One thing that bugged me about the Disney+ shows in general is, outside of WANDAVISION and Monica Rambeau, we haven’t really seen all that much about the Blip. We’re suspending disbelief for the entirety of the MCU but I want more about how people are reacting to half of humanity here one minute, gone the next, only to return five years later. Luckily, we get a little more of that with this week’s penultimate episode through Yelena Belova! 

Yelena, MCU’s new Black Widow was introduced LAST WEEK, carrying over a vendetta for Clint set up in the Black Widow movie stinger scene. We see a pre-Blip Yelena on a mission to continue freeing the remaining mind controlled Black Widows. After a tense fight and Yelena finding out there is a market for hiring killers with the Widow skill set, Yelena blips out of existence. Before you even have time to register it and what it means to the MCU timeline, Yelena blips back into existence, 5 years going in an instance, syncing up to Hulk’s snap in Endgame. In a heartbreaking beat, her first instinct is to ask about Natasha and how to find her. 

After our opening credits we cut to a battered and beaten Kate Bishop coming back to her Mom’s penthouse. Eleanor Bishop shows all the investigative skills asking: “Does this have anything to do with Clint Barton?”

Ya think? Anyhow, from there they have a heart to heart; Eleanor says how dangerous a superhero’s life is, as Kate mentions she really thought she could be a hero. Kate confides in Eleanor that she and Clint have suspicions about Jack before heading back to her apartment. 

Once home, Kate sees a bit of the wreckage from EPISODE 2’s Tracksuit Mafia attack and a guest! Waiting for Kate is Yelena, repeatedly calling her “Kate Bishop”, which Kate correctly deduces is a threat that Yelena has done her research. Yelena confirms this by running down a laundry list of details about Kate, down to her GPA and school majors. Yelena wants info on Clint and plans on killing him. Kate is shocked to hear someone is paying Yelena. Yelena points out she has more reason than her contract: Natasha, as she still blames Clint for her death. During the discussion, Kate asks Yelena to think about who would want an Avenger dead and that from what she knows about Clint and Natasha, he would have never hurt her. 

Yelena leaves with a warning: don’t get in her way again. 

Kate immediately starts getting in her way, calling Clint repeatedly trying to warn him. Also during this time, Jack is arrested, Eleanor sides with Kate and wants him to face justice. 

Cutting to Clint, he’s at an Avengers memorial, using it as a backdrop for talking to Natasha. He wishes it had gone different, plays it over in his head all the time, wishes Natasha was still there and apologizes for what he’s about to do: Take up the Ronin mantle one more time!

Clint calls his wife Laura, telling her things are getting out of control and it all traces back to Maya’s boss, “the big guy.” Laura is taken aback and shows the impending threat hoping it doesn’t come to “the big guy” getting involved. 

Clint arranges a meeting with Maya, telling her to come alone. Maya comes with her crew but they’re no match for Clint. Clint’s main purpose though is defusing the situation, he disarms the crew, and tries to disarm Maya. After finally gaining an advantage, he tells Maya “the big guy,” her “uncle,” was behind the murders the night she thought Ronin killed her father. Maya, enraged, takes Clint’s sword but before she can deliver a killing blow, Kate Bishop has tracked Clint’s phone and is able to fire an arrow that knocks the sword loose and gives Clint time to get away. 

Maya is shaken by the idea things aren’t what they seemed and questions Kazi. His answers don’t convince her Clint was lying so she rides off. 

Clint and Kate end up at the LARPer Grills’ apartment where they regroup. The episode ends with the giant cliffhanger teased all season and hinted at on the web: The big guy? Wilson Fisk! Not only is Kingpin working behind the scenes with Maya’s crew and Jack’s money laundering scheme but we’re left with one more (predictable) twist: The one behind Yelena’s hiring and working with Fisk? Eleanor Bishop, Kate’s Mom. 

Score: 7/10

Likes: Have I fawned over Florence Pugh’s Yelena enough yet? Whether she transitions into the MCU proper or gets a Disney+ show of her own, I hope we see more and more of her! Her scenes with Kate somehow strike a balance on threateningly ominous and light and breezy at the same time. I remain hopeful that by the end of Episode 6, we can put her grudge against Clint behind and she’s one step closer to a full hero’s journey. I really dug how they handled her Blip. Keeping it just from her perspective you got a feel for the near-instantaneous feel it would have for someone to be gone for a blink of an eye but to have your whole world changed with five years passing.  Other like? Kingpin! This one has been teased and threaded really well throughout the series but after the Hype Machine kicked into gear with every other Disney+ Marvel series to date, I remained fully on “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode here. It remains to be seen how the Netflix crew will be integrated into the MCU proper but Vincent D’onofrio did such a great job with the character I’m excited to see how he plays in this world and for the implications of who else may be coming soon!

Dislikes: The Kate’s family storyline really hasn’t done anything for me. I mentioned in earlier episodes I thought they gave Jack away as a villain way too soon and by making Eleanor so amazingly bland, but casting big with Vera Farmiga, it gave away her eventual turn. Maybe her playing off Fisk next week will add some sizzle, but for now that remains my least favorite part of the show. Being greedy, I’d have wanted more Fisk, as we only see him in a cell phone photo sent by Yelena. But it does set the stage for next week’s season (series?) finale!