In the penultimate episode of Hawkeye, Clint faces his sins, Kate has dinner with an assassin, and "the big guy" is finally revealed. Spoilers ahead!
This episode begins with another strong cold open. Some time after the events of Black Widow, Yelena is on a mission to give the antidote to brainwashed Black Widows. She finds a Widow who isn’t brainwashed—in fact, she’s rich from working as a mercenary. After Natasha is brought up, Yelena excuses herself to the bathroom where she is snapped to dust, then almost instantaneously blipped back to life. Here, everything is shown from the snapped person’s perspective. Yelena witnesses the room changing around her, the paint peeling away as she reappears. Yelena comes out from the bathroom, learns she’s lost five years, and immediately thinks of Natasha. But she’s returned to a world where her sister is gone.
Returning to our present story, Kate comes home with her tail between her legs, having been rejected by her hero. Her mother patches her up and tries to get her mind off it. Every moment Eleanor Bishop is onscreen it feels like she’s planning something nefarious, especially when speaking to her daughter. What is she planning?
Kate also tells her mother she and Clint discovered Jack owns a suspicious shell company. Eleanor doesn’t look the least bit surprised or concerned, but promises her daughter she’ll look into it. I’m surprised Kate wasn’t more curious about her mother’s nonreaction.
Meanwhile, Kazi patches Maya up and promises to help her kill the Ronin. There almost seems to be an unnecessary hint of romance between the two of them, probably inserted into the story to make Kazi’s betrayal all the more upsetting for Maya.
Kate returns to her apartment to collect her things. There she encounters Yelena. The ensuing conversation is the bulk of this episode and one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. Yelena’s unrivaled confidence and charm dominates every scene she’s in, and it’s all thanks to Florence Pugh’s amazing performance.
Yelena invites Kate to share some macaroni and cheese with her. She giddily tells Kate it’s her first time in New York and begins going on about the sights she’ll see. In this moment, Yelena appears closer to the wide-eyed, childish younger sister she was in Black Widow. Her excitement is adorably fun to watch, but it doesn’t last long. She has an air of danger surrounding her at all times, even when she’s acting sweet. It’s this paradox that makes her a delight to watch.
Yelena then announces she’s here to kill Clint Barton. She asks why Kate cares so much for him. Ever the Hawkeye stan, Kate immediately jumps to his defense, naively justifying his actions because he saved the world. Yelena retorts that her sister Natasha Romanoff saved the world. The two argue over Clint’s morals, and Yelena makes some solid points. Clint’s killed so many people, yet he faces zero repercussions for it. Kate’s defense that he’s an Avenger feels hollow. Clint can’t just automatically be forgiven for his murderous escapades. I must admit, I was siding with Yelena by the end of the scene, even if Clint didn’t kill Natasha.
Yelena leaves with a warning to Kate not to get in her way again. Kate then goes home to find her mom turned Jack in to the police. This moment is especially confusing. I still can’t figure out where Jack stands. Is he a villain? Is he innocent? Was he really working for Kingpin or did Eleanor actually frame him? The Hawkeye finale needs to give us answers.
Clint proceeds to visit the plaque commemorating the moment the original Avengers assembled to fight the alien invasion in New York. (The plaque is pretty cool, though you’d think something as big as the first Avengers assemblage would deserve a bigger monument.) After delivering a message to the Tracksuits and calling his wife (who mysteriously tells him she’ll “always understand more than anyone else ever could,” which seems like another hint that she used to be the agent Mockingbird), Clint is ready to face Maya.
The fight occurs in an empty parking lot at night. Clint drags Tracksuits under cars and attacks them from the shadows in a style reminiscent of the fight choreography from the Marvel Netflix show Daredevil. Clint and Maya finally face off, and while she holds her own, it feels like Maya’s been depowered from her comic version. I hope her photographic reflexes from the comics are showcased in her Disney+ show.
Clint overpowers Maya and reveals himself as Ronin. Alaqua Cox's reactions throughout this scene are amazing. Clint takes off the mask and tries to say they’re the same because they’re both weapons, which feels like a shallow attempt at getting Maya off his back. They are not the same. As far as we know, Maya hasn’t killed anyone. Maya’s vendetta against Clint was personal, not some assignment she received from her boss. However, Clint has killed many people, and none of those people had personally harmed him—he was simply taking out his grief on “bad guys.”
Not all of the “bad guys” were really even bad guys. From what we’ve seen in Hawkeye, Maya’s father was kind. We never saw him do anything “bad”, so it makes Clint’s murder of him even more atrocious. Clint explains to Maya that he was tipped off by Kingpin’s informant (implied to be Kazi) about the Tracksuits like it somehow absolves him of murdering Maya’s father. He doesn’t appear to feel any remorse over what he’s done.
Clint then threatens to kill Maya if she comes after his family. What happened to Clint seeing the good in people, especially in women turned into weapons like Natasha and Wanda? The lack of regret Clint shows toward Maya seems to directly contrast everything we’ve seen from him before. I wish we could see more of his struggle with guilt rather than hearing him repeat to Kate that he’s not a role model and then seemingly being okay with that. Shouldn’t he be trying to better himself for his family rather than returning to the violence of Ronin?
This Hawkeye episode ends with Clint and Kate reuniting. Kate receives a text with a photo from Yelena exposing who hired her to kill Clint Barton. It was Eleanor Bishop. And who’s standing next to her in the photo? It’s none other than Kingpin, played by Vincent D'onofrio. We can rejoice! This means Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock/Daredevil can’t be too far behind. I anticipate Kingpin’s in-person appearance in next week’s finale. Though, I can’t imagine how they’ll tie up all these loose ends by the end of episode 6. There are so many things happening in this show; I hope the finale gives us a satisfying conclusion.
Hawkeye is currently streaming on Disney+.