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The Ending Of Moon Knight Episode 5 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Moon Knight" Episode 5

"Moon Knight" was always going to be a full-on Oscar Isaac festival, but the penultimate episode of the Disney+ show takes things to a whole different level by fully focusing on the complicated and tragic dynamic between the actor's dual roles as the titular character's Marc Spector and Steven Grant identities. As a result, this is easily the bleakest "Moon Knight" episode to date. 

Instead of focusing on the overarching plot to stop Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) from releasing Ammit, the episode deals in flashbacks and the MCU version of the Egyptian mythology's afterlife. It appears that Harrow indeed shot Marc dead in Episode 4. This episode is all about what happens next, and finding out whether there's a way back into the realm of the living. As such, there's no Layla (May Calamawy) in this episode, and Harrow only appears in his asylum doctor incarnation, which turns out to be a part of Marc-Steven's mindscape. Even Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) and the Moon Knight costume only make a quick flashback appearance. 

Much like the giant afterlife ship she helms, the episode is steered by the friendly hippo goddess Tawaret (voiced by Antonia Salib). She reveals that the strange asylum Marc and Steven are trapped in is a part of their path to afterlife, and offers them advice on what to do next. What follows is an intimate look into the deepest, darkest recesses of Marc Spector's history ... and the many terrifying things that reside within his mind. Let's delve a little bit deeper into the painful, painful ending of "Moon Knight" Episode 5, and what it means for the show. 

The truth about Steven is one of the MCU's great tragedies

After watching "Moon Knight" Episode 5, MCU fans might find themselves peeling onions at the merest mention of the name Steven Grant. The affable, yet tormented Brit's cluelessness offers ample comic relief in early episodes of the show. Here, he's in full tragedy mode instead, as the show digs into the layers of his persona, and somehow manages to find more and more sadness at every reveal. 

For much of the episode, Steven actually comes across as the more calm and collected personality. From the sudden appearance of Tawaret to his confrontation with "Doctor" Harrow, he takes many things much more gracefully than Marc. However, all falls apart the moment the truth bombs start dropping. 

Steven, you see, is actually an identity Marc created, not the other way around. Marc's brother (Claudio Fabian Contreras) died in a cave accident when the boys were young, and their mother blamed Marc for it. To cope with the incredibly dark situation, Marc created the Steven identity, which he named after Dr. Steven Grant — a cheesy fictional adventurer the brothers liked, first seen in "Moon Knight" Episode 4. 

Marc has allowed Steven to experience all the good and happy things in their joint life, while reserving all the tragic and painful events for himself. Steven doesn't exactly take it well when he realizes that the mother (Fernanda Andrade) he remembers as kind and loving was actually hateful and abusive ... and that she has been dead for two months.

Incidentally, the death of Marc's brother pretty much confirms that the comic book version of the character, Randall Spector, won't appear in the MCU in a hurry. In the comics, the adult Randall becomes a twisted, villainous Moon Knight called Shadowknight, and causes no end of trouble. 

And then, there is one ... or is there?

The revelation of the Steven personality's true nature is one thing, but what happens to him at the very end of the episode is nothing short of overkill. Steven eventually manages to collect himself after the various truths about his existence. He comforts and reassures Marc, and even comes to the realization that as a part of Marc, he has what it takes to fight against the lost souls of Duat on Tawaret's ship.

Unfortunately, all of this only amounts to one last tragedy for him. Instead of Marc, it's Steven who falls down in the Duat desert, and succumbs to its sands. As a final insult to injury, his apparent demise is the thing that was needed to balance out Tawaret's scales, which means Steven was ultimately the thing that was wrong with Marc all along. 

And so, Marc ends the episode as the sole remaining personality (that we know of). This implies that the Jake Lochley persona, which has been a subject of intense fan speculation since Episode 3 started throwing hints at a possible third personality, either doesn't exist or goes about his business in a way that doesn't affect Marc. 

Steven's tragic end doesn't mean that the character's fans should be rage-canceling their Disney+ subscriptions, though. As the episode makes clear, Steven is Marc's creation, and manifests as a fracture in his balance rather than as an entity of his own. This means that Marc may still have the means to bring the affable Brit back. After all, Moon Knight's had plenty of alternate personalities in the comics, and they've been known to return even after they've been apparently banished for good. 

A surprising job for a hippo goddess

After her dramatic entrance in the last scene of "Moon Knight" Episode 4, the hippo goddess Tawaret plays a pretty large part in Episode 5. Tasked with guiding Marc and Steven into their designated destinations in the afterlife, she weighs their hearts and offers them guidance. 

There's one minor problem, though. In the Egyptian mythology, that's not exactly Tawaret's primary gig. While powerful, she's more of a household goddess who's more closely associated with femininity and fertility than death and judgement (via Britannica). As such, you wouldn't expect this particular deity to turn up for the whole "ferrying the dead" thing. In fact, the "Moon Knight" version of Tawaret appears to be doing the job of the jackal-headed god of the dead, Anubis (via Britannica).

Egyptian mythology expert Steven doesn't seem to be all that surprised about Tawaret's role here, so it's possible that the MCU has just reimagined her duties a bit. Of course, it's worth noting that at some points of the episode, Tawaret seems genuinely inexperienced at the job, which comes across as kind of strange if she's been doing it for millennia. As it happens, the mythological version of the deity is friends with Hathor, whose avatar, Yatzil (Díana Bermudez), appears in Episode 3, and establishes the goddess as Khonshu's ally. Could it be that Tawaret's on some secret agent business here, carefully watching over Khonshu's avatar while giving Anubis the day off?

Marc Spector, a surprisingly good guy

"Moon Knight" has traditionally presented Marc as a bit of an action hero jerk, but Episode 5 reveals that he's actually a pretty nice guy who just happens to be stuck in the mother of all predicaments. He has to live with the memory of his brother's accidental death, and with the unimaginable pain that comes from the way his mom blamed him for the incident. He's protected the Steven Grant personality since childhood, while soaking untold amounts of physical and mental punishment himself. He became a mercenary because he was all out of other options, and while it's true that he was present when Layla's father died, he was actually trying to stop other mercenaries from killing innocent witnesses.

Even after Marc agreed to become Moon Knight to save his life, he remembered every person who died by his hand in excruciating detail, no matter how awful criminals they might have been. While Steven notes that there's still a violent side to Marc, it's clear that at the end of the day, he's a decent dude who's been deeply affected by a lifetime of increasingly horrific experiences. When the episode ends and Marc stands alone in the Field of Reeds paradise, it may very well be the first modicum of peace he's experienced in decades. The question is, is he willing to let go of that rare moment of bliss to save the world, or will he be tempted to stay?

Harrow is winning in the real world

The Arthur Harrow in this episode of "Moon Knight" may or may not be a product of Marc's mind, but out in the material world, the real guy is up to no good ... and he's very close to winning the game. 

While Episode 5 largely puts Harrow's "release Ammit to judge mankind wholesale" plan on hold, the final moments reveal that the man hasn't been resting on his laurels. In fact, he's likely already succeeded in his mission. When numerous souls suddenly start raining down in Duat before their time, Tawaret is concerned enough to agree to help Marc and Steven. The plan is to find a way to get Layla to free Khonshu, which would presumably give Marc's Moon Knight powers back, enabling him to return to his mortally wounded body and heal. 

This is a neat setup for the final act, but it also implies that Harrow hasn't been slacking during Marc and Steven's soul-searching. Since there's no way the cult leader can personally judge people at the rapid rate they're arriving in the afterlife, the episode seems to imply that he's already managed to release Ammit. So, even if Marc manages to find a way back in the real world, does this mean Harrow's already won? Is there any way Moon Knight can battle a goddess that even the rest of the Egyptian pantheon seems to fear? Regardless of the answer, it's clear that viewers are in for one seriously exciting finale. 

The origin story of Moon Knight teases multiple storylines for the future

As usual, the MCU version of "Moon Knight" adds its own twists to the source material. However, in some ways it remains almost shockingly faithful to the comics. Episode 5 offers perhaps the most comics-accurate nugget of Moon Knight lore yet, and as it happens, it's also the most important part: Marc Spector's superhero origin story. Marc's fateful Egypt mission under future nemesis Bushman is faithfully recounted here, and when Khonshu offers the dying mercenary the chance to become his Moon Knight, the deity even delivers the oft-quoted "protect the travelers of the night" adage that's both Moon Knight's mission statement and his version of the Spider-Man classic, "With great power comes great responsibility."

The biggest takeaway from this is, of course, the fact that the earlier teases about Moon Knight nemesis Raoul Bushman's existence in the MCU have been correct. Because Bushman is such a prominent Moon Knight foe, this opens the door for the show to adapt pretty much any of the major plotlines involving him ... including some of the more recent ones, which feature the terrifying avatar of Ra, Sun King

Oscar Isaac's unique "Moon Knight" contract might mean that the show is destined to become a one-season miniseries, but should the actor be willing to don the white cowl in the future, Bushman now seems like a very likely opponent for him.