Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Hawkeye episode five.
Hawkeye dropped a major curveball at the end of its penultimate episode last week. The cliffhanger’s main talking point was the mind-blowing return of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin to the MCU, but we’d actually figured out that was happening a few weeks ago. The bigger surprise was arguably that Kate Bishop’s mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) was a bad guy herself.
The security company boss was revealed to not only be in league with Wilson Fisk, but also the one who hired Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) to kill Clint Barton. This is an intriguing detail, as we saw in the Black Widow post-credits scene that Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ mysterious villain, was the one who put Yelena on Clint’s scent. The Eleanor revelation tells us that the two women are working together. What’s more, that then creates a link between Val and Fisk. So what is that link?
The Direct has floated the compelling theory that Val is really working for Kingpin and he’s the true mastermind behind her plans to create the Dark Avengers or the Thunderbolts, though it’s still unclear which supervillain team she’s trying to assemble. We know that Fisk manipulated Ronin into killing Echo’s father, William Lopez, so maybe he likes the idea of having a whole roster of villains at his beck and call.
This sort of behavior would align with Kingpin’s methods in the past. In Daredevil season 3, he manipulated Bullseye into becoming his own personal hitman and he’s essentially done the same thing with his “niece” Maya in Hawkeye. Having Fisk act as a shady, cross-project big bad in this way would ensure that he’s being brought back into the fold not just for fan service, but to have a major impact.
Perhaps we’ll find out more about the connection between Kingpin and Val when Marvel’s Hawkeye airs its finale this Wednesday, Dec. 22.