Hawkeye – Season 1, Episode 5: Ronin

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The great thing about being a fan of what Marvel Studios have achieved with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they have faith that the audience they have created will understand what they are presented with and don’t feel the need for repeated exposition but if you are new to it all or haven’t seen everything, you’ll be able to piece it all together as you go along. ‘Hawkeye’ episode five is a prime example of this and delivers us more MCU goodness and caps it all with a great moment of synergy between Marvel television and films.

The episode starts in 2018, which straight away start the alarm bells ringing, with Yelena (Florence Pugh) on a mission. Set after the events of ‘Black Widow’, she is attempting to cure a fellow victim of the Red Room who apparently doesn’t need saving. Taking a moment to calm herself, she splashes some water on her face and we witness The Blip from a new perspective. Yelena turns to dust and reappears five years later in the blink of an eye as she witnesses her surrounds change around her. While not as horrific as it was presented in ‘WandaVision’, it hammers home how sudden the event was and that those affected had now idea of the time gap.

Now that it is established that Yelena was Blipped, which adds more meaning to Natasha’s sacrifice in ‘Endgame’, the episode jumps back to where we left off last time.  Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) returns to her mother’s apartment battered and exhausted after Clint has called off their partnership. As Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) tends to her wounds Kate confesses that all she every wanted to be was a superhero and that she has failed to live up to that expectation. While Eleanor tries to comfort her, Kate makes her promise that she will look into the evidence incriminating Jack (Tony Dalton) and his company Sloan LTD that Clint (Jeremy Renner) discovered. Jack is looking more and more like the red herring in this whole situation and Kate is failing to see the alarms flashing around her mother.

Following her battle with Clint, Kate, and Yelena on the rooftop, Maya (Alaqua Cox) is beginning to realise that there is something bigger going on than just her quest for revenge. Kazi (Fra Fee), her right hand man, attempts to talk her out of her hunt as he can only see this ending badly. He agrees to see it through but after that it is over.

Kate returns to her fire damaged apartment and what follows is one of the most delightful scenes that the MCU has delivered so far. Yelena is waiting there for her with some mac and cheese and is ready for some girl talk. She mocks everything about Kate, from that fact that Kate thinks she could kill her, down to Kate only owning one fork. Yelena leads the conversation onto Clint and his whereabouts and things turn from light and fluffy to threatening. A lot of Clint’s history is a black slate and Yelena implies that it is darker than we know. She blames Clint for Natasha’s death but Kate insists that he his a good person. When asked how long she has known him, Kate realises that it is only a few days but she knows he is good because he is helping her when he doesn’t have to. Yelena points out that maybe he his only trying to protect is own reputation but Kate hits back by challenging Yelena about how much she knows about who hired her. When it becomes clear to Yelena that Kate doesn’t know where Clint is she thanks Kate, warns her not to get in her way, and casually jumps out the window. If these two are the future of the MCU then it is in safe hands, the chemistry and charisma the these actors show (especial Pugh) is of the charts.

Clint is hiding out with Grills, the LARPer who stole the Ronin costume that he befriended in the second episode, who is looking after Pizza Dog. Grills has offered him a place to stay because he doesn’t want Clint spending Christmas alone. He mentions that Missy has dropped off the new suits that Kate requested but Clint is not interested a passes out on the sofa, saving the reveal of his new look to the final episode. The next morning he visits the Avengers memorial plaque for the Battle of New York and bares his soul to the memory of Natasha. The directors of this episode, Bert and Bertie, had claimed it was going to break the Internet, and as the scene played out I convinced myself that Scarlett Johansson was going to make an appearance but Clint just vows to earn his second chance and the apologises for what he is going to do.

Kate returns to her mother’s and it turns out that Eleanor did follow up on the information about Jack. The police are there taking Jack into custody for his dodgy dealings but he calmly denies any involvement with Sloan LTD and claims that he had been framed. Whether he is bad or good, there has got to be more to him than meets the eye or the character is going to come off as very pantomime. Kate, in her childhood bedroom, ponders her future and makes repeated calls to Clint until she fills up is voicemail.

Clint, while on his way to do what he has pre-apologised for, calls Laura (Linda Cardellini) to update her on what’s happening and whether he will be home for Christmas. He needs to solve the problem of Maya and the information on the watch, stop the new Black Widow from trying to kill him, and he needs to do all of this before the “Big Guy” finds out. Surely it has to be Kingpin behind it all. He promises to end it all that night and Laura tells him to do what he needs to do.

Clint fires a trick arrows through the windscreen of a ‘Trust A Bro’ moving van to deliver message, which comedically pops out of the arrow on a rolled up piece of paper, to set up a meeting with Maya where it all began. That night Maya and her Tracksuit Mafia wait for Clint at the car dealership where she saw her father murdered by Ronin. Clint, in full-on Avengers mode, non-lethally takes out the Tracksuits one by one and then, in full Ronin attire, reveals himself to Maya. So that’s one question answered, it was Clint that killed her father. As the pair face off, Clint gets the chance to go for the kill but instead he warns Maya off going after his family. He also reveals that he was there the night her father was killed because he was tipped of by her father’s boss. The news hits Maya like a slap to the face and she grabs the Ronin sword to kill Clint but, in true comic book fashion, Kate arrives in the nick of time to shoot it out of her hand and the pair escape.

Kazi arrives on the scene and apologises for being knocked out by Clint. He gets upset when Maya tells him that Ronin is still alive and then Maya flips it by asking why he wasn’t with the Tracksuits the night her father was murdered as he was also his right hand man. He says he wasn’t invited to the meeting but, Maya’s father’s death was arrange by one of the gang, the future isn’t looking bright for Kazi.

Kate and Clint flee the scene in an Uber and on the way back to Grills’ apartment she filling him in on Yelena and Clint reveals that he is aware of her. We then see that Yelena is now following Eleanor through the streets of New York. Then, as Clint, Kate, Grills are relaxing, Kate gets a text from Yelena to say that Eleanor was the one that hired her to kill Clint and follows it up with a photo of Eleanor meeting with Kingpin. So finally Marvel follow through with one of their teases and the thing that everybody thought was going to happen actually happened. But, more importantly, not only is it Kingpin but it is Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. D’Onofrio also played the role in Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’, which skated on the edges of the MCU, so we are finally seeing some form of merging of the two worlds.

It’s Kingpin appearance that creates the synergy between film and television because this episode was broadcast on 15th December, the same day the ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ was released in most international markets and in that film Charlie Cox also returns as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. Whether by design or a fluke of scheduling, this has created a massive interest around two characters and actors I thought were going to be left sitting on the Marvel self and now there is the feeling that any character could turn up anywhere.

So now we have one episode left but three questions left to answer – whose identity will the watch reveal, who arranged Echo’s father’s killing and who committed the murder that launched the events of the show.

Hawkeye has quietly become maybe Marvel’s strongest show so hopefully the finale will hit all it’s targets.

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