DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Moon Knight episode “Asylum” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back, Marvel fans! Moon Knight‘s penultimate episode is, undoubtedly, its best yet. Oscar Isaac is a tour de force, churning in top-tier performances as both Marc Spector and Steven Grant. Even though he’s not fluidly shifting between Marc and his alter in this outing, that doesn’t make his work any less impressive. 

“Asylum” delves deep into Marc’s intergenerational trauma, mining the depths of losing his little brother and the vitriolic abuse he received at the hands of his mother. As someone who also bore the brunt of her mother’s abuse, this episode hits close to home for me. 

We also glimpse the origins of Steven as Marc’s alter and the beginnings of Khonshu’s relationship with Marc. It’s an origin story that propels the narrative forward, both poignant and compelling, ending in a place that couldn’t be further from our protagonists’ resolution. 

Ready to dig into “Asylum”? Let’s get to it. 

RELATED: Moon Knight Recap: (S01E04) The Tomb

We open with a darkened cave filled with running water, and a boy yelling for help. Then, we cut to a shot of Marc Spector’s mother, Wendy (Fernanda Andrade), shouting at her son that it’s all his fault. We return to the hospital corridor with Marc (Isaac) and Steven (also Isaac) encountering Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib). 

Suddenly, we’re back in Arthur Harrow’s (Ethan Hawke) office, with Marc screaming bloody murder. His face bears the weight of physical trauma. Marc accuses Arthur of not being a real doctor. Arthur explains that some folks create a mental safe space or shield to protect themselves from painful memories. In Marc’s case, perhaps it’s a “psych ward.” 

We see Marc call Arthur out on his sh*t, and Arthur’s lackeys cart him off. 

Next, Marc and Steven gawk at Taweret as she informs them about their surroundings. She’s the goddess of fertility and childbirth, and she’s there to guide them through the Duat, the realm of the dead, since they’re, you know, “quite dead.” 

Marc Spector and Steven Grant staring at the goddess Taweret with their backs turned to the camera in a hospital corridor in Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 5, "Asylum."

(L-R): Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector and Steven Grant, and Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT Season 1 Episode 5, “Asylum,” exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Steven’s ready to accept that they’re barreling headfirst into an afterlife, but Marc’s incredulous about it all. He opens a set of doors while mentioning that Crawley will be there yelling “Bingo!” when he stumbles upon a massive boat sailing upon the sand. It’s the underworld, and they’re heading toward A’aru, a.k.a. the Field of Reeds, where Osiris rules. 

But first, Taweret must balance their hearts on the scale to determine if they can enter paradise. Taweret procures Marc and Steven’s hearts and places them on the Scales of Justice against the Feather of Truth. If their hearts aren’t balanced, the dead will drag them into the sands of the Duat, where they’ll remain perpetually frozen. 

While Taweret conducts her balancing act, Marc pulls Steven aside. He reassures our “Steven, with a ‘v'” that they’ll return topside soon enough. Kill the hippo and commandeer the boat, right?

However, Taweret reveals the Scales are out of whack, moving up and down frantically. She urges Marc and Steven to delve into their memories to uncover their truth before they move forward. So, the duo returns to the hospital corridor to unearth deep-seated familial trauma. Fun!

Despite Marc’s insistent protests, the pair forge ahead. We see Marc laying the brutal smackdown in the museum when we first meet Moon Knight. Then, we see Steven as Mr. Knight assisting Khonshu with turning back the night sky 2,000 years into the past. 

Then, Steven spots a memory with which he’s unfamiliar. Marc stands on a street corner next to a vehicle while donning all black. Initially, I thought this was Jake Lockley, but we later learn it’s Marc standing outside his mother’s shiva. 

Next, our boys enter a cafeteria containing every person Marc’s killed as Moon Knight. Khonshu insisted these folks were evil, the baddies, and they deserved their fate. Steven spots the Scales of Justice in the corner, weighing their hearts against the Feather of Truth. 

Meanwhile, Steven notices a little boy standing on the sidelines. He approaches the kid, but Marc scolds him for doing so. 

Steven wanders through another door, leading to an outdoor gathering. Wendy Spector prepares food while Marc’s father, Elias (Rey Lucas), builds a playhouse. Young Marc (Carlos Sanchez) and his little brother, Randall (Claudio Fabian Contreras), run into the woods to play. 

Steven follows the boys, noticing the skeleton of a bird at his feet. Marc and Randall enter a cave that quickly floods with water. Steven calls out to the brothers, hoping to save them — well, Randall — from inevitable danger. 

Arthur Harrow sitting at a desk in a bright white room in Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 5, "Asylum."

Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT Season 1 Episode 5, “Asylum,” exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gabor Kotschy. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

While hunting for Steven, adult Marc barges into the shiva for Randall, wherein a distraught Wendy blames young Marc for his brother’s tragic passing. Marc spots Steven, who races up the stairs to tail young Marc. Steven peers into different rooms of the house, observing while young Marc and Elias celebrate birthdays without Wendy, who refuses to partake. 

Steven watches another memory unfurl, where Wendy drunkenly screams at Marc, continuing to assign the blame on the young boy. Marc flees. Steven almost enters young Marc’s room when adult Marc stops him. 

Then, the pair observe while a later memory unravels, with Elias pleading with an older Marc (David Jake Rodriguez) not to leave. 

Meanwhile, our duo lands in Egypt amid a massacre. Marc reveals this is the night that Layla’s father was murdered. Marc’s partner was his old CO, Raul Bushman. Bushman was the one who slaughtered everyone that night. Marc tried to save Dr. El-Faouly but to no avail. 

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Later, Marc and Steven watch while the Marc in this memory, mortally wounded, crawls into Khonshu’s temple. Racked with bottomless remorse, Marc presses a gun underneath his chin. However, Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham; performed by Karim El Hakim) addresses Marc, urging him to take up the mantle of Moon Knight in the god’s name. Khonshu wants Marc to dole out justice and kill bad guys. 

Suddenly, Marc transforms into Moon Knight, and the rest is history. 

Steven and Marc return to the boat to find a rainshower of “unbalanced souls” being “condemned to the sands before their time.” Taweret impresses upon them the severity of the situation. Arthur could be resurrecting Ammit as we speak. 

Marc and Steven persuade Taweret to give them more time so that they can stop Arthur Harrow. She urges them to get inside the boat to balance the scales. 

Steven insists that he must see what’s inside young Marc’s room, despite Marc’s refusal to relive those traumatic memories. 

We see Marc resurface in Arthur’s office as the good doctor congratulates Marc for mining the depths of his trauma. Arthur urges Marc to “open up to Steven.” It’s the only way toward progress. 

So, the duo arrives in young Marc’s room. We hear Wendy screaming and banging on Marc’s door. Marc cowers in fear, but he summons the courage from his favorite property, Tomb Buster. He channels Dr. Steven Grant, the charismatic British lead in the film. But by doing this, he creates his alter, Steven. 

Then, Steven angrily confronts Marc, realizing at that moment that Marc’s the primary — the genuine owner of their body. Steven was created as a shield. Steven emerges in Dr. Harrow’s office, and Arthur finally speaks with him in that setting. 

Khonshu standing above Moon Knight in a dark temple in Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 5, "Asylum."

(L-R): Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) and Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT Season 1 Episode 5, “Asylum,” exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Through their conversation, Steven discovers that his mother is dead, even though he claims to call her every single day. But Wendy Spector died some time ago. Steven’s realization is utterly heartbreaking. Isaac tugs on the heartstrings here. 

We return to another memory, wherein Marc stands outside Wendy’s shiva. Elias urges his son to come inside, but an inebriated Marc refuses, stumbling away from the gathering. Marc falls to his knees in the street and sobs while Steven watches. 

Suddenly, Steven takes over for the grief-stricken Marc, and he calls his mother, bewildered by his whereabouts. Present-day Marc reveals that it occurred two months ago, Wendy’s death and shiva — it was also the moment when Marc and Steven’s realities bled together. 

If you look at the phone screen when Steven calls his mom, it doesn’t look like he’s talking to anybody. 

Steven reassures Marc that all the horrible things Wendy said about him weren’t true. Randall’s death isn’t Marc’s fault. 

Then, our pair emerges on the ship in the underworld. Taweret reveals the Scales have stopped moving. Unfortunately, their hearts aren’t balanced, so they’re condemned to the Duat for all eternity. We see lost souls clambering over the side of the boat to take Marc and Steven into the sands below. 

Marc fights them off as best as he can, but once he’s overpowered, Steven realizes he must step up. He successfully saves Marc from a sandy fate. 

However, it’s not enough. 

Marc Spector standing in a white room while wearing white in Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 5, "Asylum."

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT Season 1 Episode 5, “Asylum,” exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gabor Kotschy. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Steven topples over the side himself, landing on his back in the sand. Marc orders Taweret to stop the boat, but it sails past Steven. Steven runs after it. Eventually, he falls to his knees, and the sand freezes Steven in place. 

With Steven off the boat, Taweret reveals that Marc’s Scales are balanced. Suddenly, Marc winds up in the Field of Reeds, a sun-drenched paradise that’s beautifully, ethereally shot. 

RELATED: Catch up on all the moonlit action with our Moon Knight recaps!

“Asylum” lays the groundwork for what’s sure to be an action-packed, white-knuckled finale. Oscar Isaac’s work is easily the best thing about Moon Knight, and it’s proof positive that an enthralling, multifaceted, nuanced main character can make all the difference regarding audience investment in a series.

It explores Marc’s dissociative identity disorder without making it a punchline or trying to make light of it. His trauma is certainly relatable, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see the MCU dive deep into something as complex as DID. 

Do you think Marc can save Steven from the Duat? Will he encounter Osiris in the Field of Reeds? Is it too late to stop Arthur from resurrecting Ammit, and can our heroes undo the damage done? Join me as I recap the Moon Knight finale next week, only on Geek Girl Authority. 

Moon Knight streams its series finale on Wednesday, May 4, on Disney Plus. 

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