“Thirty years ago, the villains of the world rose up and killed all the heroes. Well, all the heroes that mattered. The sole survivor of the Avengers, Hawkeye is now a sideshow freak, re-living the worst day of his life for paying audiences. When the Brotherhood Traveling Circus, Carnival and Ringmaster’s Road Show arrives at the Kingdom, Hawkeye gets an unexpected visitor.”
This is the second season in a podcast series about an apocalyptic world that started off with Star-Lord, and will also include Black Widow and Wolverine. Will these scattered heroes be able to find one another and rise up against the villains who took over the world?
We are introduced to a new section of the Wastelanders world in the southwest, this time in the kingdom ruled by Zemo. Improbably, we discover a blinded Hawkeye (Clint) is the star attraction in a traveling circus, which makes him relive the day that the heroes fell to the villains, leaving him the only Avenger left. The smarmy ringmaster’s narration gives us background on the last few decades, and an edgy teenage girl watches the show in disgust. In the concluding minutes of the episode, we learn her name is Ash and she is the estranged daughter of Hawkeye. After finding him, she asks her poppa if he will help her kill someone for revenge.
Ash explains why she has sought her father out after ten years apart, she wants vengeance against someone who killed her high school best friend. She has figured out that someone in the circus is selling a drug that is dangerous and led to Max’s death in an explosion. Clint, of course, doesn’t want to help her become a killer, and we get some backstory on why he left her years ago. Details are such that you are not sure if she is adopted, and who her birth mother is.
Clint teaches Ash how to shoot, and baits her, pushing her to the edge, but she proves her mettle. We get a bit of Ash’s past, from her loving adoptive mother Bobbi, formally known as Mockingbird, to her high school life and romance with Max. We also learn a secret about Hawkeye and his long wait for revenge.
It is revealed who Ash’s biological mother is, and I’m not surprised. She says something enraging to Bobbi, and also clues her into Clint’s hunt for members of the double-crossing Thunderbolts. It was interesting to learn more about the Thunderbolts, a sometimes villain/sometimes hero group that were mutants, and I ended up doing some internet sleuthing to find out more about them.
Leap of Faith
A bit of a filler episode- we get some backstory on some of the other circus performers and for Kate Bishop. Everyone is rude and sarcastic to each other and their banter annoyed me, plus I am not warming to Ash as a petulant teen.
Straight to the Heart
Kate is pissing me off! While she might be Ash’s biological mother, she is not her “real” mom, Bobbi is 100%. Kate just wants to sweep in and have Ash fall into her arms, but that’s not how it works. While she wants to throw Clint under the bus for the morally grey things he does, she is the one who choose Clint and Bobbi to raise Ash, whose full name is Natasha Cassandra Bishop Jones (nice shout out to Natasha Romanoff & Cassandra Lang). There was some food for thought in this episode- as Clint’s thirst for justice and consequences does make him a killer, and he choose that life over raising Ash with his wife Bobbi- yet, I could see the validity of his arguments.
“Seek revenge and you should dig two graves, one for yourself” proves true, as Ash discovers someone who she thought dead is alive, and that Clint’s sabotage runs deep. Has he gone too far in his quest for vengeance?
Shot in the Back
Kate and Clint continue to bicker because it is obvious that Clint has something huge planned for the next day when Zemo will be visiting the circus, and Kate hopes to dissuade him. Ash is back after learning what Junior is up to and she continues being a hothead herself. I hate to say it, but I dislike almost everyone except for Bobbi.
The day has come for the circus performance with Zemo in attendance. Clint is trying to stay the course despite pleas from Bobbi, Kate and Ash to stop, plus details are slipping out of his control. I do appreciate that there are some characters in the circus that are morally grey, who make bad decisions for their own ease but don’t seem like evil people.
Justice is Blind
The ending was predictable- Clint came to realize blind vengeance benefits no one. There is a surprise about Zemo, and a change of leadership occurs. This will now put cracks in the villains’ hold across the former USA, making it easier to overthrow in the future. I thought there would be a lead-in to the next season, but nothing new was revealed in the final end credits.
While I didn’t engage with this season as much as the one about Star-Lord, or some other Marvel podcasts, I am still very much invested in this series and look forward to the next few seasons!
Written by Rachel Chavkin and directed by J. Holtham
Stephen Lang as Hawkeye
Sasha Lane as Ash
Michelle Hurd as Bobbi
Tracie Thoms as Kate Bishop
Bobby Moreno as Junior
Joe Morton as Ringmaster