On the surface, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye appears to be a hypocrite. This is because he revealed Clint Barton’s reasons for saving Black Widow’s life when they first met. His decision to save Natasha Romanoff’s life when she was supposed to be his target was the best shot he could have taken. Or at least this is what he tells fellow archer Kate Bishop. And he did so while they investigated Barton’s dark past as Ronin in this episode. Hawkeye’s inability to look past Natasha’s past appears to be a problem for him.
Hawkeye Reconciling His Past
In the fourth Hawkeye episode, Kate draws some much-needed holiday cheer while Clint Barton is away on business. To make up for the fact that Clint was away from the family for the holidays, they improvised a holiday celebration that included decorations, movies, and plenty of beverages for him and his friends.
Things get more severe than planned when Kate asks Clint about the best shot he has ever made. Afterward, Clint explains that his biggest shot was the one he didn’t take, the arrow intended for Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow when the two met in Budapest. Clint had been ordered to destroy Romanoff because her reputation as a deadly Russian assassin makes sense to Kate. He was correct, and they would work together in S.H.I.E.L.D. and ultimately the Avengers.
Romanoff explained Hawkeye’s side of the Budapest encounter in Black Widow. The same encounter is shown in a dynamic and emotional reveal. Here, Clint Barton is exposed as a hypocrite in the process. Kate correctly guessed that Clint was Ronin during Thanos’ Decimation. Following this, Barton went on to say that he is not a hero. In the end, he went back to being what he was prepared to be: a weapon with the intent of killing, rather than a hero who could be recognized as such. In contrast to Natasha, Hawkeye seems unable to reconcile his dark past with his good deeds. This is so even if he can see the good in her.
Redeeming Black Widow
Probably Kate Bishop will have to help Hawkeye reconcile his dark past with his current circumstances. Although Hawkeye is no longer around, she sees him as one of the greatest heroes of her life. This is the case irrespective of whether Clint wants to be or not. When Clint affirmed her apprehensions that he was Ronin, she didn’t run away from him. For the time being, she’s sticking by Hawkeye. At the end of the episode, Clint pushes Kate away. He did so because of the fear that she would die fighting side by side with him. This is similar to what Black Widow did. Bishop is unlikely to stay away for long.
With Yelena Belova arriving in the series to avenge her sister’s death, Hawkeye will likely continue to play a significant role in the story. Even though Clint isn’t happy about it, Kate Bishop will probably have to assist him in convincing Hawkeye that Clint is a hero despite his hypocrisy. After saving Black Widow, Clint Barton can be redeemed if the former is.