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‘Hawkeye’ just had its best episode, and it still wasn’t enough

‘Hawkeye’ added another excellent episode to its collection

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Kate Bishop and Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ “Hawkeye.”

Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in Marvel Studios’ “Hawkeye.”

Chuck Zlotnick, Marvel Studios/Disney+

“Hawkeye” just had its best episode of the series so far — in large part due to the massive twist at the end that helped us remember there’s so much more going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The fourth episode centers around Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) trying to figure out how to find the missing Ronan sword, which previously belonged to Barton. It’s a fast-moving episode that never slows down as Barton and Bishop continue their buddy-cop team-up for the sake of stopping a crime syndicate from gaining success.

Seriously, this new episode does not take a breath. We’re constantly moving from scene to scene, wondering what’s going to happen next.

But more importantly, the episode reminded us that this isn’t a story happening in a silo and that there are larger Marvel Cinematic Universe complications happening around these characters.

Last week, we saw the debut of Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who becomes the superhero Echo in the Marvel comics. It was a remarkable debut for Echo, a character who deals with hearing loss. We learned more about the Tracksuit Mafia and there were plenty of teasers thrown out about the potential boss behind the Tracksuit Mafia operation.

Everything in that episode felt very much like it belonged in the “Hawkeye” region of the MCU. But this last episode reminded us that there’s an entirely different story happening that we need to remember.

Specifically, we needed to be reminded of Yelena Belova’s desire to kill Hawkeye.

In the latest episode, Belova (Florence Pugh) makes her debut, fresh off the “Black Widow” post-credits scene. In that scene, Belova visits the grave of Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who died in “Avengers: Endgame” so that Hawkeye could retrieve the Soul Stone to stop Thanos.

Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) met with Belova in the post-credit scene, giving her the assignment to go after Hawkeye. She said Hawkeye was responsible for Natasha’s death.

Now, Belova is back in the fold and ready to take on Hawkeye. This was a reminder to all of us that there are bigger pieces at stake in the “Hawkeye” series rather than just the identity of the kingpin behind the Tracksuit Mafia. De Fontaine is playing her own game among the Avengers, having given a new suit to John Walker at the end of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” She said the world will need a new U.S. agent instead of Captain America.

Belova’s appearance is another step toward finding out more about de Fontaine and her role in the MCU. Or at least, that’s what we’re meant to believe. I’d expect Belova to appear again in the upcoming episode and maybe give us a glimpse into what’s going on with de Fontaine, John Walker and that entire realm of the MCU.

But there’s also a change as the scope of things is much smaller. Hawkeye‘s head writer Jonathan Igla told The Hollywood Reporter that Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige told him about the post-credits scene. But Igla had to keep it to himself.

“There was a length of time where I wasn’t supposed to share it with the rest of the writing staff. There were a handful of things like that, which was challenging,” Igla said. “I did my best. I like to think that I’m an honest broker and if somebody tells me not to share something, even if I think, ‘Well the writing staff really needs to know this,’ then I’m just going to trust their process …. I kept it under my hat for a while.”

We don’t know which direction “Hawkeye” will take next. Maybe we’ll learn about the boss behind the Tracksuit Mafia. Maybe we’ll see more of Belova and get an idea of what de Fontaine is up to next. Either way, “Hawkeye” had its best episode to date and it wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy our need for more answers about what comes next.