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The Truth About The Hippo Goddess In Moon Knight Episode 4

Contains spoilers about "Moon Knight" Episode 4.

When Kevin Feige first announced the "Moon Knight" series back, fans had no idea that they'd get Oscar Isaac in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With four episodes down, it's clear he's the perfect choice to lead a show involving ancient Egyptian deities and an epic, globetrotting adventure. The Marvel Disney+ show follows the former mercenary as he works under the command of Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham), god of the moon, to stop cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) from resurrecting a deity named Ammit. She's a vengeful goddess, and Harrow wants to bring her back so that she can judge humanity, killing those who are evil — or who may do bad things in the future.

In the first four episodes, Marc and additional personality Steven Grant (also Isaac) learn to share the same body. Over time, it's revealed they've each got their own strengths that come in handy in their mission to stop Harrow. Marc is an expert fighter, able to summon the ceremonial Moon Knight robes to dish out a beating, while Steven has an encyclopedic knowledge of Egyptology thanks to his time working at the National Gallery. But the continent-spanning adventure has some dire consequences by the time Episode 4 wraps up.

The episode hits a dramatic crescendo when Harrow shoots Marc-Steven in an underground tomb. It's unclear whether our hero is dead because he wakes up in a pristine, all-white psychiatric institution where everyone is someone Marc or Steven has met before, and all of them reinforce the notion that he's fabricated the entire Moon Knight story — until he meets a giant anthropomorphic hippo in Egyptian armor. At a pivotal moment, this hippo strolls in and says, "Hi," freaking out Marc and Steven. Who is the mysterious hippo goddess?

Tawaret is a powerful ancient Egyptian goddess

Both "Moon Knight" and the Marvel Comics series take inspiration from figures in ancient Egyptian mythology, so it's not surprising that the hippo goddess in Episode 4 is based on an otherworldly deity. The hippo goddess' name is Taweret. She is a protector of women and children, as well as a goddess of fertility (via Glencairn Museum). Aside from her prominent hippo features, Taweret also has some crocodile and lion characteristics — animals feared by the ancient Egyptians. However, she typically becomes aggressive or violent when children are threatened, and she also protects mothers and their children from evil spirits during childbirth, per Inquiries Journal.

"Moon Knight" also introduces the Ennead, a group of nine gods who all have human avatars living on Earth, including Yatzil (Díana Bermudez), the avatar of the goddess Hathor who speaks to Marc about Harrow and Ammit's misdeeds. Although Tawaret (yes, a slight tweak has been made to the spelling of her name for the MCU show) is not part of the Ennead established on "Moon Knight," Britannica points out she is closely related to Hathor, who is another goddess of women and fertility. Hathor may be using or working with Tawaret to save Marc and Steven from their bizarre situation in the institution.

In mythology, Taweret also uses strong magic to protect the dead on their journey to the underworld, which could be vital in the series since Harrow shoots Marc-Steven in the chest in Episode 4. It'll be interesting to see whether the creepy mental institution is in Marc and Steven's head or if it's the visual representation of a place like the Egyptian underworld.

Who plays Tawaret?

Because Taweret is an anthropomorphic hippo, it's understandable that a voice actor supplies the performance. Here, in Episode 4, we learn Antonia Salib voices Tawaret (via IMDb). "Moon Knight" is Salib's first major role, and she's already opened up about what it was like working on the buzzy Phase 4 project. While speaking to Variety at the show's premiere in March 2022, Salib explained that her physical performance inspired the team to change her costume to accommodate what she was doing with the role. She recalled, "The team [was] like, 'We have to redesign your costume because we love what you're doing physically. We want people to see that!'"

It sure seems like Tawaret will have a bigger role in Episode 5 (and perhaps Episode 6, too), although Salib dodged around a question asking whether her role involves any stuntwork. However, she was quick to praise the production team for allowing her the freedom to create her character from scratch, telling Variety, "From the moment I read the scenes when I was auditioning and started working with the director, Mohamed Diab, and the costume team, the VFX, it really felt like I was given license to create my character, and everyone was on board to work together. It was lovely."

The stage has been set for Tawaret since the beginning of "Moon Knight," when Steven picks up a box of Tawaret stuffed animals and casually comments on them in Episode 1, "The Goldfish Problem." She's clearly going to be a vital part of the series as it gets into the final two episodes, so keep an eye out.