Picking up right where we left off last episode, Episode 4 of Hawkeye, “Partners, Am I Right?”, opens with Jack holding a sword to Clint’s throat, but if you were hoping for a big sword fight between Tony Dalton and Jeremy Renner, you’d be sorely disappointed, since Eleanor almost immediately recognizes him as Hawkeye. Of course, Hawkeye being her daughter’s favorite Avenger this makes complete sense but also worries her as Kate explains to her mother and future step-dad that they’re working on a case together. Though, Clint can’t wait to reject the idea of being friends or partners with Kate.
The scene adds an extra layer of tension by setting a sword between the two parties on the table, and despite Kate’s justifications and blabbering, Eleanor is dubious. The idea of her daughter helping Clint with an Avengers-level threat is alarming, though perhaps that’s not her only reason for being so negative. When she walks him to the elevator, she appeals to Clint as a parent, but not before using the memory of losing Nat against him. Sheesh, Eleanor. She tells him, “Being good isn’t always enough to keep you alive,” and whether or not Eleanor is the villain and playing mind games with Clint, she’s not wrong.
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Clint ensures that Kate will stay safe, but he’s not about to drop the case, which does not satisfy Eleanor. Clint leaves after swiping the Ronin blade and Eleanor makes a suspicious call to someone… more on that in Stray Arrows. Outside, Clint messages Laura about looking up Sloan Ltd, and I think we can firmly say that after this episode, Laura definitely had a past life as someone before she just became a stay-at-home mom.
She calls him back and tells him in code that Jack is the CEO of Sloan Ltd and that it is a front for the tracksuits. Clint notes that Jack is laundering money for the “big guy” which is very likely Kingpin, and then says that it’ll be a few days before he heads home since Kate is caught up in this drama and he wants to keep her safe. Laura aptly mentions that the tracksuits might have picked something else up from the compound, and then mentions the Rolex.
So, the past week has been full of theories on who could be the owner of the Rolex and what that could mean since that was the first item that we saw the tracksuits actively pursue in the first episode. The current most compelling theory is that it was Laura’s and that she was once either an agent or spy like Clint and she retired to start a family. This would explain how easy it is for her to research Jack, her ability to easily slip into German, her understanding when it comes to Clint’s obligations. There are some people who are calling her a potential Mockingbird, though theoretically Agents of SHIELD already had a Bobbi Morse with Adrianne Palicki (but, do we really even still count that era of Marvel TV as MCU canon?)
Regardless, there’s a transmitter on the watch, so Laura looks that up for the location of where it could be.
Credit: Marvel Studios
The Greatest Shot Never Taken
Back in the penthouse, Eleanor is lamenting that Kate has always been obsessed with Hawkeye and when Jack comments that she was surprisingly calm around someone even though she’s a super fan, Eleanor notes that she’s always been naturally confident.
Brushing off Kate’s concerns about Jack, Eleanor instead wants Kate to plan the office’s non-denominational holiday party. Then, in a surprisingly warm moment, Kate, Eleanor, and Jack start joking about Jack’s incorrect use of turns of phrases, and then Eleanor and Jack enjoy a dance together. It’s a nice moment and one that firmly confirms to me that there is no way Jack is anything but Eleanor’s beau. There’s no way this man is evil! If at the end of this we can enjoy Kate and Jack forming a tentative new parent-child relationship, then I’ll count it as a win.
Later that night, after going shopping for holiday supplies (guess she got her mom’s credit card back?), Kate invades Moira’s apartment with decorations because no one should be alone for the holidays. Clint, who has taped a bunch of frozen cocktails to himself to ice his injuries, seems happy to see her. With ugly sweaters, holiday movies, and a bunch of cheap frozen cocktails, the two bond/try and deduce what is going on.
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Clint also tells her that there are no more trick arrows, which leads me to question who was making those trick arrows for him. Was it Tony? I guess I just assumed Hawkeye made his own arrows… Anyway, the two chat about arrows, Clint subtly bragging about splitting one arrow with another and then showing Kate his coin trick where he can knock someone out with a heavy coin. Chekov’s coin, I’m guessing it won’t be long before someone gets knocked out by one, probably by Kate since she picks up the trick after a couple of tries.
The night devolves as Kate asks him about the greatest shot he ever took, which leads Clint to recall the greatest shot he never took, aka the story of how he met Natasha and turned her after realizing that she wanted to defect from the Widows. It turns somber, since obviously he’s still recovering from Nat’s death, and he tells Kate, “When you do what I do for a living, it’s just a game of managing loss, right?”
Kate also puts together that Clint was Ronin, though when she calls Ronin a hero and protector, Clint is quick to disagree. He tells her that his job was always to hurt people, calling himself a weapon, and saying that the mistakes he made are tied to both him and his family. Again, that makes me wonder how involved Laura was in his past. And it is a justification for why Clint is against branding himself, as a trained SHIELD agent, his job was always to blend in, not to stand out. At night, his thoughts are filled with the loss of his family, his time as Ronin, and losing Nat.
In the morning, the plan is that Kate will go get his trick arrows back and Clint will go talk to Kazi. He tracked the arrows back to a police precinct and because the LARPers are first-responders, Kate is responsible for finding them and getting one of the cops to get the arrows out of evidence. It’s nice that Clint has warmed to the LARPers, though how exactly does a cop just take evidence out of the locker? I feel like that shouldn’t… be okay?
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Kate introduces herself as Clint’s partner/best friend to the LARPers and meets Wendy, a cop, who is willing to help them out if they get something in return.
Meanwhile, Clint visits Kazi (after easily removing all the weapons from Kazi’s reach), calling him a doormat who has been working for the tracksuits for years, kind of floating in the middle. He knows that whoever the tracksuits answer to doesn’t want to pursue Ronin and he wants to get Maya off the trail. His intention is that no one else needs to die, and he knows that Maya’s need for vengeance will get her killed.
Returning back to the apartment, Clint is greeted by not only Kate but a bunch of the LARPers. Grills is back! And Kate is getting fitted for a robe. The LARPers make a deal that in exchange for the arrows, they get materials for new costumes plus Kate talks them into making two more costumes. Guess Kate and Clint are getting new costumes? Wendy returns with the bag of arrows, and man, I hope her job isn’t in jeopardy.
With the location on the Rolex found by Laura, Clint and Kate set off for the new location. Clint gives another lesson to Kate about scoping out a building and keeping an eye on exits, but it all goes awry when Kate charges into the apartment where the watch is held. She trips a silent alarm unknowingly but finds the watch. As she’s looking through the apartment she finds notes on Clint’s family, and Clint realizes that the alarm is for deaf people and that the apartment is Maya’s right as Kate spots a picture of Maya and her dad.
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Too late! Maya attacks Kate and Clint goes silent in the earpiece. Kate is able to zip-line out of the apartment (barely) and makes it back across the street to the roof where Clint was. But someone else is also there attacking him and it’s definitely not Maya. Kate, Maya, Clint, and the unknown assailant fight on the rooftop.
Maya is incapacitated by the attacker’s widow’s sting, and then the attacker pushes Kate off of the building with a line attached to her. Rushing to go catch her, Clint looks down at Kate and is undoubtedly recalling the memory of Nat falling in Vormir.
Realizing that this has all gotten too real, he cuts Kate loose, who falls a few feet onto the ground after being caught by a net of Christmas lights. Unwilling to listen to Clint, she rushes back up the roof and shoots a sonic arrow that explodes causing a deafening sound. Echo attacks Kate, who almost falls between the buildings, but Kate shoots her and she runs off.
Eventually, the masked assailant is revealed to be Yelena (Florence Pugh)! Anyone following along probably expected this moment, if not when you saw Clint fighting with someone else, then definitely when she used the widow’s sting. Kate gets a shot lined up for Yelena, but in a parallel to Clint not taking a shot at Nat back in Budapest, she decides not to shoot her, allowing Yelena to escape.
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With the arrival of a Black Widow, Clint can not risk losing another friend and partner and sternly brushes off Kate, telling her to stay out of it. But… of course, Kate won’t let Clint go at it alone.
- Once again, this episode was directed by Bert and Bertie, and written by Erin Cancino and Heather Quinn. This is both Cancino and Quinn’s first writing projects, and Quinn serves as a staff writers for Hawkeye.
- Love the nickname CB-One for Clint as much as I love Jack misremembering his name as Archer.
- So who is Eleanor on the phone with? Is it Kingpin? Or perhaps she’s calling Val directly? We don’t know when the post-credits scene in Black Widow is, but perhaps it happens not long after this call? Yelena shows up pretty quickly so maybe it wasn’t Val, I also can’t imagine Eleanor would endanger her daughter’s life knowing that she would be out there with Clint, but who knows?
- Jack Duquesne: Huey Lewis fanboy. Makes sense.
- Haven’t we all made that same mistake with permanent marker thinking it was dry erase?
- References to the boomerang arrow! Only in the comics Clint was the one who was excited about it and Kate was the one who was skeptical. That and the coin trick are direct references to the 2012 Hawkeye run.
- Who the hell is making these Thanos Was Right mugs? Also is this Moira’s mug? Or did Clint buy it?
- Kate’s sleep shirt is Лайка aka Laika, the soviet space dog who was one of the first animals in space. While the idea of a dog in space might seem cute, it’s actually a sad story since the dog was a stray from the streets of Moscow and while the plan was always to send her up into space, there was never a plan to bring her back so she suffocated and died out in space. Yeah, I’m sad now too.
- Adetinpo Thomas‘s Wendy Conrad is known in the comics as Bombshell, hence the little shout out with her bag (that she will never get back) and was a mercenary. The comics Bombshell specialized in explosives and was hired to kidnap Hawkeye, and went up against Hawkeye and Mockingbird. While it’s unlikely we’ll see Wendy again outside of the episode as this might just have been an Easter egg, nothing ever feels just like an Easter egg in the MCU, does it?
- Okay, Kate spends a lot of these episodes freaking out about Hawkeye, telling people she’s his best friend/partner, being a generally giddy fangirl. Maybe she isn’t as cool and confident about this as Eleanor thinks she is?
- To add insult to injury, when Clint sees Kate hanging off the side of the building, the Vormir score from Endgame plays. Way to add salt to the wound.
- When Yelena is finally unveiled, does it look like Florence Pugh was filmed on an entirely different set? Between the way the scenes are cut and the look on Yelena’s face, it feels a bit awkward all things considered.
- So can we assume that Clint knew about Yelena? Nat and Clint were very close so it feels right that he would know about her, but the fact that he still considers her a Black Widow assassin could just mean that he recognizes her from the SHIELD database. How much of Nat’s past does Clint know about?
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