As is the custom with so many of these MCU tv shows, this episode’s Hawkeye takes us back into the past to 2018. Florence Pugh is back on our screens as a vest-loving Yelena, with her fellow black widow Sonya (Yssa Mei Panganiban) breaking into a house to try and free another widow from brainwashing. They find Ana (Annie Hamilton), who immediately fights back against them, but once she is given the antidote she reveals that she was never under any brainwashing, instead she’s made her money from being an assassin for hire.
Catching up with Ana, they ask Yelena about Natasha, and I guess every one of the widows just knows that Nat was her adoptive sister? I do find it weird that everyone seems to know everything in the MCU, but okay I guess Natasha is a famous black widow.
Yelena goes to the bathroom to wash her hands but at that moment, Thanos snaps and she is blipped out of existence. Seconds later she’s back and the walls of the bathroom have changed and when she walks out of the bathroom, Ana has a daughter and a husband. Shocked by the knowledge of the snap, Yelena’s first thought is of her sister. We can probably presume that Ana got her into the hired killer stuff, and Val found her not long after this moment?
Does Clint Think You’re a Superhero?
Back at the penthouse, Kate returns home after being broken up with by Clint. Her mom is immediately worried about her injuries. I have to say, I love that they cast Vera Farmiga as Eleanor. Knowing what we know about her true nature at the end of this episode, and for some viewers, having suspected it for a while, she still is able to harness a true soft maternal side in her scenes with Hailee Steinfeld. She emotes so well and it’s easy to see how she’s fooled all these people, including her own daughter.
Patching up Kate’s injuries, the two have a talk in her bedroom. Eleanor asks if Clint thinks Kate is a superhero, to which, Kate replies no, and then adds that she doesn’t either. They reminisce about Kate and her bow and her childhood ambitions. “Sometimes the paths we’re on, they wind around in ways we never would have expected. All you can do is keep moving forward, even on days when honestly it just all kind of feels like shit,” Eleanor tells Kate. So did Eleanor end up where she is due to circumstance, or more nefarious means?
Maybe after her husband died, Eleanor turned to a life of crime and the criminal underworld to keep everything afloat? Maybe Kate’s dad is secretly alive, a la Comics Kate whose mother died but was secretly alive. When Kate tells Eleanor about how she and Clint have been investigating Armand’s death, she warns Eleanor to look into it and Sloan Ltd. Looks like Jack is about to take the fall for Eleanor? Could he just be a lovable, sword-obsessed innocent Huey Lewis fan?
Also getting patched up is Maya by Kazi, who looks amazing in this episode. Maya points out that there was someone else at the attack and wonders about Yelena’s identity and her place in this. Kazi asks her to stop, offering to help her kill Ronin, but after that, he asks her to stop.
Macaroni and Hot Sauce
Heading back to her apartment to get her stuff, Yelena walks out of the shadows to Kate. She’s made some macaroni and cheese and also looks amazing. Love Yelena embracing her new wardrobe, love it. Immediately she’s oozing that Yelena Belova charm, there were quite a few things I didn’t like about Black Widow, but I adored Florence Pugh’s performance and I’m so excited we get more than just a glimpse of her in an episode.
She banters back and forth with Kate, promising not to hurt her, and also noting that if she wanted to kill her, Kate would have died before she even fully entered the apartment. Despite being disarmingly cute and affable, it soon becomes obvious that Yelena knows quite a lot about Kate. Between inhaling forkfuls of mac and cheese doused in hot sauce, she points out that she knows a lot about Kate.
She knows about her mother, her dead father, that she’s a senior in university, her GPA, the fact that she’s a double major, and also that she was the one who saved Pizza Dog on the streets a few nights ago (she got a couple points from Yelena for that). But she’s not here for a chat with Clint, she’s here to kill him. She asks Kate why she would risk her life for Clint and how people have forgiven him for his past. Which… is a good question.
Yelena reveals that she’s Natasha’s sister and that Nat saved the world. Her fondness for Clint reveals to Yelena that she doesn’t know the “real Clint”, but on many levels we know she’s wrong. Clint is staying to protect Kate and to protect his family, but she says he’s here to protect his reputation. When Kate points out that he’s still an Avenger, Yelena bristles asking what the word even means. It holds so much power that it makes someone a hero no matter what their actions are. This is, of course, one of the main cruxes of Clint’s discomfort with being recognized and pointed out as an Avenger.
Kate repeats back Clint’s words from the last episode, saying that there is a cost to this job, but calling it collateral damage, which is pretty depressing. Yelena is incensed by this, asking if Natasha is collateral damage. Obviously, we know the truth, but we don’t know what version of what happened on Vormir Yelena knows about. She tells Kate simply, “Truth is, we are defined by what we do, not by nice words. Like it or not, there is no escaping this.”
She remarks that she will not have a tough time completing the hit, which makes Kate wonder who hired her. She thanks Kate for the girl’s night after Kate says she doesn’t know where Clint is. Instead of using the door, Yelena drops out of the window, which is a little dramatic.
Hotel for Christmas?
Meanwhile, Clint has gone to see Grills to drop off Pizza Dog, but obviously, Grills is excited to see him. Although Clint is ready to head to a hotel, Grills offers him a spot on the couch and informs him that there are new outfits waiting for him and Kate. Can’t wait to see that.
Back at the penthouse in the morning, Jack is being arrested, but he seems oddly chipper about it? It’s become clear to me that Jack knows nothing about what is going on and perhaps he’s just a little too nonchalant about this, since, as he says, he has never worked a day in his life. Eleanor tells Kate that she looked into Jack and she was right, but Jack seems confident that he’s innocent and will be out soon. Hope he gets to enjoy the Christmas party.
Meanwhile, at the Battle of New York Memorial, Clint looks at the plaque and speaks to Nat. It’s a pretty stirring performance from Jeremy Renner. Clint takes out his hearing aid and tells her that he’s been doing his best every day to remember her sacrifice on Vormir for the soul stone. He also tells her that he misses her and then apologizes for what he’s about to do.
In her bedroom, Kate decides to call Clint and tells him about everything that’s happened to her in the last 12 hours, about Yelena and Jack. Then it devolves into a pretty insane slew of messages until she fills up his voicemail.
Cut to the tracksuit mafia driving across town and talking when they get an arrow that pierces through their windshield telling Maya to meet where she first met Ronin.
Clint calls home to Laura to update her. Laura notes that they’ve been super careful and they’re so far away, but there’s no place far enough. He needs to end this thing with Maya tonight before “the big guy” gets involved. Laura tells him to follow his gut, to do what he has to do and that she’ll always understand more than anyone ever could.
Blinded by Rage
At night, Clint meets Maya, after taking out Kazi and the fellow tracksuit mafia with ease. He confronts her with his sword and costume. The fight between them is really impressive, I really am enjoying both Alaqua Cox‘s performance and Echo’s fighting style. But Clint gets the upper hand and unmasks himself for her to see. I’m not a fan of how many cuts and edits are always in a Marvel fight, but that is one of their unfortunate signatures.
Instead of killing her, he tells her that the two of them are the same. They are both weapons, and she is filled with rage which is blinding her. That means that she can be used and manipulated. Maya reads Clint’s lips and he tells her that that night of her father’s death, he was tipped off by an informant, someone who worked for her boss. Her boss wanted her father dead. Maya is infuriated and refuses to believe this, fighting Clint and managing to disarm him and get the sword.
Thankfully Kate tracked his phone and shoots the sword out of her hand, giving Clint the chance to escape. The two are rescued by… an Uber driver.
Maya then meets with Kazi and asks why he wasn’t at the meeting the night her father was killed, even though he acted as her father’s second. Looks like Clint managed to plant a seed of doubt, and Kazi looks concerned as well. I mean I don’t want it to be Kazi, since I like him, but given Clint’s comment about him always being in the middle and never being able to rise up, maybe Kazi was angling for a promotion?
In the Uber, Kate tells Clint about Natasha’s sister and Clint reveals that he knows about Yelena. In the morning, Yelena follows Eleanor and finds out some pretty mind-blowing information.
Clint and Kate make it back to Grills’ apartment and have breakfast, and Yelena texts Kate with the news. She found out who hired her. Eleanor Bishop. And then below it is a picture of her mother with … dun dun duuuuun, Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin aka Vincent D’Onofrio! Oh boy, oh boy. I can not tell you how excited I am to see D’Onofrio’s Kingpin back. Daredevil was one of my favorite Marvel TV shows and I was so sad when it was seemingly put on the back burner when the MCU kicked off Disney Plus. Does this mean everyone from the Netflix Marvel universe is now in the MCU? I can’t wait to find out.
- The episode was directed once again by Bert and Bertie, and written by Jenna Noel Frazier, who, funnily enough, was also a staff writer on The Romanoffs.
- I know that there’s some talk about Kazi and Kate having a potential romance since there is precedent for it in the comics, and yes, Fra Fee was looking real good this episode, but I think I enjoyed the chemistry between Kate and Yelena far more. Sure, it was just a girl’s night, but… still. There was a vibe.
- “I know what boxed mac and cheese tastes like. I know it’s… delicious.” We know too, Kate. No one is above a Kraft dinner.
- As a person who lived alone, I can relate to only having one real fork and having a bunch of plastic forks. “I’m one person,” is a very justifiable and sad answer, Kate, but it’s a real one.
- “I don’t have any weapons on me. Okay, I take that back. I don’t have any weapons currently in my hands. That’s a lie also.” Yelena is adorable and also very lethal. Pretty sure those hands also count as weapons.
- It was brief, but hey! A mention of Alexei!
- Yelena loves Christmas in New York like all sane people. She aptly calls Rudolph a super-powered reindeer and then asks for recommendations of tourist destinations to hit during her work trip. Remind us to ask her for her braised reindeer recipe.
- Is Kate just… never going to get questioned by the police? I remember a scene in the trailer where she and Clint are questioned, but Wendy just went and took evidence from the locker so NYPD is feeling lax these days.
- Absolutely unsurprised that Kate has a magazine cut out of Clint pinned to her wall.
- As is fitting with their name, I appreciate that the Tracksuits talk about other cool tracksuit wearers like Run DMC, Tommie Smith, Tony Soprano, and the Royal Tenenbaums. Good to see they’re also Wes Anderson fans. I haven’t noted it enough in my previous recaps, but Aleks Paunovic and Piotr Adamczyk are both great as Ivan and Tomas. I hope we see them again.
- Now that we know Kingpin is behind all of this, is Fat Man Used Cars a name that… he chose? Why would he stick with that name? I have questions.
- In the photo with Eleanor and Wilson Fisk, my main question is why does it look like Fisk is standing in front of a sausage-making machine?
Hawkeye streams Wednesdays exclusively on Disney+.