mode.
At one point, Steven annoys bird-god puppeteer Khonshu (through whom Marc wields an awesome power) enough for him to kick things up a notch – signalling the council of Egyptian gods with a solar eclipse and opening up a portal to a cosmic courtroom in the middle of the Great Pyramid.
Other big bads Horus, Isis, Tefnut, Osiris and Hathor all show up via their own avatars, and Khonshu brings his charges against Harrow (Ethan Hawke), who also gets magicked into the dock. It’s pretty clear that Harrow is, in fact, trying to summon up an ancient doomsday crocodile demon, but all the god jury see is just how crazy Khonshu is – wrecking Marc/Steven’s mind with his mad energy.
Somehow, Harrow comes off like the innocent one and Khonshu gets his last warning. Yatzil, avatar of Hathor (Díana Bermudez) isn’t so sure, and she tells Marc about a secret star map that lies buried with a guy named Senfu. It’s the last clue to finding the location of Ammit’s tomb that doesn’t involve a flying scarab compass thing.
Bumping into Layla as he pokes around the black market looking for anyone who deals in ancient tombs, Marc heads off to meet shady antique dealer Anton Mogart (the great French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who sadly died this year). Mogart has Senfu’s sarcophagus on display as a garden ornament, but Harrow shows up at the same time, melting the tomb with his glowing staff.
During a tense fight scene in which Marc summons Moon Knight to crack some heads, the scraps of the map they came looking for are burned to bits. Marc tries to Sellotape them together, but realises that he needs Steven’s nerdy hieroglyphic skills to work out the puzzle.
With the map finally pieced together, the location of Ammit’s tomb is revealed – but the constellation chart will only make sense if they can see exactly what the stars looked like when the code was written. Obviously not realising that you can just look that stuff up on sites like YourSky, Khonshu rolls back the sky 2000 years to pinpoint the exact coordinates of the tomb. This is, of course, misusing his god powers and is likely to get him locked up by the immortal council.
Ending the episode imprisoned in a stone idol inside the Great Pyramid, Khonshu leaves Marc and Steven on their own as they head back into the fight with Harrow – now without the ability to call on Moon Knight for help.
- Anton Mogart is also known as Midnight Man in the comics – a master thief who often crosses paths with Moon. It’s not clear how much Marvel originally had planned for the character, or how much they’ll want to continue with after Gaspard Ulliel’s tragic death.
- Mogart’s henchman Bek briefly mentions Madripoor (and Layla’s shady past dealings in the fictional city), which is another subtle nod to the wider MCU in a show that mostly seems to exist in its own universe.
- Speaking of the MCU, how exactly does the theology of Moon Knight fit in with the weird ancient god history established in Eternals? If Khonshu, Horus, Isis, Tefnut, Osiris and Hathor exist, does that mean Ajak, Sersi, Ikaris and the others don’t? Or is there room for more than one family of ancient deities in Phase Four?
‘Moon Knight’ airs every Wednesday on Disney+