The Hawkeye Finale Finally Explained What's Up With That Watch

Throughout the first (and only?) season of "Hawkeye," there was a lingering mystery concerning a certain Rolex watch that was recovered from the wreckage of the Avengers compound that was destroyed by Thanos in the climax of "Avengers: Endgame." For some reason, the Tracksuit Mafia was tasked with stealing the watch from the same underground auction where the Clint Barton's Ronin sword and costume were up for sale. But we didn't learn the significance of this watch until the backend of the "Hawkeye" finale that arrived on Disney+ today. Funnily enough, it's not really the watch that's the important — it's who it belongs to that's the big deal. 

Obviously, in order to explain the details of the "Hawkeye" watch mystery, we'll have to dive into spoilers, so proceed with caution. 

Shield Agent 19

As Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) corresponded with his wife Laura (Linda Cardellini) about the missing watch, it became clear that it was something important. Clint confirmed last week that the watch belonged to a former colleague of his, and if anyone got their hands on it, they would be in serious danger. The "Hawkeye" finale took that one step further and revealed the watch actually belongs to Laura. Even more intriguing is that the engraving on the back of the watch, reveals a shocking detail about Laura's past.

On the back of the watch is an embossed SHIELD logo, and below that logo is the number 19. The implication here is that Laura Barton was previously SHIELD Agent 19. That might not mean anything to more casual fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but longtime Marvel Comics fans know that SHIELD Agent 19 goes by the codename "Mockingbird," a character who was often teamed up with Hawkeye and sparked a romance with the archery-inclined Avenger. It feels like a bit of a retcon, unless Kevin Feige always imagined Laura to be Mockingbird. But in the comics, Mockingbird's real name is Barbara "Bobbi" Morse, so this feels like an adjustment to expand Linda Cardellini's role in the MCU. 

This revelation is an interesting development, but for fans of "Agents of SHIELD," it might feel like a slap in the face. That's because the Marvel series previously introduced Adrianne Palicki as Agent 19 back in 2014, complete with the proper Barbara "Bobbi" Morse identity. However, the show never actually gave Palicki the codename of Mockingbird, so it's a title that is still very much available in the MCU. There's always a chance that the title of Mockingbird got passed down to Barbara "Bobbi" Morse after Laura Barton retired from SHIELD, which easily could have been before 2014, based on the age of the Barton kids. 

But honestly, even if it wasn't, Marvel Studios hasn't exactly acknowledged "Agents of SHIELD" as having a proper place in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, so it probably wouldn't have been a big deal either way. If anything, this is another piece of evidence that "Agents of SHIELD" may be relegated to an alternate universe, especially now that the multiverse has been brought into the MCU. After all, "WandaVision" also recently ignored "Agents of SHIELD" by introducing a different version of the Darkhold, an artifact which previously appeared on the Marvel TV series during its Ghost Rider arc.

What Does This Mean for the MCU?

Now that Laura Barton has been revealed as SHIELD Agent 19 in "Hawkeye," what does that mean for the MCU? 

First of all, it opens up a whole swath of story possibilities for Clint and Laura Barton. They two likely have a past as partners in SHIELD, and that means there could be stories to tell from their time as agents. Perhaps more likely is that their past may catch up with them in potential future seasons of "Hawkeye." Knowing Laura Barton was part of SHIELD means she likely has her own set of enemies, and there have been plenty of instances in the MCU where characters have been haunted by their past.

Another possibility is that Laura Barton is being set up to be an integral part of the "Secret Invasion" series that's coming to Disney+. There have likely been plenty of Skrulls hiding out on Earth for decades, and it wouldn't be surprising if Laura encountered some of them during her time with SHIELD. It's possible that she might end up getting called back into action somehow, if that's the case. There's also a Marvel Comics storyline in "West Coast Avengers" where Mockingbird (the Bobbi Morse character) sacrifices herself to save Hawkeye, but it's later revealed that she was a Skrull invader. Meanwhile, the real Mockingbird was being kept prisoner elsewhere by the Skrulls. What if Laura has been a Skrull for awhile and Clint doesn't know it? That would be pretty wild.

Then again, it's possible that this is merely a nice little story detail that provides a little background on how Clint and Laura met. They probably shouldn't get too comfortable, since danger is always lurking around every corner. But for now, their family can enjoy the holidays, and so can we, especially now that the "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness" trailer has arrived online to shake up the future of the MCU.

"Hawkeye" season 1 is now streaming on Disney+.