Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4 | Is It All about Dream?


Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4 |  Is It All about Dream?
Image: Disney+


Episode 4 of Marvel’s Moon Knight, “The Tomb,” added a twist to the tale. With Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham) imprisoned by the Ennead, Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) was left without his healing armor. 

While that didn’t stop Marc or his alternate personality, Steven Grant, from pursuing Harrow (Ethan Hawke) to prevent the rise of Ammit, it did leave Marc in harm’s way. And that’s precisely what happened. The second act of “The Tomb” concludes with a twist—Marc is shot point-blank by Harrow, not once but twice.

But if we thought that would be the biggest shock of the episode, we were mistaken. After seemingly falling to his death, Marc wakes up to find himself interred in a mental institution. 

Is this a dream or reality? Marc doesn’t know and neither does the viewer, especially since Marc’s surroundings are littered with elements and people that have informed the happenings that we’ve been watching so far. This sudden change in the landscape appears to be inspired by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s 2016 run of Moon Knight. We know Marc has been desperate to seek help for his mental illness; perhaps he’s already taken that step.

Irrespective of whether we are watching Marc’s delusions, an elaborate illusion, the afterlife, or something completely unfathomable, let’s break down all the clues we spotted in the final moments of Moon Knight Episode 4.

The Patients

Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4 |  Is It All about Dream?

The plot twist kicks off with a hammy Indiana Jones knock-off film playing on the asylum television. In the film, called Tomb Busters, a British explorer named Dr. Steven Grant (Joseph Millson) uses his knowledge to hunt down lost treasures of the Aztec. The film specifically follows the story of Grant dealing with a lunar god. 

Sound familiar? It’s easy to draw a parallel between the lunar god of the film and Marc being convinced he works for the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Marc apparently loves this film and watches it endlessly. It’s no wonder that he created an alter ego based on his favorite character.

Marc regains consciousness in a wheelchair and when he tries to leap out of it, he falls face forward because his right ankle is chained to the chair—reminiscent of how Steven would tie up his ankle before going to bed. Marc also hangs on to a little action figure which looks exactly like Moon Knight. Even Steven’s goldfish makes an appearance in a fishbowl placed opposite Marc.

And Marc isn’t the only familiar face in the asylum. Shaun Scott, who played the living statue in the premiere, is the first patient to appear on-screen. One of the friendlier patients is Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy), who had, up until these scenes, been Marc’s wife and Steven’s love interest. 

She’s no longer the hard-hearted, competent adventurer, instead, she appears to be suffering from delusions. Layla fiddles with a board with drawings that are reminiscent of the end credits, but there’s no clear meaning to them (yet). Layla also repeats, almost verbatim, some of the last words Steven shared with her, “we won.” She still loves marshmallows though.

Another patient is Donna (Lucy Thackeray)— only a few episodes ago she was Steven’s dismissive boss at the museum, but she remains a grouch in the institution. Donna is also seen cuddling a Scarab plushie. Could that have inspired the golden scarab that Harrow was searching for? One other patient, played by Zizi Dagher, sketches a bird whose visage eerily matches that of Khonshu’s.

The Staff

Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4 |  Is It All about Dream?

The orderlies working in the facility will also look familiar to viewers. Bek (Loic Mabanza) was working with Anton Mogart (the late Gaspard Ulliel), but he’s one of the orderlies in the asylum, and he’s seen handing out cupcakes—how interesting, considering that Steven stole a cupcake van during his first encounter with Harrow in the Alps. 

Bobbi (Ann Akinjirin) is seen interacting with Donna, and Billy (David Ganly) appears to be Marc’s handler. These two characters first appeared in the second episode of Moon Knight pretending to be police officers investigating Steven. They were revealed to be Harrow’s right hands and went on to kidnap Steven. In the institution, their roles are very similar. When Marc tries to escape, Harrow turns to them to stop him.

Speaking of Harrow, he’s the one running the place! Dr. Harrow is the resident psychiatrist who tries to delve into where Marc’s delusions come from. In this scenario, Harrow is much more clean-cut, but he still uses a cane, albeit a much more standard-looking one. Though Harrow’s outfit is completely different from the villainous version we’ve seen, his unique footwear remains the same. 

Marc is able to see Harrow’s shoes in the mirror from his patient chair, which may explain how he added this peculiar fashion item to his delusions. Harrow’s office is also replete with Egyptian artifacts, from Canopic jars to statues of various gods and goddesses. This explains what influenced Marc and Steven’s obsession with Ancient Egypt.

In the first episode of the show, Marc’s alter ego Steven woke up to find himself in the Alps, specifically a picturesque village with a view of the mountains. This exact landscape is seen in a picture in Harrow’s office. When Marc notices the image, his belief in his reality seems to waver momentarily.

Harrow doesn’t seem to be very good at his job. Instead of meeting Marc where he is, he tries to bamboozle Marc into an interaction. Harrow even says, “I can’t help you if you won’t help yourself”—strangely, the other Harrow had said almost exactly the same thing to Marc prior to shooting him. The fact that the people around Marc repeat dialogue that he only recently heard makes us wonder which reality is real.

The Ending

Moon Knight Season 1 Episode 4 |  Is It All about Dream?

The twists don’t end with Marc waking up in the asylum. Marc’s medication wears off enough for him to escape the orderlies (too conveniently, perhaps) and he finds himself in a relatively abandoned wing of the institution, except this area isn’t entirely stable. There’s no explanation for why the wing is swaying. 

Marc seems unperturbed by this, and hides in a room that once again, rather conveniently, includes something—or someone—he’s looking for. Marc finds a sarcophagus with his alter Steven Grant trapped inside. This is Steven’s worst nightmare, and he’s visibly shaken though relieved to be with Marc. Neither can understand how they’re both together which seems to suggest that the asylum is the delusion—or a fever dream.

While the two of them look for an exit, they come across a large red sarcophagus with someone violently hammering on it from the inside. They don’t stop to free this person who could possibly be the bloodthirsty secret third alter. 

The episode ends with Marc and Steven running into a colorful hippopotamus creature who greets them cheerfully. This creature is the Egyptian deity Taweret (Antonia Salib)—considered the goddess of fertility and childbirth. It’s unclear how Taweret fits into the story, but she seems friendly and may be Steven and Marc’s only ally in the asylum. Once Steven and Marc stop screaming, perhaps they can use her help to find a way out.


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