In the first episode of Hawkeye, we saw Clint dealing with his life post-Endgame, trying to spend time with his kids as Christmas approaches. We also met Kate Bishop, who saw Hawkeye at a very impressionable time in her life and grew up a bit different from that point on. Kate got herself in a fair amount of trouble, and a reluctant Clint ended up having to step in. Now the two have met, and a few different mysteries are swirling around them. Kate is thrilled to have met her idol, and Clint just wants to get back home.
The two are clearly not on the same page as Clint escorts her home, and less so as they get to her apartment. He meets the dog she befriended, and he gives Kate simple directions as she keeps babbling odd questions and tells him what she’s been up to. While Kate has had some impressive training, she is a rookie in most of the ways that matter, and Clint ends up having to save her again as they get attacked by people drawn in because of Kate’s wardrobe last episode, which is also what brought Clint to her.
Their conversation gets interrupted when Kate’s inexperience leads an ambush back to them, and, despite some impressive moves from Clint and few lesser ones from Kate, they have to flee. He keeps them moving, and she gets disappointed when one of his errands turns out to be a lot more mundane than she hoped. There’s a passing reference to events that happened in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and they end up going to Kate’s aunt’s place. Clint is a little impressed with some of her skills in spite of himself, and he does a few things for her once they get inside. Then he lays out the plan, which she doesn’t like,
With some slick moves, Clint returns to what’s left of Kate’s place and tries to recover something they lost there. It’s gone, but he at least manages to get a lead. He returns to their temporary base of operations while Kate tells her mother a few lies on the phone. Clint allows himself one bitter line before doing more to help Kate, almost in spite of himself. The Avenger pursues a few leads which end up frustrating him as he texts with the kids and makes friends with the dog.
In the morning, Clint sends his kids home, and there’s some great banter among the family. His daughter, Lila, impresses me the most of the kids. Rejoining Kate, Clint sees more news coverage about Ronin’s return, and what it might mean. Two interesting things here: the MCU at large doesn’t know Clint was Ronin, making this one of the few extant secret identities in that world, and the newscaster himself, Pat Kiernan, is not only a real-life NYC news reporter, but he is now officially the first person to appear on screen in both the MCU and the Marvel/Netflix/Defenders series, which many hope will be brought into the MCU soon. To no surprise, Clint and Kate disagree about what to do next, and they sort of compromise with Kate going to work, which is her mom’s security firm. The walk over there gives us some interesting detail on Clint’s hearing loss and Kate’s take on his “branding issue.” I know it’s a normal phrase, but hearing anyone call something “low key” in the MCU makes me twitch and expect a certain Asgardian to pop up. Clint gives her his number for emergencies only, and regrets it almost as soon as he does so.
Getting to work, Kate has another tense conversation with Eleanor and Jack. The man is everywhere and seems to be in every aspect of Eleanor’s life, which always sets me on edge. Something is really off there, in my humble opinion. They agree to diner later. For his part, Clint tries to track down the man currently in possession of the reason Clint’s still here without his kids. Nothing goes smoothly, and Clint gets his introduction to the world of LARPing. I’m a gamer, although not a LARPer, and I do appreciate that, while this world looks silly to most, they don’t go out of their way to make it seem utterly ridiculous on the show. Clint has to jump through a few hoops before finally getting to talk to the man, who shares a name, but nothing else, with a character from the Hawkeye comic series much of this is based on. One of the things I’m finding interesting throughout this show is how many people know who Clint is. He doesn’t have a flashy costume like many of the Avengers, and while he does have a signature weapon, we haven’t seen him use it aside from flashbacks. I’m a bit surprised he’s as recognized as he is.
Kate gets a call from a police detective, who is another import from the comics in name only. Kate once again shows her inexperience, and the detective gets understandably exasperated with her. I suspect we’ll be seeing him again. Finally having completed all the things he needs to, Clint gets what he was looking for, secures it (sort of), and makes a call. It’s a short scene, but speaks volumes about his character. Clint isn’t hiding things from his wife (except maybe the Ronin issue), and she demonstrates a lot of understanding and support. It’s a nice scene that shows the depth of their affection and respect, and that, again, poor Clint just wants to be home with his family. There’s a passing reference to a fallen friend that reminds us again of how much Clint has lost over the years.
Dinner goes badly, as expected. Kate is suspicious and nosy, Jack is smarmy and evasive, and Eleanor… is actually hard to read. She seems like she just wants everyone to get along, but there are a few things here and there that make me wonder what she’s up to. She’s surprisingly ok with Kate’s unusual suggestion for after-dinner activities, and a sort of speech she gives to Kate makes me look at all the training Kate’s been doing for the last decade or so in a different light. The scene also casts more suspicion on Jack about his uncle’s death, as well as pretty much confirming that there’s more to him than meets the eye, that he has an usual past, and he’s probably who comic readers thought from the start, or at least some version of him. Clint enacts his plan to get some answers, and it evokes the first scene Black Widow had in Avengers. Impatient and rattled, Kate ignores Clint’s instructions, goes out, tries to call him, and hears something that gets her worried.
Clint gets captured and seems remarkably unimpressed. My take on a lot of what happens with him is that he’s just plain bored with a lot of this. So very few people can operate at his level of skill, and he knows it. It’s not arrogance, it’s simple fact. The goons don’t impress him, and he unnerves them all by doing the simplest of things as he tries to talk to them. He’s actually making an effort to not resort to violence, and it’s amusing to see. He can negotiate because he knows he can take them, but doesn’t want to. Things change when someone makes an unexpected visit, and Clint isn’t pleased by the new complication. The episode ends with some of the goons reporting to their supervisor, if not their ultimate boss, and another character from the comics makes their MCU debut.
What I liked: Clint has been largely overshadowed by his flashier teammates throughout the various Avengers movies. Now we get to see a lot more of who he is, and I’m really enjoying it. His quiet competence is fun to watch, especially as he deals with so many people who just can’t match him. Kate is a fun new character with her heart in the right place and, so far, an inability to think things through. I’m intrigued by Jack and suspicious of Eleanor. I loved the talk between Clint and Laura, and enjoyed Clint’s foray into LARPing. Clint’s hearing loss makes perfect sense. He’s the sole surviving unenhanced human from so many of these fights, of course it would take a toll on him.
What I didn’t: I’m really having trouble coming up with much for this. I’m not quite sure why they bring in minor supporting characters and change almost everything about them, but I also don’t really care all that much.
I admit to personal bias, as Hawkeye has always been one of my favorite Avengers. That to one side, I think this has been going really, really well and I’m enjoying the series immensely. I’ll give this episode a 5 out of 5. I’m sorry we’re a third of the way through it already.