Moon Knight’s penultimate episode pulls heavily from WandaVision, another Disney+ Marvel cartoon. Through mystical ways, our protagonist is compelled to confront their past and the secrets of their shattered mental state. Moon Knight delves into both his mercenary past and the genesis of his dissociative personality disorder, whereas WandaVision detailed the metamorphosis of Westview, the revival of Vision, and even Wanda’s interest in sitcom clichés.
Or, to be more precise, we now understand why Marc Spector created Steven Grant and why their universes have recently collided. The mysterious third personality remains a mystery, although “Jake” appears to be hiding in plain sight.
In contrast to WandaVision, the actions in this episode (together with the final minutes of the previous one) are a touch risky. There are three different realities stacked on top of each other, and it’s difficult to tell which one is which.
First, there’s what we assume to be the normal universe, in which Moon Knight is simply one of many Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes. We’d been watching the same universe for four episodes, when Marc Spector was shot in the chest. The asylum, where psychiatrist Dr. Harrow tries to make sense of Marc and Steven’s adventures in a more practical atmosphere, is the second world. The third world is where Marc and Steven are attempting to understand the afterlife. They’re in a mental institution, but it’s one with memories and a ship that will transport them to either divinity or damnation, depending on how things go.
What is Steven Grant’s background?
Marc is shown to be the original personality, much to Steven’s dismay. Marc and his younger brother Randall were major fans of Tomb Buster, a low-budget Indiana Jones rip-off about a dashing archaeology adventurer named Dr. Steven Grant when they were kids. The two brothers went to explore a cave one evening, against their parents’ severe orders to come home if it started raining. Marc disregarded the warnings and went on their trip, only for the rain to intensify into a storm, flooding the cave. Marc made it out alive, but Randall did not.
Marc’s mother blamed him for Randall’s death and, depending on her mood, spent years neglecting or physically beating him. Marc would imitate Steven Grant as a coping method, adopting an English accent and behaving like a courteous optimist. When it came to his mother, Marc got to know the truth, while Steven got to live the lie that his mother loved him. Steven was able to resume his normal life after the incident.
Given that he spent decades without complete control of his body, this isn’t completely typical.
What Happened When Marc Lost Control of Steven?
Marc served in the military, but his double life didn’t fit in with that kind of environment, so he was released. He became a mercenary, earning the title of Fist of Khonshu. Steven went on to live a normal life as a museum clerk, unaware of what was really going on and why days of his life were missing.
Marc learned about his mother’s death months before the events of this drama began. Marc could not force himself to enter his own home and gain any type of closure, even though he was dressed for her shiva, no matter how much his desperate father urged him. Instead, Marc drank from a flask and went away before fainting in anguish and reverting to Steven.
Since the first episode, we’ve seen Steven conversing on the phone with his mother, but it’s only now that we realise she wasn’t only dead at the time, but that the phone wasn’t even in call mode. Steven has always imagined these chats and even utilises his mother’s “later, gator” farewell.
Layla was perplexed when Steven claimed to be in communication with his mother in the second episode, which foretold this entire event. Layla doesn’t appear to be aware that she’s dead, but she does find it unusual that the two of them are on speaking terms.
According to Marc, it was because of this breakdown that the barriers between Marc and Steven began to erode. It is for this reason that the two have been able to communicate with one another. It’s also why they can’t figure out who the third personality is.
What happened to Jake Lockley?
Despite the fact that Jake isn’t referenced in all of the flashbacks, he does present throughout the episode in various ways. For one thing, there are numerous shots of yellow taxicabs in the background. This might well be a subliminal hint, given that Lockley was a cab driver in the comics.
More importantly, we may have witnessed Jake in action in this location. As Dr. Harrow attempted to communicate with what appeared to be Marc, “Marc” became more belligerent. Rather than fleeing, he improvised a weapon and prepared to assault Harrow. “Marc” was restrained and given a sedative injection in the neck as he began to resemble an enraged Robert De Niro.
Marc was perplexed when we saw him again in Harrow’s office, wondering if he had been sedated. The marks on his face, in particular, had vanished. Most likely, Harrow was dealing with Jake unintentionally in that first scene.
Jake could possibly be the “Marc” we witness drinking heavily outside of his parents’ house after his mother’s death. One of the times when a yellow cab can be seen is at this intersection. This would certainly fit the bill if Jake is a repository for Marc’s negative emotions.
The insinuation of how Jake fits into Marc’s past isn’t pleasant. Marc’s mother barged in and struck him with a belt when he slid into being Steven as a child. Afterlife Marc yanked Afterlife Steven out of the memory, claiming he wasn’t supposed to see what was going on. Steven could not have been in control when receiving the beating if his existence was founded on not knowing what a monster his mother was.
Jake being the personality stuck in the role of having the keys to the body when it’s time to suffer sounds far too likely.
Is it true that Marc and Steven are no longer alive?
The main plot of the episode is that if Marc and Steven’s hearts are proven to be balanced on a magical scale, the goddess Taweret can transport them to the Field of Reeds (a kind of Heaven). The scale is not quite balanced, as the ship is besieged by zombie adversaries dedicated to pushing them overboard and into the Duat, despite the two having come a long way and opening up to each other throughout the episode.
Steve saves Marc, but at the risk of plunging into the Duat and being frozen for all eternity. Marc intends to return to the living world, but instead finds himself in the Field of Reeds.
Of course, there are additional considerations. Layla might be able to free Khonshu from his shackles. Jake has the potential to make a difference. Furthermore, we’re not sure if we’re supposed to take these happenings at face value.
As I previously stated, there are three levels of existence at work here, and we’re given a sense of how they’re all connected: The real world is what it is. The afterlife is represented by the hospital of memories and the ship. Marc, Steve, and Jake are in the asylum office, trying to make sense of the afterlife and being forced to confront their traumas. The question is, how realistic is the story’s depiction of reality?
Steven joyfully told a young girl in the museum about how ancient Egyptians judged the dead by weighing their hearts in the first episode. The girl inquired as to how depressing it was for him to be rejected from the Field of Reeds. At the time, it may have been dismissed as the girl being a jerk, but it’s such a specific and strange thing to say that it casts doubt on the entire series.
Anyway, here’s hoping Jake’s Moon Knight incarnation delivers.