How Hawkeye Has Been Dropping Clues About The Villain All Along

The penultimate episode of the Disney+ series "Hawkeye" dropped, bringing massive reveals to set up next week's big finale. The episode's final moments divulge the identity of one of the series' secret villains, a titanic force that has been manipulating things behind the scenes without anyone realizing. Tiny clues and Easter eggs are a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, so there have been plenty of hints along the way to make the reveal a satisfying mild surprise for the eagle-eyed fan. 

While comic book readers and fans paying careful attention might have caught on to the villain's identity, it's still a huge shock for Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) that will have major repercussions for the series finale and the rest of the MCU. 

Spoilers for "Hawkeye" episode 5 after the cut.

A Murderous Mommy Dearest

In "Hawkeye" episode 5, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) shows up at Kate's secret hideout to talk to her about her mission: to kill Clint. She reveals that she was hired by someone to kill him, then later sends Kate a text with the information about the person who hired her: Eleanor Bishop, Kate's mom, was the one that paid Yelena to take out Clint. Not only that, but she's clearly in cahoots with Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio, returning to the role after Netflix's "Daredevil"), one of the nastiest villains in the Marvel comics. While Kingpin's appearance in "Hawkeye" and the return of D'Onofrio in the role is big news, the reveal that Eleanor's involved in organized crime is also huge. 

Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga), has been a bit of a mystery the entire season. In the comic books, Kate's mom dies and her dad raises her and her sister, but they switched things up a bit for "Hawkeye." In the Disney+ series, Kate's dad is dead and her mother is dating the shady Jack Duquesne. The season starts with Armand Duquesne III, Jack's uncle, getting killed by someone with a sword after he threatens Eleanor. That murder kicks off Kate's investigation and partnership with Hawkeye, and Kate ends up thinking Jack has something to do with it. Feeling abandoned by Clint after the rooftop fight with Echo and Yelena, Kate tells her mother about the information she and Clint dug up on Jack, including his shell company, Sloan, Inc. The police are called, Jack is arrested, and Eleanor seems rather calm about the whole thing despite Jack's protestations that he has no idea what's going on. 

Turns out Eleanor's actually responsible, and she's probably been using Jack's name to launder her own ill-gotten gains. If she's truly connected to Kingpin, she's near the top of a criminal enterprise that terrifies even the most hardened vigilante heroes. 

A Protective Parent or Criminal Mastermind?

While Eleanor has shed plenty of crocodile tears fretting over her daughter, Farmiga has played her with a distant coldness from the start. The reveal that she's actually a corrupt criminal who had a hand in the murder of Armand isn't a huge shock, but it will have serious repercussions for Kate and Clint. Poor Kate has to reconcile the fact that her mother has been hiding all of this from her, plus the fact that Mommy Dearest hired someone to have her hero killed. Clint has to handle Yelena, and he can't exactly go after Eleanor for the hit when she's Kate's mom. It also opens up questions about what else Eleanor has hidden from Kate: we never see her father die and are only told he's gone, so could he secretly be alive as Eleanor was in the comics

We'll have to see what happens on December 22, 2021, when the finale for "Hawkeye" drops on Disney+, but Christmas at the Bishop house is going to be super awkward.