With Episode 4 ‘Partners, Am I Right?’ Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye is now moving into its third act. Unlike previous episodes where we could find entire sequences taken straight out of the Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye comic run (introducing Lucky in episode 1, Clint and the Tracksuit Mafia in episode 2, the car chase and trick arrows in episode 3), these references were now a bit more subdued.
Flipping the script
Going back to the trick arrows theme that we focused on last week, we got a reference showing us how, at times, the series has managed to flip the script on the comic run. There’s a small gag in issue #3 that starts off with Clint praising the qualities of his Boomerang Arrows. Kate, on the other hand, doesn’t really see the point or how they could ever come in handy on the field. Later on while facing the Tracksuit Mafia, who have a machine gun to Clint’s head, Kate is asked not to engage and to ditch the arrow she has pointed at the Bro who has Clint. She complies, shooting it way above the Mafia Bro’s head, only for the arrow to come back and hit him in the back of the head, thus saving Clint. ‘Boomerang Arrow. It comes back to you in the end.”
In the show that initial discussion goes the other way around. Boomerang Arrows aren’t a real thing but Kate kinda wishes they were. Clint, as Kate did in the comic run, doesn’t really see the appeal of having an arrow you shot coming back to bite you in the ass. Kate then mentions there might have a little bit of dodging involved. This might still be setting up a payoff down the line when a Boomerang Arrow is actually used in action but, for now, it serves as an example of how the series is approaching the Clint / Kate dynamic differently than the comic run. In the books, Kate was always the more level-headed of the two. Clint, a single guy living alone in NYC struggled to get his shit together and was often given crap about not doing the right thing. As we’ve been watching in the tv show, things are very differently portrayed.
This might be due to a number of factors with one being that, with the show being used to introduce Kate Bishop to the world, you still need to allow the character to have enough room to grow in upcoming projects. There would be no point in presenting Kate in the place you want her to be in five years from now. Just think of the amount of development you’d have to skip over. At the same time, the series, unlike the comic run, had to deal with preestablished Clint Barton’s background, both in terms of his family life and his past avenging. Even if the comic approach of making the young protégé being the sane one was a welcomed one, both the past and future of the MCU strongly benefit from approaching the Barton / Bishop relationship the way the show does.
LARPers helping out
In a pretty good self-aware and self-deprecating bit of storytelling, we got introduced to the LARPers in episode 2, ‘Hide and Seek’. Episode four brought them back in a more active role, making them a part of Clint and Kate’s.. guild? If there’s one thing that the Tracksuit Mafia has over our heroes is strength in numbers and the LARPers could just be the missing pieces in order to level the playing field in the upcoming episodes.
The comic run didn’t feature these characters but still managed to deliver Clint and Kate the help they needed by having Barton’s neighbors step up and help out. Throughout the series, we get to see Clint, hesitantly at first, connect with his neighbors to the point where their well-being becomes as important to him as his own. He helps one of them (Grills, sound familiar?) reconnect with his dad and even babysits Simone’s kids. At the end of the series, as the Tracksuits prepare one final attack on their building, everybody plays a part in defeating them, some with more success than others.
In a show that has been so much about family, be it through Clint’s point of view (where you value what you have) or through Kate’s (where she learns that there’s family to be found outside the typical idyllic entity) the development of a family-type unit with the help of LARPers found along the way seems like a welcomed prospect for both characters.