Hawkeye: Ronin
December 15, 2021 2:43 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

I had a really nice description for this episode but it's spoilery. Suffice to say, Clint and his past are on a collision course.

Clint suits up. Kate meets up. Maya is asking. Yelena is seeking. At least one dog learns a new trick.
posted by cendawanita (76 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
(oh English grammar and your plural forms!!)

Anyway, am just here silkscreening my Yelena/Kate banners, obviously.

I'm feeling quite good with this as a penultimate episode. I think there's enough plot to wrap up by next week and enough to seed into other outings/seasons/shows. I guess i have to actually watch daredevil now.
posted by cendawanita at 2:46 AM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


(oh English grammar and your plural forms!!)
Flagged with note, so this may not make any sense for future readers.

I was worried that the reveal that the "big man" is Fisk would have to wait for the last episode, possibly during or after the credits, so it was a relief to have it happen with one episode to go.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 4:18 AM on December 15, 2021


Hot damn this show is so good, every episode leaves me wanting more in all the best ways possible.

The Kate and Yelena scene was pure gold.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 AM on December 15, 2021 [10 favorites]


Wondering if Yelena's experience of The Blip is consistent with what we saw from Spider-Man: Far From Home - Blippers rematerialised instantaneously, in that they were still playing the same note as when they vanished. Peter's recollection in Endgame was that he "got all dusty" and then passed out. Nevertheless it was a cool effect for a TV intro.

Oh and that Kate/Yelena scene sets up a dynamic I want so much for their future Avengers movies.
posted by Molesome at 5:46 AM on December 15, 2021


I had wondered if Hawkeye was really the Ronin that killed Maya's father, figuring that Jack might have been in disguise. It was obvious that Kingpin ordered the hit, though not the specific reasons, so the "big guy" hiring a Ronin imposter to place the blame made sense. But Kingpin would also want Ronin gone in the long run, or at least revenge since his criminal empire was probably affected by Ronin's antics.

Yet evidently it was Clint who did the murdering that night, informed by Kazi for the Kingpin. Probably. I'm still not sure how Jack, Elanor's fiancee, fits into all this. Clint merely said that he was there the night of Maya's father murder, not that it was him. It's all a little slippery slope, but it leaves wiggle room for another potential twist.

Am about 70% sure the watch is Laura's and Kingpin wants it to figure out who Ronin is/was, for revenge. But...something isn't fitting quite right about what we've been shown.

Fun theory I've seen on the interest: Laura was a Hydra agent, not SHIELD, so revealing her identity as such would be much more damaging.

Yelena is 100% right about hot sauce on macaroni and cheese.

However, the BIG question to me if from the first five minutes of this episode. So there are Widows out there that aren't mind controlled, that are hired assassins. Interesting bit of info.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:49 AM on December 15, 2021


Also, be really awesome if people avoid mentioning stuff from Spider-Man: No Way Home.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Mod note: One comment deleted; I know it can be tough to keep straight what counts as a spoiler, but in general let's try to avoid spoilers for other current stuff people watching one Marvel thing will also be wanting to watch
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:23 AM on December 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Peter's recollection in Endgame was that he "got all dusty" and then passed out.

Peter’s experience of it was sui generis as far as we have seen. In that same scene, everyone else who dusts gets a word or two dialogue — “Something’s happening;” “Quill;” “Oh, man;” but Peter gets enough warning and awareness to speak four or five lines. I dunno if that is the Peter Tingle helping him out or his remarkable durability. Of course, superhuman resistance to damage is often a thing in the MCU: if the mutants have existed offstage all this time (which seems increasingly unlikely) and if Wolverine was dusted, he probably took a minute and a half to vanish.

Anyway, back to the episode at hand. I reckoned for a while that The Big Guy had to be Kingpin, but then again I was also certain at the front end of this year that the amazing guest star that Paul Bettany teased in WandaVision had to be Benedict Cumberbatch, not just Paul Bettany In Different Makeup.

Kevin Feige did reveal recently that Charlie Cox is coming back as Daredevil so I figured the door had opened a crack for the Netflix shows, but I was nonetheless pleasantly surprised that Fisk turns up on screen (well... on a screen on screen). You know what this means? More Turk Barrett!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:16 AM on December 15, 2021


Oh and that Kate/Yelena scene sets up a dynamic I want so much for their future Avengers movies.

I thought it was a great moment, while still technically failing the Bechdel test.

I like that with the invocation of the original six Avengers in brass plaque form, the second generation of these characters is inverting the gender ratio: Steve passed the shield to Sam, but we have Kate and Yelena here, while Jane Foster and Jennifer Walters and Riri Williams are all warming up in the dugout.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 AM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


KINGPIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Pendragon at 10:11 AM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Peter’s experience of it was sui generis as far as we have seen. In that same scene, everyone else who dusts gets a word or two dialogue — “Something’s happening;” “Quill;” “Oh, man;” but Peter gets enough warning and awareness to speak four or five lines. I dunno if that is the Peter Tingle helping him out or his remarkable durability. Of course, superhuman resistance to damage is often a thing in the MCU: if the mutants have existed offstage all this time (which seems increasingly unlikely) and if Wolverine was dusted, he probably took a minute and a half to vanish.

I have seen it explained elsewhere that Peter had more of a sense of impending doom because of his spider sense. I'm not sure how canon that is, but it seems to align with how much "Mr. Stark, I don't feel right" time he had before dusting.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:17 AM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


if Wolverine was dusted, he probably took a minute and a half to vanish.

Of course, he and his pants survived Phoenix’s disintegration attempts in The Last Stand, so maybe he was continuously dusting for five years and just getting more and more pissed off about it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


Yelena's point about "good is what you do" is slightly hollow when she literally kills people for money. Even if she didn't, she seems pretty relaxed about the other ex-Widows doing so now that they aren't brainwashed.

I loved the scene and the character in general but that didn't ring true to me as motivation. Even if she considers herself a bad person, it's a weird justification to go after Clint.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:03 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Florence Pugh is so much more engaging a performer than Scarlett Johansson! I feel like we’ve upgraded at the Widow position. (All my love to all the !Nats of fic but ScarJo feels like peak Whedoncasting.)

There was a ton of actual chemistry here, imagine when we throw in Tatiana Maslany as Angry Female Lawyer?!
posted by sixswitch at 3:59 PM on December 15, 2021 [9 favorites]


I thought it was a great moment, while still technically failing the Bechdel test.

They talked about tourism and macaroni & cheese. I think that technically that's a pass, while we're being pedantic.
posted by axiom at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


The conversation was largely about Clint, though, no? Although I agree with Kate that the High Line is great.

We still have very little indication of what the watch is all about. I know someone who is much more attuned to watches than I who tells me that Phil Coulson wore Rolexes. Perhaps with this week* being the week that we connect — at least partly — the Netflix and the Sony Marvel stuff to the MCU, maybe the finale will drag Agents of SHIELD home as well?

*Infrastructure Multiverse Week.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:28 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Florence Pugh. Wow.
posted by kandinski at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


It's so weird that the first time I saw Pugh was as a grief-stricken cult goddess in Midsommar and the second time as a wisecracking formerly brainwashed super spy. (And I loved her in both.)

This role is more fun though!
posted by emjaybee at 4:53 PM on December 15, 2021


1. Florence Pugh was so goddamn delightful here that we had to rewind the scene to watch it twice.

2. Seeing the blip from her perspective was unexpected and super well-done.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:51 PM on December 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


please don't kill grills please don't kill grills please don't kill grills
posted by kitten kaboodle at 7:33 PM on December 15, 2021 [15 favorites]


- It's been said many times many ways, but I still gotta chime in that Pugh is the MVP, and I will indeed start catching up on her other stuff. I'm not so sure about Yelena's ethics, and I'm still wondering how La Contessa fits into this, but I'm likewise hoping that she and Kate are part of Avengers Mark II.

- Are we taking bets on just how evil Kate's mom is? Maybe ending up as someone using the initials MM? (Hope that that's not technically a spoiler, as it's really just speculation.) I know that there's a Whitney Frost in the MCU already, but...

- Just one ep left? Jeepers. Gonna be a lot of stuff happening.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:33 PM on December 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Grills taught Pizza Dog to dance!

Can we make it a new MCU thing that Yelena pops up in every movie/show to make macaroni and talk sightseeing with the protagonist?

Maya and the Bros had a terrible plan for ambushing Ronin, but I found the snowy used car lot set aesthetically pleasing.

Looking forward to seeing the new costumes the designer/seamstress from the larp came up with in the finale.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:37 PM on December 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm still not sure how Jack, Elanor's fiancee, fits into all this.

Right now, he seems like he was just a patsy for Eleanor.

I thought Florence Pugh was fun, but I was judging Yelena super hard for being such a hypocrite about people who kill people. And she hasn't had time to look up the real story on how Natasha died since she popped back?

I have been mostly really enjoying this show more than anything Marvel, including the other Disney+ shows, but the Ronin backstory is really gross. I didn't see Age of Ultron, Civil War, Infinity War, or Endgame so I have no idea how his murder spree was presented but mostly I'm like, Clint Barton - maybe you just don't deserve a happy Christmas.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 9:08 PM on December 15, 2021


I'm rewatching the Yelena scenes again right now. OMG SHE IS SO AWESOME WITH KATE IT'S HILARIOUS AND AWESOME AND I LUUUUUUUUUUURVE HER. They must team up forever. She must be in all movies forever. Her deadpan snark is priceless.

* Making dinner. "I was starving and you took forever."
* "You have ONE fork?" "This is not cutlery."
* "I don't have any weapons on me. (pause) I take that back, I don't have any weapons currently in my hands. (pause) That's a lie also."
* "I'm going to have dinner with the enemy and she made some really good smelling macaroni?"
* "The superpowered reindeer? He is so weird. Have you ever eaten reindeer? No, it is not a pleasure."
* "Thank you for the girls' night, truly."

And she hasn't had time to look up the real story on how Natasha died since she popped back?

I do wonder what's going to happen when Clint and Yelena finally talk. He's literally the only person who knows what happened, but also, she's so unlikely to believe it, right? Was that even publicized, because Clint doesn't seem like the sort who would even talk about it to the public?

I didn't even figure out it was the Blip the way they filmed it exactly, I was dumb and didn't quite figure it out until um, reading this thread :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:18 PM on December 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Maya and the Bros had a terrible plan for ambushing Ronin, but I found the snowy used car lot set aesthetically pleasing.

Indeed, but they were so hapless and seemed to be collapsing in reaction to nothing visible at all that I wondered if somehow we had a Scott Lang guest star appearance.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:23 PM on December 15, 2021


the Ronin backstory is really gross. I didn't see Age of Ultron, Civil War, Infinity War, or Endgame so I have no idea how his murder spree was presented

Entirely by rumour and report, really. These are PG-13 movies from Disney (and it is limited to one scene in Endgame, by the way). There are a couple of secondhand reports by people vaguely alluding to a dreadful scene. The most graphic it gets is in this single scene when we see a yakuza boss pleading/threatening/cajoling when Ronin has him dead to rights. We see a merciless Clint strike the deadly blow and I mean that is exactly what we see: he has a sword in his hand and he strikes at the offscreen victim who we presume has died. I don’t think we even see any blood.

For a worldwide murder spree that terrorized the underworld on multiple continents, it is less grim than a Pirates of the Caribbean movie and you could have missed the entire thing if you’d gone to get popcorn at the right spot at around the one-hour mark.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:41 PM on December 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


but I was judging Yelena super hard for being such a hypocrite about people who kill people. And she hasn't had time to look up the real story on how Natasha died since she popped back?

I didn't read it as herself not judging herself though. FWIW, MCU!Yelena is very pragmatic so far in her outings. It's more of her contempt at Kate's still-solid wide-eyed belief that Clint is good. Like, Yelena was doing that Natasha thing of communicating via comedy but in that meeting, she really didn't think much about that rich kid prodigy even though still warm and open enough to consider her final parting shot (also much like Natasha in the MCU).

And yeah, i genuinely don't think Clint fully debriefed anyone else on what happened in Vormir. What's niggling is how much Yelena understands how close Clint and Natasha had become in the years of separation from Nat. Canonically she never really got the opportunity right? In any case, I personally still don't think much of MCU!Val but that's more my personal preference turning against casting 'funny people' and not doing much with them beyond 'be funny!'. (Why yes, i did watch Eternals again.)
posted by cendawanita at 9:46 PM on December 15, 2021


After all the false leads in Wandavision, it's such a damn delight for the clues to mean exactly what it looked like they meant! Kingpin was the most perfectly cast Marvel role since J. Jonah Jameson, and I'm so happy big Vincent and Wilson have been reunited.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:10 PM on December 15, 2021 [12 favorites]


The opening sequence of going through the Blip was intense and unexpected, possibly the most interesting thing of all the MCU television shows. Curious to see how Yelena's macaroni endorsement will drive up sales, I know I was sorely tempted to make a batch at 2am as I watched the show...

So much to wrap up in the last episode—it needs to be a lot longer and less enigmatic than the last few if they want to stick the landing.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:53 PM on December 15, 2021


I haven't watched this series, no idea what's going on, but dropped in now for Yelena and she didn't disappoint. Love that she's still wearing a vest in the opening scenes, and how you can see the little 8-year-old who loved her life in Ohio in the enthusiasm for a bunch of cheesy New York landmarks. Florence Pugh flows so effortlessly through Yelena's myriad emotions and I watched that scene a couple times just to enjoy her being her.

She was brilliant in The Little Drummer Girl, and I think I'll be making that my holiday media rewatch of choice this year.
posted by myotahapea at 1:40 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a great moment, while still technically failing the Bechdel test.

Does it ... need to pass? Asking honestly. Yelena’s parting comment aside this was not a “girls’ night”: These two women met in a fight involving Clint, and Yelena's only reason for being there was to find out where he was. How are they supposed to avoid talking about a man under those circumstances?

but I was judging Yelena super hard for being such a hypocrite about people who kill people. And she hasn't had time to look up the real story on how Natasha died since she popped back?

Just because she was making those arguments doesn't make her a hypocrite. It's quite likely she sees herself as just as much of a killer as she sees Clint. But that's not the argument that's going to convince a naïve kid who idolises a guy she's known for a week to think critically about why she chooses to rationalise any bad things he’s done and see him simply as a hero, and unequivocally Good.

I don’t think Yelena has any illusions about her past and how it made her into who she is. The way she said “We are defined by what we do, not by nice words. Like it or not there is no escaping this” and her expression afterward seemed to show she was speaking as much about herself as Clint. And the difference she was pointing out was the same one she put to Natasha in Budapest: “I’m not the killer that little girls call their hero.” She’s not saying that Clint’s a killer and she’s not; she’s tearing down Kate’s black-and-white definitions of Hero and Killer.
posted by myotahapea at 3:18 AM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


And re: the 'real story' about Natasha's death, as I left that bit off:

I'm not surprised Yelena doesn't do a lot of independent vetting on the intel Elaine gave her; she's adrift and grieving, having lost five years of her life and the person most important to her in one blow. I can absolutely believe that being handed the opportunity to (dare I say it?) avenge her sister would be pretty difficult to resist, and that she wouldn't be very motivated to look that gift horse in the mouth. Especially as it's likely nobody knows what went down between Clint and Natasha before she died, and Yelena seems to have got all the info on Clint's extracurriculars and the trail of blood he left behind him during his years of actually being the 'bloodthirsty vigilante' Kate's so quick to assume Yelena is.
posted by myotahapea at 5:54 AM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


I'm not surprised Yelena doesn't do a lot of independent vetting on the intel Elaine gave her

Yep and this'll probably be bonding point between her and Clint, that they're both being used in their rage and grief as weapons.

Which is kinda disappointing narrative wise, at least for the character of Clint. It does him redeemable from murdering gangs of very bad people, but it also feels like a bit of "trick" to him that way. It robs him of his own motives in this, which are much more interesting IMO. Choosing to kill criminals who survived the Blip when his own family, who have done no wrong (at least the kids), makes a certain emotional sense and it was his choice to do so.

Implying he was manipulated into murdering criminals hits different and not in a great way. It's similar to knowing that Anakin Skywalker was manipulated into murdering kids, I can't see him as anything other than weak person who betrayed his others and himself and thus isn't very fearsome.

I don't feel the same way about Clint's manipulation, as he did choose to only hit criminals, who were probably profiting in all the chaos after the Blip. And he was under some hellish emotional strain.

Thor was under different emotional strain, feeling guilt for costing the lives of half the universe because he didn't hit Thanos in the head. But his rage and guilt turned on to himself, where as Clint lashed out. It was a focused lashing, with probably greater good implications, but yeah, he lashed out.

Which doesn't mean he's not worthy of forgiveness or being a good person.

But I do wish the MCU delved more into questions being asked by what Clint choose to do instead of relieving the character of some his actions by making him manipulated into his actions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on December 16, 2021


She’s not saying that Clint’s a killer and she’s not; she’s tearing down Kate’s black-and-white definitions of Hero and Killer.

I didn't mean she was hypocritical because she was claiming she wasn't a killer, but more that she was being incredibly smug and judgmental with Kate (let me tear down your beliefs, stupid little girl) for someone who murders people for a living. The hypocrisy comes from being a bad person but thinking you can judge and lecture a good (but naive) person for their own good.

But I have no investment in Yelena since this is the first time I've met her, and I'm obviously more emotionally invested in Kate than Yelena, who, although amusing, turned me off by being such a smuggy.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 6:47 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as presented in IW, Ronin doesn't seem too far off from what is basically mainstream comic morality - a vigilante killing bad guys. I mean, that's the title character in a few dozen series, y'know? And yet the MCU tries to paint it as "OH NO CLINT! waily boo your pure innocent soul!"

Say what?

Anyhow, this has turned out to be pretty fantastic. I can't believe it's only 6 episodes, but if it were a Netflix 12 we'd have spent the first 4 or 5 episodes just tooling around college with Kate, I expect. Which, fine, Hailee is great and all, but this has felt pretty tight.

If you're looking for more Florence Pugh, I can't recommend The Little Drummer Girl enough.
posted by Kyol at 7:16 AM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


I didn't see Age of Ultron, Civil War, Infinity War, or Endgame so I have no idea how his murder spree was presented but mostly I'm like, Clint Barton - maybe you just don't deserve a happy Christmas.

A primer, because this show plays around quite a bit in those stories, which I guess is a necessity as Hawkeye's moments are peppered at most throughout the MCU:

Age of Ultron: We meet Clint's family and discover, along with everyone except Natasha, that Clint in fact has a family. Natasha is tight enough with the Barton's to assume that their next child is going to be named after her. Point is, Natasha and Clint go way back. Towards the end, when they're fighting for the floating city of Segovia, Clint has a great moment with a young Wanda Maximoff, establishing a bit of a father-daughter dynamic.

Civil War: The Avengers are suffering a PR/International Law crisis following a mission gone sideways and a tragedy that no one in their right minds would blame on Wanda, which means everyone is blaming it on Wanda whether they say so or not. While tensions are rising between the Iron Man and Captain America factions, Wanda is being held under house-arrest-by-any-other-name at the Avengers Compound, with really only Clint and Vision to guard her, since they're the two people who have any real connection with her. When push comes to shove, Wanda has to escape their however-well-intended captivity, and since she proves herself powerful enough to outclass Vision, Clint doesn't really stand much of a chance. Clint ends up incarcerated with several other Avengers on The Raft - a maximum security prison for wayward superheroes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This is widely seen as Tony's fault, and while there is at least some grey area there, that's more or less accurate.

Black Widow: Sticking this here because it's where it fits in the Chronology of things. Natasha is on the run from the same folks who captured Clint (and Ant-Man, Falcon, and Wanda.) In Budapest, she runs into her sister Yelena (in reality, both girls were stolen from their mothers and placed as the "family" of two Russian spies living in Ohio, but it's the closest thing to family that any of them have, so...) At the end of the movie, Natasha runs off to break folks out of The Raft, and Yelena to free as many Black Widows as she can from the mind control they've been acting under. In a post-credits scene, we see Yelena visiting Natasha's memorial in Ohio, where La Contessa propositions her about killing Clint claiming that he was responsible for Natasha's death.

Infinity War: I think this one's Clint-free, actually. Wanda and Vision are still on the run, and in the end Wanda comes about as close as anyone to stopping Thanos, but instead gets the pleasure of first killing Vision in order to destroy the mind stone, then watching Thanos reverse that with the time stone and murder Vision himself. Thanos succeeds in wiping out half of all living creatures in the universe with "The Snap."

Endgame: Opens with a chilling scene of Clint with his family out on the farm, when the Snap erases all of them but him. The remaining Avengers (minus Clint but plus Captain Marvel and Nebula) find a severely-weakened Thanos and kill him. In the five years that follow, Natasha has taken charge of holding everything together for everyone, and is getting regular reports of Clint's vigilanteism against organized crime under the guise of Ronin. When she eventually catches up to him in Japan, it's clear that he's taking out his grief on those who he believes were less deserving of surviving the Snap than his family was. In the "time heist" that forms the arc for much of the movie, Natasha and Clint are on the mission to Vormir to collect the Soul Stone, which they come to not realizing that the only way to get the Soul Stone is with a sacrifice of a loved one. Both of them believe that they should be the one to die to acquire the stone, Natasha believing that if they succeed, Clint will have a family to go back to, and Clint believing that he deserves to die for all of his actions as Ronin and that there may be some redemption in doing so. They struggle, with each one attempting to pay the cost, and Natasha of course "wins." Clint returns with the Soul Stone, a lot of fighting happens, not a lot of mourning Natasha happens, and they succeed, turning "the Snap" into "the Blip," an action which ends up killing Tony. In returning the infinity stones to their original places in the timeline, Captain America decides to hang out in the past and make up for lost time, and so is ancient by the time he gets back to the present, leaving Hulk, Thor and Hawkeye as the remnants of the original Avengers crew.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:25 AM on December 16, 2021 [7 favorites]


Seeing Endgame as written really reminded me of the bullshit the final cut had with no mourning/wake from the gang for Natasha esp with Tony having such a comparatively extravagant one (in screentime not presented cost). This episode goes a long way for me in addressing that, which still feels like a misstep in the story economy to me.
posted by cendawanita at 8:52 AM on December 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


I am so goddamn happy to see Vincent D'Onofrio back as Fisk. Daredevil is as good as the best films of the MCU and everybody in that cast was amazing. I hope we get to see more of them come back.

Also, this episode was a lot of fun. Yelena is wonderful. And if they don't market Trust A Bro hoodies and merch they're just leaving money on the table.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:19 AM on December 16, 2021 [5 favorites]


I loved that the one Trust-a-Bro considers Chas Tennenbaum to be a model of tracksuit badassery.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:22 AM on December 16, 2021 [9 favorites]


I thought it was a great moment, while still technically failing the Bechdel test.

The point of the Bechdel test is to show an incredibly low, easy-to-pass bar that Hollywood still overwhelmingly fails. Whether the test should be interpreted strictly or loosely is up to the viewer, afaik.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:32 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised Yelena doesn't do a lot of independent vetting on the intel Elaine gave her;

How WOULD you vet it? Literally we have ONE witness to what happened and any vetting depends entirely on him saying something and whether or not you believe him, and I don't think you could get her body back out of the pit on another planet to check it either. I presume Countess Whozums reasonably assumed that two people left and one person returned and then proceeded to hint and make some implications in Yelena's direction, presumably aiming her like a gun.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:44 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Clint isn't known for being a liar, so there's real reason not to believe him.

Besides, it's very unclear what information Val told Yelena and the latter is acting more from grief and rage that pure logic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:06 AM on December 16, 2021


It's unclear what Val told Yelena, yeah. Yet Yelena contacts Kate at the end because she finds out the hit came from Eleanor, and Fisk is right there. It's kinda hard to believe that Val doesn't know who Fisk really is, and probably Eleanor, too. There's a whole chain of causality here I hope we'll see laid out, but that hope isn't high.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:13 AM on December 16, 2021


I thought the whole point of Yelena not being great at believing Clint can actually be a good guy is more about revealing how she feels about herself. A lot of what she did was because she was brainwashed and can kind of be handwaved away. Clint was also brainwashed so can relate but not while he was Ronin.

I struggle with the tone of this so much. All of the Kate scenes are sort of goofy, silly oh I got punched and have a bandaid now and all of Clint's scenes are so grimdark this might be the last time I ever speak to my kids that it gives me whiplash every few minutes. My understanding is that Clint dies in quite a few runs of the comics and the actor wants out so it would seem like they are setting that up but there's no way Disney kills him off in a Christmas episode 3 days before Christmas right? So ultimately I think the tone they're going to set is going to be a happy Kate joining his family after her mother's betrayal so he can truly become her mentor. But man, everytime he gets a text or calls his wife it feels like that's it, that's his last call.

I wonder if Yelena and US Agent are actually going to be villains for Kate's Young Avenger team. Having her kill Clint would definitely cement her as on the other side. I fear that might have been the original plan but as with Loki, the fanbase falling in love with the performance might have skewed the character's trajectory.
posted by M Edward at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


presumably aiming her like a gun

Heroes being aimed like weapons at dubious targets seemed to be the theme of this episode, really. Beyond Yelena's pursuit of Clint, there's Clint's explanation for taking out Maya's dad, there's the way Kazi seems to be using Maya, and there's Eleanor's plans for Kate (which based on what we see seem to have been brewing since Kate was a child and first picked up a bow.)

I don't think the MCU is in the habit of aiming for Shakespearean tragedy, so we'll see where all this goes, but I'm guessing there'll be just enough communication for some last minute twists towards happy-ending-ville.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:28 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Bringing Kingpin, from the Daredevil show, feels like a pretty specific sort of "this might be grittier than you expected it to be' move.
posted by M Edward at 11:32 AM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


Or it could be Fisk? Oh, no no my name is Bohner.
posted by M Edward at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Usually, in properties like this, every actress has perfectly smooth, unblemished skin. I don't think any of the actresses in this show can be described as having skin like that. It's so refreshing to see people looking more like people than airbrushed plastic dolls.
posted by sardonyx at 11:52 AM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


I am 100% here for Young Avengers if it has Kate and Yelena.
Also, I am 200% here for the bad russian accents in this show.
posted by signal at 12:22 PM on December 16, 2021 [6 favorites]


While tensions are rising between the Iron Man and Captain America factions, Wanda is being held under house-arrest-by-any-other-name at the Avengers Compound, with really only Clint and Vision to guard her, since they're the two people who have any real connection with her. When push comes to shove, Wanda has to escape their however-well-intended captivity, and since she proves herself powerful enough to outclass Vision, Clint doesn't really stand much of a chance.

That's...wildly inaccurate. In the wake of the Sokovia Accords ( which for people who haven't seen Civil War is forcing anyone with super abilities to read a phone-book-sized legal document and agree to be controlled by the UN), the Avengers end up on different sides about agreeing to the terms that were sprung on them with no notice. Clint decides to retire. He isn't involved in putting Wanda under house arrest; that's Tony's decision, because he was apparently involved with the Accords being created and he considers her a weapon of mass destruction. When Captain America's side is trying to stop a different threat and deal with the Accords situation, Cap calls on Clint to retrieve Wanda from the Avengers compound and pick up Scott Lang (Ant-Man) as well to help them. When Wanda asks what Clint's doing there, he even says, "Disappointing my kids," because they had family time planned, but it's more important to save the world. (He does go up against Vision, but it's that Wanda uses her powers to protect him by overpowering Vision.) Clint was never her jailer.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:36 PM on December 16, 2021 [7 favorites]


kitten kaboodle: You are of course correct. This makes him ending up onthe Raft make way more sense. I've seen the MCU a lot during the pandemic, but clearly Civil War is not one that I can recall all the details of. Thanks!
posted by Navelgazer at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


Well, Civil War sucks, so it's totally understandable! Every time I think about how we could have had an Up All Night to Get Bucky sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a little part of me dies. I mostly have seen it so much because I am an MCU Cap junkie and I can't help myself, but the fact that it's basically Iron Man 4 and Tony has more fucking screen time than Steve turns me into a homicidal nutjob.

I seem to be in a minority of MCU fans who like Clint, but I also have loved him from comics, so. I haven't always liked what they've done with him (still hate the complete screeching-to-a-halt Insta!Family we got blindsided with but that I suppose I should have seen coming what with Whedon's love of the awful Ultimates), but I never hated him the way so many people seem to. But I thought it was emblematic of the contempt for various characters the Russos had that there was just a brief conversation between Clint and Wanda in Endgame mourning the loss of Natasha and Vision, like they were the only people who cared.

I'm interested most to see what happens when Yelena and Clint do come face to face, being as they both still mourn her and loved her.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:12 PM on December 16, 2021 [6 favorites]


I'm also in that minority, and didn't expect to like Clint, but damned if that scene between him and Wanda in Age of Ultron didn't sell me on him (Age of Ultron itself is a hot mess, but almost all of the elements of that mess are interesting enough, and central to the whole MCU story, that I kinda love it anyway? Basically Ultron himself is the real problem with that movie.) I have virtually no background in the comics, though, so Clint's family didn't feel off to me - it felt apt for the character Renner is playing.

I'll be surprised if Clint dies in the finale - not because the MCU wouldn't do that as a general thing, but because they've done a lot of set-up with his family in this and that'd be a fucked up and cruel way to end things for those characters - but I'll be even more surprised if Yelena kills him. I'd find it much more likely that, if he's to die, he dies saving Yelena.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:23 PM on December 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


I watched the credits all the way through this time (I like "You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch" ) and noticed that there was an outline of Kingpin at the very end. Was this the first episode with it, or just the first time I noticed?
posted by fiercekitten at 5:17 PM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


first one - a nice little nod to Kingpin.
posted by drewbage1847 at 6:08 PM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


The point of the Bechdel test is to show an incredibly low, easy-to-pass bar that Hollywood still overwhelmingly fails.

The test is also really only helpful in the aggregate, ie. 25% of films passed this basic test this year, how long until it improves? Passing or not passing an individual film/individual episode/individual scene isn't really that helpful. It doesn't tell you anything about the quality of the film/ep/scene.

We're watching a show called Hawkeye - about Clint Barton - which could also be about passing the torch to Kate, but in the meantime, how are these characters supposed to get through this story without talking about men and Clint, in particular, in this scene?

Given that this show called Hawkeye actually is filled with incredible female characters makes me less interested in whether it passes the Bechdel test. This particular episode was dominated by these female characters to a great extent. People have done studies on speaking roles for men and women in films and it's still overwhelmingly men. This episode tips the scale to women in a big way and the whole show has been pretty balanced all the way along.
posted by crossoverman at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2021 [12 favorites]


PR/International Law crisis following a mission gone sideways and a tragedy that no one in their right minds would blame on Wanda, which means everyone is blaming it on Wanda whether they say so or not.

For what it’s worth, “right minds” is not necessarily a concept that applies to MCU plotting. The pivotal scene of Civil War where Secretary Ross runs footage of past movies and shows the carnage in New York, Washington, Sokovia, and Lagos has a running counter of casualties along one sidebar. The total human cost to save the world twice (from aliens and Ultron), to stop Hydra once, and to keep Rumlow from getting away with the McGuffin WMD was three hundred deaths.

This is fewer people worldwide than the number who died in traffic accidents in the two and a half hours you spent watching Civil War.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:27 PM on December 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


she was being incredibly smug and judgmental with Kate (let me tear down your beliefs, stupid little girl) for someone who murders people for a living. The hypocrisy comes from being a bad person but thinking you can judge and lecture a good (but naive) person for their own good.

‘Murders people for a living’ is … a bit much.
Yelena was under chemical subjugation throughout her time as a Widow, robbed of free will and forced to do Dreykov’s bidding. Once she was freed from that she helped destroy the Red Room and then went about freeing the other mind-controlled Widows until she was snapped away. She accepted a one-off job to kill Clint because she believes he’s responsible for Natasha’s death; there’s no indication this is her new career path. Her surprise that the former Widow in the opening scenes chose to continue as an assassin would seem to corroborate this.

If anything felt tedious about that conversation it was Kate’s side — lecturing Yelena about how this guy she barely knows is a hero and anything bad he might have done is okay because he’s a good person, telling this woman she knows nothing about that she’s the bloodthirsty vigilante and that Yelena's knowledge has to be wrong because it contradicts her own opinions, her stating that Clint is an Avenger as though that ends the discussion because it means that he is de facto above reproach.
Kate’s a sheltered rich kid who pretty clearly holds the rather immature belief that because she likes Clint, he has to be good and because Yelena challenges that belief, she’s wrong and therefore bad. Yelena put a lot of hard questions to Kate, many of which she clearly hadn’t thought about before, and I thought Yelena dealt with her pretty kindly, all things considered. She needed a dose of cold water, and Yelena gave it to her in the only way that would get through her privileged bubble and hopefully make her start thinking about things more critically.
posted by myotahapea at 12:51 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


They keep saying "someone's hired a Black Widow" so often that I think she's doing it for herself, without being hired by anyone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:12 AM on December 17, 2021


She accepted a one-off job to kill Clint because she believes he’s responsible for Natasha’s death; there’s no indication this is her new career path.

I don't think there's been any indication that this is one off for Yelena. It's not clear what she's been up since coming back, unless I'm forgetting something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


I thought it was strongly implied in the Black Widow post-credits that Yelena and Val had a long-established working relationship.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:22 AM on December 17, 2021 [2 favorites]


kitten kaboodle: "Well, Civil War sucks, so it's totally understandable!"

I liked it, it's certainly a LOT better then the comic-book Civil War event (damning with faint praise, I know).
The airport scene, though! The Spider-Man reveal!
It was a lot of fun.
Of course, I'm not really invested in Cap or Bucky, so YMMV.
posted by signal at 6:21 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


I seem to be the only one who thought Yelena did the drop-in on Kate because she was scoping out Kate herself in addition to trying to get intel on Clint. From Yelena's perspective, her visit to Kate genuinely was a girl's night. Kate may not be Black Widow program deadly but she's a complicating factor. It also seems as though Yelena got the combat specialist training and not the infiltration specialist training that Natasha got. Natasha seemed to have a hard time relating to people as opposed to manipulating them (Clint being one of the rare exceptions, which is why they were so close) but Yelena seems have a hard time relating to people period. Her "genuine" emotional connection with Natasha (in quotes only because it was originally based in a cover identity) is so important to her because it's just about the only emotional tether in her life. I also note that in both the Black Widow movie and the flashback, a little token hand to hand and then food and shop talk appears to be what passes for social interaction from widow program veterans. Yelena is desperately lonely and who else does she have to talk to? Kate is female, close to the same age, and is at least vaguely in the same line of work. I read a lot of that interaction as Yelena doing the world's worst job of trying to bond.

Without Clint as a point of contention, I could see an alternate universe where Yelena helps Kate brush up her combat skills and Kate does the same thing Clint did for Natasha, teaching a Black Widow how to human.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:07 AM on December 17, 2021 [15 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that there's no way Yelena wouldn't love the High Line.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:35 PM on December 17, 2021 [10 favorites]


Just to point out that Yelena is described in Black Widow as the most prolific child assassin in history and that was before the chemical mind-control. She has a particular set of skills, a degree of moral adaptability, and a need to pay the bills. That she is a charming and funny murder-machine should not distract from the murder-machine part. Sure a lot of this is result of being raised by the Red Room and she still may have a redemption arc ahead of her but she is not Nat and has yet to express a desire to be a hero. This may be true of most of the freed Black Widows.

I think the watch is tied to Fury and the Moonbase. That may be where the Barton family is normally to be found, though I do not give that idea a lot of weight.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 9:08 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]


Kate’s a sheltered rich kid who pretty clearly holds the rather immature belief that because she likes Clint, he has to be good and because Yelena challenges that belief, she’s wrong and therefore bad.

Kate's first glimpse of Clint was when he was fighting aliens who were invading New York right in front of her. While she certainly is a sheltered rich kid, I don't think it's a mark of naivety to believe that the guy you literally saw saving the world is in fact a guy who risks his own life to save the world, which by most peoples' definition = a hero. Also, Kate's convinced that Clint would never kill Natasha and....she's absolutely correct. Yelena knows Clint even less well than Kate does, which makes her pretty poorly positioned to be the one giving her the "but how well do you really know this guy?" speech, even setting aside Yelena's own morality issues.

Anyways, mark me down as another person who found Yelena kind of offputtingly smug in this episode. She got some fun lines, but as a character she's living heavily off of goodwill she earned in the Black Widow movie but hasn't earned here.

I'm excited for Kingpin but I definitely have reservations about how/if they're going to be able to Disney-fy the Netflix Kingpin without spoiling the magic. Part of me wants to go back and re-watch Season 3 of Daredevil as a refresher and part of me worries that might just make the difference between Disney and Netflix Kingpin too glaring.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:33 PM on December 18, 2021 [4 favorites]


To be fair though - for both Kate and the audience, we've both been heavily presented with the idea of Clint as hero (naturally). While mostly off-screen, Clint's actions as Ronin are apparently bad enough to set whole criminal syndicates against him and bring him to Natasha's attention and have her fight to give him a chance to redeem himself. (And now there's the seemingly added info that Kingpin seems to have pointed him at Maya's dad in a play to consolidate his own post snap power, which won't help Clint's guilt one single bit)
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:53 PM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


There is the theme that all the main characters are human weapons of one kind or another: It's explicitly an equivalence that Clint makes with Maya; Yelena, obviously; I suspect that Kate was being raised that way by her mother, albeit subtly.

Which is a bit heavy for a Christmas show, but still. I expect Clint to make it home for the big day, but wonder who goes back with him.
posted by Grangousier at 3:04 AM on December 20, 2021


A big theme of Christmas is family, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he brought Kate and Yelena home with him.

Definitely not Maya though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:05 AM on December 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Lucky the Pizza Dog, definitely.
posted by Grangousier at 8:52 AM on December 20, 2021 [6 favorites]


Really need Clint+fam+Kate , maybe Yelena, to have a warm n cozy Christmas together. Clint needs to tell Yelena all his best Natasha stories.

Can't see how we can get there in one episode though :(
posted by emjaybee at 3:04 PM on December 20, 2021 [2 favorites]


Reports say it’s going to be the longest MCU episode so far at 59 minutes.

So they have plenty of rinway to stick this landing and I’m confident they will.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on December 20, 2021


The thing about CA:CW is that it's basically an Avengers movie, introducing Black Panther, MCU Spidey, and Baron Zemo, and missing Hulk and Thor, because if they'd shown up to the Berlin throwdown then it would boil down to a Hulk vs. Thor fight. (Which we had before in the first Avengers movie, and got anyway in Thor: Ragnarok.) Also, according to ScreenRant, Cap got a minute more time than Tony, FWIW. (Not much of a solace for Cap or Stucky fans, I know.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2021


Am I the only one who was reminded of Villanelle and Eve’s “dinner date”?
posted by Mogur at 10:00 AM on December 23, 2021


I don't think there's been any indication that this is one off for Yelena. It's not clear what she's been up since coming back

So in the absence of information about what she's been doing since being freed from the brainwashing that forced her to be an assassin, we should assume she's chosen of her free will to keep working as an assassin?
posted by straight at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2021


Just to point out that Yelena is described in Black Widow as the most prolific child assassin in history and that was before the chemical mind-control.

I don't remember the details of the red chemical, but it seems pretty clear that Yelena was subject to severe conditioning in her childhood and I did not get the impression she was choosing to see that as her true self and planning to go right back to assassinating at the end of Black Widow. The conversation she has with Val in the credits scene could be interpreted as the sort of spy stuff Nick Fury would have said to Steve Rogers ... "We found the guy who was really responsible for Bucky's brainwashing...we want you to take him out." [Viewers: Steve doesn't do that...but Bucky?!]

Given Yelena's hero status in that movie the feel is, "She's gonna fight Hawkeye and then she'll figure out Val is evil and they will team up," rather than teasing the origin of a Hawkeye villain.
posted by straight at 7:58 PM on December 28, 2021


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