The latest episode of Hawkeye, "Partners, am I right?", surprised viewers with the return of a major character that is likely to be a big player within the MCU going forward. It's something many of us have suspected for quite some time, so it's finally great to see their return.
Warning: spoilers for Hawkeye alongside potential future spoilers for the wider MCU as a whole
After last week's episode introduced Maya Lopez aka Echo, all eyes were squarely focused on the character's mysterious "Uncle". Since then, speculation has been rife that this would yield the return of Vincent D'Onofrio's much-loved Kingpin. The supervillain is known for adopting Echo in the comics after all. As a result, it was a bit of a surprise to see Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) show up during the final few minutes.
If you're not already familiar with Yelena, she's essentially the sister of Natasha Romanoff, just not by blood. Trained as a spy and assassin, Yelena is a Black Widow exactly how Nat was, however, the pair separated when the latter got out of the Red Room (a secret Soviet-Russian training program). The two then reconciled their differences and took down the Red Room together in the 2021 Black Widow film. So how does this all connect to Hawkeye?
During the post-credits scene for Black Widow, Yelena is seen working for Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and is told by the Contessa that Clint killed Nat and assigns him as her next target. Pugh had already been confirmed to appear in the Hawkeye series next but with all of the rumours circling about Kingpin, it was easy to forget her appearance.
It's unclear at this point whether Yelena is working with Echo to take down Clint, or simply out for blood by herself. Hawkeye himself is still dealing with the loss of Nat, after opening up to Kate in a candid conversation about halfway through this week episode. The consequences of Nat's death (while not Clint's fault) and his time as Ronin will likely come to a climax over the remaining two episodes. Will we also see who exactly "Uncle" is and whether Kingpin is back? We'll have to wait and see.
Hawkeye episode five will premiere on December 15th exclusively across Disney Plus. This is also the same day that Spider-Man: No Way Home debuts in UK cinemas, so will we see a tie-in? A recent leak suggests yes we will.