Before we begin, a quick note: I am not an expert on dissociative identity disorder, and I don’t pretend to be. So I apologize in advance for any faux pas made here and know that I will make an effort to rectify my ignorance moving forward.
After watching the first episode, I felt reluctant about doing an episodic review approach. This comes mostly from unfamiliarity to the source material and with how slow the premiere was. But without being halfway through, I want to give the show one more chance to win me over and do the episodic approach.
Following the fight in the museum, Steven wakes up to find the museum is in ruins. While attempting to explain the situation to his co-workers, he’s fired from his job. In an effort to find evidence to explain to his former employer, he connects more with his alter ego, Marc Spector. Spector tells him that the two are avatars for Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon. He runs away from this and is intercepted by Layla (May Calamawy), who tells them that they’re married. After mysterious people take him in, they bring him to an abandoned area, where Arthur Darrow breaks him free. Darrow also tries to get a scarab, which he tells Steven is a compass from Ammit. But when Layla comes in, Steven summons the suit again and connects with Marc. And after an exchange between the two, Marc takes over and is sent to Egypt by Khonshu.
When it comes to dissociative identity disorder in media, I can’t help but compare this to United States of Tara. Much like in the second season of that show, Steven is in conflict with Marc Spector. In many ways, it can feel a little claustrophobic-especially with people not believing Steven. But when he puts the suit on, there’s this balance between Marc giving the hero the needed respect and Steven having a Deadpool-light feel to it. Watching these sides are a testament to Oscar Isaac’s acting ability. The scene with Steven and Marc arguing at each other’s reflection captures that perfectly.
I touched briefly on Ethan Hawke in the last review. But watching him in this episode, I am loving the performance he gives here. Hawke’s Ethan Darrow has that charm that feels like a warm blanket that’s almost suffocates the audience. Like any good cult leader, Arthur Darrow lulls you into a sense of security and seems to have the same charisma that John Walker had in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but with a more egalitarian tone.
With the final scene as Marc Spector having taken over from Steven, I found my answer to continue the episodic reviews. The acting is engaging and has me thinking more when watching them, the action is engrossing, and the show has tension derived from its ability to put the audience in the shoes of Steven Grant — all adding to my enjoyment with the series.