My favorite part about the Hawkeye show has been how self-contained it all feels at times. Telling a good story well, and not making it a step in a series of films and movies, it's a noble cause for entertainment. And then Hawkeye episode 5 just changed all of that.
So, of course, this is your spoiler warning! This story contains big plot points about Hawkeye episode 5, and its ramifications upon upcoming Marvel movies and series.
Because for as much as we already knew what was going to happen, this episode got me more than ready to keep my Disney Plus subscription going.
The next Avengers team already has me hooked
Sure, I may be the type to stay up until midnight to buy Spider-Man: No Way Home tickets, but I wasn't really excited about a Young Avengers or new Avengers team. There is something about the Phase 1-3 Avengers that I think Marvel may have a tough time replicating.
And then I watched Yelena Belova repeatedly address Kate as "Kate Bishop" and mock her for nearly everything she could think of. All while the tension of Yelena having been sent to kill Clint being in the air. In this moment, I realized that the new Avengers — and let's all be honest, there will be a new Avengers team — will be just fine. I guess my concerns centered around how all we really knew about this team was the admittedly decent banter between Sam Wilson (coming back as Captain America) and Bucky Barnes (nearly a given to return as well) that was a highlight of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
For Yelena and Kate to pivot from fighting to getting to know each other, we see that the forming of the next team of heroes is starting. Yelena's on her way to joining the forces of good, too, as we heard when she acknowledged that Bishop is the kind of person who saves a dog from moving traffic.
But to hear Yelena tell Kate that she only has one fork! For a Black Widow assassin who is always on the run to mock Kate's admittedly single-serving life? And for Yelena to promise she didn't "break" anything after breaking into the apartment? It all refilled my optimism about the future of the MCU.
So, as Yelena said, thank you, Kate Bisho, for the "girls night." I can't wait to see how this pairing of a new Hawkeye and a new Black Widow (if they use those names) turns out.
Netflix's Defenders are free to enter the MCU
While Hawkeye episode 5 addressed the "blip" for Yelena, the other "blip" is finally over — Netflix's Marvel characters are finally back — and I'm pleased as punch. After Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage all disappeared from TV in 2019 (right before Disney Plus launched), one of their biggest baddies just came back, right on Hawkeye's phone screen.
Yes, Vincent D'Onofrio returned in photo-form as Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin and underground crime lord who, as it turns out, employs Eleanor Bishop (who herself hired Yelena Belova). Before we move past this to how cool it is, we have to ask about La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) aka Madame Hydra (in the comics) aka "Val," who seemed to be the one who hired Yelena. I guess Eleanor put out the hit through Val, or vice versa. Another "who's behind this?" reveal in the makings.
While Kingpin appearing in episode 5 was already practically spoiled well in advance, this reveal has me jumping up in the air at the possibilities. Having recently rewatched all the old Spider-Man movies, I've become nostalgic for how much New York was a big character in those films. So, bringing back the Defenders (and yes, some if not all are coming back, starting with Daredevil) will be a great way to ground the MCU in some of its heroes that tell more contained stories.
The big reason why I like this reveal is that there are so many upcoming Disney Plus shows that would make good places for us to reconnect with these heroes. The announced Echo show seems like a perfect place for D'Onofrio to flex his chops as Kingpin, and I could easily Daredevil joining forces with Echo to fight Kingpin — not only because episode 5 heavily foreshadowed Echo joining the side of good, but because it would just be cool for the blind Daredevil and the deaf Echo to work with one another. Also She-Hulk is prime space for Jessica Jones. As for Luke Cage? Put him anywhere, I'm in.
While you could give these characters new solo projects to reintroduce them — we at Tom's Guide think these are likely variants of their Netflix versions — the Defenders seem like a perfect kind of seasoning for lesser known MCU characters getting their own shows. The first four MCU shows (WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki and Hawkeye) were all about giving more depth to characters we'd already met.