The Big Guy Makes an Appearance in Hawkeye’s “Ronin”

Episode 5 of Hawkeye is out, and confirms what we all expected: that Wes Anderson exists in the MCU.

 

Recap

The episode opens in 2018, as Yelena (Florence Pugh) and ex-Widow Sonya (Yssa Mei Panganiban) break into a home in order to free another Widow, Ana (Annie Hamilton). After the two use the antidote on Ana, it is revealed that she was not brainwashed, and instead chose to live her life doing contract work. Yelena, Sonya, and Ana sit down to talk about Yelena’s work freeing other Widows. After discussing her plans to reunite with Natasha, Yelena heads to the bathroom. As she washes her hands, we see the Blip from her perspective: as Yelena turns to dust and then reforms, the room changes all around her, and five years have passed in an instant.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Back in the present, Kate returns to Eleanor’s penthouse following the rooftop fight with Maya and Yelena. Eleanor helps disinfect Kate’s wounds; Kate brings up the evidence against Jack. Eleanor replies that she will look into it, and assures Kate that she is the most important thing in her life. Meanwhile, Kazi helps Maya dress her wounds, and reiterates she needs to end her quest for revenge before she gets hurt.

Kate returns to her burned-out apartment to find Yelena there, making macaroni and cheese. Although at first she is suspicious, Kate realizes that Yelena could have killed her as soon as she walked through the door, and agrees to sit down to talk with her. They discuss local tourist attractions before the conversation turns to Yelena’s mission to kill Clint. Kate reaffirms that Clint is a good person, but Yelena tries to convince Kate that she does not truly know who Clint is. She says that it was Nat who saved the world, and that Clint is responsible for her death. Kate suggests that Yelena should look into whoever hired her to kill Clint.

As Kate and Yelena talk, Clint shuffles down the street with the duffel bag full of arrows. He heads to Grills’s apartment, where Grills has been looking after Lucky the dog. Grills informs him that the new costumes are finished and invites Clint to stay on his couch. Clint accepts and immediately falls asleep.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

The scene shifts back to Eleanor’s penthouse. Kate returns with her bags to find Jack being led away by police to answer some questions. Eleanor tells Kate that she looked into it, and that Kate was right; Jack claims he’s been framed, and states that he will be back in time for Eleanor’s Christmas party. The next day, Clint is standing outside of Grand Central, where there is a plaque denoting the spot where the Avengers first assembled. Clint removes his hearing aid and starts talking to Natasha. He opens up about his grief and asks her to forgive him for what he is about to do.

Kate wakes up in her room and looks around at the trophies and bows from her childhood. She makes a decision to call Clint. As Kate leaves a half dozen voicemails on Clint’s phone, Ivan (Aleks Paunovic) and another Tracksuit bro (Piotr Adamczyk) drive through the streets in a ‘Trust a Bro’ moving van. They pull into a nearby parking lot, and an arrow lodges into the windshield with a message for Maya. It is an invitation to meet the Ronin at the place where they first met.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Clint phones Laura and tells her that it is only a matter of time before the “Big Guy” gets involved. Back at Fat Man Auto Repair, Maya stands outside with dozens of Tracksuit grunts hiding in the shadows. Kazi waits on a nearby rooftop and watches Maya through the sight of his rifle before he is knocked out by Ronin. One by one, each of the Tracksuit Mafia are taken out behind the used cars. Ronin appears; he and Maya fight. After knocking her to the ground, Clint reveals his face underneath the Ronin hood. He tells Maya that they are the same, that they’re both weapons that can easily fall into the wrong hands. Clint also reveals to Maya that it was her boss who originally wanted her father killed. Maya denies this and lunges at Clint, but is stopped by an arrow from Kate.  Kate and Clint reunite and hop into an Uber as Maya makes her escape on a motorcycle.

In the car, Kate recounts her meeting with Yelena to Clint. Meanwhile, Maya confronts Kazi about the night her father was murdered, and demands to know why he wasn’t there. Yelena tails Eleanor as she enters a building.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Kate and Clint return to Grills’s apartment for breakfast. Kate receives a text from an unknown number, who is assumed to be Yelena. The text reveals that Yelena was hired by Eleanor Bishop, and includes a photo of her mother meeting with the big guy: Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). The credits roll to You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

 

Commentary

Wow, the opening. Something that I really appreciate about the Disney+ shows is that they give each story room to breathe and expand on the events of the MCU movies. It is these smaller, more intimate character moments—rather than the big action sequences—that really sell me on the shows’ potential. Each of the series so far has tackled the repercussions of the Blip in ways ranging from personal trauma to the large-scale geopolitical effects. Like Monica Rambo’s introduction in WandaVision, this episode showcases just how terrifying, disorienting, and heartbreaking it would be to live through the Blip. There is no closure for loss, no justification for five years stolen out from your life. In many ways, the fictional experiences in the Blip have only become more relevant to our own reality in the years since Endgame. Many of us feel a sense of loss: for time, for experiences, for who we were before, and most importantly for the loved ones who we could not see—or those who we lost—over the past two years. The last thing I want is a show about the pandemic; but seeing characters that I love, many of whom are heroes, live and grapple with similar experiences is reassuring and even cathartic.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

On to the rest of the episode. The scene with Yelena at Kate’s apartment was fantastic. Not only do Florence Pugh and Hailee Steinfeld have great on-screen chemistry, but Pugh perfectly strikes the balance between comedy and intimidation. The acting in this scene is spot-on, and I really enjoyed their conversation. Marvel, please let them team up!

I also really appreciated the scene in front of the memorial to the original six Avengers. In some ways, I feel this series feels more like a final send-off for Natasha’s character than the Black Widow movie. This episode also left me curious as to how Nat’s death was made public. It’s easy to believe that the details of what precisely happened on Vormir weren’t shared, but I do wonder just how much Yelena knows, or if Valentina even understands the whole truth. Regardless, it seems like we will keep hanging the events in Endgame over Clint until he learns how to do better PR.

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Although we didn’t see too much of Maya in this episode beyond her appearances with Kazi and her confrontation with Clint, her time on screen was impactful. The scene of her lipreading and Clint’s clumsy ASL was well-acted, although I do wish they would include some wider shots of the signing. She is definitely now suspicious of Kazi, and I’m curious to see how her story is resolved.

I have a lot of questions following this episode, but I don’t expect them all to be answered in this series. Who was Ana working for? In the end credits of Black Widow, it is implied that Yelena is working with Valentina—is that how they get connected? Does that mean Eleanor went through Valentina to secure a hit on Clint Barton?

However, there are some questions that I hope are answered in the finale. In this episode, it is revealed that Kate’s mom, Eleanor, has been working together with Kingpin. Is Jack really involved with Sloan LTD, or did Eleanor frame him? Who was the informant who tipped off Ronin to the location of the Tracksuit Mafia, the night that Maya’s father was killed—perhaps Kazi? It appears that Eleanor is now the big bad, or at least co-big bad with Kingpin. Did she kill Armand III, and use a sword to frame Jack? It’s likely, given their earlier argument and her incredibly shady ties. (Side note: I’m really glad they kept D’Onofrio, who played Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil, for the role.)

Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Unlike some of the other Disney+ shows, it seems like Hawkeye is actually setting up to deliver on a lot of what was hinted at and promised throughout the series. Although it may not have as many ramifications for, say, the Multiverse, I think that so far Hawkeye has been the most well-paced and consistent of the bunch. It has the right combination of heart, plot, and self-awareness balanced throughout well-acted and engaging scenes. Onward to the finale!

Asides

  • I really liked the use of binding and disinfecting wounds as moments of intimacy between characters.
  • Yelena loves a dramatic exit (what a poser).
Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

  • The delivery on Jack’s “This is all a big misunderstanding, I’ve never worked a day in my life” made me cackle.
  • “New and improved Statue of Liberty”
  • “The super-powered reindeer, Rudolph”
  • The Tracksuit Mafia is hilarious.
Hawkeye, season 1, episode 5, Ronin

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

  • Yelena’s outfits…*chef’s kiss*
  • I think it’s kind of funny how Clint’s style is far more dramatic and Samurai-esque in the Ronin suit. What a diva.
  • When Kate and Clint leave the fight in the Uber, Clint is obviously no longer wearing the Ronin suit, but also isn’t carrying a backpack…where did it go??
  • The end credits had the silhouette of Kingpin over the city skyline was a great touch.

Annika Rollock is a forever student and sometimes-writer working on her PhD in aerospace engineering. She enjoys comics, cycling, cephalopods, and coffee. Stop by her Twitter for space content and the occasional meme!

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