Eye for an Eye

Hawkeye Episode 4 ending foreshadows a Young Avengers team-up

These two will definitely cross paths again.

Hawkeye Episode 4 ends with an important confrontation. While infiltrating Maya Lopez’s (Alaqua Cox) apartment, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) are ambushed by none other than Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). The character, who was sent after Clint in Black Widow’s post-credits scene, attempts to take the Avenger down before retreating.

However, before Yelena makes her quick rooftop exit, she and Kate have a small but noteworthy interaction, one that not only mirrors a conversation from earlier in the episode but also suggests that their futures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be more intertwined than fans think.

The Shot She Didn’t Take — At the end of Episode 4, Kate Bishop gets the chance to fire one of her arrows at Yelena, but she doesn’t take it. Yelena, sensing Kate’s arrow pointed at her back, turns to look at the young archer and simply shakes her head. This prompts Kate to lower her bow, and Yelena escapes moments later.

It’s a sequence that feels purposeful and important, though it’s not immediately clear why. Given Yelena’s relationship with Clint, it seems like it’d make more sense for her first Hawkeye scene to end with an interaction between her and the Avenger. Instead, it concludes with Yelena and Kate sharing a moment.

Why?

Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in Hawkeye Episode 4.Marvel Studios

A Future Friendship? In the first half of Episode 4, Kate asks Clint to name the best shot he’s ever made. His response? “The one I didn’t take.”

Clint then tells the story of how he first met Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) when he was sent to murder her, and how he stopped himself from taking the shot. Instead, he helped her escape the Black Widow program, and the rest is Marvel nerd history.

It’s a conversation that feels especially important given the circumstances of Kate and Yelena’s later interaction. Kate gets the chance to take a shot at Yelena but, like Clint with Natasha, she doesn’t take it.

Kate points her arrow at Yelena’s back in Hawkeye Episode 4.Marvel Studios

Even on its own the moment is significant, like Kate is realizing what it would mean to take a life. But let’s consider the larger context. If Kate and Yelena truly are the MCU’s second-generation versions of Natasha and Clint, which they’re currently being positioned to be, then their interaction suggests that a bond similar to the one shared by their predecessors is going to grow between them.

That makes sense considering the characters are being set up to be two of the MCU’s most important players. Kate, in particular, is expected to play a central role in whatever Young Avengers-style crossover Marvel is planning, which could end up being part of Avengers 5. While Yelena has never been a member of the Young Avengers in the comics, she’d work as a member of the MCU’s version of the team, which is expected to include characters like Kate, America Chavez, and Patriot.

Taking all that into account, Kate and Yelena’s interaction at the end of Episode 4 feels like the prologue to a relationship that could become an important one over the course of their future MCU appearances.

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Hawkeye Episode 4.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — Right now, Yelena and Kate are being positioned to be on two different teams within the MCU. Kate is expected to be a core member of whatever Young Avengers or West Coast Avengers group ends up emerging on-screen, while Yelena seems poised to be a part of the Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts-style team Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is putting together.

However, the Black Widow post-credits scene implies that Yelena isn’t entirely happy working for Valentina. We can only imagine she’ll be even less thrilled with the arrangement after discovering that Val lied to her about Clint’s “involvement” in Natasha’s demise. So it’s worth asking if Kate Bishop will help Yelena defect from the MCU’s Dark Avengers to its Young Avengers.

It certainly feels like a possibility, and it would nicely echo the direction that Natasha and Clint’s friendship took. Kate and Yelena’s first interaction feels like a purposeful callback to Clint and Natasha’s first meeting, so there’s no reason to believe their relationship won’t continue to be influenced and informed by what’s come before them.

Hawkeye is streaming now on Disney+.