Hawkeye: Partners, Am I Right?

Ugly sweaters, pizza-loving dogs, and trick arrows: the new holiday traditions?

Disney+ has been doing a great job of expanding the MCU with series focusing on various characters who haven’t gotten their own movies. Hawkeye is one of my favorite Avengers, and I’m thrilled to see him getting more screen time and not being overshadowed by some of his flashier teammates. We’ve seen Kate Bishop, Maya Lopez, and had some hints at a few other characters so far. Now we get some interesting developments and the return of a plot point from episode one in “Partners, Am I Right?” After the main body of the review, I’m going to tack on two sections of assorted speculation about things connected to the show.

Just as we ended last episode, Jack Duquesne has managed to get the drop on Clint, threatening him with a familiar weapon. Many speculated that we’d see a hint of familiarity between the two, since the characters have a long history in the comics, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The situation gets more complicated as Eleanor and Kate both rush in and confusion reigns. For a change, this doesn’t erupt into a fight, but rather an uncomfortable talk around the dining table. Eleanor tries to get some answers and Kate makes things even more awkward as she babbles. As the conversation winds down, Eleanor escorts Clint out and makes an entreaty that could have a few different motives, although I suspect I know which one is at the front of her mind.

One of the touches I am really enjoying about this series is that not only is Laura not being kept in the dark, but she’s aware of what he’s doing and even helping him. As he leaves Eleanor’s place, Clint texts his wife and asks for some help. She makes some hints about a contact of Clint’s, but I’m not sure who this is supposed to be. Laura demonstrates a few skills that really make me want to know more about her, and gives Clint some good advice. Back at the penthouse, Eleanor and Jack play cute couple and make Kate variously happy for her mother and uncomfortable. She also realizes that Clint is probably feeling very alone right now.

We’ve seen Kate as obsessive and a bit scatter-brained, but now we get to see her as a very warm and caring person. She goes to find Clint and comes with assorted presents. They talk about the holidays and the things Clint has learned, and Kate finds some of this very troubling. There are a lot of bad memories and traumatic flashbacks in this episode, but for a herogeek like me, one of the saddest lines is Clint telling Kate “There are no more trick arrows.” You can interpret this as either he’s lost everyone who could make more for him (which doesn’t really track), or, as my talented and insightful proofreader opined, he’s at a point in life where he just doesn’t want to need them anymore. Clint teaches her a trick that’s both from the comics and has been hinted at in the animated credits, and I suspect will turn up again later. Some of her questions lead to more bad memories, and Kate figures a few things out. Clint gives her a grim, but realistic, view of his life, and they end up retiring for the night.

Come morning, Clint gives Kate a job, which leads back to some people we saw earlier in the series. While Kate makes a deal, Clint visits Kazi and shows that he’s very well-informed and prepared. Cint is trying really, really hard to do the right thing and almost everything is working against him. Getting back to the apartment, Clint finds the after-effects of Kate’s deal and is lost as to what’s going on. He gets what he wants, but there are a few complications, and he has to go when he learns something that worries him. Kate insists on going with him and sets the scene for more training and hijinks.

Stakeouts are opportunities for comedy, exposition, or character development, if not all three. In this case, Clint uses the time to instruct Kate about tactics for break-ins: entry, exit, vantage points, that kind of thing. To no surprise, Clint’s plan goes off the rails as Kate decides to take matters into her own hands. Her bubbly quirkiness makes up for a lot of what Clint would have done in a more tactical manner, and she manages to get into the apartment in question. What they’re after is the watch from episode one that was the focus of the Tracksuit Mafia’s attention, and, according to Clint, “belongs to an old friend” who “has been out of the game for a while” and could reveal secrets. We already know the watch has a tracer in it, so clearly there’s something special about it aside from sentimental value. I’ll do speculation about that later.

Things get ugly quickly as the heroes find out whose place they’re breaking into. Events kick into high gear as Clint and Kate end up fighting Echo and another mysterious masked figure. It’s a great fight scene and everyone involved is clearly good at what they do. The newcomer has some familiar weapons and is oddly concerned with keeping at least one of the others involved from being hurt. By the end of the fight, the three groups go their separate ways, and we find out who was wearing the mask. There are going to be a lot of interesting repercussions from this. The episode ends with Clint realizing how much more serious things have gotten, and telling Kate she needs to go home and stay out of this. Seriously, has he met her?

What I liked: The big fight at the end was fantastically done. The reveal of who the new person was made perfect sense and was someone I was expecting to turn up eventually. Clint’s scene with Kazi was really well done, and Kate’s with the group they’ve dealt with before worked and contrasted the way the two archers operate nicely. Kate going out of her way to try and cheer Clint up was really touching. I really enjoy that Clint is keeping Laura in the loop and relying on her for help. The scene at Eleanor’s apartment was nicely done.

What I didn’t: However you interpret it, I was saddened by Clint’s line about “There are no more trick arrows.” I have some deep suspicions about Eleanor and Jack. And that was about it for negatives for me.

I really enjoyed this episode, and am loving the series. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5. I wish there were more than two episodes left.

The case for Kingpin: Rumors are flying that Kingpin, as played by Vincent D’Onofrio on Daredevil, will appear in this series. There’s a decent circumstantial case for that. There are a lot of mentions of a boss above Maya who runs the underworld in New York City. There have also been several comments that this boss hates attracting attention. All of that fits in well with Kingpin. In the comics, Kingpin raised Maya/Echo after the death of her father, which fits people referring to her “uncle,” and his being in a position of power. The hand that stroked young Maya’s cheek was clearly a large white man, and several have done comparisons and say that light chuckle we heard sounds like D’Onofrio. All of that said, the showrunners on WandaVision very deliberately trolled the audience over both Quicksilver and the involvement of Reed Richards/the Fantastic Four. So don’t count on anything.

The Watch: The watch is listed as coming from Avengers Compound. It was what the Tracksuits were looking for when they broke into the auction. Clint and Laura both knew about it, and thought it had been destroyed. Clint stated it “belonged to an old friend,” who has “been out of the game for a while.” The watch has some kind of tracer in it that Laura could access (what IS her background, anyway?). People with advanced knowledge have said that Episode 5 will “break the internet.” While it’s tempting to link that to the watch, we don’t know that it has anything to do with it, and Kingpin, mentioned above, might also “break the internet,” since so many people are hoping the Netflix shows and characters get brought into the MCU officially. So who would fit what we know about the watch? There are a few possibilities that come to mind:

Introducing/retconning a new character: The MCU has done a great job of bringing in various characters from throughout the comics. While the MCU has grown a lot since that first Iron Man movie, there are hundreds of more characters who haven’t made it to the screen. Any number of them could have ties to Clint, or SHIELD, or the Avengers. The only remote possibility I can think of that would “break the internet” would be one of the X-Men. Several of them, in the movies and comics, had early ties with assorted government intel agencies. I don’t think this is likely, as when the X-Men eventually come into the MCU, I think it will be a major event, not a late episode of a Disney+ series that focuses on someone else, however cool Hawkeye (and Kate) are.

Agent Phil Coulson: Agents of SHIELD ran for years and had a big fan base. While Coulson started off in the MCU, the tv series drifted further away from the main MCU over the years, despite some early crossovers. If they’re bringing on Coulson, he might have been “out of the game” for years following his injures in The Avengers. Or that might be the official story, at least. I could see him having a high-tech watch that had special features on it, and he and Clint worked together for SHIELD.

Steve Rogers: Captain America opted not to return from his trip through time to restore the Infinity Stones and Mjonlir to their proper places in history. He’s someone Clint admires and respects, I’d say he counts as a friend, he’s been out of the game for a while, and certainly has secrets now, since he lived a sort of double life in the shadows after reuniting with Peggy Carter. While I don’t see Steve ever buying a fancy watch, I could absolutely see Tony buying one for him, and that might explain why it was at Avengers Compound, and not in some SHIELD archive somewhere.

How about you? What’s your theory of the watch?