Who killed [SPOILERS] in Hawkeye Episode 1? Marvel's Swordsman, explained
Will Jack Duquesne be slicing up the MCU?
Hawkeye might be Kate Bishop’s big introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she isn’t the only new comic book character on the Disney+ show. Hailee Steinfeld’s MCU debut takes place in the world of Manhattan’s elite, where the rich secretly auction priceless MCU objects behind the scenes.
In this world, the Duquesne family is prominent, and soon Kate will be related to them, thanks to her mom’s engagement to Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton). But who is this family? What are their true motives?
As seen in Hawkeye’s first two episodes, the Duquesne family are not only under threat, but Jack is positioned as one of the show’s possible villains. In Marvel Comics, Jack and Duquesnes have a long history that might shed some light on what’s to come on Hawkeye. Let’s take a closer look.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2 below.
Hawkeye Episode 1 ending explained: Who killed Armand Duquesne?
Hawkeye ends its first episode with the surprising death of Armand Duquesne (Simon Callow), as Kate discovers him dead and bleeding when she breaks into his home disguised of Ronin. She flees before Armand’s housekeeper arrives at the grisly scene.
Earlier that evening, Kate had met Armand at the charity auction party she attended with her mom Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). Armand smarmily sidles up to Kate and spills that her mom is engaged to his nephew Jack, refusing to hide his disapproval of his nephew’s relationship.
“Believe me, I’ve done everything in my power to talk him out of it,” Armand tells Kate. “But when he gets something set in that little mind of his, he can be quite determined.”
Later, Kate overhears Eleanor and Armand arguing at the party. When the two walk away, Kate asks her mom if Armand was threatening her, and Eleanor responds that she has no idea if he is, shrugging it off. The argument leads Kate to follow Armand, find the secret auction that gets ambushed, steal the Ronin suit, and eventually discover Armand dead.
The episode does little to hide who would want Armand dead. He had disagreements with his nephew, as seen with the engagement and during the scene when they were in a bidding battle for Ronin’s sword. Jack does steal the sword during the attack, and he also seems to have the most to gain with his uncle dead, as alluded to in their earlier conversation.
Ultimately, Jack is Kate’s first suspect. He has the motive (and is “quite determined”), he has a weapon, and he has the candy Kate spotted in Armand’s home. But as we know, when it comes to any good murder mystery, it’s rarely the first suspect.
Hawkeye’s Jack Duquesne comics history, explained
In Marvel Comics, Jack is known as Jacques Duquesne (aka, Swordsman, a master of bladed weapons). He is an alleged descendant of the Crimson Cavalier (Réne Duquesne), a criminal who led gangs in France until he briefly stopped his life of crime to help fight for his country during World War I. Armand Duquesne is also in the comics, where he is actually Jacques’ father. Like his onscreen counterpart, Armand, too, meets his demise. But it’s his servant who does him in with a sword.
Beyond those brief relations, Jacques’ story mainly revolves around being Swordsman, and his past is connected to none other than Clint Barton. Jacques’ origin story begins while working at a carnival where his act involved knives, swords, and other blades. There, he meets a young Clint and trains him in archery.
However, Jacques had a gambling problem and once robbed the carnival master, which Clint soon found out. Running away from Jacques, Clint climbed the high wire only for Jacques to cut it down and let Clint fall to his (presumed) death. Clint survived and eventually became Hawkeye, while Swordsman waffled between the lives of a hero and criminal throughout his run in the comics.
The Inverse Analysis — While the show has taken some liberties with adapting the Duquesne family from the comics to the small screen, there is little doubt that Hawkeye is setting up Jack to be Swordsman. He’s clearly obsessed with swords and is good at wielding them, as seen when he fences with Kate.
But is Swordsman good or bad? Given the character’s comics history with Clint Barton, it sounds like Jack is ultimately self-serving, and whatever move he makes will be what’s best for him. Whether that makes him look like a hero or villain remains to be seen.
Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming on Disney+.