FULL SPOILERS AHEAD
The latest episode of Hawkeye, “Partners, Am I Right?” has me wondering where this limited series is going. With four episodes down, we only have two left and so much is happening that I’m concerned that this series isn’t going to wrap it all up. But before I get all doom and gloom about what might happen, let’s talk about what actually did happen in this week’s episode.
Picking up right where “Echoes” left off, Clint’s run in with Jack is diffused when Eleanor recognizes that there’s an Avenger in her house. She accepts that Kate is working with him, but does not like that Kate is lying to her about something. Eleanor even pokes at Hawkeye, pointing out that not all his partners survive. Does the public know that he and Natasha were close friends? After all SHIELD information went public in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I would assume so, but my husband disagrees. Speaking of spouses, Clint’s wife Laura digs up information that Kazi launders money for the Tracksuit Mafia, and that Jack Duquesne is involved. So Kate’s hunch that he’s bad news is right! The duo celebrate a makeshift Christmas since Clint can’t go home to his family, and we get Kate confirming–mostly to herself–that he was Ronin. Later, Kate goes to the LARP group to get some help getting Hawkeye’s arrow shafts back so the duo can make more trick arrows, and we meet a minor character in Wendy, who is the D-list villain Bombshell in the comics. She juggles explosives. Do with that information what you will. Back to the show, the missing watch from the first episode comes back up, so Hawkeye and Hawkeye go to retrieve it. But while breaking into Echo’s apartment for the watch, Kate encounters the deaf fighter while Hawkeye is ambushed by… also Echo? Wait, no, that’s Yelena Belova (Ms. Florence Pugh) from Black Widow! She doesn’t say a single word and vanishes into the night when the fight looks like it might not go her way (although, thankfully, not out of the series like I had initially worried). But during the fight, Kate almost falls to her death, clearly triggering Clint. He tells her that a Black Widow assassin coming for him means things are too serious, and she needs to give up and go home.
Most people knew that Yelena was coming to Hawkeye, and it’s great to see her in action again, but this initial appearance felt like a glorified cameo. She literally didn’t say a word, which is… a decision. And now that she’s officially involved, the number of plotlines has become more than I think this show can properly handle.
So what do we have? We have antagonists–or at least foils–in Jack, Eleanor, Maya, Kazi, Yelena, the Tracksuit Mafia goons, and the mysterious crime boss who is most likely the Kingpin. That’s so many people all with their own storylines that I’m now convinced the Kingpin’s possible/eventual cameo will just be in the last minute of the last episode, teasing up… the Echo series? Hawkeye season 2, which has not been officially confirmed? Daredevil’s return and/or introduction to the MCU? And don’t forget Armand III’s murder or the mystery of the watch from Avengers Tower! There are a lot of balls in the air and I’m worried at least one of them will drop unceremoniously.
Well that was a bit of a downer. How about we talk about plant zombies? I’ve been putting this off long enough, so let’s talk about Jack.
In the comics, Jacques Duquesne debuted in Avengers #19 (1965), an old, old school villain called Swordsman. He was revealed to be the man who taught Clint to master archery, so there’s some history between them. He actually became an Avenger under dubious circumstances, but found not being a criminal didn’t suck as much as he had thought. That’s also when he fell in love with Mantis, the Celestial Madonna.
Okay, so… Mantis. Yes, the same Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, more or less. In the comic she’s not an alien, but a Vietnamese woman who first appeared in Avengers #112 (1973). She was trained by the Priests of Pama to be a master martial artist. The Priests were actually descendants of the Kree alien race–the same sometimes blue people from Captain Marvel–and believed her to be the Celestial Madonna, mother of the Celestial Messiah. More on him later.
Back to Swordsman, he was killed by Kang the Conqueror–who is essentially the same person as He Who Remains from Loki–in Giant-Size Avengers #2 (1974). Jacques saved Mantis’ life and was buried near where the Priests of Pama raised her, and that’s when things get weird. The tree he was buried under was actually a member of an alien plant race called the Cotati, who reanimated Jacques body and possessed it. Comic books are dumb, just go with it. The two were wed in Giant-Size Avengers #4 (1975) and then dispersed into energy where they had sex, or something (side note, it was a double wedding because Scarlet Witch and Vision also got hitched at that time). Anyway, Swordsman remained a plant zombie… thing, but didn’t do much after Mantis left him to go be an actual character. The two had a plant son, Sequoia–he prefers to be called Quoi–who recently tried to take over the universe in the Empyre event (2020). So does any of this actually matter to Hawkeye? I mean, I highly doubt Jack will become a corpse piloted by an alien tree, so probably not. But now you know exactly how dumb comic can be. You’re welcome.
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