Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Hawkeye - Never Meet Your Heroes

The first episode of Disney+'s Hawkeye, notably being marketed as a mini-series and not a first season, involves two separate threads that will be brought together in the final scene. The breakdown is somewhere around 65% to 35% with the bulk of the episode focused on the introduction of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) whose love of archery and desire to protect comes from her experiences witnessing the Chitauri Invasion of New York and her first look at Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Years later, the talented college student returns home after some trouble at school to snoop into her mother's (Vera Farmiga) new fiancé (Tony Dalton) which leads to a black market auction and the reason for putting her on a path to meet her hero.

The scenes from the first episode of Clint reestablish his role as a father, in New York with his kids for the holidays, while reminding us he still hasn't quite dealt with either the loss of Black Widow or his time as Ronin. Both wounds will get reopened here, the first when Clint attends Rogers: The Musical on Broadway with his kids, and the second when seeing someone else on the streets of New York wearing his Ronin costume (which Kate put on at the auction while fighting off a crew of thieves). Putting his family on hold, Clint goes after Ronin, surprised by who he finds under the mask but all too aware of how many old enemies will surface given Ronin's apparent return.

The script requires Steinfeld to carry the bulk of the episode, which she does well. Waiting until the end of the episode to unite her with Clint make sense, but in doing so the episode does include a bit of filler in place to draw out events to get to their inevitable formulaic first meeting. Given we're dealing with the world's best two archers, there are numerous more natural ways for Kate and Clint to meet than Kate running through New York City in a costume that will get her noticed by all the wrong people. That said, the Ronin thread looks to be one of the central themes to the show going forward, so I'll forgive a bit of comic book coincidence and their meet-cute. We're given a solid opening here that will begin to build on the relationship between the two characters in the next episode which will provide the backbone for the rest of the show.

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