It’s that time again. Hawkeye is here and that means we’re ready to break it all down. The newest episode, “Ronin,” is heavy on character beats and lighter on Easter eggs. But it still had some fun nods and references as well as a lot of interesting connective tissue. Plus we get a huge reveal in the episode’s final moments, so make sure you’ve watched before you read on.
Back to Black (Widow)
The episode begins with voiceovers from the Black Widow movie. Yelena and Natasha talk about the Black Widow program and the way they freed their fellow widows.
So That’s Where Yelena’s Been
From there the show jumps back to 2018. We see Yelena and another widow, Sonya, who’ve been curing their colleagues. But when they attempt to help a woman named Ana, they learn she was never brainwashed. She just loved killing people, apparently. Even still, she chats with them about their plan and how it’s going. But when Yelena goes to wash her hands, she’s shockingly blipped thanks to Thanos. But we’ll get to that in a minute…
It’s Probably Nothing But We Thought We Better Mention it
Before we get to the Blip, which we see here in a whole new light, let’s talk about Ana. While there’s no Black Widow called Ana in the comics, there is a Black Widow character who was a neighbor of Natasha. While it seems like it might be a coincidence, she was a beaten woman who struggled under the brutality of her husband. And when Yelena and Sonya go to save her they state that they thought she was the prisoner of an abusive rich man. So it seems like a nod.
It’s not just Ana either. There’s also a potential Secret Empire connection here too as Sonya could be a reference to a character with the same name who was part of that villainous organization. Hawkeye has taken a lot of joy so far in bringing in vital character names—like the Death-Throws being repurposed as the LARPers—in new guises, so we had to include this one too.
What It’s Like to Be Blipped
When we see Yelena get blipped, she turns to dust as we’ve seen many times before. But what’s completely new and cool here is that we see her come back. For those who’ve been blipped it was mere seconds and they were back almost instantly. Or at least that’s how it felt to them. As we rejoin Yelena in Ana’s apartment, we’re back in the present and so is Yelena.
Avengers No More
You know how we love to look into an outrageous number here at Nerdist and our first one appears in Kate’s apartment. As she and Yelena have a little tête-à-tête about macaroni, we see that a clock in the background is at 5:03. That’s actually a really important number in Avengers canon. Why? Well, Avengers #503 was the last issue of the ongoing title before a relaunch. See, at the end of that series the Avengers were Disassembled… just like they are in the MCU. Fun!
“My Daddy Says It’s Good for You”
As Yelena tries to feed Kate, she references her dad, the Red Guardian. Apparently he says that mac and cheese is good for you, which… sure! It’s also a little nod to Black Widow, where baby Yelena asks for mac and cheese for dinner. Also, is anyone else sensing some chemistry between Yelena and Kate? Could this be the MCU’s newest queer ship? We’re here for it.
Is Jack a Good Guy?
Sorry but it seems incredibly easy for Eleanor to prove Jack is a criminal. As he’s arrested he promises he’ll clear his name and that he’s been framed… and we believe him. Could Eleanor have used her handsome beau to hide her dodgy dealings? By the end of the episode we’ll be about 100% sure that is definitely the case! How could she?!
One of the unexpected things that Hawkeye has been most concerned about is the legacy of Black Widow. That comes into play even more here as Yelena begins to set Kate straight about the reality of who saved the world. Once again, this is about memorializing Natasha and reminding us all of Clint’s violent past as Ronin. That also continues as Clint goes to the Avengers Memorial to talk to his dead best friend.
The Battle of New York Memorial
“On this site in 2012 during the Battle of New York, the Avengers first assembled. Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Thor Odinson, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton.” It’s also numbered as NYC Historical-Cultural Monument 325. If you’re wondering what Avengers issue that could correspond to, then strap in, you’re in for a ride. The 1990 issue #325 features a party thrown by Sersi at Avengers Mansion. A nefarious set of villains brainwashes the service staff to kill the heroes and their guests. Maybe this is foreshadowing for Eleanor’s Christmas party, but it also could be a random number. Either way, check out this absolutely bonkers ’80s issue.
We finally get a confirmation of the year here: it’s 2024. That’s confirmed by the invite to Kate’s mom’s Christmas party. There’s also some names like Missy Parker, a set decorator on Hawkeye and The Avengers. Love the crew shout-outs these shows build in so well.
Oh No, Not the Big Guy
Clint calls Laura and quickly mentions “the big guy” again. Clint seems to think that if he doesn’t end the battle tonight then the “big guy” is going to get involved. This definitely seems like another Kingpin nod, but why would he have anything to do with Ronin? Unless Ronin was actually working with or for Kingpin. That would line up with Kingpin being the one behind Maya’s dad’s death like he is in the comics. But it would add more questions to the Ronin persona, seeing as Kingpin is the most famous crime boss in New York. Another more simple option could be Nick Fury getting involved with the watch being lost if Laura was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. But why would Clint be scared of him? We think this is definitely another Kingpin tease.
“I’ll Always Understand Better Than Anyone Ever Could”
The reason for Clint calling Laura is he now thinks he has to kill someone else. It seems like he’s planning to kill Maya, which please don’t do that. Laura shockingly supports his vague murder insinuations, and then after another mention of the watch says “I’ll always understand better than anyone ever could.” Laura! That sounds like something an assassin would say. Basically, this definitely supports our theory that Laura has a shady violent past.
The Truth Behind Echo’s Trauma
During another epic fight sequence in which Alaqua Cox once again cements herself as an action star, a horrible truth comes out. According to Clint, her father’s death was ordered by her boss who tipped off Ronin. And it was done via one of his lackeys. Maya begins to put two and two together when she realizes that Kazi wasn’t there the night of Ronin’s attack. But could it really be her best friend and her father’s number two? It would be a heartbreaking reveal if so.
Ahhh, it finally happened. The man that we’ve been worried about the whole time—even earlier in this piece—has finally arrived. The Kingpin is here. Played by none other than the icon, the legend Vincent D’Onofrio. Yes, the Netflix Marvel TV shows are now canon and Kingpin is our connector. The worst part is that the reason we see him is through a text from Yelena. She claims that Eleanor was the one who hired her to kill Clint. Sending a photo as proof, Kate asks Clint who the man is in the picture with her mother and of course… It’s Kingpin! Wow.
Thanking Those All Important Creators
Only one new name this week and it’s John Romita Sr., the co-creator of Kingpin alongside Stan Lee, who’s already thanked for his co-creation of Hawkeye.
The credits also confirm a couple of things: Kingpin is being played by D’Onofrio which we thought, but the photo was blurry so nice to get that confirmation. And this week we met Detective Rivera who is another cop character from the Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero run. She first appeared in Hawkeye #2 from 2017.
Featured Image: Marvel Studios