Hawkeye (2021) s01e04 – Partners, Am I Right?

It’s a shorter episode, but a lot is going on. Especially since it’s often a bridging episode setting up the rest of the season, which is only two more episodes, which is frankly terrifying given all they’ve got to do.

But more on that bit later (I’ve been thinking “Hawkeye” ran eight, not six, so I wasn’t thinking about it while watching).

The episode opens with a quick resolve of Tony Dalton discovering Jeremy Renner snooping around his apartment and quickly gets into an awkward introduction scene for Renner and Hailee Steinfeld’s family. Complete with Vera Farmiga being very suspicious (after asking Renner to finish his case without Steinfeld’s help). Then Renner immediately finds out Dalton’s laundering money for the Tracksuit Mafia. So lots of potential drama.

For later. Because then there’s this lovely scene with Steinfeld getting to see what mom Farmiga sees in Dalton, and it’s this touching Christmas family scene.

That touching Christmas family scene gives way to Steinfeld crashing Renner’s night—spent sitting around by himself covered in ice packs. He has a family phone call—Linda Cardellini gets her cameo—but then he’s sad and solo. Until new best friend Steinfeld arrives and they have a fun night.

The show’s doing a fantastic job with their character relationship, mixing in Renner’s Black Widow-related regrets (though not missing the solo movie), and setting up an echo—no pun intended—for later in the episode. It’s a pronounced echo, but a very good one.

After some amusing scenes with Renner threatening bad guy Fra Fee and Steinfeld hanging out with the larpers from before (and introducing something for later), they’re back on assignment. There’s a Rolex MacGuffin from Avengers mansion—sorry, sorry, Avengers tower—which could give away the location of a hidden Avenger or something. It’s going to be one of the later reveals, which they only have two episodes for.

There are also two more reveals coming up for Renner because it turns out villain Alaqua Cox is stalking his family, and there’s a very special guest star hunting him down on the rooftops. On Steinfeld’s side, the hard truths about Farmiga and Dalton are coming up. I don’t think she’s got anything else outstanding.

So they’ve got four to six plot threads to resolve—let’s not forget Renner’s still got to make it home for Christmas—in two episodes. I really hope they pull it off.

Very nice work from Steinfeld and Renner this episode. Since Farmiga and Dalton are suspicious more than anything else, there’s only so much they can do. If it ends well, “Hawkeye”’s going to rewatch spectacularly. Especially as a Christmas-time binge watch. If they don’t at least make it a great Christmas story….

The big fight scene is the only thing wrong with the episode—outside it potentially setting up the series to stumble. It’s a complicated New York rooftop fight, full of laughs and action, and directors Bert & Bertie do a fine job shooting it… but they don’t care at all about the fight choreography. Yes, “Hawkeye”’s a show about archers and arrows, but if they’re going to do fisticuffs, make the fisticuffs interesting to look at. Unfortunately, it’s almost like they’re doing an anti-Netflix Marvel show with their aversion to good fight choreography.

I really hope they pull this one off. Steinfeld and Renner deserve it.

As do Kate Bishop fans.

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