The much anticipated Marvel and Disney+ series Moon Knight premiered its pilot episode “The Goldfish Problem” on March 30 with a frantic Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina) as the series lead. The series kicks off with Isaac as an Egyptian museum gift shop employee Steven Grant that suffers from extreme mental breaks when it comes around to night time along with some bizarre memories of a distant life. Isaac’s personality is full of nervous chaotic energy as he shuffles through life, without friends, without a relationship, and without true direction in where he wants to go with his time.
Steven, upon waking up in a foreign municipality, finds himself witnessing a strange ritual led by a cultish type leader in Arthur Harrow, portrayed by Ethan Hawke (Training Day). After a strange encounter in which Steven is unable to hand over a relic that Harrow recognizes, a violent chase ensues with a confused Steven blacking in and out to see the destruction that he presumably caused while he was not present with his thoughts. Upon regaining consciousness in his flat, he experiences a weird few hours such as seeing a one fin goldfish miraculously sport two working fins or being told by a date that he was supposed to meet him two days prior on Friday instead of today which is Sunday. After scrambling around, Steven finds an unknown phone and gives a call to its main contact Layla which provides him with further confusion about his predicament.
Following this weird turn of events, Steven is confronted by Harrow at the museum during the day before also encountering a mythical jackal creature that chases him throughout the museum. During this chase, Steven begins hearing an American voice in his head informing him to let him take control. While Steven hides out in the bathroom with the jackal attempting to a break in, the voice begins to take form in the mirror and Steven succumbs and the other figure emerges as the Moon Knight character within his super suit that ultimately kills the mythical creature.
Moon Knight’s premiere episode took some interesting creative turns and choices. For one, the series went on to draw from the trope made famous by Jaws by hindering the audience’s ability to view what or who is causing this danger. The mysterious figure in Steven’s voice is the Marc Spector character as referenced by Layla’s greeting on the phone. The series is engaging in this split personality characterization and finds success within due to Isaac’s ability to anticipate nerves and shock before and after these unrevealed transitions to his Marc counterpart.
Hawke’s characterization seems to be an interesting deviation into a series that will seemingly be playing heavily into Egyptian Mythology. While Hawke most likely is not a God that walks amongst men, he still possesses interesting higher capabilities than the standard mortal that can bring upon a healthy and interesting exposition of the character down the line and how he fits into the ongoing struggle that Marc is taking Steven along with. Hawke exists within the series currently with a lot of mystique and unknown terror. Yet, he has not shown any outright violence directed towards Steven which leaves the audience to wonder what may be lying behind the character and the ulterior motives that exist within as well.
The premiere episodes provide intrigue, the first visuals of the superhero or antihero characters, and also an explorative story world outside the standard MCU. The MCU has never really engaged with mythology outside of its own lore that it creates. Yet, the inclusion of some historical details and Egyptian mythology will lend itself to a unique opportunity to introduce new storytelling methods into the MCU in addition to exploring the psychological nature of a hero that suffers from multiple personalities. Essentially, Moon Knight kicks its six-episode run off with a tease of excitement and an interesting perspective on the future of the series.