Hailee Steinfeld, left, and Jeremy Renner in "Hawkeye."

Hailee Steinfeld, left, and Jeremy Renner in "Hawkeye." (Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios/TNS)

Things look bad for Clint and Kate in the closing moments of "Hawkeye" Episode 2.

Even after their less-than-stellar first meeting, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) is eager to get to know Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and prove her potential. So it's no surprise she jumps at the chance to rescue him when she thinks he's in trouble.

Picking up directly where the previous episode ended, "Hawkeye's" Episode 2, also released Wednesday, shows Clint attempting to wrap up his Ronin-era loose ends as quickly as possible so he can get back to his family for Christmas.

"Clint is not out there looking for a protege," said "Hawkeye" executive producer and writer Jonathan Igla. "He is not out there looking for trouble to solve. He and Kate get thrown together in this way [and] he is resistant to working with her."

"It was really important to see their first meeting [and] the first impression they make on each other," he added. Especially considering their "not-quite-partners ... sort of mentor-mentee relationship" is an essential element from the comic books.

Despite Clint's insistence that Kate not get involved, "she wants to learn and she wants to jump in," said director and executive producer Rhys Thomas. "What she comes to understand by hanging out with Clint is that there are no rules and there are no referees [in his world]. All of the money in the world — in terms of training and practice — can't prepare you for this. Of course, things get more complex as [the series] goes on and she understands the other stakes of being [Hawkeye]."

Fans will have to stay tuned to see how Clint and Kate's dynamic grows into one that's more grounded in affinity and mutual respect — assuming they can escape from the Tracksuits relatively unscathed. It's no guarantee, since they appear set to meet the Tracksuits' boss, the mysterious Maya Lopez.

Who is Maya Lopez?

Making her comic book debut in a 1999 issue of "Daredevil" (by David Mack and Joe Quesada), Maya is introduced as a potential adversary who has been raised by the crime lord Kingpin.

In the comics, she's not only an expert fighter but a concert pianist, and she takes on the code name Echo as she works to take down Daredevil, who she believes killed her father due to Kingpin's lies. She's one of the few Native American characters and Deaf superheroes in comics. Maya is also the original Ronin, using the code name before Clint eventually took on the identity.

In "Hawkeye," Maya Lopez is played by Alaqua Cox. Thomas avoided sharing any specific details of what's to come, but teased how "she does such a wonderful job and it's so compelling that she has her own show now." (Marvel's "Echo" was announced earlier this month).

"Similar to Clint and Kate, she's a character that does come from the real world," said Thomas.

Cox's Maya/Echo arrives on the heels of "Eternals," which introduced Lauren Ridloff's Makkari as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero.

What about that guy in the coat with the Tracksuits?

Briefly appearing in the first two episodes operating with the Tracksuits is Kazi, played by Fra Fee. Not much is known about Kazi, but considering Fee is among the top-billed cast members, it's likely he'll be a more significant player in the episodes to come.

In the comics, Kazi, or Kazimierz Kazimierczak, is a mercenary known as the Clown. Introduced on the pages of "Hawkeye" No. 8 (by Matt Fraction and David Aja), Kazi is hired by the Tracksuits to kill Clint.

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