This review contains spoilers for Hawkeye episode 4 and some spoilery speculation for the wider MCU.
Hawkeye episode 4, “Partners, Am I Right?”, did the investigative story work that took a backseat in last week’s action-packed installment. Although remaining well-paced, the show slowed down markedly, making its episodic nature feel more frustrating. But in doing so, it also hooked us into a key element of the plot that had been mostly abandoned since the premiere, and did some essential work on both its core mysteries and Clint Barton’s unresolved guilt.
Anyone who was hoping for a Wilson Fisk reveal in this episode will no doubt have been disappointed to find that the Kingpin did not make an appearance, but one Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) did, and the pile of people who are pissed off at Clint Barton continues to mount.
This was the first we’d seen of Yelena since Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) cunningly pinned Natasha’s death on Clint during Black Widow’s post-credits scene. It seems that this mistake has yet to be cleared up sufficiently, and it probably won’t help that Clint does feel responsible for Natasha’s death when the two presumably get a chance to have any kind of conversation about the Vormir incident in the next two episodes.
Kate warmed to Jack Duquesne a little in episode four, which was unfortunate because Jack and Eleanor’s sweet romance was soured by his deep involvement with the Tracksuit Mafia (and let’s assume Fisk). Eleanor is definitely more suspicious than Jack, though, despite his ties to New York’s criminal underworld. She knew just where to stick a needle in Clint’s psyche in an effort to split him and Kate up.
Clint’s ongoing struggle to push Kate away swung back and forth like a pendulum in “Partners, Am I Right?” The pair clearly get on, both as friends and partners, but a heart-wrenching moment that saw Kate dangling from a building and begging Clint to save her (the Avengers: Endgame score reprise just did me in) was too much for him to cope with, and once again he tried to sever their ties. It’s not going to work, of course. Kate is appealingly stubborn and already cares about Clint a great deal beyond his heroics – she even took his admission to being Ronin in her stride during his “my life as a weapon” tales.
The watch that Echo and the Tracksuit Mafia were after at the auction loomed large in episode 3, and it will likely keep us all talking until next week at least. The vintage Rolex, recovered from debris at Avengers Compound, is an intriguing mystery for sure, but led to a few confusing moments. Clint said that the watch belonged to someone he used to work with who has been out of action for a long time, but Laura effortlessly switched to fluent German on the phone when she was enquiring about it. Her husband seemed to think the risk factor involved was minimal, but then told Kate that the watch was still attached to his old colleague’s identity and that if the Tracksuit Mafia found out their identity, their cover would be blown.
Clint’s use of they/them pronouns when talking about his old work friend hampered efforts to deduce who it may be, but that hasn’t stopped fans of the show trying to work it out. My guess is Laura. We still know precious little about Clint’s ridiculously understanding wife, but she seems to have an emerging background that will be explored in this show. Honestly, if this thing ends with Linda Cardellini roundhouse kicking a bad guy over the family’s Christmas dinner, I would be happy to see it.
Other suspects include Nick Fury, and various Agents of SHIELD. Marvel Studios seems to be keener than ever to bring back elements of other popular Marvel series into the central MCU. Could we see Coulson or even Mockingbird pop up here? Hmm. Perhaps the greatest surprise would be Old Man Captain America’s location tied to that watch.
As we roll into next week, it’s worth bearing in mind that the ‘episode fives’ of these MCU shows tend to be wild, and I think it says something about how little we still know about the post-Endgame motivations, histories and pecking order of MCU characters old and new that I have no idea what to expect from Hawkeye’s.
Despite an episode packed with legwork, Hawkeye remains delightful, and since next week will bring us more of Clint and Kate at street level while Peter Parker and Doctor Strange set about breaking the multiverse, I’m excited to see what transpires and if both these stories end up being connected in some way.