We’re officially now into the second half of Hawkeye. While there are no substantial overall consequences for the MCU as compared to what we’ve seen from either Loki or WandaVision, the stakes still feel huge in this context. The consequences of Ronin and the overall mystery of who’s controlling the criminal underbelly still looms at large. It felt like this episode was still pushing towards that story, but not as fast as you would think because there are only two episodes left. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy when it comes to Hawkeye.
Hawkeye is available to stream on Disney+. If you missed it last week, you could read last week’s review.
Story: Right on the Rolex
We continue from last week as Hawkeye and Kate are caught in the Bishop’s home. The questions surrounding Jack are still present as the more they dig, the more information they find. It ties into who’s controlling the operation or what Clint refers to as “the big man.” There’s been a lot of theories floating around about who’s the identity of our main antagonist. Without going into spoilers (even for a theory), it seems like the show is exciting a character that fans wanted to see for a while. Having this much-hyped is a little dangerous, especially for the MCU, as disappointment over something that the fans wanted would ruin the momentum. Still, it adds a lot of excitement for the final two episodes.
Unfortunately, that excitement is weakened because this episode does end with a bit of a tiring cliche. It’s the standard act of breaking up a pair because it adds drama and conflict. They don’t even resolve it, so we have to spend a lot of time dedicated to reuniting people back together next week. Within the story’s context, they show the motivation behind the move. It doesn’t mean that the action can’t garner some frustration while watching it.
Characters & Performance: Classic Christmas Bonding Time
Again, the best part of the show is the Clint and Kate dynamic. They managed to capture the best part of the Matt Fraction & “David Aus” run and keep that same energy in the show. Both Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld work off each other perfectly. The highlight from this episode has to be their Christmas movie marathon watch. It’s just so chill and relaxing watching these two people get buzzed from drinking Daily’s frozen cocktails and bond together.
There’s one character that really surprised me while watching this episode. To see Laura Barton, Clint’s wife, really be in the know with his business is fascinating. They did mention before that she kind of knew about his past as Ronin, but in this story, she felt like Clint’s partner. Researching about the Rolex, talking in a different language, and giving intel made me puzzled in the best way. There’s a feeling that the show will show a little more in their relationship. If that means more Linda Cardellini, then the better.
Another standout that’s been underrated to most viewers is Tony Dalton as Jack. Something about him is so slimy about his performance that makes you hate Jack but still interested. Take when he’s serenading Eleanor with “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” The sinister undertones are there, and you can’t help but be suspicious. However, Dalton plays this so charmingly that you can’t help but smile. He possesses this balance of both making you hate Jack but invested in what he’s doing.
Cinematography & Sound: A New York City Christmas
There’s not as much breathtaking cinematography as there was last week. It’s more atmospheric in a way as it does feel like this show is taking place during the holidays. Besides the decorations, the Christmas lights help everything standout. The glow of red and green that matches with the cold winter nights of New York City is a sight to see. Even the Christmas lights come into the story as kind of a plot point that saves one of the characters.
The score is a bit more noticeable this week as it’s not bombastic, but a little more subtle. It’s nice during scenes where characters are talking and airing out their feelings. The music when Clint talks about Natasha just strikes a chord that helps elevate Jeremy Renner’s performance. Moments like that are what I want to see from the show regarding the music. Other times we just hear Christmas music which is just okay. I just wish Christoph Beck would spice things up with the holiday sounds. Take John Williams when he scored Home Alone. He used music from the Nutcracker Suite and turned it into his own. Moments like that would really elevate this show to a whole new level.
Editing & Pacing: Bonding with the Hawkeyes
There weren’t a whole lot of editing tricks done in this episode. Most of the shots seem pretty standard and seemed the norm. The moment that stands out is the montage between Kate and Clint. It adds to the fun that they’re already having and acts like a little training montage. The shots they get of Clint effortlessly throwing something is pretty cool to see. Even if they used some noticeable CGI with the coin flick, it doesn’t take away from the moment.
Now there’s a bit of concern that with only two installments left, the story will have to be rushed. Unless the runtime gets extended like the first two episodes, they’re going to have to cram a lot in there. It’s interesting as there wasn’t as much story as before. Instead, they really delve into the psyche of someone who’s been a SHIELD agent for a long time. While fascinating to watch, you would think they would be starting to set up the endgame (no pun intended) for the finale. It’ll be interesting to see if the pace finally goes full steam ahead.