Hawkeye’s High Antagonist Count Has Me A Bit Worried After Episode 4

Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld in Hawkeye
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Believe it or not, the run of the Hawkeye miniseries on Disney+ is already almost over. Like The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and the first season of Loki, the run is only six episodes, and thanks to the show’s quick start on the week of Thanksgiving, there are now just two chapters left of the adventure. Thus far it’s been a fun ride – with the two heroes at the center of the story possessing awesome chemistry together, and a cool mystery unfolding in the plot – but I’d also be lying if I said that I don’t have some concerns about where it’s going after Episode 4, titled “Partners, Am I Right?” To put it simply, there is a surprisingly high number of principal antagonists who have been set up in the new Marvel series, and I’m growing concerned that there isn’t enough real estate left to do them all proper justice.

In the wake of the two episode premiere, which was a touch on the slow side setting up the show’s premise, Hawkeye has not only featured three characters who we identify as key adversaries for the titular Avenger, but it has also vaguely referenced two key players who are very likely pulling strings in the background. Recognizing the complexity of these antagonists, I can’t really say at this point how the Disney+ original will find a way to wrap up their stories with just a couple of weeks left – so I’ve gone ahead and broken down what we know and our expectations for them in the time that remains. Some figures are obviously more essential than others, but given what has been established so far, it’s hard not to hope for at least a satisfying level of follow through for each of them.

Alaqua Cox as Echo in Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Maya Lopez a.k.a. Echo

If there’s any antagonist in Hawkeye who we fully expect to get a full resolution to their story, it’s Maya Lopez a.k.a. Echo, played by Alaqua Cox. First featured at the very end of “Hide and Seek,” she has been given prominent positioning in the last two episodes, and she has some very clear established goals: she wants to find the masked killer known as Ronin and take deadly revenge against him for killing her father.

Of all the plot threads running in the show, this is definitely the one that seems most guaranteed to get a dedicated conclusion – if not especially because it means Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton properly reckoning with his deadly actions during The Blip – but I find myself much more concerned about the other outstanding plotlines.

Tony Dalton on Hawkeye

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Jack Duquesne a.k.a. The Swordsman

Hawkeye being a two-hander, it makes all the sense in the world that both of the show’s leads would have their own primary opponent, and while Echo is on the scene for Clint Barton, it’s Tony Dalton’s Jack Duquesne a.k.a. The Swordsman who is ruffling the feathers of Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. How the series plans to navigate things from this point forward, however, is a question mark. There are three distinct points of conflict – he’s engaged to Kate’s mother, he has direct business dealings with the Tracksuit Mafia, and he is the number one suspect in the murder of his uncle – and that’s quite a lot to coalesce in the limited time that remains.

Not only does he potentially have to be exposed for his villainy, but it will obviously have a massive impact of the relationship between Kate and her mom, and as of right now both of those juggled balls are just hanging in the air.

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Black Widow

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Yelena Belova a.k.a. Black Widow

Thanks to the end credits scene in Black Widow this past summer, we’ve known for quite a while that Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova is not too happy with Clint Barton. She is under the impression that he is the one responsible for the death of Natasha Romanoff , and while we as an audience know that she is wrong, that’s a lesson she’s going to have to learn for herself. But how exactly is that narrative going to be squeezed into Hawkeye along with everything else that’s going on?

In Episode 4 she makes her big debut on the show, sparring with the series’ eponymous hero on a rooftop, but the fight only serves to introduce the characters to one another, and doesn’t begin to really engage with the conflict between them. How that will be squeezed into what remains of the Disney+ original is unclear, particularly given the origins of Yelena’s vendetta…

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine in The Falcon And the Winter Soldier

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (?)

Again referring back to the Black Widow end credits scene, Yelena Belova doesn’t decide to go after Hawkeye because of the results of an independent investigation – he is given to her specifically as a target. The one doing the targeting, of course, is Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, who was first introduced in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier earlier this year, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. From what we can gather, Valentina is being set up as an important macro antagonist in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given her involvement with not only Yelena but also John Walker a.k.a. U.S. Agent… but Hawkeye  will surely have to get her involved on some level, right?

Admittedly we haven’t heard any kind of confirmation that the character will make an appearance in the new series, but if Clint is able to settle his conflict with Yelena and get her to understand the truth, one has to assume that fingers will be pointed in Valentina’s direction once questions start to be asked about the source of the young Black Widow’s misinformation, and it’s not super clear how Hawkeye will find the time to squeeze in that development with the limited episodes remaining.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil

(Image credit: Netflix)

Wilson Fisk a.k.a. The Kingpin (?)

Following the hyper-exciting teases featured in Episode 3 of Hawkeye, I was really hoping that the show would reveal Maya Lopez’s mysterious “Uncle” in Episode 4… but sadly that proved not to be the case. The overwhelming evidence points to the mysterious criminal being none other than Wilson Fisk a.k.a. The Kingpin, which is certainly a big deal, though now that there are only two weeks remaining, one can’t help but be worried about just how much we will ultimately get to see from the character in the series (if anything).

Just like how we didn’t know Kang The Conqueror was going to be featured in the Loki finale, it’s conceivable that Hawkeye is holding on to its secret villain reveal until the very end of the narrative, but given everything else that is happening on the show, I’m starting to feel some concerns and doubts. If the show specifically prioritizes all of the conflicts mentioned in this feature, it’s possible that Kingpin will remain a looming presence over the plot instead of an active player, which would be a significant bummer given the excitement surrounding the possibility of seeing the return of the beloved villain following the character’s three season stint on Netflix’s Daredevil. Nothing is confirmed as of yet, but fingers are staying crossed.

How will Hawkeye navigate these waters and find ways to potentially pay off each of these characters in the two episodes that remain? Your guess is as good as ours… but you can be sure that we’re excited to find out. Both are set to premiere before we all call it a wrap on 2021, and fans will be able to catch the next chapter of the limited streaming series when Episode 5 arrives on Disney+ next Wednesday December 15 at midnight PST/3am EST.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.