So… who really hired Yelena again?
To the surprise of no one except Kate, “Ronin” reveals that Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) is the true villain of the series. Moreover, she’s also pretty good pals with the Kingpin, and may have set up her own fiancée, Jack Duquense, as a patsy. On top of all of that, Yelena texts Kate that Eleanor was also the one who hired her to kill Clint.
Wait… what?! That sure doesn’t seem right. Because as explained last time, the end credits for Black Widow revealed that it was Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine who told her Hawkeye was responsible for Natasha Romanoff’s death. Either Yelena is lying, misinformed, something more is going than we realize, or this is a massive continuity error. Considering Yelena explained who she was to Kate and why she wants Clint dead, she isn’t lying to Kate now. And although she is mistaken about how her sister died, she’s a very effective intelligence gatherer, as evidenced by how quickly she found Kate and knew so much about her in less than 24 hours.
That leaves the possibility that there’s more going on than we initially believed. If Eleanor Bishop was attempting to call either Kingpin or the Contessa in the previous episode, then that places the post-credit epilogue from Black Widow set around the same time as episode 4 of Hawkeye. This would also mean that the Contessa, rather being an independent operator, actually works for or is partners with Wilson Fisk.
During our “Hidden in Plain Sight” series on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, you may recall that the Contessa recruiting John Walker may have been the start of the MCU’s take on the “Dark Avengers” and Dark Reign, in which a group of super-villains take on the mantles of superheroes in the aftermath of the Civil War and Secret Invasion storylines. During said storyline, the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was then renamed H.A.M.M.E.R., was long-time Spider-Man archenemy Norman Osborn, a.k.a. the Green Goblin. Osborn also headed a secret cabal which included Doctor Doom, Namor, Loki, and the X-Men’s Emma Frost. He also had a personal assistant by the name of Victoria Hand, who was depicted as having a distinctive red streak in her hair.
Since Osborn doesn’t exist in the MCU (yet), it’s possible that for Marvel Studios’ take on Dark Reign, the Kingpin has taken his place. This also reinforces the notion that the MCU version of the Contessa is actually a composite of her comic book counterpart and Victoria Hand. Either way, it looks as though, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the bad guys are back in charge and running everything from the shadows. We shall see how much reach it has when the season finale of Hawkeye debuts on Disney Plus this Wednesday, December 18.
Any other clues or Easter Eggs in Hawkeye, episode 5, that we might have overlooked. Point them out to us in the comments section below.