Last time we saw Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) they were tied to a plastic unicorn, about to be executed by a mysterious deaf assassin. But first, a history lesson…
A lot of Hawkeye hinges around what happened to Clint between the last two Avengers movies – a time when he dressed up as a hooded “Ronin” and went on a bit of a killing spree. Endgame conveniently skipped over Clint’s bad-boy years and only really picked up the story when Natasha snapped him out of it, bringing him back into the fold for the final fight (albeit with a big pang of guilt that made him want to sacrifice himself over the whole Soul Stone thing).
Last week’s episode gave us a brief introduction to Maya Lopez (the amazing Alaqua Cox) – soon to be known as Echo, later to have her own spin-off series. Skipping back through her backstory we see Maya learning to cope with hearing loss and a prosthetic foot (both of which Cox has in real life), before Ronin kills her dad in a warehouse raid. The hooded figure doing all the stabbing in the flashback seems possibly too aggressive to be Clint, but Maya’s quest for revenge is set – bringing us right back to the toy unicorns.
After a bit of banter about how rubbish Imagine Dragons are, Clint tells Maya that Black Widow killed Ronin (which is sort of true, in a metaphorical sense), before escaping his unicorn and starting a fight with the entire Tracksuit Mafia.
Of all the many joys of this week’s episode, the best has to be Hawkeye finally getting to show off his shooting skills. Without a superpower, the bow is literally the one thing he’s famous for – and here he gets the best shot of his career as he slow-mo dives into a children’s ball pool shooting a mid-fall arrow that grazes a goon’s cheek and snaps the tape holding Kate’s hands in place.
Even better, we get trick arrows. Escaping the warehouse in a speeding car, Kate hangs out the back window emptying Clint’s quiver into everyone and everything – giving us a Play-Doh arrows, gas arrows, acid arrows, make-things-really-big arrows and one especially niche arrow that harpoons a dozen nearby Christmas trees (now to be known as the “sorry Santa”). Set to a slow, sad piano version of The Nutcracker Suit, it’s a beautifully bonkers bit of Marvel action that proves directors Bert & Bertie (the duo who made Troop Zero) are the perfect choice for balancing the tone.
Elsewhere, Clint and Kate’s chemistry stands out. Less one-sided than the opening episodes, this week gives them both plenty to trade off of each other, with Clint’s temporary hearing bringing them closer together (after Coda, Sound Of Metal and that one episode of Only Murders In The Building, 2021 has been a great year for ASL on screen). Another last-second cliffhanger brings us a bit nearer to the inevitable reveal of Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) as Swordsman, but the episode ends just too soon for us to find out if he’s as dastardly as he looks.
- The size-expanding arrow shot on the bridge bears Hank Pym’s name, suggesting Pym is the new Stark in the Phase 4 world – stocking the Avengers with all the weird tech they need.
- Lucky almost gets a proper name here – now just called “Pizza Dog”.
- Kate’s napkin scribble of what she thinks Hawkeye should wear is obviously a dig at how silly he looked in the comics – with purple wings on his eyes and a big letter H on his forehead head. But does this mean we’ll see more of a nod to the classics if/when she finally gets her own Hawkeye suit?
‘Hawkeye’ releases new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday