‘Hawkeye’ episodes 1 and 2, a spoiler review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Out of all the Marvel heroes who went from unknown side characters to fan favorites, one can make the argument that Hawkeye was the first character in this series that broke that mold. 

First appearing as a two-minute cameo in “Thor,” before being the sixth member in “The Avengers,” Hawkeye was often seen as everyone’s least favorite of the team. This is not to say the character was bad or didn’t contribute to anything, but when you compare him to heroes like Iron man or Hulk, it’s easy to see why people have overlooked him for so many years.

 However, with the character appearing in more movies, this allowed Hawkeye to interact with more heroes and develop more characterization. We see him and his family shelter his team in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. We also see him play a key role in “Captain America: Civil War”. He eventually takes a dark path as Ronin in “Avengers: Endgame” after briefly losing his family due to Thanos’ snap. The character has received a good amount of attention over the years, and this series is proof of that. Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can finally bring out our decorations and celebrate the king of all holidays, Christmas! 

The series centers on Clint Barton (Hawkeye) spending overdue quality time with his family in New York during the holidays. Just when you think Clint finally gets a break, he finds himself roped back into fighting criminals when we are introduced to Kate Bishop. Kate is a huge Hawkeye fan who is trained in archery, martial arts, etc. who finds herself being hunted by the Tracksuit Mafia who mistakes her for Clint’s alter ego “Ronin” during a raid at a wealthy auction. Forced to work together, Clint and Kate have to find a way to confront his old enemies and get back to their families in time for Christmas.

It’s important to note that despite this being a Hawkeye series, it’s clear from the opening scene that this show also serves as an introduction to newcomer Kate Bishop. This makes sense, as in the comics, she takes up the Hawkeye mantle. The first episode’s opening scene takes us to a flashback to New York in 2012, where we see Kate as a young girl going through a tough time, as her mother and father are arguing over whether or not they should move from their current home.

Despite the situation, both parents do everything they can to reassure Kate that everything will be fine. I felt that the opening scene was effective in establishing Kate’s background coming from a wealthy family, as well as the positive relationship she had with her parents despite them disagreeing with one another. 

But anyone who remembers New York 2012, knows that this happiness will not last. The episode takes a dark turn when we see the Chitauri invasion from “The Avengers” take place. Kate is horrified to find her home tarnished in the process. Everyone who remembers this battle sees it as one of the most exciting moments in the last decade. However, when you consider the reality of the situation, events such as this would have bigger repercussions than what was originally portrayed. Battles such as this cause a lot of destruction with multiple people dying and leaving scars that last even years later. I thought this scene was an excellent way to show these events from a civilian’s perspective, as it makes this world feel more real. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

This scene also sets up Kate’s journey to being a hero, as she witnesses Hawkeye on a nearby rooftop shooting down a Chitauri ship that was moments away from destroying Kate’s home. It is interesting to see these events play out, especially when you compare this scene to how it played out in the first Avengers film. In fact, I recently saw a few fan edits of Hawkeye on the rooftop from both the movie and series perspective. You can tell the creators put a lot of effort in seamlessly tying these events to this show.

The Battle of New York takes a toll on the Bishop family as Kate’s father was killed in the attack, which inspires Kate to become a hero like Hawkeye. This makes sense, as not only did Clint save her life, but he’s also physically one of the more human members of the Avengers. Another detail I especially liked was the episode’s opening credits, which show Kate’s progression through the years as she competes in athletic events and trains in different fields. From these images, we can see her development as she struggles and improves her skills to be like her idol. 

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

When we cut back to New York in the present day (2024), it’s already the holiday season. In case you weren’t aware that this was a Christmas-themed show, they pull out all the stops here. Everywhere throughout New York, you see snow falling, buildings lit up red and green, and decorations were strewn throughout the city. It also helps that the series is topped off with classic Christmas songs, adding to the holiday feel of the show.

We then see Clint and his family attending “Rogers: The Musical”, which is a peppy light-hearted play based on the final battle in “The Avengers”. This was a fun set up as it gives this universe a sense of history as it’s based on one of the biggest events in this franchise. I would also like to point out that the play is performed by veteran Broadway actors, and they are having a ball with the few minutes they had on screen. Everything from the dance choreography to the production, to the campy song lyrics, made this very fun to watch. It also serves as an ironic parallel when you compare the episode’s dark opening from a realistic perspective to this light-hearted and comical version of the Battle of New York.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Needless to say, the Barton’s aren’t all that wowed by the spectacle, with Clint having a difficult time as he’s still recovering from the death of Natasha Romanoff from “Avengers: Endgame”. I also love that they included the detail of him having hearing troubles with his hearing aid, which is part of the character in the comics. They even show him doing sign language with his kids in some scenes. Despite his trauma and unwanted celebrity status in the city, he still manages to find time to spend the holidays with his family. It’s always nice to see the hero have some downtime and be with his family after going through such big events. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch Christmas with the Bartons?

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Meanwhile, Kate’s story catches up to speed as multiple developments are made while she attends a charity auction gala with her mother Eleanor, who brought along her fiance, Jack Duquesne. Things are not as smooth as they seem, as not only does Kate come across Jack’s uncle, Armand III, disapprove of his son’s marriage and seemingly threatens Eleanor, but she also stumbles upon a black market auction in the building’s wine cellar with Jack and Armand as attendants. We don’t find out a whole lot about this aspect, as the show seems to be keeping the whole conflict between Eleanor and Armand as hidden as possible. While it is obvious that Jack and his uncle are up to no good, it’s still up in the air as to what they, most notably Jack are up to.

The auction is selling off numerous items, including ones recovered from the Avengers compound. These items even include Ronin’s suit and sword, of which Jack has a keen interest in, which has been established with him owning multiple swords and even showcasing some swordsmanship skills in the next episode.

Just before these items are sold off, the auction is then interrupted by the Tracksuit Mafia, who break in looking for a “watch.” This forces Kate to don the Ronin costume, which leads to an action scene showcasing Kate’s martial arts and using really hard wine bottles to knock down her assailants. Her escape leads her to a chase in the streets, where she comes across a stray dog who stops one of the mafia members from stealing the watch they were after. 

We then cut back to Barton’s family, who returns home only to find Kate wearing the ronin suit making headlines on the news. While most of the Barton family is unfamiliar with Ronin’s exploits due to them having vanished during “the Snap,” Clint believes that someone is using his former alter ego and moves to stop whoever this person is.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Things aren’t looking too good for Kate, as not only does she discover that Armand III was murdered in his home when she goes to his residence to investigate, but the Tracksuit Mafia corners her and comes close to taking her out. Thankfully, she is saved at the last minute when Clint comes in and easily defeats the gangsters. It is at the episode’s conclusion that our co-stars finally come face to face. Which is then continued into the second episode.

The best part of the second episode is the chemistry between Renner and Seinfeld. It’s set up as an alliance of convenience with both characters forced to work together to take out a common enemy. While Kate is excited about working with her childhood idol, Clint understandably is less enthusiastic about the situation as he finds himself back to facing old enemies when he could be with his family. I’m glad they make the smart decision to not have them constantly argue the entire time like they do in most shows like this. You can tell Clint doesn’t want to be in this situation, but he legitimately cares for Kate’s wellbeing and goes to great lengths to protect her and keep her hidden from the mafia.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

The episode has a few fun moments, the most prominent being Clint entering a LARP event in central park, where one of the members is wearing it after taking it during a crime scene. This scene felt very reminiscent of events you’d find at places like Comic-Con, where you have grown adults wearing costumes and acting out like they’re in a fantasy world. It leads to a lot of fun moments, particularly from Clint who went from fighting universal threats like Thanos to being struck repeatedly by plastic swords.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

With the suit back in his possession and Kate’s identity in the clear, Clint then willingly turns himself in to the tracksuit mafia. Kate, who is unaware of Clint’s plan, tracks down Barton to the mafia’s warehouse only to be captured herself in the process. The gang then informs their boss, Maya Lopez (Echo), of their new prisoners. When this character is introduced, we don’t find out a whole lot about her. When we see her, she’s in this red-lit room surrounded by multiple stereos vibrating soundwaves, and is shown to be deaf as one of her subordinates communicates to her via sign language. Based on the buildup, I can tell that she’s going to become a major player in this show. In fact, it’s already been confirmed that she’s getting her own spin-off series in the future. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Overall, the first two episodes of Hawkeye were an enjoyable sit-through if you want to see new characters or get in the mood for the holiday season. The action is great; the actors’ chemistry is fantastic and makes you excited to see more of what was originally one of Marvel’s most forgettable side characters. It’s definitely a series people should check out.

Spinnaker rates these episodes as 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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