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The Hawkeye series on Disney+ is the holiday gift that just keeps on giving. Seriously bro, every time you think that it can’t possibly have any more gifts in its bag, it pops out more.
Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) took some time to get to know Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) this week, and the result was magical. In many places, Episode 5 felt like a mini-sequel to Black Widow, and we’re not complaining. It was so cool, bro.
***WARNING: Major spoilers follow for Episode 5 of Hawkeye. If you haven’t watched yet, then get outta here, Dewey! You don’t want this!***
What happened to Yelena Belova during the Blip? We find out right at the start of this episode. In 2018, Yelena was following through on the plan that Natasha gave her at the end of Black Widow. She uses the mind control antidote to free a Widow, but then finds that not all of them are being controlled. One of them is taking jobs as a freelance assassin.
Yelena goes to the bathroom, and snap, she falls apart in a hail of black dust. That dust then reassembles, and Yelena is back. The paint on the bathroom wall has changed. She exits the room, and the assassin she’d been talking to now has a husband and a daughter. It’s five years later, and Yelena asks, “I need to find Natasha.”
Yelena got blipped, and presumably she started taking mercenary jobs after she discovered that Natasha was dead. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is likely her agent/manager in this business, not the one who puts the hits out herself. The hit that was ordered on Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) didn’t come from Val, it was ordered by someone else.
After being shooed away by Clint and having some real talk with Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), Kate returns to her apartment. She’s greeted by Yelena, who expertly dodges a bottle that Kate throws at her. She made them macaroni. Kate only has one fork, and Yelena isn’t impressed. The only other fork in the apartment is one wrapped in plastic and came with takeout. Yelena says, “Kate, this is not cutlery. This is not cutlery.”
They sit, they eat, and sparks fly instantly. We knew that the combined forces of Steinfeld and Pugh would yield fantastic results, and this scene between them is proof. The undercurrent of danger (Yelena is still an assassin) only makes it better. She is very much the same Yelena we loved in Black Widow; She’s never been to New York before, so she wants to do what tourists do. That includes going to see “the new and improved Statue of Liberty.” She also enjoys Christmas, and mentions “the super-powered reindeer, Rudolph.”
Kate asks if Yelena keeps using her full name to show how much she knows about her, and yes, that is exactly the reason. Yelena has no problem with Kate, she likes her. Kate won major points with her after she stepped into traffic to save the dog. It was “pretty cool” as Yelena says. She is here to kill Clint Barton. She doesn’t get why everyone has forgiven him, and Kate retorts that he saved the world. Yelena doesn’t buy the for a second, saying, “No, my sister saved the world. Natasha Romanoff. She saved the world.”
Kate has no idea how many people Clint has killed, and Yelena doesn’t let her use the fact that he’s an Avenger as a free pass. Kate tries to explain that there’s always going to be collateral damage, but Yelena then asks if Natasha counts as such. For her, it all comes down to one simple thing: “My sister is gone because of him.”
Kate asks her about who hired her in the first place, and suggests that Yelena look into it. She says she will, and the two have one more loaded interchange before Yelena leaves.
“He’s not perfect, nobody’s perfect, but he is good,” Kate says of Clint. Yelena’s response: “We are defined by what we do. Not by nice words. Like it or not, there’s no escaping this.”
She thanks Kate for the “girl’s night” and grapples herself out the window. By the end of the episode, she texts Kate that she knows who is behind the hit on Clint. It was Kate’s mother, Eleanor… and she looks like she's close with one of the biggest Marvel villains around. Uncle has been revealed, and yeah, it's the Kingpin.
It may not have been the Sex and the City fantasy that Yelena always wanted to live out with Natasha, but surely it's the next best thing. And just like that... Kate and Yelena became best friends for life.
-Clint stays with Grills (Clayton English), who tells him that the costumes for both him and Kate are ready. We’ll look out for them to debut in the finale.
-Clint has another fight with Maya (Alaqua Cox), which ends with him unmasking and telling her that they are both weapons that can be misused. He says that her boss (Uncle) is using her, and that he was tipped off the night her father died. He taps his head and says that they can be manipulated all too easily, and we recall Loki’s mind games from Marvel’s The Avengers.
-Kate asks Eleanor to look into Jack, which Eleanor does. She turns him in and he is arrested, but all of this is probably a way for Eleanor to take the focus off of herself.
-Clint has a spiritual talk with Natasha in front of a plaque that commemorates the first time the Avengers assembled. “I do my best every day to earn what you gave me,” he says.
-Maya is now having second thoughts about “Uncle” and about why Kazi (Fra Fee) was absent on the night her father was killed.
-The tracksuits discussed The Sopranos, Run DMC, and The Royal Tenenbaums. “Do we look like Royal Tenenbaums?” one of them asks, before an arrow-note from Clint flies through their windshield.
-Kate can still flick the coin in the way that Clint taught her in the last episode.
-Clint finds out that the assassin is Yelena, and he knows who she is.
-In the 2018 flashback, Yelena appears to have gotten another vest. This one, presumably, has even more pockets.
-Maya still has that watch of mystery, and both Clint and Laura (Linda Cardellini) are concerned about it. Laura tells Clint to go and end this, adding, “Know that I’ll always understand more than anyone else ever could.” If Laura herself is not a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and the watch holds evidence of this, we’ll be surprised.
-Jack’s proud defense as he is being arrested: “I’ve never worked a day in my life.”
Hawkeye streams on Disney+ every Wednesday.