Hawkeye episode five was one of those episodes that challenged what we thought about the characters that we know already. The best thing about this episode is that we got to know more about Yelena, the sister of Natasha introduced in Black Widow. We learn that during a mission to rehabilitate another Black Widow, she got caught up in the snap and lost five years of her life. That had to be a traumatic event for someone who spent their life trying to awaken other people from being controlled.
In another part of the story, Clint Barton finally faces his past as the Ronin. He tries to peacefully convince Maya that during the time he was this assassin, he did not intentionally murder her father. He was blinded by rage, and that should not have happened. Barton also pointed her in the direction of who was actually responsible for her father’s death. The only reason that Barton escapes the fight with Maya is thanks to being saved by Kate Bishop.
The biggest problem with this episode is not tonal inconsistency but introducing new characters at the last minute. These characters have a significant impact on where the story goes, and presenting them at this time only serves to confuse the audience. The writers could have introduced those characters earlier and made some of the shorter episodes longer to have a better context informing us why the characters matter so much to the story. I’m specifically referring to how Yelena is used throughout the episode when she could have been introduced much earlier on as somebody tracking Barton’s movements.
It’s not a shock to me that Kate Burton’s mother is the actual person behind the hired killing of Clint Burton. When you cast someone like Vera Farmiga, an Oscar-nominated actress known for her level of depth, why would you not use someone so skilled as a villain for a Marvel TV series? What bothers me most about this episode is that we still don’t have answers to where Kate Barton’s father is, whether he is actually dead or not.
The thing that I continually don’t understand about this television series is where is the growth for these characters to the point where we can continually root for their success? I don’t really care where Kate ends up at the end of the series because they haven’t given me a reason to root for her to succeed. This is probably the most important aspect of a story that you can have when building a hero’s journey. To have that be wholly ignored seems illogical. This is especially insulting when considering Kate Barton is being played by Hailee Steinfeld, an Oscar-nominated actress in her own right. She deserves a story that allows her to really grow as a character, and I haven’t really seen that throughout the season.
What I have seen is someone who idolizes a hero that saved their life early on. There’s nothing wrong with that concept; it just needs a stronger way to have that character move forward. We’re at the tail end of this series, and this character doesn’t have a direction to go other than possibly being independent of her mother. The character deserves a better journey than that. Significant story progression needs to happen in the final episode for me to believe that these characters will go somewhere worthwhile. Otherwise, this show needs its wings clipped.