The penultimate episode of Marvel’s Hawkeye is here, and there was a lot in this episode to unpack. The standard was set for the series in last week’s episode, “Partners, Am I Right?”, and Episode 5 may have even gone above and beyond that.
Florence Pugh made her full-length episodic debut in Hawkeye as Yelena and it was nothing less than a triumph. Her disappearance and return in the blip during the events of Avengers: Endgame. It added additional context to the impact of Thanos’ grand plan, and the fact that Yelena’s first thoughts when returning from the blip were of her sister will make fans incredibly emotional. Yelena as a New York tourist was also a huge mood. Her wish list of tourist attractions including the Empire State Building the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree and Kate’s (Hailee Steinfeld) recommendation of the Christmas market in Union Square made me for one want to book a flight to New York City immediately.
Yelena’s introduction to Kate Bishop was phenomenal. It was also important that Yelena gave Bishop a reality check in relation to her hero worship of Barton. It’s arguable Barton has never faced consequences for his actions in Avengers: Endgame as the Ronin. To have Yelena question the very meaning of the Avengers, and make clear that “we are defined by what we do, not by nice words”. Kate and Yelena had such incredible chemistry right from the very beginning, and we can only hope we see even more of them, since they would no doubt be important influences on each other.
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) continued to have his character development after being in the background to his superhero colleagues for so long. In this episode, that took the form of Clint reflecting on not only his previous actions, but continuing to grieve the loss of his best friend, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson). In a callback to the events of The Avengers, Barton visited the plaque commemorating the Battle of New York. The fact that the score from ‘Vormir’ has been used in Hawkeye just makes the references to Natasha’s sacrifice all the more emotional for fans.
Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) and Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) continue their scheming as Jack especially continues the mustache-twirling villain routine. We’ll see if he returns from prison and can convince the powers that be if he’s an innocent man. With a pointed reference to Walt Disney’s famous line, “Keep Moving Forward”, Eleanor continues to establish herself as a puppet master with a much bigger plan in the works. If Eleanor teams up with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julie Louis-Dreyfus), it’s going to be absolutely everyone’s problem.
Fans also got to see even more of the relationship between Maya (Alaqua Cox) and her deputy Kazi (Fra Fee). Maya continues to lead the Tracksuit Mafia, who in this episode made a solid The Royal Tenenbaums reference. This relationship has such incredible potential to lead the next generation of Marvel anti-heroes. Hopefully, they will not fall through the cracks of Marvel villains and anti-heroes past. There is so much setup for development, and fans know Marvel loves a good redemption arc.
The big moment from this episode, however, was the confirmation that Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) has made his entry into the Marvel universe. He has been one of Marvel’s top villains across all of the movies and TV shows and to have him incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is definitely the right call. Between this episode and whatever Spider-Man: No Way Home will give us when it’s released this weekend, it seems we are set for Daredevil supremacy. Honestly, I for one recognize our new Daredevil overlords, and think that this is exactly what the fans deserve.
Hawkeye has set fans up for an epic finale featuring a final boss fight for the ages. We got to see Clint go full Ronin, and the villains are set and ready to go. We have the heroes teamed up, and all we’re missing is seeing more of Linda Cardellini who has been a wild card this whole time. This continues to be an amazing time to be a Marvel fan, and it would be absolutely phenomenal to see Hawkeye stick the landing.
New episodes of Hawkeye air Wednesdays on Disney+.