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‘Hawkeye’ Episode 5 raises questions about Kate’s mom. Here’s her backstory

a woman and man in formal wear
Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) and her fiancee Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) in “Hawkeye.”
(Chuck Zlotnick / Marvel Studios)

This story contains spoilers for Episode 5 of “Hawkeye” on Disney+.

Now that things have gotten even more complicated for our favorite archers on “Hawkeye,” it’s time to talk about Kate Bishop‘s mom.

The pieces of the Marvel puzzle started falling into place in Episode 5 of the Disney+ series — titled “Ronin” — and not a moment too soon. The episode kicks off with a flashback that reveals Yelena (Florence Pugh) had been part of the populace that was erased from existence during the blip caused by Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and reversed five years later by the Avengers in “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).

The new information adds a bit more emotional heft to Natasha’s sacrifice and Yelena’s grudge against Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), but it’s not even close to the episode’s biggest revelation.

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Those familiar with the events of the “Black Widow” post-credits scene know that Yelena didn’t just set off to hunt Clint down on her own. She was hired by someone to kill him.

“Hawkeye” proudly touts its comic book influences. Use our guide to understand what Kate Bishop, Maya Lopez and more bring to the MCU.

It turns out that someone is a character viewers have already been introduced to: Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga).

Not only does Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) learn her mother has put a hit out on her hero in the final moments of the episode, she is also informed that mommy dearest has been hanging out with someone pretty dangerous and powerful.

An image Kate receives from Yelena shows Eleanor with the Kingpin, who according to Clint is the Tracksuit boss he’s been worried about all along. It seems there will be plenty of family drama to resolve in the “Hawkeye” finale next week.

Is Eleanor a villain?

Astute viewers and those familiar with Eleanor’s (admittedly thin) comic book backstory have likely been at least somewhat wary of the Bishop matriarch. She was shown having a heated clash with Armand Duquesne shortly before he was killed in the series premiere, and she didn’t think twice about digging into Clint’s pain to keep him away from her daughter. Maybe she’s just a protective mother?

two women facing each other
Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), left, and her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) in “Hawkeye.”
(Marvel Studios)

In the comics, Kate believed her mother died when she was younger. But during a 2016-18 “Hawkeye” run that sees Kate living in L.A. as a private investigator, an inquiry into her father‘s whereabouts leads her to the discover that he is a villain himself — leading Kate to become suspicious about her mother‘s fate as well.

Although Kate’s father admits to killing Eleanor, there are clues that she’s actually still alive — and possibly working with Kate’s nemesis, Madame Masque.

In a followup comic book series, “West Coast Avengers,” Kate is reunited with her mother. But the surprise reunion is complicated by the revelation that Eleanor is indeed involved in Masque’s operations, though probably only to be cured of her vampirism. And not only had Eleanor been turned into a vampire, the potential antidote was the blood of Kate’s best friend. (Yes, comic books are wonderfully wild.)

It’s incredibly unlikely that Eleanor will be revealed to be a vampire in the remaining episode of “Hawkeye.” But considering an MCU film about the half-vampire Blade is already in the works, it’s hard to write anything off completely.

What about Kingpin?

After being teased earlier in the season, Kingpin’s involvement with the Tracksuits is finally confirmed in Episode 5. The brief glimpse of the crime lord on Kate’s phone even shows him in his signature white suit jacket.

Kingpin, also known as Wilson Fisk, was originally introduced as a “Spider-Man” villain in the comics in the 1960s. Over the years, the fearsome villain became associated with Daredevil as one of his main rivals. The original introduction of Maya Lopez and her history with Kingpin took place on the pages of “Daredevil” comics.

Kingpin is technically not a character new to the MCU. Vincent D’Onofrio portrayed Fisk in Netflix’s “Daredevil” series. While Netflix’s Marvel shows were touted as being set within the MCU, the characters from these shows never really crossed paths with any of the film characters. Once those shows were canceled, their status in the MCU seemed more muddled.

Will Kingpin’s “Hawkeye” appearance opens the door for the return of other characters from Netflix’s corner of the Marvel universe? Probably, considering Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has already acknowledged at least one actor that would be back if their character were to appear in a future MCU project.


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