DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Hawkeye season premiere episode “Never Meet Your Heroes” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome, Avengers! Hawkeye is here, and while the premiere episode is a bit slower than expected, it’s nice to see Clint Barton finally receive the attention he deserves. Those Rogers: The Musical bits had me in stitches, and I love that “Never Meet Your Heroes” acknowledges Clint’s grief about losing Natasha. I hope the show continues to explore that, along with his time as Ronin.
Hailee Steinfeld is a welcome addition as Kate Bishop, and she infuses the archer with vim and vigor and that reckless eagerness we often see in young heroes. Plus, who doesn’t love New York City at Christmas time? It’s damn near magical!
Ready to delve into “Never Meet Your Heroes”? Let’s get to it.
We open the episode with a flashback from 2012 when the Avengers saved New York City. Young Kate Bishop overhears her parents, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) and Derek (Brian d’Arcy James), arguing about finances. Kate finds herself separated from her parents when explosions rock the family penthouse, and we see bits and pieces of the legendary battle at play. Kate spots Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from afar, fending off the baddies atop a nearby building.
Kate appears to be awestruck by Clint, but her mother swoops in and scoops her up before suffering harm from the battle.
Unfortunately, Derek dies, becoming collateral damage amid the fight.
Later, we see Eleanor and Kate attending Derek’s funeral, and it’s there that young Kate decides to protect her mom. She needs a bow and arrow!
Fast forward to the present day, wherein we see Kate (Steinfeld) ascend to the top of a university to strike the bell of a distant clocktower on a dare. Her friends wait below to bear witness to the act. Kate’s first arrow does little to ring the bell, but her second creates more impact.
Suddenly, the bell cracks and falls, damaging the clocktower, and a university worker catches Kate.
Meanwhile, Clint attends a showing of Rogers: The Musical with his kids, and he’s not enjoying it. His daughter accuses him of turning off his hearing aids. We see the musical fails to acknowledge Hawkeye’s contribution to the Battle of New York.
Clint hones in on the actress portraying Natasha Romanoff, undoubtedly triggering his grief over losing his best friend. After encountering his fan in the bathroom, Clint ventures outside into the brisk Manhattan evening to get some fresh air. He reunites with his children, and they leave the theater.
Then, Kate heads to her mother’s place and learns that Eleanor plans to attend an opulent, high-society gala. Eleanor chastises her daughter for the clocktower incident and urges Kate to stop pretending she’s invincible because she’s young and rich.
Eleanor’s beau Jack (Tony Dalton) arrives, and, at Eleanor’s behest, Kate dresses for the upcoming gala.
Clint has dinner with his kids, and they call up his wife, Laura (Linda Cardellini), who decided that he needs to spend some alone time with their children. Clint asserts that the family will have the best Barton Christmas ever. We see a waiter approach the news that Clint’s meal is free.
Later, Kate, donning a magnificent suit, chats it up with Jack’s uncle, Armand (Simon Callow). Armand turns his nose up at Eleanor and divulges Jack and Eleanor’s newly engaged status to Kate.
Kate heads outside for air, where she meets Lucky the Pizza Dog, the real star of Hawkeye. Lucky runs away, but we know he’ll return.
Next, Kate eavesdrops on Armand’s tense conversation with Eleanor, and he blatantly threatens Eleanor, and Kate confronts her mother after the argument. Kate observes Armand descending a staircase to a wine cellar, so she pretends to be a waiter and follows him with a tray of hors d’oeuvres.
We see an auction is underway, and the snobby rich folks bid on astronomically expensive items such as a dinosaur skull. Armand and Jack sit among the auction attendees, and the pair engage in a bidding war over Ronin’s retractable sword.
Then, the auctioneer presents the infamous Ronin’s suit, and we learn that nobody knows Ronin’s real identity. Kate overhears a bevy of Russian men planning, presumably, a robbery.
Suddenly, we hear an explosion in the cellar, and masked robbers flood the area. Armand appears to be unconscious while Jack surreptitiously steals Ronin’s sword and flees. The robbers search for “the watch” and are instructed to locate that first before nicking other priceless items.
Kate dons the Ronin suit and helps everyone escape, including Armand, and she takes on the bad guys with her martial arts prowess and a plethora of wine bottles. After narrowly escaping the robbers herself, Kate saves Lucky from oncoming traffic. One of the men, Kazi (Fra Fee), observes Kate from a distance.
Meanwhile, Clint and his family watch a news segment about the explosion at the gala. The news team hones in on Kate in the Ronin suit, speculating that perhaps the masked vigilante returns to NYC. Clint watches Kate, bewildered.
Kate brings Lucky back to her apartment and gives him pizza, which he loves. Kate tracks down Armand’s location and heads to his undoubtedly humble abode. Unfortunately, she finds Armand bleeding out on his lavish carpets, dead as a doornail.
Then, Kate reunites with the masked robbers, and they attempt to overpower her. She locks herself inside a car while the men try to break her out. Thankfully, Clint swoops to the rescue, beating the snot out of the baddies. He extracts Kate from the vehicle intending to give whoever’s wearing his Ronin suit the business.
When he pulls off the mask, he sees Kate underneath it. She emphatically exclaims, “You’re Hawkeye!” while Clint asks about her identity.
“Never Meet Your Heroes” lays the groundwork for what’s sure to be a delightful adventure, Marvel-style. Hawkeye might not be as mystical and mind-blowing as WandaVision and Loki, but I enjoy street-level MCU antics. Bring it on!
New episodes of Marvel’s Hawkeye are available to stream every Wednesday on Disney Plus.
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