A better version of “Hawkeye” might’ve been seven, eight, or maybe even 10 episodes. Between Clint’s quest to reunite with his family for Christmas, Kate’s issues with her mother and stepfather, Echo’s mission of revenge, Yelena’s mission of also revenge, Kingpin’s re-debut, the whole deal with the Rolex, plus LARPers, plus Tracksuits, “Hawkeye” sometimes falters in its effort to keep way too many plates spinning at once.
Inevitably, some characters feel underserved, and that’s especially the case for Jack Duquesne — aka the “Swordsman” — until Episode 6. His running gag is he keeps getting old sayings and aphorisms jumbled up — “Absence makes the heart grow older,” “Life is short, you never know what you’re going to get,” etc. — and it isn’t especially funny. At the beginning of “Hawkeye,” Jack seems poised as the series’ central Big Bad; by the end of Episode 5, he’s the fifth-tier threat underneath Kingpin, Echo, Eleanor Bishop, and Yelena Belova. By Episode 6, he doesn’t seem like much of a villain at all.
Hopefully, there’s life after “Hawkeye” for the Swordsman. Tony Dalton’s blend of cavalier swashbuckler and oblivious comedy relief certainly has potential as a foil for other second-string Avengers (or maybe baddies disguised as Avengers?) on a different series.