Wednesday, December 15, 2021

REVIEW: 'Hawkeye' - Clint Returns to the Darkness of Ronin Once He Cannot Evade the Consequences of His Past in 'Ronin'

Disney+'s Hawkeye - Episode 1.05 "Ronin"

A fallout nearly derails their partnership, but Kate makes a discovery that changes everything.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s Hawkeye.

"Ronin" was written by Jenna Noel Frazier and directed by Bert & Bertie

At this point, every MCU project has to determine just how consequential the Blip was to its individual story. It's the big plot development that everything else swirls around in this universe. It completely changed everything. It can be exhausting to think of all the ramifications of that action as well as it all being undone by the Avengers five years later. That can be overwhelming especially when the narrative wants to move on to a new story that is more exciting and personal to the characters on display. And yet, the audience may always wonder which characters disappeared and which survived. Clint lost his entire family. That informed so much of his personal journey. He returns to being the Ronin here. He does so with complete confidence and clarity. He knows it's the only way Maya will listen to what he has to say. He has to embrace the evil within him once more despite all the damage that darkness previously brought him. He is still atoning for those sins of his past. Numerous threats target him because of how he responded to that loss. This episode also reveals that Yelena was snapped out of existence. The various Marvel projects have already depicted what that action looked like. As such, it can still be difficult to shock the audience with that particular reveal. That makes it rewarding when this sequence sets out to depict the departure in a new way. It does so completely from Yelena's perspective where five years go by in the matter of five seconds. It's traumatic. One moment, she's on a mission to save the Widows from the brainwashing they have endured. And then, the world changes and she is desperate to find her sister once more. Natasha is gone though. She sacrificed herself so the rest of the world could be saved. She was a hero. But it adds to the sense of loss Yelena now feels. She has been told that Clint was responsible for that as well. Of course, she has the freedom to come to her own conclusion. She can assess her targets and whether they truly are as dangerous as she has been told. She has that availability. It's still terrifying from Kate's perspective as she doesn't know if this woman can be trusted. It's unnerving when Yelena just wants to eat mac and cheese. She laughs at Kate too. Kate is desperate to be a hero. And yes, she does act to save Clint's life. He survives this latest fight. He didn't know if he would. This conspiracy just keeps getting bigger and bigger. More is unraveling. He can no longer contain it. His past is coming back to destroy everything. It threatens his family. Kate wants to help. She too is completely blindsided by someone she trusts completely. Eleanor operates with pure compassion and love when tending to her daughter after Clint pushes her away. She offers sensible advice that is nurturing. It all hides an ulterior motive though. She wants to access how much her daughter has learned about her nefarious deeds and what actions she needs to take to preserve this fantasy. Clint is Kate's hero. Eleanor knows that. And yet, she still hired Yelena to kill him. Yelena comes to that realization and shares it with Kate. That sets up a climatic finale. It also comes with the reveal that Maya's boss truly is Kingpin. Vincent D'Onofrio is back in the role after playing it in such menacing glory on Netflix's Daredevil. That's exciting. It all connects to Clint as well. At this point, it's easy for his character focus to drown out in comparison to what is going on with Kate, Yelena and Maya. Their arcs are just as dynamic - sometimes even more so than his. They may represent the future of this franchise while Clint mourns over the past. He replays the moment where Natasha sacrificed herself for an orange rock. He connects to her through the plaque memorializing the Battle of New York. He has history in this universe. He carries secrets and burdens. Those threaten to be exposed. It's all more complicated and overwhelming than he hoped. He can't control it all. He just wanted peace with his family for Christmas. That may elude him. The scope is escalating. That was the natural trajectory of the storytelling. This episode reminds everyone of the personal and charming stakes for everyone involved. That sets up explosions in the finale that will probably reverberate elsewhere in this universe for all the characters who survive. Embracing that is also the choice they must embrace and carry forward. Kate does so here. She listens to Yelena. That just threatens to change her world forever just like Clint can no longer avoid the threat posed by the Kingpin. At least they have new costumes now though.