Because sometimes partners are made to be broken.
What’s best about the Disney+ Hawkeye series thus far has been just how grounded Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton truly feels. Usually the cool and level-headed archer, there’s an unprecedented degree of vulnerability to be witnessed in the Clint Barton story shown throughout the Hawkeye series thus far. Whether it’s lamenting over the recent events in Avengers Endgame, in particular, the loss of his best friend Natasha; or the slow budding yet nonetheless trust-building experiences audiences have watched these past few weeks in seeing Clint get closer with Kate Bishop, his young protege, there’s just a humanizing element to Hawkeye that hasn’t been portrayed before. Especially, in regards to his desire to be with his family and seeing Clint play father and husband during the holidays.
Part of this tension in the series can be felt with how this Hawkeye past backstory, referenced directly from the source material in the My Life As a Weapon comic created by Matt Fraction David Aja. It is a tale of Hawkeye which comes into direct conflict with the Hawkeye of the present. And I’m not talking about the bullseye one-shot trick arrow mastermind, but rather, the broken-bodied dad who just wants to spend a Christmas movie marathon with his family, but instead, settles for a day tutoring Kate on how to bullseye coin flips and watching movies with Pizza Dog.
Episode 4 sees the two finally becoming the partners we knew they were meant to be. With Clint finally giving Kate the due credit for her abilities. He gives her kudos on her ability to catch onto clues, but also, values her skills as a fighter. As she’s grown into someone Clint cares about, as noted by how he distances himself from her, just like all things he cares deeply about in his life – for their own protection from himself and his past sins. Seeing the human side of Hawkeye comes with a lot of pain. And apparently, a ceaseless supply of freezer items for ice packs – this episode, being frozen strawberry daiquiris.
We also see the return of the LARPers. Who are more fun than serious in terms of a side plot, as apparently, all it takes is a rumor to be friends with an Avenger to get them to tamper or steal evidence from their police precinct locker.
Oh and there’s a big return of a character we all knew was coming in this one. Yet, without certainty as to what role their character will play. We have, however, seen every sign of hints that Hawkeye would tie back to the MCU albeit in smaller-form gang-related conflicts, and less, end-of-the-world Avengers level threats. Which is a refreshing change of pace.
Though all is well with mom, it does seem like there are signs that Eleanor Bishop knows more than putting on. And given that we’re in a superhero world where almost every security firm turns evil for the same plot twist, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Eleanor playing a bigger hand behind the series’ nefarious schemes all along.
Overall, this episode is about getting to know your partners well and the potential of losing the very people you can get close to… but being willing to take that risk anyway. It’s also, a very merry Hawkeye Christmas theme.