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Decoding Moon Knight Ep 4: Who's the Hippo-Faced Goddess? What Happened to Marc?

The 'Moon Knight' episode 4 had me clutching my chair in fear and confusion.

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Decoding Moon Knight Ep 4: Who's the Hippo-Faced Goddess? What Happened to Marc?
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(Warning: MAJOR spoilers for Moon Knight ahead)

The Disney+ show Moon Knight has given the audience twists and turns every episode with a setting that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones and The Mummy, but episode 4 was in a league of its own. While following the characters from London to Cairo, an ancient tomb was the natural place to end up but the last few minutes of the episode have so much to unpack and we’ll do that now….after some context.

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Recap: What Is a Moon Knight Without the Moon God?

A small recap. Oscar Isaac plays the role of Steven Grant, the geeky, charming museum gift-shop clerk who loves ancient Egypt and their gods. Steven believes he suffers from a sleep disorder to justify the fact that he often doesn't have memory of things happening around him.

Steven gains consciousness in a village in the Alps with no knowledge of how he got there. He finds an ancient Egyptian scarab on his person and people are chasing him for it. This is where he meets Harrow (Ethan Hawke), a cult leader.

Ethan Hawke as Harrow in Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Eventually, Steven finds out that the blanks in his memory (including the fact that his goldfish has an ‘extra’ fin) are caused by his alter Marc Spector ‘taking over his body’. We then find out that Marc is Khonshu’s avatar (Khonshu is the ‘god of the moon and vengeance’ and is also said to protect travelers).

Khonshu in Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

We’re also introduced to Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) an Egyptian archeologist-adjacent who is also Marc’s estranged wife. Marc Spector ‘summons the suit’ several times to become Moon Knight, who is protected by Khonshu’s powers. When Steven summons it, the result is a costume that belongs to Mr. Knight in the comics.

Steven 'summons the suit' in Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Harrow, a follower of the goddess Ammit (or Ammut), and Marc are all trying to find Ammit’s tomb. Harrow has the scarab guiding him to a location while Marc and Layla use the location indicated by a secret map. In the process of deciphering the map, Khonshu turns back the night sky (the scene is beautiful!) and the other gods imprison him in stone.

Decoding Episode 4 (Yes, Also the Hippo-Faced God)

A lot happens in the fourth episode titled ‘The Tomb’. Steven and Layla kiss (Marc is not happy about this obviously) and Steven tells her why Marc is pushing her away. Khonshu is imprisoned so the Moon Knight is no longer protected by the moon god. We find out that Marc was a potential accessory to Layla’s father's murder (which is the incident that is Moon Knight's origin in the comics).

Steven and Layla on their way to the tomb.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

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Layla and Steven come to the conclusion that Ammit's final avatar was a pharaoh. The duo then face (extremely creepy) heka priests who Layla informs were sorcerers in their time and are now tasked with protecting the mummified pharaoh (WHO by the way is Alexander the Great).

Heka priests in the fourth episode of Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The episode also opens with Osiris’ human avatar placing Khonshu’s ushabti on a wall next to many others. How many other gods have been imprisoned by the Ennead? And who are they? If the lore of Osiris and Seth has been reversed, is Seth the one who is imprisoned now? Well, maybe these ushabti are relevant to the plot of Moon Knight, maybe they’re not- we’ll find out.

Coming to the ushabti that matters. Steven reaches into Alexander’s corpse and finds Ammit’s ushabti but there’s no time to celebrate since Harrow finds him and shoots him. What follows is a mind-bending twist. We’re taken into an old-timey film ‘Tomb Busters’ which features a character named Steven Grant. Exit tape, enter a psychiatric institution where Marc is seemingly a patient.

'Steven Grant' in the 'Tomb Busters' tape Marc has.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Is It Just Happening Inside My Head?

As a viewer, you’re drawn into Marc’s psyche experiencing the same confusion and perhaps disbelief that he is. All around him, his fellow patients, are people we’ve seen on the show before including Layla. Was everything inside Marc’s head all along?

May Calamawy as 'Layla' in the institution.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Some of the other patients we see are Shaun Scott, who plays the living statue in the first episode (Steven’s confidante) and Donna (Lucy Thackeray), Steven’s boss at the museum. She’s holding a scarab plushie, maybe that’s where the golden scarab came from? And another patient draws a bird with a mask much like Khonshu’s. Marc is also tied to his wheelchair the way Steven ties himself to his bed (to prevent what he believed to be sleep walking).

Marc also has a figurine which looks like the Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Is Steven also a construct of Marc’s mind inspired by the ‘Tomb Busters’ tape he seemingly watches all the time? Another twist (and perhaps the most annoying) is that Harrow is the doctor at the institution and Marc is apparently under his care. We also see several Egyptian artifacts littered around Dr. Harrow’s office including the canopic jars Steven and Layla saw earlier in the episode.

Even the two attendants, Bobby and Billy, who haul Marc into Dr. Harrow’s office have appeared in the episodes before as the two policemen who came to arrest Steven. There’s even a picture of the Alps in the office. Marc does get out of the trance his medications have put him under and escapes the office. He soon runs into a room with a shaking sarcophagus and finds Steven (!) inside.

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Marc meeting (and hugging) Steven all but confirms two things— the entire show wasn’t inside Marc’s head and the institution is definitely not the real world since the Moon Knight has DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and Steven is an alter.

Marc meets Steven after he rescues the latter from a sarcophagus.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Is this the afterlife? It could be the path to it. We’ve seen this before in Marvel- both T’Challa and Thanos went to a different plane catered to their powers and persons. So, Marc, who told the gods that he just ‘needs help’ could have created the institution as his plane.

The Biggest Hint at Jake Lockley Yet

Marc probably has another alter— Jake Lockley. We (again, probably) haven’t seen him yet but there have been references to him across the show. There are some things, often acts of violence, that both Steven and Marc can’t explain. That one coworker who Steven doesn’t remember asking out. At first it seemed like Marc might’ve asked her out but he is pretty hung up on (and married to) Layla. And the goldfish!

Jake's existence would tie up all these loose ends and more.

A still from Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Jake is one of the alters in the comics and is a cab driver with connections to the crime world and he acts as an informant for our antihero. But Moon Knight has strayed away from the ways the alters are portrayed in the comics so Jake’s characterisation might also be different. IF that is Jake inside the rattling red sarcophagus Steven and Marc find (and ignore).

Oscaar Isaac as Marc and Steven in the fourth episode of Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Is that Jake?

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Ah Yes, the Goddess

The episode ends with Steven and Marc running into a menacing figure with a Hippopotamus head. Who is this? Well, we have also met this character earlier in the show and she was introduced by our very own Steven. This character is the goddess Taweret and we see plushies of her in the museum when Steven is put on inventory.

The Taweret plushies in Moon Knight.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

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Taweret’s ushabti can also be seen during the credit sequence with the other ushabtis (she’s in the back right). Maybe she is one of the goddesses also imprisoned by Ennead (but whyyy?)

Taweret, in mythology, is the goddess of fertility and, in many versions, rejuvenation. Taweret might be Marc and Steven’s way out of this setup since our main character did get shot and die. There is a possibility that this entire situation has been created by Harrow to defeat Marc and Taweret is here to help them (or she’s evil which I personally will hate because the ‘Hi’ was so cute!)

Steven and Marc run into the goddess Taweret.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The fun thing is that Taweret is not a deity that has ever been part of the MCU which gives the makers of Moon Knight a lot of artistic liberty with regards to her storyline. Talking about the comics again for a second, this concept of Marc waking up in an institution is directly inspired by the ‘Moon Knight: Lunatic’ volume created by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood.

A page from the Moon Knight comics.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The difference is that the ‘doctor’ is called Emmet who Marc thinks is the goddess.

Dr Emmett and Marc in a page from the Moon Knight comics.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Is Layla the Scarlet Scarab?

I kept this for last because this is mostly a theory but I wouldn’t put it past the MCU. There have been several sly hints that Layla might in fact become the Scarlet Scarab. In the comics, an Egyptian Dr. Abdul Faoul becomes the protector Scarlet Scarab by using an artifact (the ruby scarab).

Scarlet Scarab in the comics.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

In Moon Knight, Layla’s complete name is Layla Abdallah El-Faouly, very similar to Dr. Abdul Faoul. In the comics, Foul’s son takes over as the protector but Layla might be the one who becomes the Scarlet Scarab in the Disney+ series. In episode 4, two things happen- one, we find out that Layla’s father used to call her his ‘little scarab’ and two, at the institution Layla is seen with a band-aid around her finger which has the symbol of….a scarlet scarab.

I might have...

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

While these little details could be nothing more than a nod to the comics, how cool would it be?

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