After last week’s rocky debut episodes of Hawkeye, my expectations were tempered going into this one. I expected the story to continue to fall more and more into cliché and lose focus on what was working. But instead I am happy to say this episode completely subverted my expectations. Here we are treated to a full episode of Clint and Kate action with fun, heart, and further plot developments.
The episode starts off in a pre-title flashback sequence that skims the history of our new antagonist, Maya. We see her grow up and integrate her disability into her life, only to have her life changed forever by a fateful encounter with Ronin. We then cut back to the present where our heroes must escape the clutches of Maya and the Track Suit Mafia. What follows is an energetic, action packed middle half before our story slows down again to let our characters breathe and end on another tense cliffhanger.
A lot happens in this episode of Hawkeye and it’s compelling from beginning to end because of one major factor: it keeps the focus on its best aspects. The best moments in the first two episodes were Kate and Clint working together being heroes, and aside from the opening sequence that’s all this episode is. No Bishop family drama to sidetrack us, just Hawkeye and Kate being a team.
The main event here is hands down the car chase. It feels lifted straight out of the comic and is legitimately fun. Clint and Kate quip back and forth organically and a bag of trick arrows makes for an entertaining time. This whole scene put a smile on my face and showed what this series can be when it fully commits to its source material.
On the dramatic side of things, Clint’s moments really shine. Renner does a solid job here at balancing both the levity and hardened edge of his character. He starts warming up to Kate and quipping more, while at the same time dealing with the consequences of his past. We also get further exploration of how his hearing loss affects his life. Multiple times throughout the episode of Hawkeye the sound fades out to trap us in his experience, and one scene in particular captures the stress this causes when interacting with his family.
The technical side of the episode is the only real let down. On the one hand the car chase sequence uses a cool camera setup to keep the audience in the car with our heroes, but on the other the green screen backgrounds are incredibly distracting. The editing also feels off at times too resulting in some rather jumpy cuts that are noticeable. Another sequence in a diner feels like the actors aren’t even in the same room. The execution here is definitely lacking but the story and action kept me engaged enough it didn’t detract too much my overall experience.
By keeping its focus on the show’s best aspects, episode three of Hawkeye delivers a pleasant surprise. It puts the strongest portions of the show’s action and drama together for a memorable experience. Though distracting on the technical side, this episode shows promise for the latter half of the series.
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