So far, Hawkeye has been like an extended Marvel movie with episode breaks serving as the commercials, episodes starting directly where their predecessors left off and reveals coming early and often.
If the first two episodes were the first act of this “film,” then the second two episodes are definitely the second act of it, complete with clichés bound to the end. Episode four, “Partners, Am I Right?” is very much setting up what’s to come next week and in the finale, which are very much poised to be the third act.
Episode four starts right where last week left off, with Jack catching both Clint and Kate as they attempt to use her mother’s security database to dig up dirt on Jack and the tracksuits. What follows is a series of scenes that sets up what’s to come and what’s important going forward.
That watch from the first episode you probably forgot about? It’s back and key to the plot. Maya’s right-hand man Kazi (Fra Fee)? He’s important now, too. The Ronin character which has been important all the way through? It has to die before Clint or Kate can move on and celebrate the holidays.
Despite how much this episode backtracks to make things previously unimportant key to the plot, it still somehow pulls it off. It’s like the previous three episodes forgot to cement these things, and they had no choice but to devote a whole episode to fixing that. To be fair, this episode is exceedingly brief, so it never drags or feels slow.
Do I wish this episode felt more like it was pushing forward instead of treading back? Yes, but that doesn’t mean this episode isn’t strong for what it is. I love the scenes with just Steinfeld and Renner; their chemistry is fantastic, and they just play off of each other so well, even in the serious scenes. There’s more of that in this episode, and you can really tell that these actors are at the top of their games; it’s just so fun to watch.
Every scene with Vera Farmiga is also a treat. You’re not supposed to trust her, but it feels so conflicting — just a great performance from her. You never know what side she’s going to fall on.
Everything about this series, aside from its episode endings, which are greatly corrected here, is absurdly strong, especially for a series about Hawkeye of all people. It never fails to impress me with its heart, performances and the festivity of Christmas it injects into every scene it can (somehow I haven’t brought up that fact at all so far in these reviews).
This series is the closest thing Marvel fans have to a holiday special, at least until the Guardians of the Galaxy one releases next year. It’s a festive delight. Sometimes it goes a bit over the top with its use of Christmas music and imagery, but it’s clearly having fun with it, and it works, so I say let loose.
Is Hawkeye my favorite Marvel show of the year? No, but it’s my second favorite behind Loki. It’s just impossible not to like, especially when Hailee Steinfeld is on screen. She has such a presence, and her lines are always funny or heartfelt; she brings levity and gravity to every situation she’s a part of.
Now that there’s a clear direction and end goal for this series to accomplish, there’s so much more to look forward to. The ending here is also incredible, with a reveal that fans will surely freak out over, even if it’s expected. There’s so much promise going into these last two episodes of the series; hopefully, it delivers the goods.