Each week, Darren from @darrenmoviereviews will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Hawkeye and the show’s overall connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The holidays are here and Clint Barton is taking on the Big Apple the week before Christmas! Another Marvel series has started, and every Marvel fan got an early holiday present with a double episode premiere of the latest series: Hawkeye.
Based on the trailers, Hawkeye appeared to be a fun holiday themed, grounded action entry in the MCU, and based on the first two episodes, that is exactly what the series is going to be. The premiere episode primarily focuses on the character of Kate Bishop, allowing the time to develop her character for her big introduction to the MCU. In terms of character building, the premiere episode does a wonderful job of giving the audience a sense of who Kate is. We learn of her family history and get a glimpse of her archery skills. Hailee Steinfeld shines in every scene, bringing a warmth to the role that makes Kate a relatable character in an universe dominated by superheroes with god-like powers. It’s clear that in terms of upcoming stars of the MCU that Steinfeld will without a doubt become a fan favourite, and I cannot wait to see what the future of the MCU holds in store for her character. Jeremy Renner returns as Clint Barton aka. Hawkeye, and we get a deeper dive into his internal struggles he is facing. We see him struggling with the loss of Natasha Romanoff, as well as with the decisions he made as Ronin, which sparks him to seek out the individual wearing the Ronin suit in the premiere, setting him on a collision course with Steinfeld’s Kate. Renner gives a solid performance, showing audiences a side of Clint we have not seen before, finally getting the starring moment he has been waiting for in the MCU. The episode does not grant Renner and Steinfeld more than twenty seconds of screen time together, but we’ve got a whole other five episodes to see these two characters interact.
The episode is not without its flaws. The pacing is a little tough as there is a lot of setup at play for the rest of the series, which if this episode had dropped by itself could have been a lacklustre premiere event. However, as I will discuss in tomorrow’s recap, the second episode improves the pacing problems very quickly and shows the promise this series has. After that shocking ending of Eternals which saw half of our heroes in peril, Hawkeye is a nice return to a fun entry in the MCU. As of right now, the stakes are not high but each scene of the premiere has that fun element that Marvel has become known for. While some people may not have enjoyed it, I got the musical moment I wanted within the MCU with Rogers: The Musical, and it was a lot of fun. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s song is pure Broadway magic, delivering an energetic song detailing the Battle of New York with an upbeat tempo and tons of “I can do this all day”, echoing Captain America’s infamous line. It was nice to see the show utilize real Broadway stars to perform the vocals for the song, including Adam Pascal, Derek Klena, Bonnie Millian, and Christopher Sieber to name a few, and honouring the Broadway roots of the scene. I may be alone in this thought, but I would be interested to see Rogers: The Musical become a larger musical property, whether it be a cast album or live special for Disney+, as this scene has wet my appetite for it.
And last but not least is Lucky the Pizza Dog! What a cutie with his one eye, and this dog lover cannot wait to see more of him throughout the series! If we know anything after the use of Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel will be using Lucky to win over the hearts of viewers and probably sell toys as well.
And into spoiler territory we go. If you have not seen the premiere episode of Hawkeye, stop reading now. If you have, keep on reading to find out what we learnt in the season premiere…
The series begins in New York, 2012. A young Kate Bishop is in her bedroom, while her parents are outside in the hall arguing about selling their apartment. Kate is eavesdropping on the situation, however they overhear her and her father goes to talk to Kate. Kate tells her father that she does not want to move, and he uses a hurricane metaphor to describe change and challenges, but promises that he will protect Kate in any hurricane that may come.
We’re now in the kitchen with Kate and her mother Eleanor, having lunch. Trying to show Kate that mom’s can be fun too, Eleanor gets Kate to go to her room to grab the checkers board for a game. However, when Kate is in her room, Kate sees the Chitauri invasion happening through the windows. Kate runs out of her room, calling for her parents when the apartment is hit by a Chitauri attack. Through the hole made by the Chitauri, Kate sees the Chitauri soldiers flying straight towards her. However, Hawkeye shoots an arrow through the Chitauri soldier, killing it and saving Kate. We then see Hawkeye jump off the side of the building in a scene directly out of The Avengers, sending arrows flying at the Chitauri. It’s the first moment that Kate sees her idol in action, and you can immediately tell the impact this moment will have on Kate’s life. Eleanor then appears, finding Kate standing next to the hole in the side of the apartment, grabs her and rushes her out of the apartment before it collapses.
However, during the Chitauri attack on New York, Kate’s father died. At the funeral, we see Kate and Eleanor having a mother-daughter moment. Kate asks her mother what will happen if the Chitauri come back, but Eleanor tells Kate that the Avengers showed them what will happen if they return. However, Kate is adamant on protecting her mother, though Eleanor tells Kate it is her job to protect her. But Eleanor tells Kate she will get her what she needs. Kate then asks for a bow and arrow.
Cut to present day MCU, which is 2025, two years after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Kate has taken on a bet to ring the bell at the bell tower on her school’s campus with an arrow. Kate’s first arrow bounces off the bell, making no sound, but the second arrow, which does not have a tennis ball on the arrow’s tip, cuts the rope on the bell. The bell rings, but then it falls from the tower, destroying the tower in the process. While Kate is happy for completing the bet and shocked at the destruction she caused, she is caught by campus security.
Cut to New York. It is days before Christmas, the city is all decorated and Christmas music plays. We are on Broadway at Rogers: The Musical. Clint and his kids are watching the show, which is in the middle of an energetic musical number entitled “Save the City”, which depicts the Battle of New York. The Avengers are dancing and singing, and Clint is visually not impressed. Then the actress playing Natasha appears, and Clint is not emotionally prepared to see his fallen friend. His daughter Lila sees her dad is distraught by this, but he says he finds and heads to the bathroom. On the urinal, someone has written “Thanos was right” and Clint is approached by a fan for a selfie at the most inopportune moment.
Clint leaves the theatre for some fresh air, and tells her father it’s okay if he does not want to watch the show. She understands that Natasha was her father’s best friend and seeing her in the show cannot be easy for Clint. The boys come out, who seem to be enjoying the show unlike Lila and their father, and they head off for dinner.
Over town at Grand Central Station, Kate has just arrived in the city. She is on the phone with her mother, who asks her to stop by the apartment as she and Jack, her new boyfriend, have something to tell her. At the apartment, her mother tells her she is disappointed in the destruction Kate caused to the bell tower. Eleanor goes on to tell Kate that she is not invincible, and that she does not need to continue going out looking for trouble, but that she gets it from her father. However, Eleanor tells Kate that she can make it up to her by coming to a charity gala tonight with her and Jack. Kate then notices swords around the apartment, asking what is up with that and Jack appears, offering Kate a rose. Eleanor and Jack tell Kate they have a lot to talk about, but they will discuss it all at the party.
Clint and his kids are out for Chinese food, and during dinner they talk about what they want to do for the Barton Family Christmas. Laura calls, who is currently at home decorating the house for the holidays, telling them all that she misses them and can’t wait to see them all the next day. Laura reminds Clint that the point of the trip was to spend time with his children and encourages him to connect with them. When Clint tries to pay the dinner bill, the server tells him the food is on the house for saving the city.
At the auction, Kate does not wear the dress her mother wants her too. Instead, she is in a black suit and is confused with being a waiter. The man who confused her is Armand Duquesne, Jack’s uncle. Armand accidentally spoils the surprise for Kate by telling her that her mother and Armand are engaged, which clearly catches Kate off guard. She then walks over, asking her mother point blank if she’s engaged. Eleanor does not deny it, and asks Kate if she could be happy for her as she is happy with Jack. Kate tells her mother of course she can be happy for her, but tells her she needs to get some air.
Outside the gala, Kate sees a one-eyed, stray dog on the street. They make eye contact, but the dog runs off. Kate then heads back into the party. Inside, Kate overhears an argument between her mother and Armand. While she does not hear everything they are saying, she hears Armand telling her mother that she has “opportunity to explain herself” and he makes a threat of powerful friends. Armand then storms out of the room, Eleanor follows him out saying she’ll see him at Christmas dinner. She sees that Kate overheard their conversation, and Kate asks what it was about. Eleanor plays it down and tells Kate to head back to the party.
However, Kate decides to follow Armand. He is heading through the worker hallways and through the kitchen. Kate grabs a tray of champagne, pretending to be a waiter and follows Armand. She finds herself in a wine cellar, where a black market auction is about to happen. Joining Armand at the auction is Jack. While Kate watches from the back, the staff quickly discover that she is not one of them, forcing her to hide in the rows of wine.
As the auction is about to start, Armand tells Jack that they are reaching a breaking point and things are about to get ugly. While we don’t know what he is talking about, it is most likely due to what he was arguing over with Eleanor in the previous scene. The auction starts, and the first item up is a retractable sword used by Ronin. (Side note, but if you don’t remember, Ronin was the persona Clint took up during the five year gap between Infinity War and Endgame). Jack begins betting on it, but Armand points out he has no money until he inherits it one day. Armand eventually outbids everyone and takes home Robin’s sword, and the next item that is brought out: Ronin’s costume. However, a small explosion occurs causing chaos and confusion. During this time, Jack takes the sword and runs away as a group of criminals enter the wine cellar in search of a watch. Kate grabs Robin’s costume, puts it on and fights against the criminals, defeating them and protecting the individuals at the auction.
Outside the gala at the truck that the criminals were using, the criminal guarding the truck finds the watch in the items brought out from the gala. However, the dog Kate saw earlier appears and begins to bite the criminal. Kate appears and saves the dog from the criminal, who runs away from both Kate and the criminal. Kate chases after the dog and saves him from being hit by oncoming traffic, and takes him back to her apartment.
Back at his hotel room, Clint sees the news report about the robbery at the charity gala and the image of Kate in the Ronin suit. He immediately recalls memories of his time as Ronin, knowing that he needs to find out who is now wearing the suit.
From her apartment, Kate uses her access to Bishop’s Security system to track Armand’s location. This takes her to Armand’s home, and after climbing through the window, she discovers Armand dead on his carpet. The cause of death: a sword wound to the back. Kate quickly escapes before the maid sees her and finds Armand’s body, but outside his place the criminals who robbed the auction have followed her. Kate begins to fight them off, but finds herself hiding in one of their vans for safety as they try to break in. However, an unknown individual defeats the criminals and saves Kate, pulling her out of the van. It’s Clint, and he pulls off the hood of the Ronin suit, discovering that it is a young woman wearing the Ronin costume. Kate, immediately recognizing her idol, gets excited.
And that is where episode one ends! Check back tomorrow for the recap of the series’ second episode and the breakdown of the easter eggs and theories as to what is coming next in Hawkeye!