Hawkeye episode 2 — out now on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — gives us pieces of what Marvel’s Christmas series is good at. Deep into the second episode, Jeremy Renner’s title character goes LARPing. That’s short for live-action role-play. It’s like a mix of cosplay and acting where you behave like a fictional character — it’s like fandom but extreme. Hawkeye/ Clint Barton (Renner) has to do this because LARPers take their craft very seriously — a bunch of them are cops and firefighters — and so if Hawkeye wants to avoid an ugly confrontation, this is the only way. The whole thing is goofy and very funny, this is where Hawkeye currently excels clearly: in putting a very-serious superhero like Hawkeye in hilarious and absurd situations that he wouldn’t want anything to do with.
Elsewhere, Hawkeye episode 2 starts to tease its villains/ anti-heroes a bit more. Towards the end, we are very briefly introduced to Maya Lopez/ Echo (Alaqua Cox). Maya is hearing challenged, as shown on Hawkeye episode 2, and in the Marvel comics, she is capable of copying anyone’s movements — just like Taskmaster/ Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko) could in Scarlett Johansson-led Marvel movie Black Widow. Hawkeye episode 2 also hints that something is going on with Eleanor’s fiancé Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) who is much better at swordplay than he is letting on. Kate spends much of Hawkeye episode 2 accusing Jack of lies and trying to contact Clint, even though Hawkeye told her he would block and delete if she bothered him.
Hawkeye episode 2 — directed by Rhys Thomas, and written by Elisa Climent — picks up right where we left off in Hawkeye episode 1: in the alleyway with Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint (Jeremy Renner). Responding to Clint’s who-the-hell-are-you question, Kate introduces herself as Kate Bishop “You’re just a kid,” Clint notes. With the police on their way, they head to Kate’s apartment where while she changes out of the Ronin suit, they talk. Kate reveals she’s 22, and how she came into the suit (black market auction). Kate wants Clint to sign her bow, but he’s all serious and business right now.
Clint asks her if anyone can connect Kate to the suit, like if they have seen her somewhere. You know, like the “Tracksuit Mafia” (Clint’s choice of words) that tracked her to Armand III’s place. Kate is sure she can’t be connected to the suit. But they are interrupted by voices from outside — it’s the Tracksuit Mafia, they must have followed Kate to her apartment previously. And oh, her name is on the buzzer, Kate says. The Tracksuit Mafia announce themselves in Hawkeye episode 2 by throwing Molotov cocktails through the window.
With the place soon on fire, Clint and Kate get out of there with the dog but they are forced to leave the Ronin suit behind. At a convenience store later in Hawkeye episode 2, as Clint buys medical supplies, Kate keeps joking about his Avengers connection. So when Clint says he needs to “stash” her in a place, Kate wonders if they can go to the Avengers Tower. Clint notes that Tony (Stark/ Iron Man) sold it a few years back.
Kate takes them to her aunt’s place instead, who is away to Florida for the winter. Clint leaves her there and asks her to tend to her wounds, before heading back to Kate’s apartment to recover the Ronin suit. He disguises himself as a FDNY — that’s the New York City Fire Department — employee to get in, but he can’t see the suit anywhere. Clint is just about to leave disappointed, when he sees a NY LARPers badge on the window of the firetruck. That means one of the firefighters is into LARP: live-action role-playing. It’s like cosplay but with more action.
Clint then heads back to Kate’s aunt’s apartment in Hawkeye episode 2 where he proceeds to give her wound-treatment lessons. This isn’t something you see often in any Marvel property — funny considering how often they get involved in dangerous situations. Then they go to bed, but not before Clint looks up NY LARPers online. Fortunately for him, the firefighter is already showing off his new Ronin suit in an Instagram story.
In the morning, Clint goes to the hotel to bid adieu to his family who are going back home, without him. His daughter Lila Barton (Ava Russo) knows something is up, given the cut on his forehead. Clint says he will be fine, but Lila makes him promise that he will be back home for Christmas. Hawkeye episode 2 then takes Clint back to Kate’s aunt’s apartment. There, Kate discovers Armand III’s death on the news, and it’s being reported that someone of Ronin’s description was spotted in the vicinity. Having made the news twice in 24 hours, Clint wants Kate to remain in the apartment, but she’s not obeying. Her mother is going to ask her after her, so she might as well go see her, she says.
As they head out together in Hawkeye episode 2, Clint asks Kate to stay on his left side so he can hear her properly. That’s the ear with the hearing aid. Kate wonders what happened, and Hawkeye episode 2 replies with a quick montage of all the time Clint has been in accidents through his Avenger years. A lot of loud blasts and smashing through glass panes. Clint says it’s a long story.
Along the way, they pass Times Square which starts a conversation in Hawkeye episode 2. After Kate mistakes a woman dressed as an archer for Hawkeye — it’s Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Clint notes, which feels like a running joke in the writers’ room: “Isn’t Kate basically Katniss?” — she tells Hawkeye that he lacks branding. Clint says he is not trying to sell anything. “That’s your problem,” Kate adds. “You’re too low-key. People want sincerity.” Clint responds: “Again, I’m not trying to sell anything.” But Kate won’t let go: “But you are, you’re selling inspiration.” She’s really speaking for herself at this point, as we saw in Hawkeye episode 1, but Clint isn’t in the mood to get into it.
Having arrived at Kate’s mother’s security firm office, Clint says this is more or less goodbye if everything goes right. Well, truth be told, this is (Hawkeye) episode 2 of 6, so we know that’s not happening. But he does exchange numbers with Kate, for emergencies only. You haven’t taught me anything, Kate protests, to which Clint says that he taught her how to treat wounds.
At the office, Kate is greeted by her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) and fiancé Jack (Tony Dalton). Kate behaves a little hostile with Jack, who breaks down why she’s acting out in very psychological fashion. “She feels displaced by me and is testing our new dynamic. She both desires my approval yet wants to set firm boundaries,” Jack says in Hawkeye episode 2, before adding that he bought a book about being a stepdad. “Money well spent,” Kate says sarcastically. Eleanor tries to calm the situation by inviting Kate to dinner (Jack is cooking). Kate says she will be there on one condition: she comes up with the conversation topics.
Elsewhere in in Hawkeye episode 2, Clint is out to get the Ronin suit back from the LARP guy he saw earlier. But the LARPers mean business — with the community LARP-ing right now, Clint has to play by their rules or has to wait till midnight to get the suit (that’s when the show gets over). You know what that means, Clint is going to join the LARPers. It’s quietly hilarious in how Clint won’t give his name, his email or any details for the registration. He then scoffs at the “armaments” he gets — he’s an Avenger, he doesn’t need them.
As Clint walks in — there is (fake) duelling going on everywhere — he easily brushes past everyone before confronting the guy (Clayton English) who stole the suit. Clint then offers him two choices: you can pretend die and I take the suit, or I can punch you for real and take the suit. The guy tries to reason with him in Hawkeye episode 2: “Just let me kill you and you can have the suit.” Clint sighs, mutters “I fought Thanos” under his breath, and offers himself up as a lamb. But the guy isn’t happy, he wants a trial by combat that looks genuine. Also wait a second, when did Hawkeye actually fight Thanos? He sat out all of Avengers: Infinity War for family. So really the only bit that counts is towards the end of Avengers: Endgame? Where it was like thousands vs thousands, so sure.
Hawkeye episode 2 takes us back to Kate for a bit, who is already messaging Clint random stuff even though he said emergencies only. She then gets a call from a Detective Caudle (Ivan Mbakop) at the NYPD. He wants to know where she was last night when there was a fire at her apartment. She hems and haws, and then says she’s at work to get out of it, but he asks her to come down to the station tomorrow morning after work.
It’s back to the LARPers in Hawkeye episode 2 where Hawkeye’s trial by combat has become a whole thing with everyone watching. Clint sells it as best as he can and lets the guy take him out. Later, they have a conversation as Grills (English) introduces himself, returns the suit, and tells him that he just had the best day of his life. Clint says he can’t say the same, but he admits he had fun.
As Clint stashes the suit in a lockbox in Hawkeye episode 2, he calls his wife Laura (Linda Cardellini). Clint tells her that he won’t make his flight (scheduled for today), because he needs to figure out how high this goes up the Tracksuit Mafia chain. You have five days to make your promise to Lila, she notes.
Hawkeye episode 2 jumps to the Bishop family dinner, where Kate and Jack talk about the latter’s love for swords. “I dabble,” he says. Kate then asks a very niche question and Jack is surprised to see that she knows so much. Kate then notes she was a two-time state champion and invites him to fence. Eleanor tries to intervene, but Jack is piqued. They change into their fencing gear and move the lobby table to create some space. But Jack seems to be holding back, as Kate easily wins over and over. Kate wants to know why he is letting her win but he won’t let down his guard. Kate says he’s hiding something, and Jack playfully admits to Eleanor that he was downplaying his skill. As Jack walks away, Kate says to her mother that she’s proved that Jack is lying.
This moment in Hawkeye episode 2 feels like build-up towards a Jack revelation down the road, but for now, Eleanor is upset at how Kate is treating Jack. Kate pushes her agenda further, noting that it’s very suspicious that on the same night Armand III threatened Eleanor (in Hawkeye episode 1), he wound up dead by sword. How many people die by sword in New York each year, Kate rhetorically wonders. Eleanor says it’s curious but that the police will look into it. She asks her to stop snooping. Kate hasn’t given up, even as Jack walks in, but Eleanor wants Kate to focus on herself. “You are going to graduate soon and then you will come work at Bishop Security full time,” Eleanor adds, and Kate doesn’t seem very happy about it given how she addresses it.
Eleanor then asks Kate to apologise to Jack but she twists that too. Jack smiles and offers her a butterscotch, monogrammed with “Armand III” just like the one Kate saw in Armand’s home in Hawkeye episode 1. It’s almost like he wants her to know he was involved in Armand’s death? This is also like the Marvel series is quietly screaming that Jack has a bigger (villainous) role to play in the series.
Hawkeye episode 2 switches over to Hawkeye who has deliberately gotten himself caught to go up the Tracksuit Mafia chain. Meanwhile, Kate — who left home — calls up Hawkeye. He doesn’t pick up the first time. And the second time, someone else picks up which tells her he might be in trouble. Except he isn’t really. Still, wanting to be involved, Kate tracks Clint’s phone using Bishop Security software.
Clint has arrived at the Tracksuit Mafia warehouse meanwhile. This Hawkeye episode 2 scene is laden with humour. They try to interrogate Hawkeye but he isn’t perturbed at all. “Nice place you got here,” Clint mocks them, which puts off one of them who protests to his boss how tough it is to find a place like this. “Every warehouse is being turned into lofts these days,” he adds. Following that, they get into a misunderstanding. The boss Ivan (Aleks Paunovic) cuts in, demanding to know where Kate Bishop is. Hawkeye says he doesn’t know anyone by that name — he just wants to talk to their boss. We kidnapped you and are interrogating you, they say as they try to assert their dominance. But Clint easily frees his hands, showcasing how they don’t really have him.
The shocked Mafia minions all pull their guns out and aim at Hawkeye, who still isn’t bothered. But before we can discover his next steps in Hawkeye episode 2, Kate falls in from the window above that buckles under her weight. She is very much an amateur. The Tracksuit Mafia smile — the person they were looking for falling right in their laps. They tie them up both again as the guy from Hawkeye episode 1, Kazi (Fra Fee), walks towards them.
Meanwhile, Ivan goes into another room to see his boss (Alaqua Cox), who it seems is hearing challenged given the sign language she uses — and how she places her hand on a speaker to feel the music. Hawkeye episode 2 ends on her face without telling us who she is. But we don’t have to wait till Hawkeye episode 3 to discover that piece of information. We already know that Cox is playing Maya Lopez, which the Hawkeye episode 2 credits confirm. Her alter ego is Echo — she is capable of mimicking anyone’s moments, like Taskmaster from Black Widow — and Marvel has already announced a spinoff series centred on her character. All that means Maya is very important, and we will start to learn why in Hawkeye episode 3 next week.
- Release Date 24 November 2021
- Genre Action, Adventure, Drama
Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Zahn McClarnon, Brian d’Arcy James, Alaqua Cox
- Director Rhys Thomas, Bert & Bertie
- Music Christophe Beck
- Producer Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Trinh Tran, Rhys Thomas, Rhys Thomas, Jonathan Igla, Brad Winderbaum
- Production Marvel Studios
- Certificate U/A