To say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is having a big week would be an understatement. We have the second to last episode of Hawkeye and the release of the highly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home. Both will make any MCU fan feel ecstatic during the holidays. Hawkeye, for sure, brings a lot of excitement as this episode brought together emotional weight with fantastic action scenes to make an episode that fans won’t forget.
Story: Deciding Which Path to Follow
This episode might have been the most fascinating for the character of Clint Barton. We’ve seen him go through turmoil before but not like this. Granted, it’s not like losing his family in Avengers: Endgame, but the emotional conflict inside of him. He’s uncertain about what to do regarding Maya and her extensive knowledge about his family. Clint could either fight Maya or go back to his Ronin roots and kill the Tracksuit Mafia and Maya. His dilemma of going back as the Ronin is fascinating, and you really feel the struggle.
The scene where he visits a Battle of New York memorial and turns off his hearing aid to have an existential talk with Natasha is Jeremy Renner’s best scene in the MCU. He has survivor guilt because Natasha died instead of him. It’s like he wants to die instead of living, but carries on Black Widow’s wish to live on and be with his family. Renner sells this pain beautifully as it feels so raw and honest. How Clint is expressing regret over her death and apologizing over what he’ll do just strikes you. It’s a scene like this that fans have wanted with a Hawkeye-led show. There is more depth to an underrated character who doesn’t get the spotlight in the movies.
Characters & Performance: Just a Dash of Yelena
Everyone knew that Florence Pugh would kill it as Yelena in this episode, but we weren’t prepared. She brings so much electric energy whenever she’s on-screen. We see her prominently in two big scenes. The first is the opening to this episode. It opens up with Yelena trying to wake up another Black Widow and getting disappeared by the Blip. I love this sequence on two different fronts. One, anytime there’s another point of view of a significant event in the MCU is a nice treat. We’ve seen it before, like young Kate Bishop witnessing the Battle of New York or Monica getting Blipped back to life in WandaVision. Second, it shows what Yelena has been up to since the post-credit scene of Black Widow.
The other scene is with Kate Bishop. There’s so much going on in terms of emotions. It’s a mix of a friendly chat, interrogation session, and threatening Kate if she gets in her way. It’s a scene that I feel like you couldn’t do justice in a movie. This act takes its time and allows the viewers to experience the peaks and valleys. Pugh and Steinfeld do such an amazing job. They have chemistry with everyone, but to have both of them together is an amazing treat to witness. Even though there’s a ton of upcoming Disney+ shows coming up, we need to see a Yelena-led show.
There’s an unsung hero that has been featured prominently, but never brought up is Vera Farmiga. She’s always great in anything that she appears in, and Hawkeye is no exception. There’s a fantastic scene with her and Steinfeld that takes place early as Eleanor cleans up her daughter’s wounds. It’s such a touching scene that shows how much she cares for Kate. Without going too much into the details, she’s a heavy part of the plot and will be prominent for the last episode. It makes you want to go back and see any details you might have missed about her character.
Cinematography & Sound: A Dark Duel
You would think with Yelena in this episode that we would get a fight scene showcasing her Black Widow skills. We get a little taste of this during the introduction, but that’s it. However, the majority of the action goes to the Ronin fight scenes. The way he works in the shadows taking out one guy at a time is pretty cool. We know that Ronin is someone you shouldn’t mess with, but this just proves it. Then showing off the fight skills from Echo and Clint is such a nice touch.
Both of them feel balanced and it doesn’t end with a cop-out conclusion. It constantly shifts back and forth as the fight choreography is on point. There’s also a fantastic touch from the music score during Clint’s confession to Natasha at the memorial. We hear the same track from the scene where they both fought over who would die for the Soul Stone. It’s the little touches that make the MCU worth watching.
Editing & Pacing: Right Towards the End
It feels like we’ve just started Hawkeye, but there’s only one episode left now. There are a lot of loose ends that this show needs to tie up. It’s being billed as a limited series, so who knows where this story goes in terms of other projects. We’re starting to see some threads that potentially will go to their own projects, like the Echo spin-off show. So it’s not a problem, but more of anxious concern.
Even if the finale had 50 minutes on its runtime, it’d be a feat to see how everything is wrapped up. Yet, the speed regarding this episode didn’t go too fast or slow. It felt like the viewer went on the right pace to show Clint’s situation while giving some considerable information regarding the big boss. It gave just enough for the audience, even though we wanted a lot more.