Laura Barton has always been the unsung hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Clint introduces his family to his colleagues in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we didn’t learn much about them. As soon as they appeared they Blipped away for years, leaving Clint to take on the Ronin persona. Now, they’re back, and in Hawkeye Laura seems to fill the role of beleaguered housewife, constantly calling her husband to see when he’ll be home.
But in Episode 4 it becomes clear that Laura is far more than just the voice of familial responsibility. In fact, she might be the reason Kate and Clint got caught up with the Tracksuit Mafia to begin with. Here’s how Laura may have a secret backstory we never knew about.
Episode 4 finally brings back the Avengers artifact that started the series — the Rolex watch that was lifted from the secret black market auction. Clint asks Laura to find it, and she seems especially interested in where it ended up.
Later, Clint tells Kate that the watch belonged to — and is still tied to — someone he used to work with who’s been out of the game for a long time. “Their cover is blown? No more friend,” he tells Kate. It’s curious he uses gender-neutral language. Clint isn’t the wokest Avenger, so this choice must be to hide the identity of this person whose friendship is at risk.
Could this “friend” be more than a friend? We never learn how Clint and Laura met, and it’s not like an Avenger has much time for casual dating. It would make sense if he met Laura through work, so maybe she has a history with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers.
One possibility is Mockingbird, aka Bobbi Morse, an Avenger who in the comics eloped with Hawkeye and served on the West Coast Avengers. Mockingbird appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the MCU version could’ve been forced into hiding years ago and assumed the name Laura.
Maybe this is why Laura couldn’t join Clint in New York with the kids — she’s still in hiding, and New York is too high profile for her to visit safely, especially on the arm of an Avenger. Moving to a remote farm is a strange choice for a hero’s family, but maybe it wasn’t really a choice at all if it was the safest possibility for Laura.
Regardless of who Laura Barton truly is, there seems to be more to her than just making gingerbread houses and taking phone calls. Why would Clint care so much about this watch unless it belonged to someone he really cared about? Hawkeye revolves around Clint trying to keep his family safe, and next to the Rolex was notes about Laura and the kids.
Why would Echo and the Tracksuit Mafia be interested in the Rolex, and Ronin, and Clint’s family, unless all three are connected somehow? It doesn’t seem like they know Clint is Ronin, so the notes about his family are more likely to be connected to the watch.
The Inverse Analysis — Having Laura be more than just Clint’s emotional support is a long-awaited change for the MCU. Laura’s been dismissed because of her lack of abilities and screen time, but maybe she was an Avenger we just never had the pleasure of seeing in action. At least, not yet.
Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.