We pick up where our LAST EPISODE left off, with Kate’s step-dad to be, Jack Duquesne, holding Clint captive with his own sword. Tensions are quickly diffused when Kate runs in, telling Jack that Clint is a friend. Kate’s mom Eleanor joins everyone in the living room.
We end up with a fairly awkward family meeting situation leading with Jack talking to Clint “Oh, you’re the Archer?”
At this point Eleanor goes into protective mother mode, telling Clint that Kate is no superhero and he needs to cut her off. After all, “Natasha Romanov was pretty damn good, wasn’t she?” and look what happened to her! Clint promises he’ll try to keep her safe and leaves the Bishop penthouse, his Ronin sword with him.
Next up we get a bit of relationship building with Kate, Jack, and Eleanor; as she gets to see her mom and fiance have fun together and Kate starts to rethink her animosity towards Jack. Eleanor points out how great family is at the holidays, reminding Kate what Clint is giving up.
So, Kate finds Clint, nursing his wounds at Kate’s aunt’s apartment and brings a bit of Christmas cheer with her. Ugly sweaters, pizza, holiday movies. Kate and Clint bond over arrow talk, war stories, trick shots with ornaments. Clint retells some of the Black Widow backstory as well, foreshadowing this episode’s big surprise.
Kate asks Clint the best shot he ever made and Clint says it’s the shot he didn’t take, referring to sparing Natasha when he was tasked with killing her; instead bringing her over to Shield and putting her on her hero’s journey.
While bonding, they start to plan what they have to do next. Clint breaks the news to Kate that she was right about Jack. He’s laundering money for the Tracksuit Mafia and their mysterious soon-to-be-revealed leader. Kate, realizing that means she has to take down her mom’s fiancé, is taken aback but realizes it will need to be done. Clint tells her she can get back the confiscated trick arrows but that it has a catch.
We see our LARP crew again from EPISODE 2, as they have the in to get the trick arrows out of police storage. Kate’s reaction is a nice juxtaposition to Clint’s grumbly attitude. She invites them back to her aunt’s place, they end up designing Kate an outfit and she asks them to make Clint a new costume as well. Clint is suitably disturbed by this development but glad to get the arrows back.
From here, Clint gets a tip from his wife Laura, that the watch from EPISODE 1 has meaning to both of them and it is located at an apartment in the city. This is our first real hint that Laura Barton has deeper Shield ties than ever let on in her other MCU appearances. As she also gives background and tracking on Maya Lopez’s second in command, Kazi’s location. While Kate is tied up with the LARP crew, Clint tries to talk sense into Kazi, telling him Maya needs to leave Ronin behind, that more people will die if she keeps it up, and, ominously, that everyone knows Maya’s boss does NOT like this kind of attention on his business interests.
Our episode builds to Kate and Clint going to the apartment to get the Rolex watch back. Kate, impulsively jets off on her own, not following Clint’s plan, and triggers a silent alarm that Clint realizes is an alarm for the deaf and that means they’re in Maya’s apartment. Kate also realizes this as Maya jumps her.
Action picks up as Clint thinks he is also being attacked by Maya. But cutting back to Clint, we see he’s fighting a masked assailant, using Black Widow’s tools and training. This Widow gets unmasked and we see Yelena Bolova, first seen in 2021’s Black Widow, out for revenge on Hawkeye as she’s been led to believe he killed Natasha.
The episode ends when Clint and Kate are able to fend off Maya and Yelena. Clint, realizing how dangerous this has become, sends Kate home, telling her they were never partners, and she needs to stay out of this to be safe.
Likes: Florence Pugh’s Yelena was the breakout star of the Black Widow movie. So? Great addition here and even though her part was small, looking forward to her getting put on the right track as soon as possible and into the hero’s realm. Also really dug the bonding scene with Kate and Clint. Hailee Steinfeld still has charismatic watchability that her ticks and choices in a wordless scene watching her mom and Jack gives a nice depth to the story.
Dislikes: I still don’t care about Jack’s subplot. Giving away him being evil back in episode one takes away any good guy bits they’ve given him with Eleanor. Plus, between rumors, leaks, and hype (yes, hype!), Jack’s going to feel inconsequential when Maya’s boss/Uncle comes out to play. Eleanor remains a character I’m waiting for a turn as well as she’s just too bland and inconsequential as written to be taken seriously. And, to keep belaboring the point, in a 6 episode limited run show, the LARP crew could have easily been dumped instead of taking up screen time in 2 episodes now of a 6 episode show.