Hawkeye finally revealed the antagonist fans were eagerly waiting for with only one episode left. Episode 5 of Hawkeye also clarified Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, who will be MCU's next Black Widow.
The latest episode of Hawkeye also establishes the framework for a warm friendship between Yelena Belova and Kate Bishop in the future. Florence Pugh is also expected to be in the finale episode next week as well, before making her appearance in a potential Young Avenger project or in some upcoming Disney+ Marvel series, like The Thunderbolts.
Hawkeye Episode 5 also hints at the next Disney+ Hawkeye spinoff titled Echo featuring Maya Lopez in the lead, with presumably Kazimierz "Kazi" Kazimierczak/The Clown joining him.
Note: The following part of the article contains spoilers for Hawkeye Episode 5
Easter eggs and theories that spawned from Hawkeye episode 5
Maya Lopez/Echo's comic-book origin inspired from comics
While Episode 3 teased her past with Wilson Fisk/Kingpin taking her in after her father died, this episode draws a connection with her backstory from comics. Maya Lopez's father used to work for the Kingpin/ Wilson Fisk in the comics.
He had Maya's father killed to frame Daredevil. However, Episode 5 of Hawkeye established that Kingpin tried to pin Maya's father's murder on the Ronin (Clint Barton) instead of Daredevil.
Black Widow post-credit scene timeline hint
While 2021's Black Widow was set around 2016, which means that Yelena Belova spent two years trying to free brainwashed widows from the red room program. Natasha was with Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson during this time, evading the US government after they broke the Sokovia accords.
In the episode, it is seen that Yelena gets dusted in 'the blip' and comes back into existence after five years, that is, 2023. This means that the post-credit scene of Black Widow is in November or December 2024, which is around when Hawkeye is in.
Grills is a New York firefighter who is also a live-action roleplayer in the series. Episode 5 shows Clint laying low at Grills' apartment. This mirrors the storyline from Matt Fraction's Hawkeye comic series, where Grills was a tenant in Hawkeye's apartment building.
In the comics, Kazi (aka the Clown) was also responsible for killing Grills, aka Gilbert, which is unlikely to happen as the series establishes Kazi as somewhat rational.
After Episode 5, fans had speculated that Eleanor Bishop was the one who hired Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (aka Val), who then assigned Yelena Belova to kill Clint Barton in the post-credit scene.
The latest episode of Hawkeye confirmed fans' suspicions as Yelena reveals to Kate that Eleanor was the one who hired her to eliminate Hawkeye. Later, it was also revealed that Eleanor Bishop (played by Vera Farmiga) knows Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) and is likely to have been working with the antagonistic figure.
Her association with Kingpin further insinuates that Eleanor might be Madame Masque from the comics, as the character partnered with Kingpin in the comics. This could also make it plausible that Eleanor uses Jack Duquesne as a patsy.
The Bishop family's matriarch, Eleanor, could also be the one who allegedly killed her husband during the chaos of the Battle of New York in 2012.