[Ed. note: this post contains spoilers for Hawkeye through episode 4.]
The latest episode of Hawkeye on Disney Plus has the one-time Avenger beset on all sides: A charmingly evil stepdad, an angry mom, a martial arts prodigy, and a mysterious assassin that the show carefully doesn’t name. Yet.
But if you’ve been keeping up on your Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, you’ll know exactly who that was in the black suit and night vision goggles.
Clint Barton went up against a “Black Widow assassin” in the final scenes of Hawkeye’s 4th episode, “Partners, Am I Right?” The killer was disguised in a black costume and a balaclava, but eventually Clint yanked it off, revealing actress Florence Pugh. Which is to say: Yelena Belova, fresh from this spring’s Black Widow.
Pugh starred opposite Scarlett Johansson as Yelena Belova, a fellow Black Widow trainee who went into deep cover with Natasha Romanov when they were both children. The two bonded as sisters, and much of Black Widow focused on the rekindling of their relationship in a way that was clearly paving the way for Yelena to become one more thread woven into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.
After all, in the comics, she’s become the Black Widow herself.
We’ve known for a year that Pugh would appear in Hawkeye as Yelena, but it wasn’t until Black Widow that we found out exactly why. In the movie’s credits scene, Yelena was approached by another new MCU supporting character, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Falcon and the Winter Soldier).
Fontaine handed over a file on Clint, and explained that this was Yelena’s chance to go after the man who killed her sister. The Marvel Cinematic Universe viewer knows that Natasha sacrificed herself as Clint yelled at her to let him do it instead, but it seems that Yelena doesn’t exactly buy that version of events.
The younger Black Widow walked away from the fight this week, but it’s a certainty that she’ll be back sometime in the final two episodes of Hawkeye.