Moon Knight – Season 1 Episode 1

Mar 30, 2022 | Posted by in TV
Moon Knight

“The Goldfish Problem”

A museum gift shop employee deals with unexplainable goings on in his life that call his sanity into question in Moon Knight.

Moon Knight is the first Disney+ Marvel TV show dealing with a character who hasn’t previously been introduced in a film. It’s also a show about one of the more obscure characters in their collection. Not that this counts as a risk for Marvel because they have proven time and time again that their logo slapped on obscure adaptations is enough to bring success but it’s notable in that this is the first totally new property in a Disney+ show.

Moon Knight

The things we do for a good night’s sleep!

Since the majority of the audience will be wondering who or what Moon Knight is, the first episode dives head first into the mystery and builds the narrative around the main character questioning the strange things that happen in his life. Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) is a socially awkward museum gift shop employee with extensive knowledge about Ancient Egypt. He isn’t respected at work and the only social contact he has is with a one finned fish and his mother who he keeps updated with what little goes on in his life. As the show opens he has questions about his own life that he’s unable to answer though has managed to dismiss it as standard sleepwalking for the most part. He chains his leg up at night in an effort to prevent walkabouts and puts sand down so that there’s evidence he is actually going somewhere but his preventative measures aren’t solving the problem.

Oscar Isaac really brings Steven Grant to life; this inaugural episode is all about endearing him to the audience and he accomplishes this flawlessly. On paper Steven Grant could be a character that audiences would be wary of but there’s an earnestness to the portrayal that makes him sympathetic. He is a man rapidly losing control of his life and his innate goodness shines through. Adding to the personality traits is excellent physicality both complimenting and contradicting them. Oscar Isaac’s natural charm shines through the awkwardness and he carries the episode wonderfully.

The mystery of Moon Knight carries the episode. It starts innocuously enough such as Steven being made aware of a date he doesn’t remember making but quickly ramps up when he wakes up in a completely different country being attacked on all sides in order to separate him from a scarab. All the while he is being pestered by a mysterious voice (F. Murray Abraham) compelling him to let Mark take control. It escalates very quickly when he is recognised by the enigmatic and threatening Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). From there Steven finds himself involved in disjointed action as he blacks out and finds himself with bloodied hands surrounded by badly beaten -hopefully just- unconscious people or in the middle of a vehicle chase in a commandeered ice cream van. Cutting chunks out of the action sequences -or removing them entirely- is a compelling choice that reinforces the the fixed perspective of Steven. The world is seen through his eyes and the audience is invited to join him in his confusion though the relationship between character and audience isn’t absolute. It’s evident from early on that there is another personality at play that Steven has no knowledge of and therefore easy for the audience to fill in any gaps through assuming the other personality takes hold in any gaps. Enough hand to hand sequences and vehicle chases have been depicted in the MCU and beyond for viewers to fill in the gaps. It’s also easy to understand that all of this is beyond Steven and all he thinks is that he’s losing his mind. The drawback is that the sequences themselves aren’t all that interesting or creative but the structure of them makes up for some of that.

Moon Knight

How do I get myself into these things?

Notably the mystery isn’t frustrating. One episode in and there’s already a working knowledge of what Steven is dealing with. He shares his body with someone called Mark Spector; a man who is functionally his complete opposite. Mark appears to be confident, outgoing and immensely skilled in this completely different life that he lives in those periods Steven has no memory of. It’s not clear what Mark is doing or why they share a body but enough questions are answered to allow for a sense of progression in the episode rather than coming across as a procession of questions.

Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow is another opposite to Steven. His body language is controlled, his voice measured and his confidence undeniable. He is only interested in Steven to get to Mark but his goal is as yet unknown. The details surrounding Arthur are interesting such as his cult of fiercely loyal followers willing to die for him. His ability to channel the goddess Ammit and suggestion of other supernatural abilities are both intriguing and cryptic remarks about the Gods immediately make him compelling. It’s a strong introduction to an antagonist and he’s a strong foil for Steven with their overlapping areas of interest.

The final scene where Moon Knight is eventually revealed in full costume is impressive. It’s a competent mix of horror and action beginning with being chased by the creature the proceeding to being confronted by Mark in the mirror with Oscar Isaac doing an excellent job creating a distinct character instantly. Horror is present earlier throughout the episode, most prominently when he appears to be haunted in his apartment so the style is so far part of the DNA of the show. The tension ramps up brilliantly with the creature quickly tearing its way through the door promising death should Steven not let Mark take over and the terror on Steven’s face as he weighs up his options adds to the urgency. Finally the emergence of Moon Knight and the glimpse of him brutally beating the creature in the midst of the destroyed bathroom makes for a striking conclusion.

Moon Knight

Dressed to thrill


A strong introduction to a new character with compelling characterisation, a strong mystery and an impressive lean into the horror style in its structure. Steven Grant is an engaging character wonderfully performed by Oscar Isaac. There’s an earnestness to his portrayal that makes Steven sympathetic and Oscar Isaac’s natural charm brings a lot to what could be a character audiences would be wary of. The mystery surrounding his blackouts that later is revealed to be as a result of sharing his body with a man named Mark Spector is built well and carries the episode nicely. Using it to completely remove or cut chunks out of action sequences is a nice touch that reinforces the audience following Steven’s perspective. The relationship between character and audience isn’t absolute as it’s clear from early on that another personality is at plan and audiences could easily fill in the gaps of the action sequences whereas for Steven it’s wholly confusing. The sequences themselves aren’t all that interesting or creative but the structure gets around that to some degree.

Notably the mystery isn’t frustrating as enough answers are provided to create a sense of progression throughout the episode. Mark is introduced in the episode and quickly established as the complete opposite to Steven. Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow is another opposite to Steven and immediately comes across as an engaging antagonist with a goal that is as yet unknown. The details surrounding him are interesting. The final scene where Moon Knight is revealed is impressive. It’s a competent mix of horror and action with an energetic chase sequence followed by a slower beat where tension ramps up as Steven considers his options. Finally the emergence of Moon Knight and the glimpse of him brutally beating the creature in the midst of the destroyed bathroom makes for a striking conclusion.

  • 8/10
    The Goldfish Problem - 8/10


Kneel Before…

  • Oscar Isaac’s excellent performance
  • Steven Grant quickly established as an endearing and engaging character
  • a well built mystery
  • delivering enough answers to create a sense of progression
  • Arthur Harrow as an immediately engaging antagonist
  • making good use of Steven’s confined perspective
  • breaking up or removing action sequences and allowing the audience to fill in the blanks
  • the strong ending sequence


Rise Against…

  • the broken action not being all that creative


What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below

User Review
9.75/10 (2 votes)

We’d love to know your thoughts on this and anything else you might want to talk about. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or just leave a comment in the comment section below. You’ll need an account for Disqus but it’s easy to set up. Don’t forget to share your rating in the “User Review” box

If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.