This review contains spoilers.
What an episode!!!!!
We are well used to the Marvel formula now where the penultimate episode is the biggy and Asylum follows suit in being incredible.
Marc and Steven realise they are in the Egyptian form of purgatory where Tawaret, the Hippo we ran into down the hall last week, guides them through whilst their fate lies in the balance. Literally. I loved Tawaret – please can we see more of her somewhere, somehow, and as the Goddess of women, children and childbirth she added some sweetness to quite a heavy episode.
Marc and Steven take a trip down memory lane while they wait to find out what direction they’re headed and this has a huge impact on the rest of the season. As they walk back through the corridors of the psych ward the windows in the doors are windows into Marc’s history and what unravels is devastatingly emotional. Marc is blamed by his mother for the freak accidental death of his little brother and the result of this is some harrowing emotional and physical abuse. These are memories that Marc fights to protect and throughout the episode, he tries his best to hide them from Steven. To begin with, I was expecting to see Steven’s memories too but instead, we discover that Steven is a result of Marc trying to protect himself, finding an escape from the abuse he was suffering. He’s another version of himself where his home life is happy and he doesn’t have to live through the horrendous treatment he is experiencing. This also explains why we saw a Steven Grant TV show last week featuring an Indians Jones-type explorer. A poster on Marc’s bedroom wall indicates this is someone he connects with and that’s the basis for Steven.
These scenes were difficult to view and gave the show an emotional twist that I wasn’t expecting. Steven’s realisation was just as crushing as the turmoil we saw from Marc during his mother’s funeral. Oscar Isaac really delivers a masterclass in acting here. Throughout the episode, we see the people that Marc is reasonable for killing but with some satisfying news that he in fact wasn’t responsible for Layla’s father’s death. We’re also treated the moment Marc is saved from death and makes his deal with Khonshu. The episode is driven by interactions with Doctor Harrow who appears to take some enjoyment in Marc’s turmoil, especially when he pushes Steven’s admission of the truth.
Just when you think you couldn’t feel any sadder, your heart is unapologetically ripped out watching Steven sacrifice himself as he’s thrown overboard and cast into the deadly desert they are travelling through.
Asylum is cathartic for Marc. It spurs him along in his fight and forces him to be in a place where he can say goodbye to the comfort he manifested in Steven. It truly is a beautifully painful episode that balances a little bit of the fun I enjoy from the show with a huge amount of heart. The portrayal of Marc’s history and the impact this has had on his mental health delivers such an impact and for me, this will be a Marvel moment I will not be forgetting.
What did you make of this latest episode of Moon Knight? Let us know in the comments!