Oscar Isaac And Oscar Isaac: The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Greatest Duo

Read with caution. Spoilers for "Moon Knight" episode 5 follow.

Which set of co-stars has the strongest on-screen chemistry in the MCU? Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan's Steve and Bucky? Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland's Tony and Peter? Or Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany's Wanda and Vision? Let me tell you: There is only one correct answer, and it is Oscar Isaac ... and Oscar Isaac.

The veteran actor portrays Steven Grant and Marc Spector in "Moon Knight," Marvel Studios' latest unraveling of a deeply layered comic book character. It's unlike anything we've seen in the MCU before — Steven Grant is a nervous, bumbling oddball with a peculiar British accent and an enthusiasm for Egyptian mythology. Marc Spector is a more unlikable character — he's a ruthless mercenary with a mysterious past. We're not given a chance to empathize with him yet.

But "Asylum," the fifth episode of "Moon Knight," is a game-changer for how we come to feel about Marc. The episode honors the character's history of mental illness (Marc Spector has been living with dissociative identity disorder or DID since his debut in 1975) with a certain depth and sensitivity that is rare in Marvel's usual family-friendly slew of superhero properties.

The most impressive thing about Wednesday's "Moon Knight" episode is how skillfully Oscar Isaac shares the screen with himself. There is a deep sadness to Isaac's harrowing portrayal of Steven and Marc — and how he makes two identical-looking characters appear entirely unidentical. Steven and Marc's body language effortlessly transitions from a relaxed posture to a more confident frame, his facial expressions drop and change, the eyebrows crunch, the voice transforms — and the chemistry between the two slowly evolves. It's a masterclass in acting delivered by Isaac and Isaac alone. The actor forms an unlikely but essential chemistry between Steven and Marc that only he could have captured.

Oscar Isaac builds a bridge between Steven and Marc

Oscar Isaac has a difficult task in "Moon Knight" already. He is playing two characters who are opposites of each other (despite being the same person) in every conceivable way — from how they walk to how they talk. One's teeming with seriousness. The other has the playfulness of a golden retriever. You've seen the show; you know what I mean.

In "Asylum," the show's penultimate episode, Isaac's mission becomes more complicated: He must now build a bridge between Marc and Steven. Viewers see Marc being transported to a Chicago's Putnam Mental Institution, where Dr. Harrow (Ethan Hawke) attempts to convince him that everything he has experienced so far (being Khonshu's fist of vengeance included) is a reality fabricated by himself to escape the traumatic events of his life. The gaslighting on Harrow's part is too real, and watching him manipulate a man at his lowest by discounting his claims with no remorse, making him question his own mind, is hard to watch. But soon, Marc reunites with Steven, and we learn that the mercenary is the host and Grant an identity created by Marc to protect himself during his childhood. The episode conveys significant revelations about Marc's past, which makes us ultimately recognize how cruel his life has been.

Marc and Steven must protect their future

Remember the talking hippo that made Steven and Marc squeal in terror last week? Steven recognizes her as Tawaret (the episode's only comic relief), the Egyptian Goddess of childbirth and fertility, who informs them that they're dead after Harrow shoots them in episode 4. A turn of events leads Marc and Steven to find themselves on a ship to the afterlife, and Tawaret announces their hearts must be measured against the feather of truth, and the scales must balance so they may escape their doom. If they don't balance, Marc and Steven will be banished to the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, where souls freeze in the sand for their remaining days.

The only way for said scales to balance is for one to come to terms with their past — which means Marc needs to open up to Steven, or else they won't get to the peaceful Field of Reeds — the Egyptian version of the afterlife. Unfortunately, their hearts don't balance, and Tawaret urges them to head back inside the ship and face the music. Marc's deadline to acquaint Steven with his past inches closer. But for Steven to learn about his past means that Marc must experience it once more — something he evidently doesn't want to do.

Isaac devises a real relationship between his characters

What unravels next is a profound exploration of grief and how all-consuming it can be, mainly when it manifests into resentment and abuse. Steven and the viewers finally learn that Marc's younger brother, Randall died during an accident when they were children, and his mother blamed him for it. Her unresolved grief led her to alcoholism, and she abused Marc as a child. Marc creates Steven's identity (inspired by his late brother's playful British accent, and named after his favorite movie character) as a child to escape his hellish reality. 

The scene is pretty devastating to watch ... and seeing the intense chemistry between the two characters elicits a sense of sadness in viewers' hearts. Isaac devises a real relationship between Marc and Steven, and when the latter empathizes with him, noting he was only just a child when the accident happened, Marc slowly begins to heal from his trauma. Watching Marc being reassured by Steven — who has the best parts of him, in a moment where he's consumed by grief will reduce anyone to tears. The actor's performance in this scene, throughout the show, and during his character's many highs and lows is deserving of an Emmy and more. With his unbelievable acting range, Oscar Isaac allows his characters to become the greatest duo to have ever graced the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A hero's journey

Oscar Isaac has an impressive resume — he has been a part of prominent franchises such as the "Star Wars" universe and, more recently, appeared in the space opera "Dune." The actor has an impressive list of acting credits to his name. However, his performance in "Moon Knight" is arguably his finest work. The Disney+ limited series allows the actor to bring the best versions of himself to the table, and Isaac delivers. He produces a deeply introspective performance that pushes the boundaries of everything a traditional Marvel superhero should be. Isaac takes the challenge head-on, filling Marc and Steven's relationship with empathy and acceptance, painting a stunning portrait of his astounding acting range. He has a gripping screen presence with himself, and we're lucky to see every bit of it.

There's something inherently powerful about watching Marc Spector accept Steven Grant as a part of himself. This time, Marc accepts his trauma instead of pushing it away, as if to say that every superhero must accept the best and worst parts of themselves to be the best version of themselves.

It's only natural for us to feel betrayed when Steven sacrifices himself for Marc at the end of the episode — to balance the scales never meant for one identity to be lost forever. We don't know if "Moon Knight" will receive a second season or even if Steven will be revived in time for the finale. Here's what we do know, though: When Oscar Isaac returns for the show's concluding episode next week, he will arrive with all hands on deck, and continue to perform with the sincerity he has employed so far, in what easily is the most astonishing performance to have come out of his career. That's something to look forward to, no?