Could Hawkeye be introducing the character of Mockingbird?
This post contains spoilers for episode 4 of Hawkeye.
Since her introduction in 2015's Age of Ultron, Linda Cardellini's Laura Barton has been mostly known as a wife and mother who runs a quiet, domestic homestead while her husband sometimes goes off on his dangerous avenging sprees. But after Wednesday's episode of Hawkeye — which has deservedly been giving Cardellini more on-screen attention than the films ever have — there's a chance Laura Barton might be something more. Something...super.
Okay, we'll just come out and say it: could Laura Barton actually be the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent known as Mockingbird?
Yes, we know that technically, the Marvel Universe has already had a Mockingbird. Adrianne Palicki played the character in the long-running Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a few years ago, though she was simply known as the superhero's alias Bobbi Morse and was never officially monikered.
But Hawkeye has been slowly peeling back the curtain on Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton by showing more interactions with his wife and children, who until now we've only seen in quick scenes. And one of the things that has been most surprising about this aspect of the show is just how much Laura seems to be aware of the ins and outs of his superhero life. Granted, this could also just be the result of Marvel wanting to show what constitutes a healthy relationship when you're married to someone who constantly puts his life on the line, as well as a way to show that Clint truly is the family man he's become known as in the MCU.
Throughout the first three episodes, however, we learn that Laura not only knows about the Ronin suit but that she's also familiar with the Tracksuit Mafia. And after the latest episode, it feels like all signs are pointing to the fact that Laura could be Mockingbird — or at least the possibility that even if she isn't Mockingbird now, maybe she was once upon a time.
After being busted by Kate's mom, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), and her fiance Jack (Tony Dalton) while trying to dig up some dirt on the Tracksuits, Clint is forced to do some digging on his own. He turns to his wife, texting Laura and asking her to run some names. When she calls him back though, it's less of a casual update and more of a conversation that could take place between two highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
After figuring out the Tracksuits are a front for the company Sloan LTD (whose CEO is none other than Jack), Laura casually slips into German, asking if anything else went missing from Avengers Compound — and referencing the Rolex that the Tracksuits have been after since they stormed the black market auction in the first episode. Things only get more interesting as, spurred by her comments, Clint tells her to track where the watch has ended up. Later, when Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) is attempting to help him retrieve it from Maya (Alaqua Cox)'s apartment, he somewhat evasively tells his new partner that the watch belongs to someone he used to work with — and that while they've been out of the game for a long time, their identity is still attached to it.
Making Laura Barton the MCU's version of Mockingbird would not only make sense on a narrative level, but it would also tie into the character's established history without both longtime fans and new viewers having to be introduced to a new character. Aside from Clint mentioning that Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) helped set up his farm cover, we don't know anything about Laura and Clint's history or about how they met. That basically gives the MCU a clean slate to bring the character into the story, should they want to.
And in the comics, Clint is closely tied to Mockingbird: she's one of his known partners and love interests. The two have a long history together and were, like Clint and Laura, married superheroes. (Though unfortunately, it didn't last.) After meeting in the field, they went on to lead the West Coast Avengers together and following their divorce, Mockingbird worked closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. as one of their top agents.
Of course, we could be totally grasping at straws, simply happy that the MCU is finally giving Cardellini more to do after all these years of featuring her as a side character. But the evidence of Laura having some history with S.H.I.E.L.D. continues add up. For one, Clint texts her when he's leaving Kate's apartment building and she calls him back while he's walking down the street, seemingly acquiring her information super quickly. (Though this could also be a timey-wimey TV hand wave.) For another, when Laura purposefully slips into German knowing her kids are in the room with her, Lila (Ava Russo)'s acknowledgement of being aware her mom is talking to Clint makes it clear that his children have some knowledge about their parents' past.
And while it's not clear yet who the watch might belong to or what secrets it holds, based on Clint and Laura's conversation, it definitely seems like something that's secretive between them. That only adds more intrigue to the fact that Laura might have been a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent once upon a time, as the watch could potentially be hers — or at least tie into her past in the field, or maybe to someone she and Clint worked with.
After years of sitting on the sidelines, it would be refreshing, not to mention validating, to finally see Cardellini get some importance in the MCU. So: Laura Barton as Mockingbird?
Maybe it won't happen. But it would sure be really cool if it did. And we'd be very much on board.