Picking up a couple of seconds after Kate meets her hero Hawkeye, it’s clear now that the new Ronin has been revealed that Clint is not threatened, but rather a bit annoyed. Shepherding her away from the bodies of the tracksuit mafia that Clint took down, he takes Kate back to her apartment above a pizza shop
Meeting the dog, Clint is eager to get the suit back and head home to his kids, but Kate is just trying to get Hawkeye to sign her bow. Some have called her the world’s greatest archer, she boasts. It’s an amazing scene between the two as Clint notes that being 22 is the same as being 18, she is just a child in his eyes. Her immaturity and inexperience are obvious to him, especially when the tracksuits follow her back to her apartment.
They yell her name from the streets, throwing Molotov cocktails up through the window. Clint catches one and throws it back at them, while Kate shoots one out of a man’s hands. But the apartment is on fire, and despite her best efforts to shoot at a fire extinguisher to help, it merely goes flying out into the street and they have to escape the flames.
My Name’s On The Buzzer
With the dog in tow, Clint doesn’t take Kate to a secret base or safe house, but to a drug store to pick up some first aid. Kate breaks into her aunt’s place (who happens to be away in Florida for the winter) to hide out while Clint goes back to her apartment to grab the suit. But, it’s nowhere to be seen. A bit of detective work points him toward a group of NYC Larpers.
He heads back to Kate, where she is icing the cut on her head with a box of frozen pizza for the dog, who she christens a pizza dog. “It’s more of a title of nobility, like Earl of Sandwich,” she says. There’s a nice moment of Clint fixing her bandage and cleaning the wound that feels very matronly as he clucks over her.
Doing some sleuthing on the NYC Larpers leads Clint to who nicked the costume. More bad news, the news thinks that Ronin killed Armand after someone reportedly saw Kate leaving the scene in the costume. Clint sends his kids home, promising that he’ll be home in time for Christmas, but his older kids suspect that it might be about the Ronin (not to mention the fact that Clint has cuts on his face).
I didn’t mention it much in my first episode recap, but there’s a nice little scene of Nathaniel (named after Nat) signing to his dad that adds to the little signs that point to Clint’s hearing loss. When Kate asks about it later and what happened to him, we get a flashback of different injuries Clint has sustained over the years and he can only say it’s hard to tell. It’s just another little note that being a superhero has a toll, not just an emotional one, but a real physical one when you don’t have super healing or some kind of super advantage.
Determined to go to work, Clint walks Kate to Bishop security. On the way, they pass by some costumed people near Times Square and although the Avengers all seem there, Hawkeye is missing. But there is another archer there: Katniss Everdeen. Kate hits the proverbial bullseye when she comments that Hawkeye’s problem is branding. “People don’t want that cynical, cool thing anymore. They want sincerity. Not self-seriousness, but a heart-on-your-sleeve sincerity.” She correctly deduces that he’s very closed off to the world, despite being a public figure.
Despite her criticisms though, it’s clear that after saving her life twelve years ago, she’s been a superfan. She asks Clint about trick arrows and is visibly disappointed at the prospect of never seeing him again. He begrudgingly gives her his number for “emergencies only, or I’ll block and delete you,” he says, though he must know that she’s not going to listen to him.
At Bishop Security, Kate meets with her mom, but unfortunately, Jack is also there. This guy does not know anything about personal space. Even though Kate clearly wants to speak to her mom alone, Jack is persistent in staying. Worse yet, he’s been reading books about being a stepdad. “She feels threatened by me,” he deduces with insincerity. To try and mend bridges, Eleanor asks Kate to come to dinner with her and Jack, and Kate agrees on the condition that she comes up with the conversation topics.
Clint vs Grills
Meanwhile, Clint tracks down the NYC Larpers in the park. But, the rules are the rules, Avenger or not, and he can’t get in to talk to Grills, the guy who stole the suit, without signing up and joining the larp himself. So he dons a costume and grabs a sword. It’s pure MCU humor as Clint Barton fights his way through the larpers in slo-mo with an irritated look on his face.
Finally reaching him, Grills agrees to give back the suit only if Clint lets him kill him. “You’re a superhero in real life. This is as close as I’m ever gonna get to being one,” he says. The way the series has been tackling how people approach the idea of superheroes existing in their world and whether they want to emulate, praise, or criticize them has been one of my favorite elements.
Clint agrees to Grills’ offer, and so they enter into a trial by combat. The fight between the two is complete with an initiation imaginary magical drink (that Clint refuses), a cheering crowd that makes the sounds of the swords clashing, and a dramatic death that he is clearly desperate to get over.
At the end of it all, after Grills’ victory, he thanks Clint for the opportunity and is immensely pleased by the idea of getting to call Clint by his first name. I like Grills, I hope we get to see him again one day. After all this, Clint calls home for Christmas, where the kids are currently constructing gingerbread houses. Looks like that list of activities isn’t going to include Dad as a participant this year.
Want a Butterscotch?
Kate gets a call from the police about the fire in her apartment and asks to speak with her the next morning, so we have that to look forward to. But first, she’s got to get through this awkward dinner with Jack and her mom. Her questions don’t offer much up in the way of information, but then Kate challenges him to a sparring session. It doesn’t take much to convince Jack, who condescendingly praises her skill while letting her win.
Finally, infuriated at his lack of reaction, Kate lunges for him while his head is turned and Jack easily parries her attack. Eleanor is furious, but this is evidence enough for Kate. She suspects he’s hiding something and confesses to her mom that she believes that Armand was killed by Jack. It’s made worse when he offers her one of Armand’s branded butterscotch candies, which sends Kate running from the apartment.
She calls Clint, who doesn’t answer. She calls him again, but the person who picks up is not Clint. The reality is that Clint’s been captured, but he kind of intended for it to happen. Doing a little catch and release with the tracksuit bros (an old Nat move), he fully intended to be caught by the bumbling bros so that he could meet directly with whoever is behind them.
Caught in their warehouse, he has an infuriatingly uninformative conversation with the bros, who are convinced Kate is Ronin. He feigns ignorance on who Kate is until she comes crashing through the roof and lands right in front of him. Oops!
With both current Hawkeye and future Hawkeye captured, one of the bros goes into another room, this one bathed in red with pounding music filling the space. Inside is Maya Lopez aka Echo, played by Alaqua Cox. The bro signs to her that they have the two of them captured before the episode ends.
We don’t know much about the MCU’s Echo, but we do know that she already has her own spin-off series in the works. Kevin Feige and Rhys Thomas revealed in a press conference that Cox came in as a cold audition having never performed before. “[She] seemed completely unfazed when we really put her through the ringer. But she never once botched, and has kind of walked into this universe like she should’ve always been there,” said Thomas.
- This episode is once again directed by Rhys Thomas, and it is written by Elisa Climent, with credits for Sorry for Your Loss (starring MCU star Elizabeth Olsen) and Imposters.
- Kate worriedly says that she saw a dead body when Clint saves her from the tracksuits. Are we to assume Clint killed them??? Or is she just exaggerating?
- The apartment that Kate hides out in is owned by her aunt Moira Brandon. In the comics, Moira is a former movie star who sold her mansion to Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Black Goliath to use for the West Coast Avengers. She even saved Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s life once by shooting an assailant with a crossbow, earning her the title of an honorary West Coast Avenger. It’s fitting that MCU Moira would have an extravagant wardrobe of a Hollywood starlet.
- Katniss Everdeen reminds me of an internet debate from earlier this year of who was the best fictional archer. Obviously, the only right answer is Legolas.
Who has the greatest accuracy? pic.twitter.com/jLWBSfA7cq
— Kabiyesi, The King (@ImranSZN) February 18, 2021
- Kate’s description of the tracksuit mafia reads as, “White males, in their 30s or 40s, maybe 20s, VERY WHITE! Eastern European or Russian maybe?, DOUGHY FACES.” Maybe she could focus more on modern art?
- In the 2012 Hawkeye, Grills was one of Hawkeye’s neighbors in Brooklyn. Here’s hoping we see the larping firefighter again.
- The tracksuit mafia just can’t catch a break. With all those warehouses getting converted into lofts, a good hideout can be hard to find. Apparently, a nice thick bag to cover someone’s head is also hard to find, since Clint says he can see out of his.
- In the comics, Echo is Kingpin’s adoptive daughter. Like I said in the first episode recap, with the multiverse coming in full force with Spider-Man, could we see some of the Netflix Marvel characters come through? I want Vincent D’Onofrio in the MCU! (I want all of Netflix Marvel in the MCU with the exception of Iron Fist).
Hawkeye streams Wednesdays exclusively on Disney+.