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Moon Knight Asylum – Episode breakdown and review

Marc Spector and Steven Grant are in a race against time to balance their hearts while uncovering secrets that reveal the horrors of Marc’s past.
Moon Knight Asylum – Episode breakdown and review
Going into Moon Knight Episode 5, many viewers weren't expecting the penultimate episode to stun us so unexpectedly as it sought to provide some clarity into some questions that have long gone unanswered. With an epic confrontation with Arthur Harrow looming in the finale episode next week, we are terrified of what lies ahead for Marc Spector/Moon Knight.

We'll be breaking down Moon Knight Episode 5, Asylum, while providing some final thoughts on the latest episode. We'll be highlighting significant plot points, characters and details; with a spoiler alert if you have yet to watch the latest episode on Disney+.

Moon Knight Episode 5 – Breakdown: The balance of hearts and souls

With an episode titled, Asylum, Episode 5 begins with a recap and series of flashbacks which will reveal themselves much later on. Nevertheless, this leaves more questions than answers as we didn't get them in the previous episode.

Marc reawakens at a psychiatric hospital, and with Steven now existing outside of his body, Tawaret revealed that she'd be their custodian, guiding them through the Duat, or the Underworld, as they had both "died". For Steven and Marc, their hearts will be judged on the scales of justice weighed against the feather of Maat.

If balanced, they can pass through; if not, they will perish with the other judged souls in the Duat, where they'll be frozen. Tawaret lets them know that whatever they're hiding from each other, they'll need to resolve it for their hearts to balance.

As Marc and Steven move their way through the hospital, Steven visits each of the doors, which, peering inside, reveals flashback moments from previous episodes. One of the doors Steven approaches is a memory he doesn't recall; however, Marc wishes not to pursue it as he doesn't have to relive all his memories.

moon knight episode 5 breakdown opinion steven grant marc spector tawaret egyptian deity psychiatric hospital balance hearts memories past
Steven Grant is confused about why Marc Spector wishes not to relive his past. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

Marc and Steven hear a plea for help which prompts Steven to run towards the cry, as Marc follows Steven. They locate a room where they find dead bodies seated in front of canopic jars, and Steven finds the scales in the middle of the room.

While Steven jokingly reveals that only Marc knows more about the room, Marc reveals that the bodies are all the targets were criminals he had killed at the behest of Khonshu. Steven noted that the scales are slowly weighing out and that Tawaret's advice is working as a boy appears before them.

Steven chases after the boy as he opens one of the doors, locking Marc out from behind him. Steven steps into one of Marc's childhood memories, in which Steven recognises his family before finding out that he has a younger brother, Randall.

moon knight episode 5 breakdown opinion tomb buster vhs tape marc spector randall spector reference
The Tomb Buster film was referenced once again in Moon Knight Episode 5. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

Opting not to eat, Marc and Randall venture off to a cave not far from the family home as they play out a scene from a Tomb Buster film. Marc's younger brother had informed him that their mom wouldn't allow them to play inside the cave on rainy days, which began to flood, resulting in Randall's drowning.

Marc gets frightened by the image of his mother looking back at him with disdain in one of the doorways. As the voices of Steven and his younger brother ring in his mind, he tells himself that it's nothing more but a distant memory before finding a door that leads back to his childhood home in Chicago.

Walking inside, his family is holding a shiva (a period of morning that lasts seven days in Judaism) after the funeral service for his younger brother, Randall. Marc spots a drenched Steven as Marc's mother tells his father that she wants her son back, just as a younger Marc comes down the staircase.

moon knight episode 5 breakdown opinion marc spector family home shiva randall spector mother words
A young Marc Spector receives harsh words from his mother at his younger brother's shiva. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

Enraged, his mother angrily blames Marc for his brother's drowning as Marc pleads with Steven to leave, who looks shocked at seeing her condemn him. However, Steven wanting to learn more, follows the younger Marc upstairs as he walks through several of Marc's memories on each floor.

While Steven wishes to learn more about what had happened in each memory, Marc pulls Steven away. They find themselves outside of the family home as Steven tries to figure out why their mother behaves the way she did.

Steven has no recollection of their mother in this manner; he demands to go back inside to find out what happens next; however, Marc is reluctant to let him go. Another memory plays outside as a teenage Marc walks down the street with his father following closely behind.

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Unable to take more of his mother's punishments, Marc Spector leaves home as his father tries to convince him to stay. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

As his father begs for him to stay, revealing that "he can't lose another son", Marc tells his father that his father can't understand why his mother hasn't received help. Marc and Steven have a struggle in the streets over the events they've witnessed; they land up in yet another memory in the middle of an Egyptian desert.

Surrounded by dead bodies, Marc explained that he got discharged from the military after going AWOL due to being in a "fugue state". He used his skill set to work for a former CO (commanding officer) Bushman, who was responsible for murdering Layla's father and the rest of his crew.

Marc, who disagreed with Bushman's plans, was mortally wounded when Steven asked where he was. Marc points to a temple in the middle of the desert. They follow Marc's blood trail, where inside, Marc attempts to end his suffering when Khonshu's voice echoes in the temple.

Khonshu empathises with Marc, revealing that he can feel the pain and torment of his "fractured mind" as he offers a solution to his woes. Should Marc choose to live, he can be Khonshu's warrior for vengeance, protect the "travellers of the night", and inflict pain and suffering on those who inflict harm on others.

Marc agrees to Khonshu's proposal, pledging his servitude to the Egyptian deity and being best with the light of Khonshu and receiving the ceremonial armour, thus becoming Moon Knight. Steven gets distracted by the sounds of baboons invading Tawaret's ship as she informs them that something gravely disturbing is happening.

The unbalanced souls were being sent to the Duat well before their time, causing fear to rise within the Underworld. As such, Steven crafts up another plan: to have Tawaret turn the ship around, return to the land of the living and stop Harrow.

moon knight episode 5 breakdown opinion marc spector steven grant tawaret egyptian deity underworld duat arthur harrow unbalanced souls
There was a disturbance in the Underworld as Marc Spector, Steven Grant, and Tawaret looked on. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

As this is the only option, Tawaret turns the boat around and heads to Osiris' gateway, asking Marc and Steven to continue balancing their souls. Steven wants to revisit an earlier memory inside Marc's bedroom; Marc instead believes that don't need to revisit any more memories and that he can explain them all.

He leads with Steven to not make them go through it once again, citing that "it's not worth it", as Steven responds that he's about to lose everything if they let Harrow release Ammit. Steven adds that If everyone dies, including Layla, it would be his fault for letting it happen.

Marc screams at Steven, stating that he can't force him to go through it again as he rages in front of Steven, waking up back in Dr Harrow's office. Harrow, once again, tasks Marc to speak with Steven and open up to him as he brings Steven inside his childhood bedroom.

After being upset at his mother over her comments, he clears his desk in anger as he takes covers in the corner of his room, telling himself that his mother is not who she is. Upset at what he sees, they watch Marc transition into Steven as Marc's mother bursts into his room and grabs a belt from a coat hanger.

Steven gets pulled away from the memory by Marc before he can see his mother beating Marc. Steven gets told by Marc that he wasn't meant to see that as he was created to see the good of their mother.

Angry at discovering that he wasn't the original, he punches Marc for his deception. Marc explained that while he can't live a normal life, Steven gets to have this life knowing that his mother loved him.

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Steven Grant comes to terms with the fact that his mother is gone. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

Steven, not believing a word, tells Marc that he's just trying to hurt him before Marc reveals he received a call from his father a few weeks prior informing him that his mother had passed, inviting him to his mother's shiva.

They revisit Marc's memory of him making the trip back to Chicago; however, unable to go inside, he stands on street pavement drinking. His father watches him from a window, motioning for him to come inside; however, Marc can't give in as he leaves while his father watches on.

Devastated, Marc breaks down in the middle of the street as Steven takes control of the body, confused about his whereabouts, he promptly calls his mother as he walks away. As they watch from the sidelines, Marc tells him this moment changed their lives forever.

This moment led their lives to bleed into each other as Marc reveals that he couldn't go back home and face his father after everything he had done. In a moment of clarity, Steven tells Marc that it's not his fault as he was just a child when his younger brother passed.

The boat abruptly stops, leading Marc and Steven to head back to the deck to find out what happened. With the gates of Osiris overlooking the Duat, Tawaret informs them that their scales didn't balance out as the unbalanced souls will now come for them.

As the souls are coming for them, Steven realises that if he is Marc, he comes to Marc's aid by taking one of the souls into the sands below. Horrified at seeing Steven going overboard, Marc wills him to run after the boat when he collapses as he's getting frozen by the sands.

moon knight episode 5 breakdown opinion steven grant duat forzen in sand unblanaced souls sacrifice overboard
Steven Grant takes out an unbalanced soul, thus throwing himself overboard and frozen in the sands. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

With the scales finally balanced and Steven sacrificing himself for Marc, allowing the scales to be balanced while Marc watches in horror as he loses a part of himself. In the end, Marc finds himself entering the Field of Reeds alone.

Moon Knight Episode 5 – Breakdown: Review and Final Thoughts

As I try to collect my thoughts and emotions after watching Moon Knight episode 5, one thing is clear: we have a new king at the helm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And his name is Oscar Isaac.

Not only was this one of the best performances (and I have mentioned this before), but the way he handled both characters was hauntingly beautiful to watch. Not only did he treats the characters with such care and reverence, but this episode was also a standout, a pure masterclass.

And with audiences and critics equally pleading for Oscar Isaac to be a top consideration for this year's Emmy Awards in the Limited Series category gaining more traction, we'll have to wait until later this year for the nominations to be released.

The episode spoke of pain and trauma, highlighted throughout as Marc had to open himself to Steven about his past through flashbacks. This started in his childhood, a tragedy of losing his younger brother, which led to his mother harbouring hatred and blame for Marc.

One significant moment in his childhood led to Marc locking himself up in his room, and out of fear and deep sadness, he created Steven Grant. The trauma Marc suffered in his childhood, the depiction of how fragile the human mind can be and how both played an overwhelming role in who he eventually became.

moon knight episode 5 review final thoughts marc spector moon knight khonshu egyptian deity becoming
We finally witness how Marc Spector met Khonshu and became Moon Knight. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

That fractured mind made him a near-perfect soldier before getting discharged and taking up more dangerous missions as a mercenary. The same fractured mind that, after his former partner ambushed and left him to die in the desert, did Khonshu took advantage of and manipulated Marc into becoming his agent for vengeance and him becoming Moon Knight.

This episode did an amazing job of distinguishing what's trauma and grief through Marc and Steven. Through his trauma, he created Steven as a mechanism, not a stress ball, to cope and process what he'd experienced, thus protecting Marc until the bitter end.

We know where we're heading with this episode behind us, but I hope Marvel Studios doesn't rush the final episode and leave things unexplained or unanswered. Also, with Jake Lockley still having yet to make its official MCU debut, it's slowly making it more plausible that he may be just an afterthought, which would be rather disappointing.

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With the path laid out for Marc Spector/Moon Knight as the series concludes next week. (Picture: Marvel Studios)

This was undoubtedly the best MCU episode, and I retract my statement from last week's breakdown. But i may be proven wrong next week when Disney+ airs the series finale of Moon Knight.

Moon Knight is streaming on Disney+ with new episodes set for release every Wednesday at 12 am PT / 3 am ET.

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Featured image courtesy of Marvel Studios.