Though I was a little disappointed with last week’s episode – as you can see from my review here – I did acknowledge that there were elements that were really well handled. Echo’s origin was beautifully done and heartfelt, for example, and Clint’s struggle to communicate with his youngest son on the phone was a nicely done, very poignant scene. Yet the action and humour elements sat very awkwardly alongside these; it seems to me that it’s the more grounded tone and the non-superpowered characters that cause the jarring tone. Not only that, but Clint’s motivation – the Ronin suit and protecting Kate from the fallout after she used it – has become increasingly thin, which unfortunately continues into the fourth episode.

At the climax of episode three, Kate and Clint were at the home of the Bishops, accessing the computer before Clint stumbles into the Ronin sword, being held by Kate’s clearly evil almost-stepfather, Jack. The situation is soon defused, however, and Clint is welcomed by Kate’s mother and Jack – though there are concerns expressed for Kate’s safety, given that she’s palling around with an Avenger. Despite Clint being warned away, he can’t abandon Kate while she’s still in danger, so he sticks around and the two of them bond some more over festive treats and entertainment – as more comes to light about the Tracksuit Mafia’s involvement with someone close to Kate. It seems that we haven’t seen the last of Echo – and another character is also waiting in the wings, looking for revenge…

Though again strong with the quieter character moments – which it really excels at – there’s too many threads being picked up, dropped, or suddenly introduced. It all feels very unfocused and again, Clint just doesn’t seem to have a strong enough reason to still be hanging around. Clint and Kate’s chemistry is great though – and Alaqua Cox is once again gives an incredibly strong performance as Echo; her spin off show is definitely going to be a compelling watch.

That’s the problem though; with rich kid Kate’s boring and predictable family troubles being so integral to proceedings, and Clint’s presence just seeming increasingly pointless, seeing the much more engaging character of Echo relegated to the sidelines is a bit frustrating. The LARPers come in for another ribbing too, as if we didn’t already mock them enough before. Finally, a supposedly shocking surprise character reveal is anything but, considering it’s someone who we’ve been waiting to show up in the series since it began, it’s hardly surprising in the slightest.

With only two episodes to go, the show really needs to get a move on and give us something bloody spectacular to overcome the issues it’s had in the last few weeks; after a strong start, things seem to have fizzled out a bit – which is unusual for an MCU show. I’ve had an absolute blast with shows such as WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and What If…? and, even those shows had their own issues here and there, I never felt that they lost their way as much as Hawkeye feels it has.

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