‘Hawkeye’: How Kate and Eleanor Bishop Go Up Against Kingpin — and Win
“Kate is so strong-minded. She knows who she wants to be and what she needs to do in order to get there."
The guy Clint Barton’s been worried about has finally been revealed: it’s Wilson Fisk, better known throughout the New York City underworld as Kingpin.
Revealed in the final moments of Episode 5, “Ronin,” of Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye, it turns out that there’s been someone behind Maya Lopez at the top of the Tracksuit Mafia food chain. As Clint has alluded to in prior episodes, Kingpin is not someone he wants to get tangled up with, and if the Big Guy has it in for you, you better watch out. All along, Clint has been trying to keep the recent Ronin fiasco off of his radar, but now, it’s too late. Making matters even worse for everyone, little did anyone realize that Eleanor Bishop has been working with Fisk all along.
In a shocking turn of events, it’s Yelena who delivers this news to a stunned Kate Bishop, who now has to grapple with the fact that her mother isn’t the woman she thought she was. It’s a lot for Clint, Kate, and viewers to digest.
When director Rhys Thomas first signed on to helm Episodes 1, 2, and 6 of Hawkeye, Kingpin wasn’t in the cards. But, he remembers executive producer Trinh Tran excitedly coming to him to break the news that Fisk was indeed back.
“We were getting to the moment of shooting when this idea took hold, we're going to do this,” Thomas explains to Marvel.com. “It's going to be Kingpin; he's going to [be the] end. It's great to see these worlds crossing over, and Vincent was wonderful and cool and everything you want him to be. It was a thrill.”
“He's one of the greatest actors ever, and this is a character that he's already obviously spent a long time with,” Thomas continues. “Once the idea came in that he was going to be in the show, we got on the phone with him and had some long discussions about the character. He was really the source of so much knowledge and understanding…he really helped craft those scenes, even on-set. He's just so specific; every little detail and every moment he understands it and feels it. It's a new iteration to the MCU. It was bizarre, crazy and so exciting when I found out.”
With Fisk now in the picture, it really throws a wrench into everyone’s plans, including Eleanor’s who has been working in the shadows herself all season. In the final episode of the season, it’s revealed that she’s the one who killed Armand, framed Jack, and funneled money to Fisk to pay off her late husband’s debt. Needless to say, this doesn’t sit well with Kate when she learns the truth.
“Kate is so strong-minded,” Tran tells Marvel.com. “She knows who she wants to be and what she needs to do in order to get there. But like any other mother, Eleanor is looking out for her daughter. She thinks she knows what's best for Kate, and that is completely different from how Kate sees it. The conflict is where we wanted to start off with their relationship, building to something more down the line. The themes are about family; there are twists and turns in the story.”
Kate and Eleanor also mark the first time a mother-daughter relationship has been thoroughly explored in the MCU, showing all sides of their dynamic — which is oftentimes at odds with one another. Tran knows it’s going to be a shock to Kate when she learns what her mother’s been up to this whole time.
“It's going to be really hard to have [the truth] come out,” she continues. “In the comics, the conflict that Kate has is with her dad, Derek Bishop. What I find interesting is that we haven't quite explored much about the mother/daughter dynamic in the MCU. It was really veering away from what we're used to doing, in terms of the relationship with father/daughter or father/son. This is something new that we haven't quite explored – the mother/daughter dynamic, and the opposing views that they have with each other.”
In Episode 5, after being sent away by Clint, Kate returns home to Eleanor to find solace in her mother’s arms, something she hasn’t needed or wanted in a long time. “In that scene, in the bedroom, when she's getting patched up, there was this wonderful return to Kate as a five- or six-year-old at her most vulnerable. Her mom will always be there to patch her wounds, both physical and emotional wounds,” explain duo Bert & Bertie, the episode’s directors. “Obviously the show is treading a balance between the ebb and flow of their relationship, but you do see that very deep intimate connection of two women who have lost a husband and a father. There's a very real and raw connection because Derek was Kate's favorite parent in so many ways. Eleanor feels like she can never quite be Derek, but you see there that they've lived this life together and they've been there protecting each other from the beginning.”
Knowing Eleanor’s intentions at the very end, on a second rewatch of the season, viewers might catch on earlier as to what’s going on.
“One of the main moments is that phone call [in Episode 4]. Eleanor's like, ‘Hi, we need to talk,’” Bert continues. “We never say who it is on the other end of the line. It's those little things that you plant along the way that fans can then recall or go back to. You start noticing these little things that Eleanor has done along the way that make you go ‘ah-ha.’ It makes a lot of sense, but as with antagonists, it's never black and white; there’s all those layers. No one who is a villain thinks they're a villain. Eleanor was a classic example of that; she justifies everything because she did it for Kate. She's a mother, that's what she is and she's surviving. When you go back and watch it again, you'll see how she played it so fine to that line and so close to that line.”
Towards the end of Episode 6, Eleanor realizes the jig is up and tries to flee. First, she needs to make sure that Kate is safe and sound. However, she doesn’t make it far from Kingpin stopping her getaway car. Thankfully, Kate is there and does her best to fight off the giant man in the white suit, but it’s no use. In a last-ditch effort to help her daughter, Eleanor physically rams her vehicle into Fisk, sending him flying through the window of a nearby toy store. This still barely phases him nor leaves him with a scratch; he gets back up and starts fighting again, this time turning his attention solely on Kate.
Armed with a dwindling supply of trick arrows and only her wits, Kate is now left to fight the guy Clint’s been worried about this whole time all alone — and in a toy store, no less.
“What we were trying to do was, first of all, have the exterior with the display windows really key you into the fact that we're at a toy store. It's Christmas time; it's really beautiful and pristine. And then it just gets destroyed,” art director Maya Shimoguchi tells Marvel.com. “There's a little bit of a history; earlier in the season, when we were in another toy store, there's this whole referencing of Kate’s childhood basically. She’s leaving her childhood behind and becoming more of an adult, which seems like it's been referenced all through the series.”
Kate is clearly at a disadvantage against Kingpin, if only for his sheer size alone. But using everything she’s learned over the years, including what Clint’s recently taught her, Kate’s able to hold her own.
“[The series] culminates in her having this fight scene in a toy store, a place she's probably been to countless times as she was growing up in New York,” Shimoguchi recalls. “I love that idea that she is also destroying the mythology of her childhood, who her parents were, and accepting that she's an adult now. She can choose what she wants to do with her life as opposed to following the expectations that were laid out for her. All of that made me love doing that fight scene in the toy store because it all ties in nicely.”
With a flick of her wrist and a nicely placed “Too Dangerous” arrow, Kate is able to knock Kingpin out, even though he hasn’t been defeated yet (but that’s a story for another day). Returning back outside to her mother, Eleanor tries to make amends with her daughter and says that everything will go back to normal, but Kate now knows the truth.
“It’s never been normal mom,” she says.
All episodes of Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye are now streaming on Disney+.
Starring Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, Hawkeye also features Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Zahn McClarnon, Brian d’Arcy James, and newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez. Helmed by Rhys Thomas and directing duo Bert and Bertie, Hawkeye is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
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