Marvel Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores Moon Knight Episode 3 (“The Friendly Type”) and considers whether Jake Lockley is the violent personality hiding within the Body. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
We can’t watch Moon Knight like we watched Hawkeye or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We cannot believe what we see, and after Episode 3, we must assume a significant plot is occurring in the elements we don’t see. There is an antagonist at work who we haven’t yet met. And it’s probably someone we were expecting to see early on, Jake Lockley.
When Marvel first launched the Moon Knight comic, Marc Spector did not suffer from a dissociative identity disorder (DID). He was a mercenary who wore more than a caped Moon Knight outfit. Depending on the situation, Marc would adopt various disguises. His billionaire playboy persona Steven Grant got him into the boardrooms that towered over the city. His Jake Lockley cabbie persona granted him access to the city’s gritty underbelly. These secret identities became separate personalities in later comic book narratives, a creative decision executed to remove Moon Knight from Batman’s shadow. It worked.
Marc Spector’s appeal rests in how he struggles and manages his mental health. It’s not always palatable. Not every writer or artist handles his situation with care or empathy. Frequently, the DID is a gimmick and a plaything, but the best stories explore Marc’s strength despite a sabotaging biology. Not to mention his challenging relationship with Khonshu, the Egyptian god who once resurrected him in the desert only so he could fight his battles.
When Disney+ first announced the Moon Knight series, we assumed Marc Spector would be the primary personality steering the narrative. The gateway character being Steven Grant was the show’s first surprise. The second surprise was Jake Lockley’s exclusion. Ah, but in Moon Knight Episode 3, we might have just caught a first glimpse at the character.
While in control of the Body (Oscar Isaac), Marc charges across some Cairo rooftops, chasing several individuals who apparently know where Dr. Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) is conducting his excavation. While in pursuit, Marc is booted from the Body, and when he awakens behind the steering wheel again, he’s extracting a bloody blade from his pursuee’s chest. He stares into his reflection in the knife and asks, “Steven, what did you do?” Steven is equally perplexed. Uh-oh.
The Body has a hitchhiker. On one hand, it’s interesting to consider Khonshu’s role in the action. The god could have easily grown tired of Marc and Steven and grabbed control for himself. However, he doesn’t seem a likely suspect since the deity ignores the orders of his fellow Egyptian gods later on in the episode and helps the Body alter the night sky, damning himself to eternal punishment.
Given Jake Lockley’s significance within the comics and his absence in the series so far, he’s persona suspect number one. The question then becomes, is his presence within the Body a good thing or a bad thing? Mmmm, he’s an inevitability, not a crack that needs mending. The quicker they all start conversing, the better.
In the comic book Jake Lockley can be a tough brute. In one of the more celebrated recent Moon Knight runs, written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Greg Smallwood, there comes a moment where Lockely takes over. A certain passage reads, “Steven Grant is too soft for what comes next…so I leave him back at the mansion and hit the streets as Jake Lockley.”
Lockley is a bruiser. He’s the fists of “The Fist of Khonshu.” When there’s dirt to crawl about or skulls to crack, Jack Lockely is the identity that moves to the forefront. Morality is not his concern, only what’s best for the Body.
His criminal brain allows the Body to go where Grant and Spector cannot. He’s accepted into the shadows, allowed to walk amongst the city’s reprobates. They tell him what they would never tell the others. In the same manner that the pulp hero The Shadow amassed an army of street agents, Jake Lockley acquired an urban spy network.
Mostly, Oscar Isaac has played supporting player to himself. We haven’t seen too much from the outside world or the characters that inhabit it. This is starting to shift with Episode 3, as the Body needs more and more help to undermine Harrow’s nefarious mission. And with Khonsu disappearing from the scene during the climax and presumably taking the Moon Knight ceremonial armor with him, the Body could use Jake Lockley and his network.
In Moon Knight Episode 1, we caught a peep at Marc Spector’s incoming calls. Most were from his wife, Layla (May Calamawy), but there was one listing for someone named Duchamp. In the comics, this character operates somewhat like Bruce Wayne’s Alfred. He’s Marc Spector’s chauffeur, pilot, and all-around handyman. He’s a character that would happily flock to the Jake Lockley persona, a deus ex machina to the rescue.
Right now, we’re on standby with Layla and the Body. The previous Moon Knight episodes left our hero on an upswing. Episode 3 puts him in the dump, which feels appropriate since we’re halfway through the show. We’ve seen Grant and Spector toggle back and forth. They’re falling into a rhythm. Jake Lockley is about to switch things up again.
What don’t we know? What aren’t we seeing? It feels like a lot.
The Body’s unnamed hijacker is certainly holding some cards. When he steps forth, assuming it’s Jake, he could eventually fall in line with Grant and Spector as he does in the comics. Or, he could prove to be an even more troublesome personality. Grant and Spector may have to fight Lockley for the Body. A challenge that will eat away more time from their war with Harrow.
Then again, at this point in Moon Knight, Harrow feels more like a distraction than a threat. The battle for the Body could easily take over the narrative. The series is possibly building toward a mindscape where Grant, Spector, and Lockley (and Khonshu) operate, if not in harmony, then in communion. If they’re ever to assemble alongside the Avengers, the Body’s management of its hosts is paramount.
Moon Knight Episode 3 is now streaming on Disney+.