Each week, Darren from @darrenmoviereviews will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Hawkeye and the show’s overall connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Yelena is back, and she has brought mac and cheese as a peace offering on this week’s episode of Hawkeye. After her long teased role in the series, Florence Pugh returns to the MCU and steals the show with her magnetic performance, bringing a new set of problems for Clint and Kate as the mystery surrounding the individual behind the Tracksuit Mafia deepens…
Ever since the post credit scene of this summer’s Black Widow, or even earlier if you follow Marvel casting rumours like I do, it was no surprise to see Florence Pugh’s Yelena pop up in the final scene of last week’s episode of Hawkeye. Like many Marvel fans, I was anticipating her return after her scene stealing performance in Black Widow, and after a short battle last week, Yelena is back and causing more trouble this week. Pugh shares a wildly entertaining scene with Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate over some mac and cheese with hot sauce. It’s without a doubt the highlight of the episode with Pugh delivering some truly hilarious lines, while also catching Kate off guard with her extensive knowledge of Kate’s family and her hatred for Clint, teasing a big showdown to come in the finale next week.
Beyond Pugh’s return, this week’s episode continues the mystery of the individual behind the Tracksuit Mafia. And without giving anything away, this is the big reveal the fans have been waiting for!
And into spoiler territory we go. If you have not seen the fifth episode of Hawkeye, stop reading now. If you have, keep on reading to find out what we learnt in the fifth episode…
The episode begins in 2018, with Yelena and the Black Widows on a mission. They are trying to free one of their sisters Anna, played by This Is Us’ Caitlin Thompson, however when they use the antidote for the chemical subjugation on her, it has no effect. It turns out that she has chosen the life of an assassin. Hearing this, Yelena tells Anna of their mission to free all of their sisters and her hope to reunite with Natasha after doing so. Yelena excuses herself from the conversation, and after throwing some water on her face to cool down after the shock of discovering Anna has chosen the life of an assassin, she disappears in the Blip.
In a cool sequence that has Yelena disappearing and appearing in Anna’s bathroom, creating the sense to her that only seconds has passed since she disappeared and not five years, Yelena reappears in Anna’s bathroom. However the room had changed. She barges out searching for answers, only to find an unknown man and child. Everyone is confused as to what Yelena is doing there, Anna enters the room and tells her about her disappearance. After learning it has been five years, Yelena tells Anna that she must find Natasha to make sure she is okay, unaware that Natasha has sacrificed herself to bring everyone who disappeared in the Blip back to life.
Back in the present, Kate had returned home to her mother’s apartment, all bruised and cut up from the rooftop battle with Clint, Yelena and Maya. Upon seeing Kate, Eleanor immediately asks if Kate’s injuries have to do with Clint. Kate tells her mother that in fact Clint was trying to protect her, before breaking down, telling her mother that Clint told her to go home and stay away from him. After embracing Kate, Eleanor begins cleaning Kate’s cuts, while finding out what happens. Kate tells her mother that Clint doesn’t think that she is a superhero, and she herself has stopped believing in herself too. Eleanor, like any good mother (or good in this moment, as we know she’s hiding something after her mysterious phone call in the fourth episode), assures Kate that just because things are scary right now, this doesn’t change who she is. It may change how Kate saw herself growing up, but it doesn’t change the good person she is. Kate tells Eleanor that she has only ever wanted to help people, which Eleanor says the recklessness is an unfortunate side effect of. The conversation then turns to talking about Kate’s first bow and arrow, and how she always thought she could do anything and be a hero, and she asks her mother if she should be worried about finding her path in life. Eleanor tells Kate that her path will wind in ways that she does not expect it to, but encourages her to always keep moving forward, as she has a good picture of the person that Kate will become. After this nice mother-daughter moment, Kate reveals to Eleanor what her and Clint learnt about Armand’s murder and Jack’s invovlement with the Tracksuit Mafia, and asks Elanor to look into it all. Eleanor tells Kate she will, and tells her to go and get her things from her apartment and return quickly.
Meanwhile, Kazi is cleaning Maya’s cuts from the rooftop battle. While Maya is wincing with pain as Kazi cleans her wounds, she reveals to Kazi that it is even more painful for her to share her feelings. But, she does confide in Kazi that there was an unknown individual there tonight (who we know to be Yelena), finally admitting that she has found herself in the middle of something much larger than she initially thought. Kazi tells Maya she needs to stop, but Maya tells him she will only stop when she captures and kills Ronin, which Kazi agrees to help her do.
At her apartment, Kate discovers that she has an uninvited guest: Yelena. And what begins as a fun house call as Yelena offers Kate mac and cheese with hot sauce and tells her about the sites she wants to see in New York City as she is there for the first time (including the improved Statue of Liberty, which is a nice nod to Spider-Man: No Way Home), despite promising not to kill Kate, the conversation takes a hostile turn. Yelena reveals to Kate that she knows all about her family and her saving Pizza Dog from the middle of the street (in the premiere episode). This leads Kate to ask Yelena if she is in New York to talk to Clint, but Yelena tells her she has come to kill him. However, Yelena has a question for Kae: why is she risking her life to save Clint? Yelena does not know how everyone has forgiven Clint for his past, though Kate tells her that Clint saved the world. Yelena, visibly upset by this statement, tells Kate that it was in fact Natasha who saved the world. Kate then asks if Yelena is truly Natasha’s sister, to which Yelena admits. Kate says it’s a good thing that she didn’t kill Yelena on the roof, to which Yelena begins laughing. Kate goes on to tell Yelena that Natasha and Clint were friends, asking her why she’s after Clint as Kate sees Clint as being present to protect her. Yelena tells Kate she’s wrong, that Clint is only here to protect his reputation and asks her if she knows how many people Clint has killed? Kate says that he’s an Avenger, and that losses and collateral damage is part of being a hero. Hearing this, Yelena reveals to Kate that Natasha is dead because of Clint, which we know to be Val’s manipulation as seen in the post credit scene of Black Widow. Kate tells Yelena that this is not true, that Clint would never let Natasha die like that. Yelena questions how long Kate has known Clint and if she truly knows the man he is, but Kate tells Yelena that she should question who hired her to kill Clint as Clint is a good man. The conversation ends as Kate cannot reveal Clint’s location as she does not know where he is, with a final warning from Yelena to not get in her way again.
Elsewhere in New York, Clint makes his way to Grills’ apartment with Pizza Dog, asking Grill to look after Pizza as his hotel doesn’t allow dogs. Grills insists that Clint stays at his place, and before Grills can show Clint their new costumes that the LARPers have created for them, Clint passes out on the couch.
As Kate returns to her mother’s apartment, she finds her mother and a bunch of police officers in the main lobby. Eleanor has informed them of Jack’s crimes after looking into the information Kate gave her, and they arrest Jack and remove him from the apartment.
The next morning, Clint is visiting the Battle of New York monument outside of Grand Central Station. He begins talking to Natasha’s spirit in the most emotional moment of the episode, telling her that she was the bravest of them all, always stubborn as she had to win. And he says for what? A stupid orange rock (referring to the Soul Stone Natasha sacrificed her life for on Vormir). Clint confesses he has replayed that moment over and over again hoping for a different outcome. He tells her that he has tried every single day since to honour what she gave him, that he misses her deeply, and that he’s sorry for what he is about to do.
Knowing that she needs to make amends with Clint, Kate repeatedly calls him, but keeps being sent to voicemail. She leaves him multiple messages, telling him it’s not over for her, about her visit with Yelena, Jack being arrested and her mistakes. But Clint refuses to pick up and Kate eventually fills his mailbox, preventing her from leaving any further messages.
We then cut to some of the Tracksuit Mafia driving one of their trucks, when an arrow shoots through their windshield. It’s a trick arrow with a message inside for Maya, telling her to “meet me tonight where you first met Ronin, alone”.
Having turned to night, as Clint is walking through Times Square, he calls Laura. He apologizes to her for not coming home, but the problem he is dealing with keeps getting bigger and bigger. He tells her that Maya has the watch and has looked into their family, and that someone has hired a Black Widow assassin to kill him. He informs Laura that they have to be careful, even though she and the kids are far away from New York City. Laura tells Clint that if it all doesn’t get resolved tonight, it’s only a matter of time before “the big guy” gets involved. She then tells Clint to follow his gut, that he didn’t call looking for permission and that he doesn’t need it from her, as she trusts his judgement knowing he will do what needs to be done. Before telling him to that she loves him and to go and end this, Laura reminds Clint that she will understand more than anyone else what Clint has to do and that she will not judge him for what he needs to do.
Maya is waiting in the parking lot outside of the garage where she first met Ronin the night her father was killed. However, she has not come alone. But Ronin picks off the Tracksuit Mafia one by one, until it is only him and Maya left. A fight breaks out between the two of them, ending with Ronin pulling a sword on Maya as she is pinned on the ground. Clint removes his hood, revealing Ronin’s identity to Maya, and tells her he wanted her to know who he was. Maya asks why, so she could see him as he killed her? Clint tells her no, but if she or any of her men go near his family, that it will be the last thing they ever do. Maya tells Clint that he is a monster, but Clint responds saying that he is the same as her: a weapon filled with rage that can be used and manipulated. He then reveals to Maya that on the night her father died, he was tipped off by an informant within the Tracksuit Mafia who worked for her boss. Maya does not believe Clint, but Clint tells her it was her boss who wanted her father dead. Maya then attacks Clint and is about to strike him with his sword, but Kate sends an arrow loose, knocking the sword out of Maya’s hand, giving Clint the chance to escape. At the same time, Maya flees the lot on a motorbike, allowing Kate to call an Uber for her and Clint to escape the lot before the Tracksuit Mafia return.
Maya speeds away to meet Kazi, who tells her he’s happy to see her alive. Kazi apologizes for failing to help her, but that Ronin came out of nowhere. He then asks her if she killed Ronin, but Maya informs Kazi that Ronin got away. She then asks Kazi why he wasn’t at the meeting the night her father was killed, clearly having suspicions about whether Kazi was her boss’ informant. Kazi tells her that he never got the call about the meet, but Maya does not respond to Kazi’s comment and drives away.
In their Uber, Kate tells Clint about her encounter with Yelena and that they need to worry about her. Clint confirms that she is in fact Natasha’s sister, as the Uber drops them back off at Grills’ apartment as the sun is coming up.
Elsewhere in the city, Yelena is following Eleanor, to which Eleanor is not aware. Yelena then texts Kate, telling her that Kate has a right to know who hired her to kill Clint. Yelena tells Clint that it was Eleanor who hired her, and sends a photo of the man Eleanor is meeting with currently. Not recognizing the man, Kate passes the phone to Clint asking him if he recognizes the man with her mother. Clint tells Kate that this man is the man he was worried about the entire time: Kingpin. We then see the picture, revealing that it is Vincent D’Onofrio from Netflix’s Daredevil as Kingpin, ending the episode on a shocking note!
There you have it folks! As theorized since the first episode, it appears that Maya’s uncle is none other than Kingpin. Vincent D’Onofrio returns to the role, making the first real acknowledgement of the Netflix Marvel shows within the MCU, despite the Netflix shows referring multiple times to the events of the MCU films. It is a moment fans have been waiting for, especially after D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Kingpin was so well received on Daredevil. While it’s not the most shocking reveal as it was rumoured that D’Onofrio would be appearing, its an exciting way to end the episode, and falls in line for Charlie Cox to return sooner than expected…maybe even as soon as Spider-Man: No Way Home this weekend? However, it is Eleanor working with Kingpin that is the more shocking reveal. We all knew Eleanor was up to no good based on the phone call she made last week, but to be working for Kingpin is a major statement about how truly sinister Eleanor is. Clearly, Kate needs to be more worried about her own mother than Jack going into next week’s finale.
With the Kingpin reveal, there is a larger implication for the future of the MCU. From The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we know that Val is assembling her team. As of now, this includes John Walker aka. U.S. Agent and Yelena, assuming she does not turn good by the end of Hawkeye. However, since Kingpin hired Yelena, this indicates that he is in league with Val and could have a much larger plan in place to wreak havoc within the MCU. What is this plan? We might get a hint in next week’s finale, but if he does have such a plan, I’m certain it will take a few more entries in Phase 4, including the Echo series, before all is revealed.
Also, Clint’s phone call with Laura where she tells him that she understands what Clint has to do more than anyone, further fuels that Laura is the individual whose identity is tied to the Rolex. Only an Avenger would know what Clint would have to do, which combined with the Rolex, could suggest that Laura in fact used to be an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. herself, or even a superhero. Given she is related to Clint, it would make most sense if she is the MCU’s Mockingbird, who in fact eloped with Clint in the comics.
What is Kingpin and Eleanor planning? Will Yelena continue down her path to kill Clint, or will she turn and help Clint and Kate take down Kingpin? Who is the individual connected to the Rolex? And will Val make a surprise appearance in the finale next week? Check back next week for the final Hawkeye recap to see if we learn the answers to any of these questions.