Read our previous reviews of Hawkeye here.

As Christmas Day draws closer, time is running out for Clint and Kate to solve the Ronin mess. He calls home to his wife, Laura, for information about Sloan Limited. While they find out that Jack is the CEO and this shell corporation launders money for the Tracksuits, there’s a notable disappointment when his kids find out he’s on the phone. Maybe being home by Christmas was too lofty of a goal. “Partners, Am I Right?” is the shortest episode of Hawkeye. Still, it ups the urgency the characters are facing and integrating a new foe who will surely complicate things.

Directors Bert & Bertie and writers Heather Quinn & Erin Cancino try to balance humor and seriousness. There are some laughs, banter, and hard discussions and realizations mixed within this episode. They contain a lot of that within the performance of Hailee Steinfeld. Her portrayal of Kate Bishop continues to be a highlight of this series – continuing to be the sunny beginnings of becoming a hero. She brings a Christmas celebration to Clint that gets a brief reprieve from his troubles. Kate hasn’t experienced an earth-shattering loss yet and looks at things from the totality of doing the right thing.

Clint has many demons chasing him – it’s been a motif throughout the show. The first episodes emphasized getting to know Kate as a character, highlighting him more. While Clint and Kate have the funny exchange of being partners on a mission in front of Jack and Eleanor, his and Eleanor’s side conversation is critical. While what happened on Vormir in Avengers: Endgame was not Clint’s fault, it was a shared choice between him and Natasha – no one knows the extent of her sacrifice. So, regret and grief hit him in three ways.

Eleanor yet again reiterates that Kate is not a superhero. On the one hand, it’s funny because Clint has no superpowers. He, out of anyone, would know what that feels like. However, being a widow who is a mother is something that anybody can level with. The mention of Natasha dying is Eleanor punching a scab that reopens continuously throughout this show. As he said in the poignant conversation with Kate, his job comes with managing loss. Clint has already lost his family to the blip – even though he’s gained them back, the feeling is still fresh – including what happens inside him once Clint loses something. Given how dangerous things are getting, he doesn’t want his collection of ghosts that haunt him to include his new apprentice.

Kate eventually figured out that Clint was Ronin at some point, but she continues to see her hero as infallible. She sees the good part of him he cannot see within himself. In her eyes, everybody makes mistakes – but those missteps don’t make you irredeemable. As the end of the episode reveals, Yelena has come back for revenge. Ultimately, she’s been lied to by Valentina, as shown at the end credits of Black Widow, but vengeance is a boomerang. Clint’s way of dealing with the blip has rendered someone fatherless and killed countless others. Thus, bringing both Maya and Yelena into this orbit. In the last episode, Kazi expresses concern to Maya about her pursuit of Ronin, which is echoed in the brief talk he and Clint have in the car. Will Kazi be able to temper her rage a bit? Who knows? It may have to be someone higher than him.

The comical set pieces are within the heaviness, given the New York Larpers return and Clint and Kate’s stakeout. “Partners, Am I Right?” also sports some good callbacks to the MCU, with Kate’s fall from the roof mirroring what happened with soul stone and Kate not firing an arrow at Yelena when she had the chance to. Two mysteries that will no doubt linger throughout the rest of the series are as follows; who does Eleanor make a call to for help? Could it be to Valentina, given how fast Yelena finds Clint and Kate after the fact? Also, who does the Rolex belong to? Signs point to Clint’s wife Laura, who could be an ex-Shield agent. A lot of resolution needs to happen in a short amount of time. It almost feels like it can’t happen. Hopefully, the show can successfully wrap things up excitingly.

Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel