We will never complain about getting a two-episode series premiere. That said, Hawkeye 1×02, “Hide and Seek,” stands on its own and could have been released next week instead. This episode raises the stakes to a more personal degree for Kate Bishop. Moreover, the pacing starts to pick up, instilling confidence that Hawkeye may have all of this figured out.
There are two blatant antagonistic threads to follow, and my gut says the two will converge into one master scheme. If that’s the case, Hawkeye could tell a contained story that keeps its characters in clear focus for its entirety. Jack Duquesne has ties to Kate, while the Tracksuit Mafia has its sights set (unknowingly) on Clint as Ronin.
If the two threads come together to form a neat and nice bow, then Clint and Kate will have an opportunity to come together after a season of assisting each other. I may be getting too ahead of myself, but there are only four (!!!) episodes left. It’s bizarre to think there is still much ground to cover, but “Hide and Seek” isn’t burdened by that pressure.
Instead, it takes things slow (sometimes literally) to let these characters live their lives — letting all the drama unfold organically. Right now, Hawkeye isn’t chasing a finish line like the other Disney+ shows. Alternatively, it’s enjoying the holiday season with two characters who beautifully foil each other.
Understanding Clint Barton
“Hide and Seek” lets us see more of this show could be the street-level show the MCU needs. Shows in that regard have been missing since Netflix pulled the plug on the likes of Jessica Jones and Daredevil. The comparison isn’t entirely believable just yet because Hawkeye still has a way to go, but the show is taking plenty of steps in the right direction.
It’s a significant step to see these characters exist in New York City and only New York City. The characters’ conflicts are local, and their effect is the same. For example, if you had told me ten years ago that Clint would have to LARP in NYC to get his Ronin suit back after a firefighter stole it from a 22-year-old’s apartment, I wouldn’t believe you.
But I am so glad this sequence exists. It’s the kind of proof we need to know Hawkeye won’t take itself too seriously. Moreover, it lets Clint realize there’s no point in taking himself too seriously — that it wouldn’t hurt for him to lighten up a little bit. It could do him some good to connect with the people around him rather than lean into his classic cynicism.
Kate Bishop and his family will be the key to getting Clint’s heart to grow three sizes in time for Christmas. Kate could even be considered a part of his family by the end of the series. The proof lies in how Clint’s entire demeanor changes when he realizes Kate is a hurt, lost kid who could use his help. That stark difference in his character from the comics is nice.
It makes Clint more approachable as a grumpy father. Furthermore, Renner’s performance becomes all the more likable when juxtaposed with Steinfeld’s. The realization that Clint’s potential in this regard has been untapped for more than a decade is frustrating, but at least Marvel Studios is finally delivering.
It’s also finally delivering on another comics-accurate aspect of Clint’s character — his hearing loss. The explanation aligns with Clint’s character, yet it points out Marvel Studios’ shortcomings.
It makes sense that Clint wouldn’t know when the accident happened that contributed to his hearing loss because Clint stays diving into dangers. Yet, ironically, the MCU can’t put their finger on that pulse of such a significant moment because Clint faded into the background for more than a decade. But not anymore!
Don’t Underestimate Kate Bishop
Kate’s interpersonal relationships are a little rough around the edges, and it doesn’t only have to do with how everyone in Kate’s life underestimates her. Nevertheless, Vera Farmiga and Tony Dalton are doing great work so far, and it’s beneficial that Eleanor and Jack keep their cards close to their chest for the mystery to unfold with surprises around every turn.
Although, “Hide and Seek” could have been the one Hawkeye needs in this two-episode premiere to create a believably strained dynamic between Eleanor and Kate. We haven’t seen enough to understand the cracks in their relationship or why they got there in the first place. On the other hand, Kate’s disdain for Jack is more fleshed out.
That’s an intriguing choice for Hawkeye to make, considering Kate’s motivations in this series premiere hinges on wanting to protect her mother. Of course, it’s logical for her to want to protect Eleanor from Jack because of what we see (and hear), but it would be better to understand what Kate was fighting for — what their relationship is truly like.
Jack is a villain hiding in plain sight, and if you don’t think so, then you’re not paying close enough attention. It’s bad enough that he starts a conversation with Kate by telling her how he thinks she feels. That disconnect escalates to a desire to challenge Kate’s intelligence in a literal duel. It’s jarring to watch Jack disarm Kate without looking at her.
The unnerving tension builds when Jack tells Eleanor, “It’s not the first time somebody tried to take my head off.” That could be a charming adage to diffuse the situation, but that can’t be the case. Jack is skilled and intelligent, too. Jack codes that message on purpose — knowing Kate will pick up on the clues.
However, he can’t believe Kate is capable enough to stop whatever he is planning, and that’s his first mistake. Kate Bishop may be a hero in the making, but she won’t fight to protect her mother in the middle of whatever snowstorm is coming.
Villains Straight Off the Page, Bro
Marvel Studios does an excellent job of making its shows and movies accessible for comic book fanatics and film fans alike. Usually, you don’t need to read the source material to understand the project at hand better, but I cannot suggest Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye (2015) run enough. Reading it will make Hawkeye an even sweeter treat.
The Tracksuit Mafia is so surreal and shouldn’t work as well as it does.
Nevertheless, it serves them well to be laughable figures in the show because it makes the episode’s cliffhanger even better. Plus, that leans into the tone of the series that balances the hilarity with sincerity. The Tracksuit Mafia comes across as a street-level threat that opposes the interpersonal one building between Jack and Kate.
It will be fascinating to see if Hawkeye flips the script on that or not. If it doesn’t, there’s still a chance for these two antagonists to blend into one fight. But, even if it doesn’t, Clint and Kate will have their hands full with the Tracksuit Mafia because they are more than a group of mindless street villains. Their leader is more than meets the eye.
Alaqua Cox conveys as much in essentially a minute as she makes her MCU debut as Maya Lopez. We know that Cox will get her spin-off titled Echo that will eventually stream on Disney+. That means that Hawkeye could serve as a meaningful introduction to the character before her series.
Since that series is upcoming, there’s a chance we could feel Maya Lopez’s presence more than we see her — as a means to keep more of her origin story for Echo. That would be a major letdown, and Hawkeye hasn’t let us down yet. So, we have high hopes that this is only the beginning of a bright future.
Other Moments That Don’t Miss:
- Tony sold Avengers Tower a few years ago.
- Clint hitting his head on the door before going up to Kate’s apartment
- Nate and Clint signing to each other
- Laura calling the Ronin suit “problematic” is spot on.
- “Nice, one of Nat’s old moves.”
- Jack’s pinkie ring
- Kate not getting a superhero landing… yet
- Clint’s tattoos are still so funny to me.
- Kate thawing the pizza for the Pizza Dog (aka Lucky)
What did you think of the Hawkeye “Hide and Seek?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Hawkeye stream Wednesdays, exclusively on Disney+!