With the murder of Armand III (Simon Callow) at the end of the first episode, all bets are on his nephew, the oily Jacques Duquesne (Tony Dalton) to be outed as the murderer. Or at least that’s what we the views, and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), are meant to believe. So, with so many aspects of this series’ narrative is formulaic you can bet your bottom dollar Duquesne, aka Marvel Comics’ the Swordsman, is innocent. Even if he has plenty of motivation to bump off the old man. And while he does seem the obvious choice, what is his real endgame? Is it really to gain access to his uncle’s fortune, or is it that he is genuinely protective of his fiancée, who was threatened in the debut episode? And why does he downplay his swordsmanship when he fences with Kate after a tense family dinner? What is he really hiding? And so who the has really bumped off his uncle?
Alongside this central murder mystery we also have the loss of Hawkeye’s Ronin suit too, after a fire set by the almost laughable Tracksuit Mafia that sees Kate Bishop’s apartment go up in flames. Again, there’s plenty of action as well as plenty of lighthearted moments too. But we also get a second reference to Clint’s reliance of a hearing aid from one too may battles. Is he getting too old for this shit, as suggested? Again, I can’t help but think this six part series is setting up Kate to take up the mantle, or bow and arrows, of her hero. And why not? Comic book characters never age, but actors do.
The perils aimed at Kate Bishop by the Tracksuit Mafia – who’s shadowy leader is revealed at the end of this episode but not named (although if you are a Marvel fan, you’ll know who this hearing impaired character is immediately) – is enough to give Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) the excuse to stick around some more and pretty soon he’s in the thick of it. But not after a fun distraction in the shape of an excursion to Central Park and bit of live action role play. Whether he wants it or not. And a scene where, for once, fans of this form of role play are not ridiculed. It’s a cute enough inclusion and one that many viewers will enjoy, and most definitely the kind of smile raising event Marvel thrives on and does so well.
With characters and motivations established in the opener, this second episode has more to play with now, with a good few various plot limes swilling round. Still not as original or even as funny as Loki – the highpoint of marvel’s TV output thus far – but a dependable Marvel series in the now familiar, but ultimately homogenous, Marvel mould. And another show aimed at introducing a whole new set of Marvel comic book characters into the mix.
Hawkeye is streaming now on Disney + with new episodes every Wednesday.