DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Moon Knight finale episode “Gods and Monsters” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, Marvel fans! Moon Knight takes a bow this week with “Gods and Monsters,” its series finale. While it’s not quite at the level of last week’s dazzling and riveting penultimate outing, the episode still boasts some fun moments, brilliant performances and solid fight choreography.
I believe the episode would’ve fared better with a longer runtime. The ending feels abrupt, and the pacing suffers from inconsistencies. Marc and Steven’s escape from the underworld seems too easy, if you know what I mean. Almost as if the writers were desperate to get Marc and Steven back to Egypt for the final showdown.
That said, it’s an enjoyable adventure that inevitably ties loose ends while formally introducing Jake Lockley and the loophole that Khonshu still rules over Marc Spector.
Ready to dig deep into “Gods and Monsters”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Marc (Oscar Isaac) floating in the water after his murder at the hands of Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). Arthur snatches up Ammit’s ushabti, still on Marc’s person. He activates his Ammit-fueled staff and heads to the Pyramid of Giza to resurrect his goddess.
Still in hiding, Layla (May Calamawy) finally emerges after Arthur and his lackeys depart. She kisses Marc’s forehead and weeps. Then, Layla notices the golden scarab left by Arthur on Marc’s chest and uses that to track Arthur’s movements.
Next, Arthur and his followers are stopped by soldiers while en route to the Pyramid of Giza. Arthur utilizes his cane to pass judgment on all the soldiers. We see most of their souls leave their bodies except for one man, who Arthur deems morally sound enough to live.
Layla clambers out of the back of a truck, having disguised herself as an Arthur supporter. Suddenly, a dead soldier’s corpse near her reanimates, with the voice of Taweret (Antonia Salib) ringing loud and clear. Taweret reveals that Marc can be revived, but Layla must find Khonshu’s ushabti and smash it to release him. Taweret also suggests having Layla be her avatar. We know how Layla feels about that.
Then, we see the gods’ avatars, led by Osiris (Khalid Abdalla), scrambling together to prevent Arthur from releasing Ammit. Unfortunately, Arthur channels Ammit’s immense power, and it’s enough to kill the avatars in one fell swoop. Layla finds Khonshu’s ushabti and breaks it, releasing the god of the moon from imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Arthur smashes Ammit’s ushabti, resurrecting the goddess herself (voiced by Saba Mubarak; performed by Sofia Danu). Ammit thanks Arthur for freeing him. Although his scales are imbalanced, Ammit reassures Arthur that he’ll find stability through serving her. She infuses him with more of her power, vowing that they’ll cleanse the world of sinners once and for all, starting with Cairo.
Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham; performed by Karim El Hakim) learns he can no longer “feel” Marc, meaning he’s passed on. The god urges Layla to become his next avatar; however, she refuses to submit to him. Layla remembers how tormented Marc was by his contract with Khonshu. Unfortunately, the only way to defeat Ammit is via an avatar.
Khonshu finally confronts Ammit, and the pair duke it out.
Next, we see Marc in the Field of Reeds, enjoying the fruits of paradise with a full and balanced heart. He asks Taweret about Steven, but she reminds him that our fave “Steven, with a ‘v'” is perpetually trapped in the Duat. Marc won’t accept that answer. Taweret warns Marc that he can never return to the Field of Reeds should he leave.
Marc finds Steven (also Isaac) in the Duat, his frozen, sandy body parked in front of a set of massive doors. Marc delivers a tearful, heartfelt monologue to his alter, calling Steven his superpower. Marc clasps Steven’s hand, his heart sandwiched between their palms, and he, too, freezes.
Thankfully, the doors before them open. Golden light spills forth, unfreezing Marc and Steven. They embrace, but an oncoming sand wave cuts their celebration short. Taweret swoops in to save the day, cutting through the tide in her boat. Her heroics give the duo enough time to escape through the doors.
While Khonshu and Ammit continue fighting, Marc wakes in the pool of water in Alexander the Great’s tomb. He’s alive! The suit materializes over his body — Moon Knight is back, baby. He reunites with Khonshu, who reveals that Ammit’s free and she’s too powerful for him to defeat by himself. Mr. Knight, Steven’s superhero persona, emerges briefly to discuss logistics regarding their plan to eradicate Ammit for good.
Later, Layla finds Osiris’ avatar is still breathing, so she pulls him away from the carnage. Osiris informs her that she must bind Ammit to a human, not stone, to deplete her powers genuinely. The best place to do that is in the chamber of the pyramid. Unfortunately, Osiris’ avatar perishes. Layla calls out for Taweret, who reanimates the former avatar, to chat about joining forces.
Taweret accepts Layla’s condition of being her temporary avatar. This scene gives Calamawy a chance to showcase her versatility as she seamlessly switches between Taweret and Layla. Brava.
Meanwhile, Khonshu flips on the night sky, allowing Marc to soar across the moonlit expanse undetected. He tackles Arthur, who’s at the summit of the pyramid doling out Ammit’s justice to Cairo’s innocent residents. Suddenly, we see a host of souls leaving countless bodies in the city, providing sustenance for Ammit.
Ammit increases in size, taking on an equally gigantic Khonshu, while Marc and Arthur crash-land in Cairo to battle it out there. Layla emerges from the pyramid, donning her new superhero getup as Taweret’s avatar. She even boasts golden wings!
Ammit urges Khonshu to join forces with her. They can cleanse the world of evil together! But he’s not interested in her way of exercising justice. Layla arrives to assist Marc and Steve, swooping in like the badass she is. Steven takes the reins, transforming into Mr. Knight to display his newfound physical prowess. Undoubtedly, it’s all to impress Layla. Mr. Knight beats the snot out of Arthur.
Layla saves a girl from an oncoming van. The child stares at her in awe, asking Layla if she’s an Egyptian superhero. Layla responds in Arabic, “I am.” The girl grins from ear to ear: representation matters, people.
Marc and Layla continue to fight Arthur, but he eventually overpowers them. But when Arthur stabs Marc with his staff, seemingly releasing his soul, Marc blinks and wakes to a bloody and beaten Arthur. Marc and Steven discover that neither of them knocked Arthur unconscious. They don’t know it, but this is undoubtedly the work of Jake Lockley.
Marc and Layla return Arthur to the Pyramid of Giza, binding Ammit to him with a spell. Khonshu orders Marc to kill Arthur; otherwise, Ammit might find a way to escape. Layla reminds Marc that he’s already free, whether he murders Arthur or not. Marc turns to Khonshu and demands the god release him from their contract. Oh, and if he wants to slaughter Arthur/Ammit, he should do it himself.
Then, we see Steven wake in Dr. Harrow’s office at the hospital. Isaac deftly transitions from Marc to Steven while chatting with the not-doctor. Arthur claims he doesn’t believe that Khonshu and Ammit are real. However, when he returns to his desk, Steven and Marc notice the bloody footprints in his wake. You know, from having shards of glass in his sandals.
Marc finds himself in Steven’s flat, lying in bed. Steven can’t believe that it all worked out in the end. We see not one but two goldfish in Steven’s aquarium. Marc tries to get up, but he trips, revealing he’s bound to the bed by restraints. It’s because of Jake Lockley, right?
End-credit scene time! We see Arthur sitting in a mental hospital. An orderly notices he inadvertently knocked over a cup of liquid, thinking it was sand. She tells him it’s time for bed, but a mysterious man swoops in, offering in Spanish to take Arthur to his room.
We see the man wheel Arthur outside to a white stretch limo. Khonshu sits inside and briefly chats with Arthur. Arthur reminds the old bird that he can’t inflict harm on them (he and Ammit), but Khonshu reveals a twist. Marc and Steven believe they parted ways with Khonshu; however, there’s another alter at play. Khonshu introduces Arthur to Jake Lockley (also Isaac), who tells Arthur in Spanish that it’s his turn to lose.
Then, Jake kills Arthur and, in turn, Ammit. As the limo leaves the hospital, we see “SPKTR” is on the license plate.
Even though Oscar Isaac delivers a powerhouse performance in the finale, the episode belongs to May Calamawy. Her becoming Taweret’s avatar and kicking ass steals the show. Calamawy injects so much heart and grit into Layla, making her a multifaceted character you can’t help but love. I feel she’ll become the permanent avatar for Taweret, especially after her interaction with the astonished girl. That superhero suit might be one of my favorites in the MCU thus far.
I’ll never get over how easily Oscar Isaac shifts between alters. I hope we get more time with Marc, Steven and Jake. Part of me wishes we had more time with Jake, but I think the writers nailed his introduction. Moon Knight excelled at slowly integrating Jake Lockley into the narrative, building on the mystery surrounding Marc’s alter.
Overall, Moon Knight is up there with Loki and WandaVision for me as my favorite Marvel Disney Plus series. While it had its ups and downs pacing-wise, it’s bolstered by tour de force work from Isaac, strong character development, stunning visuals, an epic score and very few MCU references. The lack of incessant references is utterly refreshing. This story stands on its own without the support of the greater cinematic universe.
It manages to tackle mental health and trauma in a way that doesn’t demean or punch down on Marc’s dissociative identity disorder. I need more Steven Grant in my life. I also need to know what happened with Layla after she and Marc left Khonshu in the pyramid. I’ve got questions, people.
All episodes of Moon Knight are now streaming on Disney Plus.