blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Hawkeye (2021) s01e02 – Hide and Seek

So, the last episode established post-Endgame Jeremy Renner and introduced Hailee Steinfeld, but this episode’s got to bring them together. It would be entirely possible—albeit improbable—for them not to have any chemistry once the Hawkeye(s) get together. Worse, what if it’s just a surrogate father thing since Steinfeld lost her dad during the Avengers’s Battle of New York and stepdad-to-be Tony Dalton is at best a broke narcissist. But Renner’s already got a family; his whole thing is about trying to reconnect with the kids (Ava Russo, Ben Sakamoto, and Cade Woodward in truly thankless roles) after playing ninja Punisher for five years and traveling the globe to thin out the criminals who survived Thanos’s snap.

Real quick aside, so I don’t forget. Apparently, Renner told wife Linda Cardellini all about it because she’s aware of the bad guys of this episode, which wouldn’t make any sense if he hadn’t told her about his one-man killing spree. It’s kind of unfair Frank Castle never got to heal through talk therapy.

The show—writer credit to Elisa Lomnitz Climent—does an excellent job establishing the rapport between Renner and Steinfeld. He’s momentarily bewildered by her but then tries to make sure she doesn’t suffer for unknowingly donning the aforementioned ninja Punisher outfit and drawing the attention of the Tracksuit Mafia. The Tracksuit Mafia’s from the comic and the show plays them less dangerous and more amusing, which is good. I couldn’t believe they were going to use them, but toning it down works.

Another layer to the Steinfeld and Renner relationship is her read on his discomfort being a world-famous superhero. He’s just trying to be a dad, sad about Scarlett Johansson dying, regretful about the ninja Punisher stuff (but really, they were all guilty, right), not trying to be a hero. Except he’s a hero no matter what. Renner does a surprisingly good job with it, especially since Hawkeye’s always been a Marvel movie tack-on. Starting with his first appearance in a nighttime rainstorm long shot in Thor, then when he was brainwashed for half the first Avengers movie. The show seems to be giving him a chance to turn it into a substantial role.

Especially since part of his quest to get the suit back involves a LARP event in Central Park.

While Renner’s playing with NerfⓇ swords, Steinfeld’s sussing out the new family situation and keeping a low profile. Stepdad-to-be Dalton is trying hard under mom Vera Farmiga’s watchful eye, and Steinfeld’s taken aback at Mom’s inability to see through him.

We also find out this episode Farmiga runs a security company; I can’t remember if that detail’s comic accurate, but since “Batwoman”’s done it in-between, it seems a little contrived. Though it does explain how Steinfeld can play private investigator, so it’s okay. As long as they address Farmiga not running a background check on Dalton at some point.

There’s an entertaining cliffhanger setup with Renner trying to outwit the Tracksuit Mafia and Steinfeld trying too hard to help him, leading into the ominous introduction of a series villain. Again, it feels very “East Coast MCU” (i.e., Netflix’s Marvel shows), possibly because the series villain’s from Daredevil.

But the show’s good. Like, it’s getting better as it goes. The fight scenes aren’t particularly great at this point, of course, but there’s time. Also the music, by Christophe Beck and Michael Paraskevas, is fantastic.

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