This article contains Hawkeye spoilers.
Hawkeye Episode 4
Hawkeye episode 4, which boasts the “say it in Kate Bishop’s voice” title of “Partners, Am I Right?” slows things down considerably from last week’s wild, chaotic, action-packed episode. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Not only does it give Clint and Kate a chance to catch their breath, it lets the audience take a look at some of the larger mysteries surrounding the show so far.
As a result, this episode is a little lighter on Marvel Comics and MCU Easter eggs than we’ve had in the first three, and some of them require a little bit more speculation than pure comics knowledge. It’s still a lot of fun, though, so here’s what we’ve found…
- We genuinely thought that last week’s cliffhanger was going to result in Clint Barton and Jack Duquesne realizing that they already knew each other. Why? Because in the comics, it was Jacques Duquesne, known as the Swordsman, who helped train and mold Clint into his role as the world’s greatest marksman and archer.
- This is really just a little turn of phrase, but Kate needling Clint about how he has some “early childhood thing” that makes him such a surly, sullen dude is in its own way a comics reference. While we still have very little indication of what Clint’s life was like before he became a SHIELD agent, in the comics, he had a rough childhood. So rough that he literally ran away to join the circus, which is where he met the aforementioned Mr. Duquesne, and the rest, of course, is history.
- Jack misidentifying Clint as “Archer” rather than “Hawkeye” seems like a deliberately dickhead move at first, especially since Clint’s fame as Hawkeye in the MCU has already been well-documented on this show. But since we also see later in the episode that Jack has the kind of endearing Dad-like habit of misremembering aphorisms, this just seems to be an ongoing thing with him.
- Jack is definitely a criminal mastermind of some kind, and we have to wonder if we’re going to see him in some kind of more serious confrontation with one or both Hawkeyes before this season wraps up. But in the meantime, just the pure commitment to his Swordsman bit, without even giving him a costume or a codename, is a lot of fun. For example: did you spot the swords just casually hanging out in the umbrella stand?
- We mentioned back in the first week of Hawkeye episodes how Kate’s aunt, Moira Brandon, was a minor Marvel character who popped up in the Hawkeye-related West Coast Avengers comics in the 1980s. But the fact that Clint and Kate are spending more and more time in that East Village apartment is basically making it into an unofficial Hawkeye HQ…just like Moira’s California mansion became the West Coast Avengers’ HQ. While one might try to draw conclusions about how her comics counterpart was more successful, this Moira is out of town for the holidays. Perhaps she spends the cold months at her larger California home, and this NYC apartment is just a place she stays when she takes roles on Broadway or something. I dunno. I’m probably overthinking this.
- It seems that Moira’s career was quite varied. We’ve already seen the poster for her role in Creature of the Dark Galaxy, and this week we see her star vehicle A Chance of Love. You can also spot what appears to be her official headshot on the refrigerator. Honestly kind of hoping she makes an appearance.
- Moira does own a “Thanos Was Right” mug which Clint is drinking out of. It’s a pretty funny nod to how senior citizens, kooky artsy types, and others can so easily catch the brain worms from conspiracy theories they pick up on social media.
- Clint’s story about “the shot I didn’t take” is a lovely way to build on the hints of that same story we got from Natasha in Black Widow earlier this year. The tale of Clint and Nat’s first meeting will probably never be told in full on screen, but it’s really cool the way the MCU has teased it out over the years. Clint talking about how the person he didn’t kill became his best friend and most trusted partner is really just a terrific bit of both world and character building.
- It’s absolutely no accident that Kate then has her own “shot I didn’t take” with Yelena Belova on that rooftop. Does this mean that Kate and Yelena have a future together as pals? Was the look that Yelena gave Kate a pure “don’t even bother trying” or was there a hint of what Clint saw in Natasha, of someone who wants to get out from under the thumb of the people she’s working for? Don’t forget, Yelena has been tasked with taking out Clint by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, and who knows what else she has the new Black Widow getting up to.
- Considering this show’s many Daredevil connections, it’s also fitting there’s a Black Widow connection. In the comics, Natasha romanced Matt Murdock on and off for years. While we don’t expect Yelena and Matt to hook up when Charlie Cox inevitably returns to the role, it does make sense that we are getting some Black Widow ties to the street level corner of the MCU, even if it’s just symbolic.
THE ROLEX WATCH
- This watch could end up being something that fills in the gaps in MCU history in some neat and creative ways. Sure, there are some obvious possibilities, like Steve Rogers or Nick Fury, who that watch could belong to, it might also be the kind of thing that ends up introducing a new character who operates in a previously unseen era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kind of like how Hank Pym in Ant-Man helps fill in the gaps for the Cold War years, or how Captain Marvel helped fill out the ‘90s. There’s a lot that could have happened between when Captain America went into the ice and when Tony Stark built his Iron Man armor, and it would be pretty cool to see someone new introduced, even tangentially, here.
We have so many theories about who that watch might belong to that we had to write an entirely separate article about it, which you can read here. Let us know who you think it might belong to!
The LARPers continue to yield fun little Marvel Comics Easter eggs Officer Wendy Conrad has a bag embroidered with the word “Bombshell” on it. In the pages of Marvel Comics, Wendy Conrad is a very minor villain who first appeared in Hawkeye #3 back in 1983. We don’t expect Wendy, who seems like a very nice lady, to follow in the footsteps of her comics counterpart.
KATE’S COOL SHIRT
Kate’s really cool Laika sweatshirt is actually a direct lift of a t-shirt she wore in the comics. Artist David Aja designed that shirt based on the tragically iconic but pioneering space doggo, put it on Kate in the comics, and now here it is on the screen. Disney had better be sending Aja some checks is all I’m saying.
Kate is asking Clint about “boomerang arrows” in this episode. There were TONS of gimmick arrows last week, all deployed in a way that was almost exactly the way they were used in a particular issue of the Matt Fraction/David Aja Hawkeye comics. Here, this is another case of Hawkeye the TV show flipping the events of the comics from Kate to Clint slightly. On the page, the boomerang arrow exists, and Kate is skeptical of why it would ever be useful, while here, she’s suggesting it and Clint is shooting her down.
THE COIN TRICK
Clint’s dangerous little coin trick is ALSO from the Matt Fraction/David Aja comics, by the way. And it’s something he’s been practicing since he was a kid. Something tells us this is gonna come in handy before this season wraps up.
As always, if you spot anything we missed, let us know in the comments!