This week, new Marvel Disney Plus series Hawkeye added another familiar face from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – though possibly not the one you were expecting.
You see, while there was no sign this week of a returning Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), fans weren’t left completely without the Marvel crossover they were hoping for.
Watch out, because there are episode spoilers below.
Who needs crime bosses anyway? This week saw the Hawkeye debut of Black Widow star Florence Pugh, aka super-assassin Yelena Belova. Of course, her arrival wasn’t a complete surprise – in the Black Widow post-credits scene she was set on Clint (Jeremy Renner) by her boss Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) – and she’d been spotted filming some time ago.
Still, it’s good to see Hawkeye commit to this thread, especially given its lead character’s ongoing guilt about what happened to Yelena’s sister Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Endgame. And if you’d forgotten all that, good news – Hawkeye episode four was there to remind you with plenty of flashbacks.
Yelena arrives in this episode masked, so Clint initially assumes it’s Maya Lopez/Echo (Alaqua Cox) that he’s fighting – though it turns out Maya's actually battling Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) nearby.
But as he notices her distinctive Black Widow gear, Clint gets an inkling of the sort of fighter he’s facing. Later, when she’s unmasked, he’s unaware of her familial connection with Natasha, only noting that someone’s sent a Black Widow assassin after him.
Presumably we’ll see Yelena and Clint face off again in the final two Hawkeye episodes, and they’ll both learn the truth about the other (in Clint’s case, it wasn’t really his fault Natasha died) and then Florence Pugh will ride off into the sunset/ other lucrative Marvel appearances.
Still, whatever happens next, the Hawkeye cameo counter is now rising. Your move, Kingpin.