Poor Spot& has decided this is too much and doesn’t want to watch the rest of Moon Knight. Can’t say we blame them. They’re a softie at heart. And also struggling with some pantheon paradigm shift issues. So we’ll write up something for all the Cerberus Plural fans… but it’s going to have to come from an opinionated standpoint. We’re not going to spoil the actual content, but we will discuss the overall feel, and representation vs inaccuracies without specifics.
So first the warnings. It’s rough. I think many folk toughing through the series are getting drawn in to the character. Marvel does an amazing job with complicated and flawed heroes. Marc/Steven are no different — they’re flawed, and pained, and troubled, and well, Oscar Issac isn’t hard to look at and a really good actor. We’re still waiting for a big reveal of a 3rd headmate perhaps with a more Latino accent. It’s not a spoiler, it’s just us expecting it. Because it’s such a common experience like “But wait! This isn’t everyone…”
Episode 3: The Friendly Type
Episode 3 Content Notifications: losing time, still creepy cult stuff, trial/court, injustice in court, gaslighting, talk of genocide.
Frankly, we don’t want to watch the episode again to make sure; that may not be everything.
In a 6-part series, you know the tension has to be cranked up between the 4th & 5th installment for the climax. 6 will be a resolution episode.
Part of the point of participating in action/adventure media is to get your adrenaline up. They did it; it worked. But we’re trauma survivors and our adrenaline is always up. The ability to relate to the main character (in spite of some discordant “Buh?” moments where the writers or director got something wrong) means that all the traumagenic folk we know who are watching have a tug of war between “I can’t watch!” and “I can’t look away!” — a conflict that could come from something more horror/thriller genre.
And this is what episode 3 delivers: more tension, more adrenaline at points, more plot, more information, clues & hints in the overall “mystery” and also a breather for part of the episode where we get to know the characters better and more of their personality and desires. In other words, this is the episode where we actually start to get truly invested in the outcome.
If you’re going to bail, you probably should bail before 3. Those who make it through 3 will have a hard time not continuing on. Even if it hurts.
By Episode 3 the dependence on mirrors is old, contrived, and actually starts to get in the way of suspension of disbelief for us. Just saying.
Episode 4: The Tomb
Episode 4 Content Notifications: explosion, (verbally) fighting over the body, darkness, mummy, gore, ritual sacrifice, jumpscares, psych ward/involuntary confinement, gaslighting, derealization issues/reality break.
Look at the episode title. Roll it around in your mind. Think about all the things it could mean.
Yes. It does. It means that. Whatever you’re thinking.
The later part of the episode has some very mature Indiana Jones-ish stuff, but don’t let our saying that lure you in. Parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark were terrifying in the theaters.
Episode 5: Asylum
This episode is very likely to be highly triggering for childhood abuse or trauma survivors, domestic abuse & violence victims, or bereaved parents.
Afternote: start the episode at 20:26. Having seen the whole series and looking back at Episode 5, we can recommend that traumatized viewers can skip most potentially retraumatizing content by skipping the beginning and still get the gist of some of the issues that Marc & Steven have been working through. You’ll be able to catch the plot from there without missing anything vital. This still leaves in a little disturbing content, but should blunt the issues folks have with this episode a great deal. It is still disturbing, but hopefully not retraumatizing, at this point.
Less than 20-30 seconds into the episode, a character is angry-yelling at the viewer’s point of view. This deserves a very specific warning.
Episode 5 Content Notifications: drowning, child abuse, neglect, child death, prolonged grief disorder(?), falling, a lot of yelling & verbal abuse (see special note above, and it happens several other times in the episode as well), trauma/abuse, shame/blame/guilt, zombies, psych ward/involuntary confinement, gaslighting, derealization issues/reality break, manipulative talk therapy, death of parent, suicide plan, alter death?
This episode has both good to great, and awful misguided concepts in it. It’s also a cliffhanger episode, so you may want to wait until you can do 5 & 6 back-to-back, but only if they rectify one of the more harmful ideas about DID/plurality that they put into this episode.
Where there were some troubling things along the way in other episodes, nothing was very big. But this episode may suggest some very unrealistic prognosis issues for DID — in other words, it may be very misleading about trauma work, recovery, and realistic recovery timeframes. But we won’t know until the wrap-up next week, will we? That’s part of the problem. We don’t know. At the end of this episode we’re left with the cognitive dissonance of “This is not how it works.” but it might be quickly resolved in the first 5 minutes of episode 6. Or not.
This is what we get for watching an episode the day it’s released.
Some plurals are already enamored with the series, though all comments about episode 5 we’ve seen have been triggered, troubled, regretful, pained, and hesitant to recommend seeing it.
Our recommendation would be to wait. Wait until after folk see episode 6 and can vet the series for you, rather than putting your own stability and peace at risk by watching it then having to wait a week for answers as to what’s really going on. You can watch the series like an extra-long movie later, if it’s decent overall, and then at least the nail-biting might be for only a few minutes.