Plot summary: Clint reluctantly jumps through all manner of hoops to tie up loose ends in the Ronin sighting, while Kate continues to press her stepfather-to-be.
Episode Title: ‘Hide and Seek’
Air Date: November 24th, 2021
Directed: Rhys Thomas (2)
Written: Elisa Climent (1)
In the Hawkeye comic, ‘Grills’ was one of Clint’s neighbours who is constantly barbequing on the rooftops (hence the nickname). Here he’s a firefighter/LARPer.
Hailee Steinfeld was in contention to paly Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, who Kate and Clint see a street performer of while walking around New York.
Kate’s aunt’s apartment building and many of the locations near it were also used in Leon: The Professional. The buzzer she pushes to fake being a pizza delivery is Leon’s from the movie, 6D.
Picking up where we left off, Kate makes her introductions to Clint and they head to her apartment to evade the police. He warns her that Ronin made a lot of enemies, and right on cue, The Tracksuit Mafia arrive to throw Molotov cocktails through the window.
Clint helps fend them off, but the apartment catches fire, forcing them to grab Lucky the Pizza Dog and make a run for it, leaving the Ronin suit behind.
Taking refuge at her aunt’s apartment, Kate is told to stay put and treat her wounds while Clint disguises himself as a firefighter to try and recover the suit from the wreckage but it’s missing.
He notices a NYC Larpers sticker on one of the trucks so looks them up on Instagram, where one of their members posted himself wearing the costume.
Sending his kids home without him, and escorting Kate to work, they swap numbers (in case of emergencies only) and he heads to the LARP event. Naturally they won’t let him in unless he participates so he heads into the melee with his sword and armour.
‘Killing’ his way to Grills, the firefighter who stole the suit, he agrees to take a dive in one on one combat in order to get it back. He begrudgingly admits to enjoying it and then stashes the suit in a public locker.
Meanwhile, Kate does a terrible job of sounding innocent when the police call to ask her about the fire, and needles Jack about Armand and goads him into fencing with her as it is a mutual hobby.
She wins easily but claims he’s letting her, testing her theory by going for his head while he’s not looking, and sure enough he instinctually disarms her. He also offers her one of Armand’s monogrammed butterscotches, grinning all the while…
Clint allows himself to be grabbed by the Tracksuit Mafia in an effort to speak with their boss. Kate uses her Bishop Security spyware to track him, getting herself captured as well.
One of the Tracksuits informs their boss, revealed to be Echo, that they have both archers tied up…
Boo to not rolling those incredible opening credits every episode, but the brief opening stinger and longer end credits are still cool. The trend of leaving suspicious gaps for actors who aren’t in the episode continues, allowing for rampant conspiracy theories about possible cameos. I still love Christmas.
Oh, hey! Clint is finally deaf! This detail of his character has consistently been ignored in the movies but played a big factor in the Fraction/Aja comic, so they attribute the cause to the giant explosion of Avengers Compound in Endgame (though the montage of big traumas from other movies are suggested to have gotten the ball rolling.) Of note, he was the only non-powered, non-armoured human in the base when it was attacked, thus he walked away with long-term damage, another key theme of the comic they’re adapting; When Clint gets injured in battle he spends time in hospital rather than bouncing back like Thor etc. He even ties his uncanny accuracy to this grim reminder of his mortality, because if he ever misses then he really is ‘just a guy’. I don’t know if they’ll have the nuance to pull that aspect off, but I still appreciate him sporting war wounds.
My desire for this to be Kate’s show instead of Clint’s actually seems to be gaining some credibility, as they’ve transplanted elements of comic book Clint’s personality to her (the movie version they’ve established is mostly incompatible anyway), and even gave her apartment that resembles his. I like that it is clearly converted from upstairs seating for the pizza place below, with the tables and plastic chairs bolted to the floor and a big ugly sink in the back. But they’ve decorated it with little touches like a makeshift archery range and crates full of trophies (which we know aren’t all of them based on her mother’s comments from last episode). Environmental storytelling is important for keeping the plot moving while trying to introduce new characters.
The action is still ramping up but continues to be creative, with the great moment from the trailer where Clint breaks a window so he can catch a Molotov and then throw it back happening here, joined by Kate shooting another bottle before it can be thrown. The fencing is too brief to be exciting, but Jack’s final move provides a cheap thrill. Even the slow motion LARPing was well choreographed, and the dude doing foley work for the sword fight is fantastically dorky.
There is arguably some meta commentary when Kate claims people don’t want cynical, cool superheroes anymore and prefer sincerity, with the MCU gradually (very gradually) divorcing itself from the Joss Whedon style of the earlier movies and injecting a touch more sincerity to recent projects like Loki.
Most Marvellous Player
Even with giving Clint as much or more to do than Kate in this second episode, it’s still a clear-cut victory for Hailee Steinfeld as she marches towards the 6-0 sweep. Declaring that Hawkeye is her favourite Avenger and making it sound believable should win this for her instantly. Dumb little things like the awkwardly pretending to be delivering pizza, threatening to text him now she has his number or asking him to sign her bow go a long away to endearing a character to me. If we don’t get an archery contest between the two in the next four episodes then what are we even doing?
That being said, I think Jeremy Renner was far more likeable in these 40 minutes than across all of the movies he’d starred in for the MCU to date. He’s still standoffish and irritable, but they’re able to simultaneously hang a hat on it by having Kate comment on his branding issues, and soften him slightly with his begrudging participation in the LARP event. He isn’t fully into it by any means, but I feel like movie Clint would not have played along, so even a token participation goes a long way, and sealing it by admitting he’s glad he did it and offering Grills a fist-bump is like a window into an entirely new person.
Likewise his bonding with Lucky the Pizza dog, wrangling his youngest son and phone call with Laura. I particularly liked the latter because it makes it clear that Clint clearly comes home from his missions and tells her everything to the point she knows the names of Natasha’s signature moves and whatnot. It’s nice.
Everyone else is on about the same level as last time, with Tony Dalton a little better and Vera Farmiga a little worse. Ava Russo isn’t bad at all as Lila Barton, especially considering she originally got the role in Endgame due to nepotism.
Jack put his foot firmly on the villain pedal here, pushing past grinning like an idiot to divert suspicion to basically begging Kate to accuse him of murder. From concealing his fencing talent to offering her a monogrammed butterscotch from the scene of the crime, it’s so thickly laid on that there simply must be way more to the whole situation. Eleanor Bishop may even be in on it, given Armand threatened her in episode 1 and her subtle weird behaviour. I enjoyed that Kate took his advice on how to make a good risotto (agitate it just enough and then use patience and attention) as a way to interrogate him.
The Tracksuit Mafia continue to rule in my opinion, but I could see how they would seem generic and lazy if this is your first exposure to them. Still, I enjoy their bickering and Clint openly mocking how bad they are at kidnapping and tying him up. Kazi is seen again, sitting at the desk and looking on and Clint assuming he’s the boss, but he still isn’t wearing clown makeup and he doesn’t do anything.
Instead, we meet their real boss, Echo, for the first time. Literally all she does is demonstrate her deafness (hey, a mirror image villain!) yet still has dope taste in music. I’m sticking with my stance that announcing a spin-off show for her before this even aired was an incredibly cocky move by Disney, adding to an already bloated slate of future projects. I understand media companies are always discussing franchise potential, but maybe wait until the audience confirm they like her too?
It’s worth noting that Echo has some ties to Kingpin in the comics, which is why she debuted in the pages of Daredevil, adding credence to the wild rumours that Vincent D’Onofrio will make an appearance at some point in the show.
Check out The Matt Signal Beyond, in which I recap episodes of Batman Beyond every Saturday and Sunday. This weekend Shriek robs Gotham of its ability to understand spoken language, and Terry’s friend… dates a robot.
There Will Be Movies continues each Wednesday, as Ben Phillips and I talk about 25 of our favourite movies from the 90s. This week is the criminally under-awarded The Truman Show.