Yelena’s Blip & A Big Cameo

Clint and Kate, together again. Image: Marvel Studios

Last week’s rooftop battle between Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) take Hawkeye in a new direction. Realizing that everything had gotten out of hand, Clint decided to… stop working with Kate. Yelena and Maya were both closer than ever to getting the people they were trying to kill, who just happened to be the same person. That, plus a few excellent surprises, made for a solid delivery of Hawkeye.

Hawkeye episode 5, titled “Ronin”, starts in the past. As usual this year, if there is a crucial woman who needs an origin story, we see it for the title, and that was the case this episode with Yelena. Now we know you’re thinking, “Wasn’t her origin in Black Widow, now available on Disney+?” Yes. But that movie showed you Yelena before Thanos, fighting with her sister, and then after Thanos, grieving at her grave. Hawkeye showed that Yelena had dealt with the fallout from that film in between, driving around the world and freeing Black Widows from their mental captivity. On one of those missions in 2018, Yelena goes to the bathroom and goes out again five years later. Yes, Thanos has hair. It was our best look yet at what the Blip looked like to someone who had been dusted. (WandaVision) also had to deal with this but not so concise). She leaves the bathroom as if it were a second, but everything has changed. Her first instinct is to find Natasha, but we all know Yelena is back alone because of her sister’s sacrifice.

Back in New York, Kate tends to battle wounds with Maya and Yelena, and goes home to sicken her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). Mother is relieved to discover that Clint was protecting Kate and sent her home, a sign that he had listened to her pleas. The two share a sweet heart-to-heart mother-daughter, where Kate begins to come to terms with the realization that she may not become an Avenger. Eleanor explains that just because she can’t achieve her dream one way doesn’t mean it won’t be another way. The two open up so candidly that Kate feels safe to tell Eleanor that she and Clint have incriminating evidence against her fiancé, Jack (Tony Dalton).

Last week’s reveal of Yelena was just the beginning. Image: Marvel Studios

Kate returns to her old apartment for the first time since the tracksuit mafia and finds a surprise waiting for her: Yelena. Yelena explains that she just wants to talk and could have killed Kate when she came in if she wanted to. The conversation has gone everywhere from jokes about instant mac and cheese to recommendations for Yelena’s first time in New York City (she calls the “new and improved Statue of Liberty,” which is most likely a Spider-Man no way home reference) and finally turns to Clint. Yelena reveals that she was hired to kill him and she can’t believe Kate believes in him so much. She explains how much blood is on his hands and that no hero should have such a baggage. Kate responds with the things Clint has told her that helping people has serious consequences, and the whole thing ends up being a solid little dissection of morality in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a great scene, in part thanks to the excellent dialogue, the chemistry between the actors, and Florence Pugh’s ability to blow almost anyone off the screen with her undeniable charisma and charm. Yelena is well on her way to becoming a top-tier MCU favorite, if she isn’t already.

Meanwhile, Clint doesn’t go back to Kate’s aunt’s house, thinking he’s done with her, but instead goes to Grills’ (Clayton English) house, the LARPer from earlier episodes. After getting some much-needed rest (and a tantalizing tease about new costumes for him and Kate), Clint decides he needs to put an end to this. He wakes up, goes to the place where the Avengers first gathered in 2012, and talks to Natasha. It’s a revelation of his soul that we would have liked to hear, where he admits to feeling immense pain at her sacrifice over a stupid orange stone and apologizes to her for what he is about to do. He’s going to don the Ronin costume one more time, but not before talking to his wife (Linda Cardellini) who tells him she trusts him no matter what he does. (Note: Using the Endgame music here really worked to bring you back to that emotional place from the movie. A really nice touch).

Maya is ready for her moment with Ronin.Image: Marvel Studios

But before the episode can bring the Ronin back, Kate must get back into the fight. And that’s what happens when she sees her trusted mom calling her about Jack and the police (although we didn’t necessarily trust this for some reason) and wakes up to see her first bow that her mom bought her. She realizes that being a hero is all she ever wanted, and a few dozen voicemail messages to Clint later, she’s back on the case.

To avoid any confrontation with “the big man”, Clint knows he has to settle it with Maya. He arranges the meeting and takes out all her goons in a very Batman Begins way. The two fight and Clint appears to be victorious, revealing herself as the man who killed her father, Ronin. But he’s not there to kill Maya. He is there to explain to her that he killed her father because Maya’s boss tipped him off and wanted her father dead. He also explains that she and he are the same. They are weapons that other people use and manipulate. This scene, like the Kate and Yelena scene before, is what this episode and the whole show is about. Like-minded people, from opposite sides of a fight, discussing and figuring out their purpose. A goal that nearly ended for Clint when Maya turned things on him, but Kate comes out of nowhere to save him.

Kazi may not be the man we think he is.Image: Marvel Studios

Maya leaves, and angry and in denial at Ronin’s revelations, she still sees the pieces fit together. Especially when she remembers that her best friend Kazi (Fra Fee), father’s number two, wasn’t there the day he died. It seems her mysterious uncle had her father killed by Ronin, and it’s not Ronin she should go after.

Kate’s rescue of Clint works and the pair escape. They head back to Grills’ house for a small breakfast when Kate gets a text. It’s Yelena, who tells Kate that the person who hired her to kill Clint… is Kate’s mother. (Which is strange, because we saw Valentina (Julia Louis Dreyfus) do it in Black Widow. Does Valentina work for Eleanor too? Hmmm). As proof, she sends a photo of Eleanor and the great revelation. Literally. Are kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio of Netflix’s Daredevil. “That’s the guy I’m worried about,” Clint says.

The fifth episode of Hawkeye basically had everything Marvel fans want in a Marvel show. It filled some of the larger MCU gaps with the Yelena Blip story, showing friends and foes not just fighting, but words that deepen our understanding of who they are and what they do. Then there was even a little surprise at the end, although many fans believed it was coming. It all leads up to the show’s final episode next week, and if there’s any question as to who will be playing the big part in that, the final title card should clear it up.

That’s a big shadow to cast over HawkeyeScreenshot: Disney+/Marvel Studios

yep. kingpin. From Daredevil. Just a few days later Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said: his Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox, would return. None of that has anything to do with Clint, Kate, Yelena, Jack, Eleanor, Maya or the rest. Or so we think. There is a lot to clean up next week.

What did you think of Hawkeye episode five, “Ronin?” Did you expect the Kingpin reveal? What is the link between Valentina and Eleanor? Fake Eleanor Kate pranking Jack? Let us know your thoughts below.

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