Previously on The Marvel Cinematic Universe: The events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame left Loki, Heimdall, Vision, Black Widow, and Gamora dead, billions of people (including Black Panther, Groot, Falcon, Spider-Man, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Drax, Peter Quill, Mantis, and Doctor Strange) snapped out of existence for the next five years thanks to Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet before being snapped back into existence thanks to The Hulk, and Iron Man sacrificing his life to defeat Thanos once and for all, leaving behind his wife, Pepper Potts, his daughter, Morgan, and his friends. Captain America traveled through time to return all mystical objects (such as Mjolnir) back to their respective timelines and also reunited with Peggy Carter so they could finally have that dance and live happily ever after. He then returned to the present day (elderly, and looking very much like he and President Biden were separated at birth) and gave his shield to Falcon, so that he would take over and become the next Captain America.
During those five years when half of Earth’s population was snapped out of existence, including the wife and children of Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, Clint gave himself the new identity ‘Ronin’ and declared war on every criminal organization he could find. It wasn’t until Black Widow found him, brought him back to The Avengers, and sacrificed her own life to help undo what Thanos did that his Roaring Rampage Of Revenge finally ended, and he retired to his family once they returned.
And most recently, when visiting Black Widow’s grave, Yelena Belova (sister of Black Widow), was approached by her boss, Countess Valentina, and given a new assignment: kill the man responsible for the death of her sister. That man, according to Valentina: Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye.
THE STORY SO FAR: After being suspended from school for using her archery skills to do a prank that results in the destruction of a clock tower/bell tower on campus, Kate Bishop goes back home to New York for Christmas. She attends a party with her mother, Eleanor, and her mother’s boyfriend, Jack, and after witnessing Eleanor get into a heated argument with one of the other partygoers, she ends up uncovering a secret auction that ends up getting ambushed by the Tracksuit Mafia, a group of Russian mobsters who love to wear tracksuits and end every sentence with “bro” as if they live on Staten Island with Pete Davidson and Method Man, who use explosives to blow open a wall and make their way in so they can steal a watch that was once owned by The Avengers. In order to stop them and keep anyone from getting hurt or killed, Kate suits up in the outfit that was once worn by Ronin (which was also being auctioned off, along with his sword) and whoops their asses right before making her escape. Meanwhile, Clint is spending time in New York with his three kids (his oldest daughter, Lila, is played by Ava Russo, daughter of Joe Russo, who co-directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, and who played the nameless gay person at Captain America’s grief counseling session in Endgame), and when he sees news footage of Kate dressed as Ronin, he immediately tracks her down to find out what is going on and why she has adopted his former identity.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: The opening scene, in which we’re introduced to Kate as a child and we witness the Battle of New York from her perspective and how terrifying it must have been to see the Chitauri and their gigantic Leviathans flying through Manhattan. The opening credits sequence, which shows us Kate as she grows older and takes several levels in badass as she studies archery and fencing and martial arts, and becomes more proficient at all three. Kate showing how incredibly skilled she is with a bow and arrow, even if it does result in her destroying a whole building and getting caught by campus security. Rogers: The Musical, and the look on Clint’s face as he watches the cast on stage performing the song
“I Can Do This All Day.” “Save The City.” (It’s not a bad song, but “My Shot” this is definitely not) Clint’s reaction when he sees “Thanos was right” as graffiti in the bathroom. The look on Clint’s face as he sees the actress on stage who is playing Black Widow, followed by him struggling to exchange a smile with a little girl in the audience who is also dressed as her. Kate repeatedly being mistaken for a waiter at the party because of her all-black suit, which she chooses to wear instead of the red dress that Eleanor recommends, and which uses her advantage to sneak around and infiltrate the auction. (If you like Hailee Steinfeld, and if you really liked Hailee in the Apple TV series Dickinson, you’ll enjoy seeing her wear the hell out of her suit and giving off Aubrey Plaza-in-Happiest Season energy) A whole-ass triceratops skull being sold at the secret auction. Kate showing off her martial-arts skills as she takes on each member of the Tracksuit Mafia. (FYI: every time I attempt to type out “Tracksuit Mafia,” I start typing “Trenchcoat Mafia” and immediately have to correct myself) And when Kate is caught sneaking around and pretending to be a waiter by Gary, who all of the waiters answer to, she immediately throws it back at him by calling Gary out for being a bad boss and quitting her job right before she runs off.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Whenever the episode focuses on anyone else other than Kate, it becomes less interesting to watch, as Clint and his family aren’t given much to really hold our attention. Despite the Christmas setting, the show’s tone and visual style don’t make Hawkeye look or feel any different from any of the other Marvel shows on Disney Plus, and considering how the Matt Fraction/David Aja run of Hawkeye the comic-book series was critically acclaimed and won several Eisner awards for its phenomenal artwork and for giving Clint some impressive characterization to show readers what he and his life are like outside of fighting alongside The Avengers, it’s rather disappointing. The rest of the episode isn’t that unique or memorable compared to how it starts. Seeing the Battle Of New York from Kate’s perspective and how her father died (along with maybe hundreds of others) as a result of said battle really does put a damper on the “Look at all of The Avengers sitting around and eating shawarma together after taking down Loki! Isn’t that hilarious?” post-credits scene from The Avengers.
DO ANY OF THE AVENGERS APPEAR IN THIS EPISODE?: No. Despite the fact that the episode opens in 2012 and shows us the Battle Of New York from Kate’s perspective, the only Avenger (and cast member from The Avengers) that we see onscreen during the actual battle is Hawkeye. Mainly because seeing him in action is what inspires Kate to start all of her training so she could be just like him, but also because, as Kenan Thompson said to Samuel L. Jackson to make him stop cursing on Saturday Night Live: “That costs money.”
LUCKY THE PIZZA DOG?: Yes. We meet him when Kate steps outside from the party, and again when he’s biting down on the ankle of a Tracksuit Mafia member. That same Tracksuit kicks Lucky to try and get rid of him, only to get kicked in the face by Kate, who then rescues the dog who he runs into the middle of traffic and brings him back to her apartment.
YELENA BELOVA?: No.
COUNTESS VALENTINA?: No.
U.S. AGENT?: Also no.
KINGPIN? WHAT?! THERE ARE RUMORS HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE ON THIS SHOW!: Definitely not.
DOES JEREMY RENNER SING IN THIS EPISODE?: Oh, hell no! He does not sing in this episode, and for that, we can all give thanks with a grateful heart.
WHY EXACTLY IS IT A BAD THING IF JEREMY RENNER SINGS?: I’ll let Desus and Mero answer this question for you.
ANY EASTER EGGS WE SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR?: A theory that’s gathering some steam is that Eleanor Bishop is actually Madame Masque, and that she’ll be revealed to be a villain who will make life even more difficult for both Clint and Kate before the season ends. Jack Duquesne, Eleanor’s boyfriend/fiancé who looks like a hybrid of Chris Sarandon and Billy Burke, is also the real name of a Marvel Comics character called Swordsman (though the comics version’s first name is Jacques), and that character met Clint when he was a child and trained him in bladed weapons. The building that Kate sneaks into for her prank is called Stane Tower, which may be a reference to Obadiah Stane from Iron Man.
And also, this toy giraffe appears in nearly every Marvel show, for some reason.
ANY FAN THEORIES SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE ACROSS THE INTERNET BECAUSE OF THIS EPISODE?: A theory that’s gathering some steam is that Eleanor Bishop is actually Madame Masque, and that she’ll be revealed to be a villain who will make life even more difficult for both Clint and Kate before the season ends. Another theory is that Derek, Eleanor’s husband and Kate’s father, didn’t die at the hands of the Chitauri during the Battle Of New York, but was actually killed by Eleanor, who pretended that he died that way in order to get the insurance, pay off all debts, and keep their penthouse for her and for Kate. And as previously mentioned, there are rumors that Vincent D’Onofrio will appear on Hawkeye to reprise his role as Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin. And if this happens, his appearance is expected to plant seeds that Daredevil, which aired on Netflix for three seasons before it was cancelled along with every other Marvel series airing on that streaming service, will eventually be revived to air on Disney Plus.
ARE THERE ANY SCENES DURING THE CLOSING CREDITS?: No.
THIS SHOW IS BASED OFF OF THE COMIC-BOOK STORYLINE BY MATT FRACTION AND DAVID AJA, RIGHT?: Yes, it is.
AND MATT FRACTION IS LISTED IN THE CLOSING CREDITS AS A CONSULTING PRODUCER, RIGHT?: Correct.
SO…IS DAVID AJA BEING PAID FOR HIS WORK AT ALL BY MARVEL AND DISNEY? BECAUSE THEY PRETTY MUCH COPIED HIS WHOLE F-CKING FLOW FOR THE POSTERS AND FOR THOSE OPENING CREDITS! WORD FOR WORD, BAR FOR BAR!: Aja does receive a “special thanks” in the closing credits, but he has said on Twitter that artists like himself deserve proper financial compensation for their work as well as credit.
Even better: Stop crediting, start paying, haha.— David Aja (@davaja) October 25, 2021
There have been some people on Twitter who have struck back and said that Aja is whining and complaining for nothing and that he was already compensated for his work on the comic-book series, so he shouldn’t expect anything else. (A song that has been sung by far too many other writers and artists in the comic-book industry, to which the main response has been that if you’re siding with multibillion-dollar companies instead of the artists whose work is largely responsible for those companies making their billions, you really need to look at your life and look at your choices)
TO SUM IT ALL UP: It’s very understandable that most of this episode is focused on introducing Kate Bishop and having us get to know her, as her character is expected to be an important part of the MCU in years to come. None of that changes the fact that it feels less like a show with and about Clint Barton, and more like a backdoor pilot that is more focused on introducing Kate and setting her up for her own adventures in her own movies and/or television shows. Considering how a lot of Marvel fans aren’t entirely fond of Jeremy Renner or Clint Barton, the response to Hailee Steinfeld as Kate getting a lot more screen time will mostly be “That ain’t no problem, that ain’t no problem,” especially since her performance is the best and most enjoyable thing about this show so far. She’s wonderful and a pleasure to watch as we see Kate walking into many a situation like “How the hell did I even end up here, and what am I going to do next?” whether it’s having to be reunited with Jack after coming home, discovering that he and Eleanor have been secretly engaged, going toe-to-toe with a bunch of gangsters, or finding the dead body of her future stepfather’s uncle. All of this is right before she happily loses her sh-t when meeting Clint, the person who inspired her to go into protective mode and learn nearly everything she now knows.
There are still five more episodes to go, so here’s hoping that Hawkeye can and will do a lot more to make it stand out from the other Marvel shows on Disney Plus.
This episode of Hawkeye has been brought to you by “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Adona:
(FYI: Huntress would talk so much sh-t to both Clint and Kate just for their choice of weaponry alone, and yet, Kate would probably end up admiring the hell out of her just as much as she admires Clint.)
And by “Rock The Bells” by LL Cool J: