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Why The Scale Tattoo In Moon Knight Means More Than You Think

Contains spoilers for "Moon Knight" Episode 1. 

If there's one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe sure has a lot of, it's characters with impressive body art. From Drax's ink in memory of his wife and daughter to the UV-like Wakandan tattoos, plenty of characters bear impressive work that would be guaranteed to get attention if any of the owners had a Pinterest page. Now, an all-new character joining the MCU in the premiere episode of "Moon Knight" is seen brandishing a simple but effective splash of body art that comes with a lethal message on the new Marvel Disney+ show "Moon Knight."

During Steven Grant's frantic, time-jumping trip to the Alps, he crosses paths with the cane-carrying cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), who already looks to have a considerable following. Right before his cover is blown, Steven witnesses two of Harrow's disciples step up to seek judgment from their supposed ruler, Ammit, the Egyptian god Harrow serves. During these judgments, which take place in a town square observed by these willing followers, we get our first brutal glimpse into just what kind of horrors this mysterious holy man is capable of with Ammit's power. But just how does he hold such a deadly ability, and what does it have to do with the tattoo he's so keen to show off? 

Harrow's tattoo has power over people

Besides carrying a gnarly stick with two crocodile heads as a handle (which, for starters, screams "I'm a shady guy"), Harrow also sports a simplistic tattoo on his right forearm. The piece in question is a simplistically rendered scale fashioned in such a way that aligns with the other basic elements of Harrow's definitive look; here stands a man who has seemingly let go of material possessions and is, instead, putting everything he possesses into his new faith. Think the High Sparrow from "Game of Thrones," only worse.

Unlike the tattoos shown off by other MCU characters, Harrow's scale has a special, otherworldly link to Ammit, the holy power he follows, the same way the cane does. When one of Harrow's followers requests judgment, the scales physically move on his arm, tipping in or out of favor as it senses the energy flowing from the person who is being judged into Harrow, who holds hands to begin the flow. Should the scales turn green, the zealot lives to see another day. If they turn red, they go out looking like they just drank from the wrong cup in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," leaving Harrow one step closer to passing judgment across the planet in Ammit's name. Seemingly able to look at both the past and future of the follower, one person that it seems to have issues with is Steven Grant, mainly because he's not the only person being judged in that instance.

It seems Steven can't be judged

During Harrow's second meeting with Steven, the Ammit-obsessed worshipper puts the lost hero to the test and gets results he didn't expect. Looking to his magic bit of body marking, the scale proceeds to go wild on his wrist, never balancing out to show whether Steven is innocent or guilty of crimes Ammit deems worthy of punishment. "There's chaos in you," Harrow proclaims, unable to obtain Steven's sentencing, mainly because the meek museum gift shop worker is not the only one being sentenced when he locks hands with the cult leader.

Due to Steven's dissociative identity disorder, Harrow is unknowingly applying his dark talent to more than one person besides the one standing in front of him. While Steven may be innocent, his alternative personality, Marc (who seemingly "takes over" in the Alps), may not be, which could be why the scales are going haywire. Of course, these are only two of the identities we've encountered so far, and there could be a bunch more sending Harrow's ink on the fritz. Find out if we're set to meet anymore when "Moon Knight" returns to Disney+ next week.