It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway into Hawkeye after just two weeks. Having the first two episodes premiere provided a jumpstart to a show that’s already a lot of fun. This week’s episode delves more into the Clint and Kate dynamic as it finally feels like they’re a duo. It also introduces a character that’ll be a lot bigger in the MCU with Echo. At the same time, there’s been a lot of content in the MCU this year. Scenes from the episode rank as some of the best so far.
Story: Future Star
While there wasn’t much plot information regarding the criminal conspiracy from the first two episodes, the story presented us with a significant character making her first appearance, Echo. Disney+ has already announced plans to make an Echo spin-off show shortly. It’s a balancing act to serve this show and make fans care about someone they’ll see more in the future. Thankfully, Maya Lopez is a clear standout as they make us interested in a short amount of time. For the first ten minutes, we get to see her backstory from when she was little to seemingly Ronin killing her father.
This establishes a clear motivation for why she wants to kill Ronin. It also provides more complexities into Clint’s actions during those five years. This affected one family, could you imagine how many more persisted due to his vengeance mindset. Kudos to Marvel for hiring Alaqua Cox, a newcomer who absolutely knocks it out of the park. Even with appearing in half the episode, she retains this intensity that’s memorizing. Having Maya also shines a spotlight on her deafness. She embraces it as this makes her stronger while chastising Clint for being too dependent on his hearing aid. It’ll be interesting to see the follow-up if Clint actually follows what she says and ditches the hearing aid.
Characters & Performances: Like Two Arrows in a Quiver
The chemistry between Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld is outstanding. It’s nice not only to see them fight together but bond as well. When Clint’s hearing aid breaks, he finally has to get Kate’s help and tries to communicate with her. It leads to a lot of light-heartedness and comedic moments between the two. The banter that they both have felt natural and reminiscence of their bond in the comics. It’s not all played for jokes as Kate has to communicate to Clint, a heartbreaking conversation with his son.
The way you see Kate’s face break and try to keep it together for Hawkeye is impactful. Hallie Steinfeld’s praise is well deserved, but special mention needs to go to Jeremy Renner. Renner still feels underrated in his own show compared to other names, but scenes like this help make his character stand out. You feel so badly for him as the one thing he wanted during Endgame was his family back, and now he still can’t see them. Scenes like this really sell this show as a buddy-duo show that in a year with a ton of MCU content, help make it extraordinary.
Cinematography & Sound: Archer Car Chase
The back-to-back sequence of Clint and Kate fighting the Tracksuit Mafia to the car chase is absolutely spectacular. Part of the reason that some fans seem to disrespect Hawkeye is because of his abilities or the lack thereof. While we’ve seen fighters with no powers before like Black Widow, people point out that his weapons are just a bow and arrow that’s supposed to defeat beings like aliens and robots. What’s effective about this sequence is showing off his skills with the bow and without it.
We see him take on a character that’s powerful in her right with Echo being able to mimic any actions. Then it jumps to the car chase that shows all of his trick arrows in his quiver. There are so many to choose from that it’s hard to pick a favorite out. Each one adds variety and shows off how effective a simple arrow can be. All of this happens while Clint’s hearing aid is destroyed which limits his communication. The sound design makes us empathize with him it keeps fading out while people try to talk to Hawkeye. Similar to how if you’re underwater and someone is calling you yet the sound is getting drowned out.
Editing & Pacing: Usage of Shots
This episode got to be a little more experimental with some of their shots and techniques. In a pivotal scene between the two archers,it keeps cutting back and forth to close-up medium shot of each person. It felt like trying to simulate reading a comic with each panel being their faces. It’s small touches sprinkled throughout that keeps your eyes on the screen. During the beginning of the car chase, the scene holds on to one-shot for a couple of minutes. It felt reminiscent of the famous one-take scene from Children of Men when they’re driving in the car. You start to notice that the take is still going and expect it to end soon. Yet, the thrill of the shot has it keeps continuing helps drive the intensity of the chase from the Tracksuit Mafia. Honestly, if the sequence was only one shot then it would rank as one of the all time best.
The only problem with the car chase is the obvious green screen in certain parts. You’re seeing New York City and all of the sudden, a henchman is out of the car and a fake shot of the city is behind him. Granted, this is technically for TV and won’t have that movie quality. But, all of the Disney+ MCU shows have been pretty close to that level. Granted, they do make up for it by providing us with incredible stunt work.