Moon Knight’s first episode ever is titled “The Goldfish Problem,” so there must be significance to Steven Grant’s pet goldfish, Gus. What is it?
WARNING: Spoilers for Moon Knight episode 1.
It’s odd that Moon Knight is giving any focus to a goldfish, yet he holds a key to the mystery of who Steven Grant is. In his London flat, Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) affectionately cares for a one-finned goldfish named Gus, who was even on his own promotional poster released by Marvel prior to the show’s release. With Moon Knight’s debut episode on Disney+ even being titled “The Goldfish Problem,” there is clearly an intentional focus on Gus, however large it may be.
Gus helps exemplify Steven’s seclusion in life. Steven’s talks with Gus are among the few moments in the debut in which he communicates with someone who will not respond back, shown also in his voicemails to his mother and his conversation with the statuesque street performer. Looking at all of Moon Knight’s characters, not many of them are really friends of Steven. Even Layla (May Calamawy) is only familiar with Marc Spector, the main personality to whom Steven is an alter. Steven is relatively alone in his world. He’s aware of his mental health issues and consequential social struggles, which his interactions with people prove. Still, there’s added significance to Gus considering the attention both Steven and Moon Knight provide him, even if it’s mainly for one episode.
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Gus provides some metaphorical explanations about Steven. For one, goldfish are thought to have notoriously short memories. However, science has actually debunked this about goldfish, with experiments showing that goldfish remember objects for sometimes months on end. Steven seems to lack any recollection of his life as Marc and has frequent bouts of confusion throughout the episode, but this isn’t to assume that his repressed memories are inaccessible. It’s partly why Steven’s accent in Moon Knight is intentionally bad—Marc is actually American. While he may not remember anything now, things can eventually come back to him. Another metaphor Gus represents is the Finding Nemo allusion that Moon Knight even references. Like Nemo, the original Gus has one fin. Looking at the reference further, however, Steven finds himself in completely different countries without any recollection of how he got there despite his concentrated efforts to stay in his flat while asleep. As is the case in Finding Nemo, Steven will try to return home after wandering away.
The goldfish’s references could also unlock some mysteries about Moon Knight, not just Steven Grant himself. For example, while this Atlantis Easter egg in Moon Knight is significantly more subtle, the goldfish could perhaps be another connection to the rumored debut of Namor the Sub-Mariner in Marvel’s Phase 4. Of course, it’s important to remember what the significance is of two-finned Gus, which will likely be answered later in the season. If Steven’s interaction with the pet store clerk is any indication, it was Marc Spector who replaced Gus just the day prior to Steven discovering the two-finned goldfish. Why Marc would have replaced the goldfish is a mystery that may be deeper than initially realized. More metaphorically, Gus’ replacement could also symbolize Marc’s persona taking over Steven.
Moon Knight’s goldfish clearly reveals a lot of mysteries, whether he be a symbolic portal into who Steven Grant is or a source of foreshadowing for the show. Gus’ more interesting role in the show, however, is how he’s essentially Steven’s mirror. Just like the broken glass in Arthur Harrow’s (Ethan Hawke) shoes is a window into his mysterious past, Gus resembles Steven Grant’s present state and possible future. Not many MCU characters have pets, making Moon Knight’s Steven Grant an intriguing exception.
Next: Moon Knight Episode 1 Easter Eggs & Marvel References Explained
New episodes of Moon Knight drop Wednesdays on Disney+.
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About The Author
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Allison Wonchoba is a Features writer on Screen Rant. She holds a degree in Cinema and English, and she knows (probably) all things film and TV. Working at Hot Topic for a couple years also helped her know all things pop culture-y. Once upon a time, she also interned at a radio station in Dublin, Ireland where she got more media training – and built up her Sudoku skills on the side. She likes Pina Coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain – and she knows that’s NOT a Jimmy Buffet song.
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