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Series / Moon Knight (2022)

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"I can't tell the difference between my waking life and dreams."
Steven Grant

Moon Knight is a Superhero Action Urban Fantasy Psychological Horror series created for Disney+ by Jeremy Slater (The Umbrella Academy), based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the 33rd overall entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the tenth installment in Phase Four, and the sixth series produced by Marvel Studios. It's also the first Disney+ series not based on a previously established MCU character. It is directed by Mohamed Diab (4 episodes), as well as Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (2 episodes).

Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) is not okay. Suffering from insomnia and hallucinations, it's difficult for him to find the boundary between his waking life and his dreams. After receiving a call from someone who knows him by another name, Steven finds the already tenuous threads of his reality begin to unravel. It turns out that in another life, he was Marc Spector, a mercenary whose identity seems to be resurfacing. Bestowed powers by the Egyptian God of the Moon, Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham), Steven and Marc must embrace the chaos within, get to grips with their rapidly disintegrating mind, and confront a cult led by the enigmatic Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke).

The cast also includes May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly, Gaspard Ulliel in one of his final roles as Anton Mogart (he died two months before the series' release), and Lucy Thackeray as Donna. The series premiered on March 30th, 2022, with episodes released every Wednesday through May 4th. The current future of the series is unknown — While Isaac hasn't officially signed on to return as the characters for future projects and no news of a second season or future appearances by the series' cast in other MCU works has been announced as of June 2022, Isaac, Hawke and Calamawy have all expressed interest in returning "if there was a story that really made sense".

Previews: Trailer, Super Bowl TV spot

Moon Knight provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Nationality:
    • In the comics, Steven Grant was an American multimillionaire. In this series, Grant is a lower-class Brit working at the British Museum.
    • Likewise, Marc's hidden alter Jake Lockley appears to be Latino, or at least from a place where Spanish is a primary language.
  • Adaptational Location Change: Moon Knight in the comics is primarily based in New York City whenever he isn't in Egypt, whereas here much of the action takes place in London and Cairo. As mentioned above, Steven Grant's nationality has changed to fall in line with this.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the comics, Jake Lockley was so violent that even Khonshu was hesitant to talk about him. Here, they seem to be good friends.
  • All Myths Are True: The Egyptian pantheon is revealed to be actually real in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Notably, Tawaret obliquely implies that many other mythologies and religions are also true, as she freely admits that the Duat (Egyptian underworld) is only one potential afterlife that a mortal soul can experience.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The post-credits stinger for Episode 6 has Jake Lockley fronting to kill Harrow and Ammit. It's completely unknown what exactly this means for Marc, Steven, and Layla going forward.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The series is initially vague on who, between Steven and Marc, is the original identity. Steven is the first one we meet, but Marc has an established history that Steven was never aware of. "Asylum" confirms that, as in the comics, Marc is the original, with Steven being a response to the abuse Marc suffered as a child.
    • Harrow implies more than once that Marc was responsible for a massacre at a dig site in Egypt where Layla's father was killed. When Marc tells his side of the story, it's revealed that the killings were actually carried out by his partner, Bushman, who shot Marc as well when he tried to intervene. It's left unclear if Harrow is being deliberately misleading (he never directly says that Marc killed anyone, and he uses the implication to sow discord) or if he's simply mistaken or misinformed (the only witnesses to the slaughter were Marc, who never told anyone the truth before Layla forced it out of him, and Bushman, who was the perpetrator).
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Steven and Marc's general relationship prior to their mutual Character Development is this, with one alter locked away inside their body and unable to do anything more than yell at them from reflective surfaces when the other alter is active.
    • The fate of gods locked away in ushabtis. The distant screaming that can be heard around them strongly implies that they're still aware of their surroundings to an extent despite being completely unable to move or interact with the world around them.
  • And Starring: "Saba Mubarak as the voice of Ammit" / "F. Murray Abraham as the voice of Khonshu" / "special guest star Gaspard Ulliel" / "and Ethan Hawke".
  • Arc Number: Five.
    • There's a total of five identities, counting the superpowered ones — Marc, Moon Knight, Steven, Mr. Knight, and Jake.
    • There are four gods missing from the Ennead, leaving five to hold council.
    • When Khonshu is imprisoned in an ushabti and placed on the wall, there's a total of five ushabtis there.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Those members we see of the Egyptian pantheon show significant differences from recorded mythology:
    • The show presents Ammit as a goddess who judges people to be good or evil based on all of their actions, past, present, and future. While Ammit was feared as a Soul Eater in the Egyptian religion, she was never a judge of anyone. She was more like an executioner, punishing those who had been judged to be evil by Anubis. Heck, she wasn't even really treated as a goddess, instead being viewed more like a dreaded non-sapient monster. Granted, Harrow does claim that Ammit got tired of having to wait for Anubis's judgment and decided to become more proactive in punishing the wicked, so it's possible that Ammit used to be more like the myths. Steven also notes that this is the first time he's heard of that interpretation of Ammit.
    • Taweret, the goddess of childbirth and fertility, also takes the role of psychopomp and The Ferryman of the boat leading to the Field of Reeds, when these were originally the roles of a few overlapping deities: the boat's captain Aken/Kherty, and the actual ferryman Aker/Mahaf. That said (possibly in a case of in-universe justification), Taweret is shown to be fumbling around with the protocols of the job, needing cue cards to help her, suggesting that she was saddled with the duty against her will due to the shifts amongst the Ennead throughout the millennia. The fact that many other deities were also imprisoned in ushabtis, much like Khonshu, helps explain this as well.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: There is more blood and gore here than any previous Disney+ original content, from the people Marc beats up to the guy who gets shot in the head. We even see an uncut scene of Steven fixing his dislocated jaw in the first episode, while his teeth are stained with blood!
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the series being Bloodier and Gorier, there are plenty of on-screen deaths with no blood coming from those that are killed or wounded. It's played with, as there is still blood shown, just typically in the aftermath of the action.
  • Casting Gag: The Japanese dub includes a meta one in relation to a voice actress and a relative of hers who is also a voice actress: Taweret is voiced by Megumi Han, and later in the series, she grants her powers and armor to Layla. Her mother, Keiko Han, is well-known for voicing Luna, another talking animal linked to the moon able to grant powers to humans in order to fight evil, in that case empowering Usagi Tsukino in order to transform herself into the titular Sailor Moon. The main difference here is, while Luna limits herself to granting those powers to Usagi, Taweret does the same by using Layla as her avatar instead.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Central Theme: Past trauma, identity, and how we let our guilt over something we've done in our past (justified or otherwise) alter our identity in the present day.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: From Episode 4 onwards, Marc and Steven are depicted wearing dirty white and dirty gray respectively.
  • Costume Porn: While the characters generally wear simple contemporary outfits for the most part, the Egyptian gods and their avatar(s) are all dressed in highly elaborate costumes based off of traditional Egyptian artwork. The Moon Knight costume is an ornate mummy covered in hieroglyphics and other archaeological motifs. Likewise, the Mr. Knight costume is a Sharp-Dressed Man's three-piece suit decorated with Egyptian motifs textured onto the fabric. And Layla's Scarlet Scarab outfit is similarly detailed, being modeled after ancient Egyptian pharaonic clothing including an usekh collar along with golden wings, and scarab iconography.
  • Cuckoo Nest: Maybe. Maybe not. Is Marc hallucinating the entire series in a mental asylum, or is the entire thing real after all?
  • Darker and Edgier: Most of the other MCU Disney+ shows aren't exactly walks in the park either, but Moon Knight is not only noticeably Bloodier and Gorier than any other entry from Marvel Studios, but the tone is significantly darker and more morose than most other MCU works. Most of the epic superhero action and comedy typically seen elsewhere in the MCU is downplayed in favor of genuinely terrifying supernatural and psychological horror (a Disciple of Ammit being mummified alive by an undead priest of Heka in Episode 4 definitely springs to mind here), and the series also frequently indulges in melancholic ruminations over identity and mental health issues, which in turn are revealed to stem from a disturbingly realistic abusive childhood involving the death of a much younger sibling.
  • Divine Punishment:
    • Invoked by Arthur Harrow and his disciples, who follow the deity Ammit and punish anyone who they deem guilty by killing them. They plan to release Ammit in order for her to punish anyone whose scales are considered unbalanced - regardless of whether or not they have actually done anything worth punishing yet.
    • Khonshu is directly referred to as the "God of Vengeance", and delivers justice in particularly violent ways. However, unlike Ammit, he only punishes people for crimes they actually have committed, rather than crimes they only may potentially commit.
  • Dub Name Change: The Brazilian Portuguese dub uses the Greek pronunciation of Taweret, Thouéris.
  • Easter Egg: Every episode has a secret QR code hidden somewhere in the background. Scanning them will take you to a free-to-read Moon Knight comic on Marvel's official website.
  • Egypt Is Still Ancient: The show deliberately goes out of its way to defy this - while Egyptian Mythology plays a huge part in the series, one of the show director's stated intentions for the show was to counteract this trope's narrative by accurately portraying the country of Egypt as modernized. Despite most of the Egyptian scenes taking place in or around ancient ruins, it is made abundantly clear that this is a modern nation instead of just a by-way for adventurers. Its portrayal of Cairo in particular was praised for being accurate and non-stereotypical.
  • Evolving Credits: As explained on this link, the closing credits has a few locations altered with each episode, and the moon's phase also changes each time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The hints about there being three alters, not just two actually is foreshadowed in the credits. When it shows Oscar Isaac, it has three faces peeled off from the body itself.
    • In Episode 1, Steven is shown stocking Taweret plushies in the museum and briefly discussing them with his boss Donna. Later on, a mural of Taweret can be seen behind one of Ammit when Harrow confronts Steven in the museum. In Episode 4, Taweret herself shows up, looking remarkably close to the plushie design.
    • In the very same episode, Steven explains the Field of Reeds to a little girl who snarkily replies that he must've died, to which he says he hasn't. Come Episode 4, and Harrow kills him/Marc to send them to the Egyptian afterlife, and then the following episode reveals Steven doesn't even make it to the Field of Reeds...
    • When Steven wakes up in the Alps, Khonshu tells him to return the body to Marc three times before realizing that "the idiot is in control", meaning that Khonshu thought someone other than Steven or Marc was in control.
    • While preparing for a date, Steven dresses up in front of three side-by-side mirrors, alluding to the character's three identities. Moreover, before he gets chased by a jackal monster, you can see two reflections on the display case.
    • Arthur Harrow spends most of the series wearing a set of red robes. In Egyptian mythology, red was associated with violence, disorder, and suffering. While it seems to be befitting on the surface in regards to his status as the miniseries' Big Bad, in actuality it subtly indicates that his own scales are imbalanced (as confirmed by Ammit in the series finale).
    • Throughout the whole miniseries, Marc has continued being Khonshu's Avatar by the moon god threatening to take his wife Layla as his new Avatar. In the series finale, though, after Layla vehemently tells Khonshu that she will never be his Avatar, he takes it surprisingly well and seems to move on to more important things without missing a beat. This subtly hints at how Marc wasn't exactly on point about Khonshu's goals, since The Stinger reveals that his preferred candidate was actually none other than Jake Lockley, the secret third alter.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: The first sign that things aren't as they seem with Steven is that a guy who works at a museum gift shop can somehow afford a large flat in London. He claims it actually belongs to his mother. Though never explicitly stated, it becomes much more likely that Marc/Jake pays for the apartment, as their mother is actually deceased, but Steven just wasn't allowed to know about it.
  • Hearing Voices: After Steven wakes up in the Alps, he starts hearing two male voices: an older one that is apathetic and dismissive (Khonshu), and one warning him not to get closer (Marc).
  • Instant Costume Change:
    • Marc can instantly transform into Moon Knight, with bandages sprouting from thin air to envelop him in the Moon Knight outfit within seconds, complete with weapons.
    • In the second episode, Steven transforms into Mr. Knight while he's falling due to being told by Layla to "summon the suit" to save himself, but she didn't specify that it was the Moon Knight armor.
  • Invisible to Normals: The supernatural elements can only be seen by people who have some connection to the supernatural themselves, like Marc/Steven or Harrow.
    • The jackal creature that attacks Steven in the museum and is subsequently killed by Marc as Moon Knight doesn't show up on the security camera footage. When a second jackal creature attacks Steven and Layla in the following episode, Steven is able to see it, but Layla cannot.
    • Whenever Khonshu physically appears or speaks, only Marc and Steven are able to see and hear him. The only other hint to his presence is a Dramatic Wind.
  • Jerkass Gods: Khonshu repeatedly berates Steven as a useless idiot, despite presumably knowing that Steven is completely unaware of the situation and his alternate identity. Later, Harrow talks to Steven about how terrible it is to have the voice of a god inside your head, and he's speaking from his experience as an avatar himself. The gods use their avatars as agents on Earth with little regard for their feelings on the matter, and will kill humans for petty or inscrutable reasons. While Khonshu appreciates Marc's talents, he is still condescending when he talks to him, and threatens to take his wife Layla as his next avatar if Marc fails his mission.
  • Leitmotif: The title character (and the series itself) uses a very bombastic theme. Whenever it plays, it's a guarantee things are about to get quite crazy, with the first episode prominently featuring it as Steven surrenders control of the body to Marc, who turns into Moon Knight for the first time in the series.
  • Logo Joke:
    • In the official trailer, the Marvel Studios logo tilts counterclockwise against a white backdrop, while the lighting shifts.
    • Also in the official trailer, Moon Knight's arcing rooftop leap transitions into Disney+'s own animated arc towards the plus sign.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: An interesting case with Layla, Marc and Steven. Marc and Layla were a husband-and-wife team many years ago, but started to grow apart after Marc became Khonshu's Moon Knight. When Steven meets Layla for the first time in this show, he's absolutely head-over-heels for her, while Layla is cold and confused due to not knowing about Marc's DID. Once she learns about it and comes to terms with it, Layla comes to love both Marc and Steven equally, though she does seem to prefer Steven's geeky Dork Knight tendencies over Marc's more reserved personality.
  • Lunacy: It's probably not a coincidence that a superhero empowered by an Egyptian moon god going by the alias "Moon Knight" has mental health issues (specifically, Dissociative Identity Disorder).
    Arthur: I'm curious, do you think that Khonshu chose you as his avatar because your mind would be so easy to break, or because it was broken already?
  • Macguffin: Steven is in possession of a golden scarab that Arthur Harrow wants for its function as a compass to Ammit the Devourer's tomb in order to resurrect her.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Harrow muses on whether Steven/Marc's fractured identity was caused by Khonshu, or whether it was a pre-existing condition. Episode 5 reveals Marc was the original identity, and he created Steven as a coping mechanism when his mother became physically abusive in his childhood.
    • Is Moon Knight really a superhero serving Khonshu, or were all his adventures just taking place inside his head while in a mental institution? Probably, in the show's reality, it's the former, but the show plays with the possibility...
  • Motif: Mirrors and reflective surfaces pop up multiple times in the show, reflecting the duality and multiple identities Steven is suffering from. Steven and Marc repeatedly talk with each other as reflections.
  • Mystery Cult: Arthur Harrow leads one which follows the worship of the Egyptian gods, especially Ammit. One of the things Harrow does with his followers is measure their souls using a shifting tattoo on his arm. Those who are judged good are praised, while those who are not quickly end up being killed by Harrow and have their body removed from the vicinity.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the comics, Moon Knight's first appearance was as an antagonist in Werewolf by Night. In the show, we first see him in costume fighting a humanoid jackal-thing.
    • This is not the first time Moon Knight's suit has been reimagined to resemble a Mummy. Earth X showed a Bad Future version of Marc covered from head to waist in bandages, the 2014 run has the ghost punching bone armor that also wraps Marc up in bandages, and the Moon Knights of the Egyptian Battlerealm in Secret Wars (2015) are likewise wrapped like mummies.
    • The series works in the typical all-white eyes of cowled superheroes in comics by giving Moon Knight Glowing Eyes of Doom. Some Moon Knight comics, most notably under the pencils of David Finch and Jerome Opena, made the artistic decision to give Moon Knight glowing eyes when in costume.
    • The living statue that Steven converses with in London appears to resemble Bertrand Crawley, a homeless informant of Moon Knight from the comics. Jeremy Slater later confirmed on Twitter that the performer is indeed Crawley.
    • One of Marc's missed calls is from DuChamp, referencing the French pilot and ally of Moon Knight Jean-Paul "Frenchie" DuChamp. Moreover, he's the 32nd missed call; both Moon Knight and Frenchie debuted in Werewolf By Night #32. The same number is shown again in "Summon the Suit" where the top of a bus reads "WBN 0032".
    • Marc's file number starts with 1975, the same year he debuted.
    • A glimpse of Layla's passport in Episode 3 shows her full name is Layla Abdallah El-Faouly, with Abdallah being her father's name in accordance with Arab naming conventions. This references Abdul Faoul, a little-known Egyptian anti-villain known as the Scarlet Scarab. Another reference to the Scarlet Scarab can be spotted in episode 4, where Layla in the asylum has a small bandage on her finger with a red scarab drawn on it. In episode 5, we see her father's corpse with a purple scarf and a scarab design on it, referencing the Scarlet Scarab's comic-book purple color scheme.
    • The end of Episode 4 has Marc in an asylum, similar to Jeff Lemire's run.
    • When Marc first made his deal with Khonshu, the god declared that Marc would be the protector of "travelers by night", which was established to be part of Khonshu's domain in the 2014 series.
    • The Mr. Knight attire being linked to Steven references Steven's original comic self as a suave, suit-wearing millionaire, sometimes dressed in white.
    • The movie studio that produced Tomb Busters is "Timely Atlas Studios". Timely and Atlas were the former names of the comic company that would eventually become Marvel. Dr. Steven Grant's actor is also named "Doug Perlin", a portmanteau of Moon Knight creators Doug Moench and Don Perlin.
    • Still on the subject of tribute to creators, The Stinger of "Gods and Monsters" shows a reference to Bill Sienkiewicz, the first artist of Moon Knight's solo comic book, in the name of the Sienkiewicz Psychiatric Hospital, where Harrow was being held as a patient.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The repeated line in the trailer, "I can't tell the difference between my waking life and dreams", is never spoken in the series. The entire concept of dreams and reality mixing doesn't get nearly as much focus in the series as the trailer implies.
  • Oddball in the Series: Thus far, this is the only Disney+ MCU show to be completely standalone and bereft of cameos from characters from other MCU works. It's still clearly set in the same world and timeline, though.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The main theme of the series has some intense choral chanting.
  • One-Steve Limit: Steven Grant shares his name with that of Steven Grant Rogers. He also shares a name with a certain master of the mystic arts, though it's spelled differently. Episode 4 reveals that Steven is a fictive alter based on a character from an old B-Movie called Tomb Buster.
  • Previously on…: Each episode starts with a recap of previous events.
  • Psychological Horror:
    • Much of the tension in the first episode comes from Steven's DID leading him to wake up in strange villages populated by evil cults with him Missing Time that mostly involves him waking up to dead bodies everywhere, as well as visions of giants with skeletal bird heads and his own reflections either talking to him or not even being in sync with his actions.
    • Episode 4 ends with Marc, who was shot by Harrow, somehow waking up in a pristine mental asylum where props and characters from the last three episodes appear, making it appear that Marc was just hallucinating the show the entire time.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite" is used throughout the trailer to represent Steven's multiple identities, as well as his most prominent one, Moon Knight.
  • Rule of Three: A few.
    • Three alters.
    • Three childhood memories about Randall's death: the day he died, his shiva, and Wendy still blaming Marc for it years later.
    • Three times Jake takes over and beats the crap out of a group of attackers off-screen.
  • Scales of Justice: A recurring motif throughout the show, based on Egyptian Mythology's Judgement of the Dead belief where hearts are weighed against a feather to determine if someone was worthy to enter the realm of the dead. Harrow's cult members all have scale tattoos, which are used to see if a person is good enough by Ammit's standards to live. This method of judgement doesn't work on Steven, likely due to his fractured mind; indeed, when Steven/Marc are shot dead, Taweret tries to balance their hearts on the gods' Scale of Justice and eventually concludes that they are unbalanced... at least until Steven is thrown off their boat and seemingly lost in the sands of the underworld.
  • Scarab Power: One of the MacGuffins of the show is a golden scarab that leads one to the tomb of the Egyptian goddess Ammit.
  • Secret Identity: The show takes the trope to its Logical Extreme: what if your superhero identity was a secret from yourself?
    • Marc Spector's secret identity is Moon Knight.
    • Steven Grant is rather surprised to learn that he even has a secret identity, as Mr. Knight.
    • Jake's existence is secret even to his alters.
  • Show Within a Show: "The Tomb" and "Asylum" talk about a B-Movie called Tomb Buster which features the adventurer Dr. Steven Grant, the basis for Steven the alter.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Steven's Disassociative Identity Disorder is portrayed fairly accurately, with some leeway for the supernatural aspect, of course. He has a lot of memory problems, which is a prominent symptom of DID, and his distress at losing time in increasingly large chunks is played with heartbreaking accuracy by Oscar Isaac.
    • The writers and producers of this show partnered up with National Geographic and poured a lot of research into Ancient Egypt to make the show's portrayal of its mythology and past as historically accurate as possible. They also visited several ancient temples to get an idea on what they and the artifacts inside would look like before constructing the shooting sets.
  • Start X to Stop X: Harrow wants to release Ammit to get rid of "evil" people before they can harm others - but of course that necessitates killing them himself first. He acknowledges the hypocrisy, knowing that he would never pass Ammit's judgment himself, but then Ammit surprises him by telling him that she requires an Avatar willing to do such terrible things. After all, the last time she had one who passed judgment she was trapped in stone for centuries.
  • Tagline:
    • For the show proper, "Embrace the chaos."
    • In "Asylum", Steven sees a poster for Tomb Busters and the tagline reads, "When danger is near, Steven Grant has no fear".
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Steven/Marc is a traumatized, haunted man with DID, and we see things mostly from his fairly disorienting (particularly early on) perspective, which the show uses to call certain events into question. For example, episode 2 initially makes it look like Steven might be hallucinating, as the security cameras don't pick up the jackal monsters, but we later learn the creatures are simply Invisible to Normals. Later on, episode 4 has a reveal that he may or may not be in an insane asylum hallucinating the entire series... or perhaps the insane asylum is simply another supernatural occurrence.
  • Visual Pun: In his mind, Marc has a mental hospital.
  • We Are Everywhere: Harrow's cult isn't limited to his village in the Alps, having people as far away as London, including security guards in Steven's museum, two London cops, and several children, and plenty of acolytes in Cairo.
  • Writer on Board: A downplayed example. Main director Mohamed Diab has been very outspoken about negative stereotypes of his native Egypt in media, and as such, the show takes great care to avert common tropes such as "Arabian Nights" Days, Egypt Is Still Ancient, Arab Oil Sheikh, or Warm Place, Warm Lighting in favor of more accurate depictions that show Cairo as a modern city with its own local customs and music like any in the West.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Steven has multiple anti-sleepwalking measures in place, including an ankle restraint, sand around his bed, and a tape seal over his door. None of these work, because it isn't his subconscious taking over his body, it's Marc, who is fully capable of removing the restraints and replacing the sand and tape after he disturbs them. In fact, the one thing that reveals something is wrong is Steven's pet (one-finned) fish suddenly gaining a second fin one morning.

"Why would I ever need anybody else, when he has no idea how troubled he truly is?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Moon Knight


Everyone Forgot Scott

MatPat recaps the recent events of Ant-Man by bringing up how Scott retired being Ant-Man since there's no Avengers level threats... Despite there being at least four, then speculating that they probably forgot his number.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SupermanStaysOutOfGotham

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