Aren’t you all happy that I’m back with weekly reviews? Hawkeye just released and I’m here to talk about the first two episodes. As per usual, these breakdowns are meant to be read after watching the show – beware of spoilers!
What was it about?
Clint Barton just wants to live a quiet life with his family, but the chaotic mess that is Kate Bishop has other plans.
Those were some really solid opening episodes for Hawkeye! While I can’t claim that this was my most anticipated Marvel show, I was definitely excited to see what this would add to a character that most people don’t really appreciate. I’ve always enjoyed the humanity of Clint Barton, because, like his wife Laura said, these heroes and gods needed him in their own way, despite his apparent vulnerabilities. I also, please don’t hate me for this, understood why Nat sacrificed herself for him and his family. Getting to continue this journey was definitely intriguing to me.
What I felt mixed about was the fact that this show takes place during Christmas. I don’t really enjoy things that are holiday-themed too much, because it sort of ruins the rewatch-ability for me a little bit. I’m also just not that much of a Christmas person … but anyway, it was handled well here and didn’t throw it too much into your face.
But before I get into anything too much, let’s just break down the episodes!
“Never Meet Your Heroes” – Episode 1
Like with TFATWS, this episode started off with our main characters/heroes not yet in the same frame. It was a good establishing episode, setting the tone for what’s to come.
- The year is 2012 – a young Kate Bishop just eavesdropped on her parents’ fighting when suddenly, the battle of New York commences. She loses a lot, namely her dad, as a result, but a saving arrow from Hawkeye also inspires her to become a fighter and protector herself. She goes on to become excellent in martial arts and fencing as well as the use of a bow and arrow.
- Kate isn’t just magnificent at everything she does, she’s also a bit of a troublemaker. While her skills are amazing, she’s responsible for the destruction of a bell/clock tower at her university and consequently has to go home for Christmas with quite the bad news.
- Speaking of Christmas, the Bartons (minus Laura) spend it in New York. They are watching “Rogers – The Musical“, which I’m very conflicted about. Is it a super fun idea? Is it super ridiculous? Did they really have to add Ant-Man to the storyline about saving NYC, because he tests well with audiences? I’m not sure, however, I loved that re-introduction to Clint.
- Barton is clearly still haunted by the loss of Nat. On top of that, we are reminded that he truly is just human, as his hearing has finally given up after the many explosions etc. he had to endure. Clint is now using a hearing aid and we later also see his youngest son, Nathaniel (named after Nat), using ASL to communicate with him. I love that Marvel is making more room for deaf or hard of hearing characters! (more on that later!)
- Kate’s Christmas is quite different though. Where Clint and his family feel grounded and warm, Kate and her mother, albeit having a loving relationship, feel more distanced. Once Kate arrives in the city, she gets dragged to a charity event with her mother, Eleanor, and her fiancé, Jack, which Kate does not find out about in a great way.
- Jack, is a nephew of Armand Duquesne III. Although it wasn’t stated in so many words, Armand Duquesne is a Marvel comic character and so is his son, Jacques Duquesne, who is also known as Swordsman. I think it’s fair to say that they’re hinting at that being this version’s Jack alter ego, because the man does love to collect swords.
- At the charity event, a secret black market auction is also held. Armand and Jacques are present, while Kate spies on them. The items of the auction include dinosaur skulls, but also The Ronin’s sword and suit. However, the auction is interrupted by an explosion, caused by the Tracksuit Mafia, which is in search of a certain watch from the Avengers compound. I’m blanking on what that particular watch could potentially be for, but I’m sure it’s going to come back later in the season.
- In order to help, Kate dons the suit of the Ronin and takes on some of the robbers. However, she didn’t expect them to still have beef with the Ronin from the time during the blip and a wild chase is started for her. Clint and his kids see the news about “the return of the Ronin” and he immediately knows that someone is in trouble and he needs to get his suit back.
- Kate eventually finds a dog (which miraculously gets super clean from episode 1 to 2), which we might better know as Lucky the Pizza Dog, however, he is not yet named. She brings him to her apartment and then goes to spy on Armand III, just to find him dead in his apartment. The episode ends with Clint rescuing Kate from the Tracksuit Mafia, that have followed her.
“Hide and Seek” – Episode 2
I’m glad they aired the second episode right away, because it picks up exactly where the first one ended. It’s a really neat pacing for the show.
- Clint evidently being shocked that a “kid” (Kate is 22 years old) donned the suit of his alter ego, tries to get her to safety. She’s obviously very stubborn and doesn’t listen too well and some fun banter ensues.
- I don’t think we need the play by play of how the Tracksuit Mafia keeps finding Kate and Clint and they have to move houses (with the dog) to stay safe. It showed us how capable and always prepared Clint is, while also showcasing that Kate has real talent and skill.
- Seen as both characters have very different objectives (Clint just wants to go home to his family, Kate wants to solve a murder and deal with her mother’s shady fiancé), they are barely on the same page.
- Clint, in an attempt to get the suit back for good, goes to a Larper event, which is just hilarious to watch. There he meets Grills – in the comics, Grills is one of his neighbors, although I doubt he will show up more than once here. It was a nice cameo though.
- In general, I enjoyed but was also surprised about how supportive Laura was of Clint. I’m glad to now know that he told her about everything he did during the Blip and she seems to understand his struggles. They really don’t have secrets – maybe that’s the recipe of why their marriage works so well.
- Kate, on the other hand, antagonizes Jack further during dinner, while her mother doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with her daughter. Frankly, I get annoyed at adults who always feel like they need to protect their children and won’t listen to a word they say. However, I would like to point out that I also think Eleanor Bishop is quite shady.
- In the comics, Eleanor Bishop was believed to be dead and Kate’s father was actually involved in the happenings of that. I could very much see them doing a role reversal here, because of the struggle between Kate’s parents in the pilot episode and Eleanor’s mysterious absence while her daughter was looking through the apartment for help during the 2012 alien attack. This is obviously just a guess. Another option is that Eleanor is involved with vampires (as she was turned into one in the comics) as they are becoming more and more of a thing in the MCU. Either way, I wouldn’t be sure she’s entirely on the “good” side of things, despite believing that she does everything to protect her daughter.
- Eventually, Clint gets himself kidnapped by the Tracksuit Mafia to end things for good, but Kate, who wanted to tell him about her clues in the murder case of Armand, intervenes and actually makes the situation worse.
- The episode ends on a shot of Maya Lopez aka Echo (portrayed by Native American actress Alaqua Cox). We know that Echo is a deaf martial arts athelete, who can copy people’s movements perfectly, who still has a bone to pick with Clint/the Ronin and therefore worked with the Tracksuit Mafia. She’s also getting her very own show! With Makkari and Echo, I’m really glad to see Marvel stepping up their game in terms of representation. It was direly needed!
Ultimately, I think this show could work well as a reminder of how inspiring Clint was as part of the Avengers. They did heroic stuff all the time, but we’ve never before seen their impact in such detail, truly focusing on one individual, like we do with Kate Bishop. I can see the humor being hit or miss with a lot of people, but I didn’t mind it. I’m looking forward to more, especially if they keep up the 45-minute-run-time for the episodes. Although, I’m sad to see there are only 6 episodes in total. It’s going to go by so fast.
PREVIOUS MARVEL SHOW PILOT REVIEWS:
- WandaVision: Episode 1 & 2
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: New World Order
- Loki: Glorious Purpose
- What If … Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?