Well, that may have been my favourite episode of Hawkeye yet. No, it wasn’t as action-packed as the previous episode, but the relationship between Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) was front and centre and that’s what this show is all about. There were some ups, some downs, and an exciting cliffhanger fans had been anticipating for months. Let’s dig into Hawkeye episode four, “Partners, Am I Right?”
As I predicted last week, episode three‘s cliffhanger of Jack (Tony Dalton) finding Hawkeye was instantly dealt with as the episode began. Both Kate and Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) showed up immediately and everyone was very excited that an Avenger was in the apartment. Both Eleanor and Jack are a little confused at the partnership, especially when Clint swears it isn’t a partnership, and then eventually admits they are working together. There are also multiple references to Clint’s lack of branding as Jack calls him “Archer” and Kate tries the name “CB1,” which I, personally, feel is the clear winner. There’s TB12 in the NFL, CP3 in the NBA, why not CB1 in the MCU?
Before Clint leaves though, Eleanor impresses on him that Kate isn’t a superhero and she doesn’t want to lose her. She even goes so far as to give Clint a little “Natasha wasn’t a hero either” dig just to drive it home. Whether or not Eleanor was being nefarious with the comment is up for debate but Clint reads her loud and clear: keep Kate safe. Oh, and Clint made sure to steal Jack’s Ronin sword back. Two Ronan items down, one to go: the watch that everyone was originally after.
Clint heads back to Kate’s aunt’s apartment (which is odd, right? For someone acting all aloof towards her, he sure is fine with Kate’s generous hospitality) and texts his wife, Laura (Linda Cardellini) along the way. Laura runs the name of the company Kate and Clint found during the last episode and finds out that it launders money for the Track Suit Mafia and Jack is the CEO. Meanwhile, Eleanor calls someone mysterious too. The plot thickens.
After the excitement of Clint’s visit wears off, the Bishops find themselves sitting around and joking about Jack always getting his famous sayings wrong. It’s a complex moment because at this point we, the audience, are well aware Jack is a bad guy. Kate is also mostly sure of it. But Eleanor isn’t and Kate sees in her mum the joy that Jack brings. It makes Kate happy to see Eleanor happy, and that’s certainly going to be an issue as Clint and Kate’s mission gets closer and closer to Jack’s real intent.
That idea of loved ones making each other happy inspires Kate to head over to see Clint. She knows that he wants to be with his family so she brings over pizza, ugly sweaters, some Christmas movies (with Disney+’s The Santa Clause on top for full branding, though a few non-Disney movies are seen in the pile too), and a tree. What comes next is a really heartwarming getting to know/trust you sequence where Kate and Clint have a few frozen drinks and decorate the tree. He shares tips with her about certain arrows, shows her how to flick a coin to hurt someone, and eventually, things get serious.
Kate asks Clint about the best shot he’s ever taken, and he says it’s the one he didn’t take. This leads to the crucial story of Clint and Natasha’s meeting. Clint explains that he was sent to kill Natasha but saw something in her and couldn’t do it. And so he disobeyed orders, got her out of the Widow program, and they became lifelong friends. As the story gets closer to Natasha’s death, the score hints at the music from Avengers: Endgame, just to fully seed Clint’s pain. Kate also finally gets it out of him that he was the Ronin and that’s why he’s still in New York: to wash away this past that has stuck with him.
This whole scene was just so excellent. The humour, the heart, the MCU connections, but mostly, the character and relationship building. Kate learns more about Clint, just as we do, and we see the two of them becoming good friends. Friends who can trust each other.
The next morning Kate and Clint go off on separate missions. Kate has to find all the missing trick arrows (which Clint explained the previous night is crucial since trick arrows are pretty rare and unique in their design) while Clint pays a visit to Kazi (Fra Fee). Both missions go smoothly. Kazi gets the message that Maya (Alaqua Cox) should stop her pointless, dangerous search for Ronin, even if he doesn’t like it, and Kate easily convinces the LARPers from episode two, most of whom are first responders, to break into evidence storage to retrieve the arrows — arrows that were most likely retrieved by the police after the big shoot-out car chase in the previous episode.
In exchange for breaking the law, the LARPers want something in return and everyone agrees Kate will get them, and herself and Hawkeye, new costumes. I’m very excited to see how that plays out, but before it can be explored more Clint gets a text that this mysterious Rolex watch is transmitting from a nearby apartment. He and Kate head off to retrieve it.
This is the first mission after their evening of holiday bonding, and even though Clint thinks Kate is learning from him, she ignores his plan and gets into the apartment her own way. Unfortunately, she trips a silent alarm and just as she finds the Rolex, they realise it’s Maya’s apartment and Maya is there. She fights Kate inside as Clint fights what he believes to be Maya outside. It’s not her, but this person is equally skilled and using some very familiar-looking energy weapons. A fun fight sequence ensues that includes Clint trying his hardest to keep Kate safe, and the revelation that the mysterious masked person fighting Clint is none other than Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) making good on the end credits scene of Black Widow. Clint tells Kate that if someone has hired a Black Widow assassin to kill him, things are way more serious than he thought and that she needs to go home. It’s over.
But it’s not over, Clint. There are two more episodes of Hawkeye, which were teed up really well in “Partners, Am I Right?” Kate and Clint are closer than ever, which makes their dangerous partnership increasingly difficult. They also know Jack has something to do with everything, but he’s also making Kate’s mum happy. Maya’s mysterious kingpin of an uncle is still to be revealed, and now the new Black Widow is on the case. Plus, it’s only a few days till Christmas. This episode enriched the series considerably and it should be really fun to see how it plays out.