Things just got real in Hawkeye episode 4. Spoilers ahead!
Picking up right where the last episode left off, Clint and Kate are discovered after breaking into her mom’s house. The duo have a sit-down chat with Eleanor and Jack. Kate calls herself Clint’s partner and friend, and Clint reluctantly agrees they’re working together. Afterwards, Eleanor tells Clint she wants to keep her daughter safe, even bringing up that Natasha Romanoff’s goodness couldn’t keep her alive. Ouch! This wound is still fresh, as we see Clint continue to suffer from trauma and grief throughout this episode. Eleanor’s line about goodness clearly foreshadows she might have tossed her morals aside knowing being good wouldn’t keep her and her daughter safe. I’m anxious to see what kind of criminal she is. Could she be Madame Masque?
Clint learns from Laura that Jack is CEO of the shell company employing the Tracksuit Mafia. He’s funneling funds for “the big guy” who has to be Kingpin. I honestly don’t know what to make of Jack anymore after this episode. He’s much funnier in this episode, seeming less like a mustache-twirling villain and more like a bland, cartoonish character with a sword obsession and unclear accent. Even if Jack is working for Kingpin, he can’t be the “big bad” of this series.
Back to Laura: she was the most interesting part of this Hawkeye episode (until Yelena shows up at the end). Hawkeye’s wife might be much more than "Hawkeye's wife." We know Clint tells her about his work and that she’s aware of his Ronin identity. Laura knows more than we thought. She’s interested in the same watch the Tracksuits stole back in episode 1. Why? I suspect it belongs to her. She can even track it from home. Later, Clint tells Kate that the watch belonged to a friend of his who’s been out of the game for a while. All signs point to Laura.
Running with this theory, this means at some point Laura was an agent, just like Clint. A former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D? Most likely. She can speak German and has great intelligence-gathering capabilities. The most interesting possibility is that Laura Barton was formerly Mockingbird, a spy from Marvel comics already brought to life in the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which is sadly not MCU canon. In the comics, Mockingbird and Hawkeye were married for a time. This concept came way out of left field, but I’m here for it. Does this mean we’ll see Linda Cardellini put on the suit at some point and get involved in the action? Now I’m hoping so.
The middle of this episode centers on Kate and Clint hanging out in their “hideout”. This part of the episode was so fun. MCU movies lack moments like these that develop characters’ personalities and relationships. We learn so much about Clint in just a few minutes, like his ability to use small objects to knock people unconscious. It was wonderful to see Clint and Kate banter and Clint teach her some of his tricks. Again, this show is really making Hawkeye likable. This is helped by Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner's fantastic chemistry.
At the end of this sequence, Kate asks Clint about his best shot. He tells her it was the one he didn’t take: his choice not to kill Natasha Romanoff. Natasha was Clint’s best friend, and he misses her so much. Renner’s performance in this scene is touching, tears at the edges of his eyes. Natasha’s shadow covers this episode. This episode is titled “Partners, Am I Right?” It may be referencing Kate and Clint on the surface, but it’s also about Natasha and Clint. Kate draws many parallels with Natasha throughout this episode. She calls herself Clint’s partner and friend. But Natasha was Clint’s partner and best friend first. Yet, Kate is becoming those things despite Clint’s best efforts. She sticks by him even after learning he was Ronin. She comes with him to Maya’s apartment and finds information on his family. (Sidebar: How did Maya get this information? And what does it have to do with the watch? Why would she want information on Clint, unless she now knows that he’s Ronin?)
Kate also fights side-by-side with Clint against Maya and Yelena, holding her own (which seems somewhat unrealistic against a Black Widow assassin, but I’ll let it slide since I love Kate so much.) Yelena then tosses Kate over the side of the building. In a moment tragically paralleling Natasha’s death in Avengers: Endgame, Clint looks over the rooftop to see Kate fall. However, she is suspended by a wire. We all can breathe a sigh of relief. But this near-death experience reminds Clint of how dangerous the situation is. He can’t risk losing Kate like he lost Natasha, so he cuts her down and tells her to go. But Kate won’t leave.
The rooftop fight continues with Maya’s escape and Yelena unmasked. This was the reveal of the episode. Following the post credit scene from Black Widow, Yelena Belova has come to get revenge for Natasha’s death. She believes Clint killed her sister. Hopefully, by the end of the series she learns the truth. The Yelena we see in this episode is quite different from the naive, sweet little sister she is in Black Widow. Here, Yelena is bitter, vengeful, and more mature. She feels genuinely dangerous.
Florence Pugh makes this entire episode hers in her few minutes of screentime. She doesn’t speak a single word, but Pugh’s expressions convey all the rage Yelena feels. She’s a total badass in her fight sequence, overpowering Maya, Kate, and Clint with graceful and pointed movements. Her exit is even better than her entrance: she jumps backward off the rooftop with such confidence it’s somehow attractive. I can’t wait to see her in the next episode and learn why she’s been sent to kill Clint. Yelena may have her own motivations, but I suspect Val sent her to kill Clint for other reasons, perhaps at the behest of “the big man.”
I appreciate the way Hawkeye focuses on the importance of the women in Clint’s life. This episode places a heavy emphasis on women. Laura is not just Clint’s wife, but his partner. They have a trusting and supportive relationship that’s wonderful to see. Natasha’s friendship was a huge factor in Clint’s life, and he’s mourning that loss throughout this entire show. Now, Kate is becoming a big part of Clint’s life: his new partner and protégé. He has to let her help him in next week’s episode. Clint has Maya, Yelena, and probably Wilson Fisk all coming for him. He’s going to need all the help he can get.
Hawkeye is currently streaming on Disney+.