The previous episode brought Yelena into the fray, a development that threatened to end the partnership between Kate and Clint. But of course, you can’t keep two unreasonably accurate archers away from each other for long, and Clint’s insistence that he works alone rings about as accurately as Batman’s, a self-professed loner who has trained a half dozen Robins.
The opening scene shows us a snapshot of Yelena’s activity since the events of Black Widow. She has been continuing her mission of freeing Widows from the control of the Red Room, but gets interrupted by the Blip. She comes back five years later only to learn from Madame Hydra that Clint is responsible for her sister’s death. Now she has been hired to kill Clint, a man she wanted to kill anyway, by an unknown client in a convenient twist that hindsight will show she probably should have looked into more. In her effort to find Clint, she tracks down Kate for a hilarious mac and cheese filled conversation.
Yelena highlights to Kate just how little she knows about Clint. She reminds the young archer that Ronin is a serial killer of epic proportions which… is a fair point. For her part, Kate challenges Yelena to look deeper into just who hired her.
Jack Duquesne is arrested thanks to Eleanor finally listening to her daughter’s warnings. Clint, meanwhile, begins setting his affairs in order. He visits a Battle of New York memorial to apologize to Nat for taking up the Ronin identity again, and confirms with his wife that he will do everything he can to put an end to Echo’s vendetta against him without escalating to the point that “the big guy” gets involved. Still no word on who the big guy is, but I think we all know what’s going on by now.
Ronin confronts the Tracksuits, easily dispatching Echo’s minions and finally knocking her to the ground. While she lays helpless, Ronin unmasks himself instead of killing her. Although she resists his attempts to parlay, he explains that in his rage as Ronin he let himself be manipulated. He believes that Echo’s father was set up to be murdered using Ronin as cover, and tells Echo that he received word of the meeting from someone in her father’s organization. He finishes with a warning to leave him and his family alone. She attacks, still furious with Ronin, but is disarmed by Kate Bishop and Clint escapes.
A bewildered Echo ponders this new information, later asking Kazi why he wasn’t at the meeting the night her father was murdered, despite his high position in the organization. Barton and Bishop reunite at an apartment belonging to Grills, one of the LARPers, as Yelena messages Kate to tell her who hired her: Eleanor Bishop. She sends a photo of Kate’s mother next to Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin.
I think this was the best episode of the series so far. Yelena Belova’s entrance gives the show a new twist, and her happy vigilante personality makes her conversation with Kate a delightful bit of exposition. Clint’s decision to take up Ronin’s identity again, only to subvert it by revealing himself to Echo is some welcome development for a character that absolutely needed some. This episode also sets the wheels in motion for Echo to discover the true power behind her father’s death. And of course, we have learned that Kate’s mother isn’t exactly an innocent bystander in all of this considering she hired a freakin’ Black Widow assassin to kill and Avenger and is working for Marvel’s undisputed champion of the criminal underworld.
Episode six has plenty to tie up, and plenty more to set up for further MCU projects. Young Avengers, Echo, and Madame Hydra’s team are all potential branches from Hawkeye. Not bad for the hero with the least amount of screen time in the first Avengers movie.