Black Widow Ending, Explained

The first cinematic entry in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 24th film overall, ‘Black Widow’ pays homage to the eponymous character and the brilliant actress that portrays her and simultaneously keeps the machines churning of one of the greatest franchises in the history of movies. The events depicted in the film happens in tandem with the later part of ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ and follow Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) as her past reaches out to her and sets her off on a journey of growth, reconciliation, and of course, utter badassery. Here is everything you need to know about the ‘Black Widow’ ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Black Widow Plot Synopsis

In some picturesque neighborhood in Ohio in 1995, a young Natasha lives with Yelena Belova, Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz). Alexei and Melina are supposed to be her parents, and Yelena her younger sister. In reality, they are Russian spies planted in the Midwestern United States. After their mission concludes and covers are blown, they leave America for Cuba. There, the four of them are made to go different ways, and Natasha and Yelena undergo training in the Red Room under the watchful eyes of General Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and become Black Widows. Meanwhile, Alexei, who was Red Guardian before the Ohio mission, is locked up in a maximum-security prison while Melina continues to work for Dreykov.

In 2016, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) attempts to capture Natasha, but she manages to escape and ends up in Norway. Meanwhile, in Morocco, Yelena (Florence Pugh), still active as a Widow, kills an erstwhile operative of the Red Room but not before she is exposed to a substance called Red Dust, which frees her from Dreykov’s control, returning her free will back to her and effectively turning her into a fugitive from the Red Room.

Believing that if anyone can keep the Red Dust substance safe, it’s Natasha — one of the founding members of the Avengers — Yelena sends the vials containing the substance to a location in Budapest, Hungary. The vials eventually reach Natasha through her contact, Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle). She initially pays them no mind until the Taskmaster comes to retrieve them.

Discovering a set of photos that she took with her “sister” when they were both younger among the vials, Natasha travels to Budapest. As within any normal family, the first thing that two women do following their reunion is try to kill each other. From Yelena, Natasha learns that Dreykov, who she thought that she had killed, is still alive and embarks on a journey to complete her mission. On their way, they break out Alexei from the prison and visit Yelena to ask for her help, bringing the entire pretend family back together.

Black Widow Ending: Is Dreykov Dead? What Are His Plans?

Yes, General Dreykov is dead. During the climactic sequence, Yelena jams one of her batons into a turbine of the aircraft on which Dreykov was trying to escape. It blows up, killing Dreykov and all the soldiers that are with him. As Yelena falls freely, Natasha jumps after her. After reaching her, she ties a parachute on Yelena and pulls it, saving her life.

Like most comic book-inspired cinematic villains, Dreykov’s ultimate goal is global domination. During their mission in Ohio, Alexei and Melina infiltrated a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility (actually controlled by HYDRA at the time) and found the blueprint of the complete deconstruction of the human brain. She brought it back and successfully tested it on her pigs before they were used on the Widows. The technology gives Dreykov complete control over his agents. He can not only manipulate their actions but also can kill them at any time he wants. He has embedded the Widows in countries all over the world, ready to take down governments and cause massive political and social upheavals on his orders.

As Natasha doesn’t have that technology inside her, he tries to control her actions with a particular pheromone that prevents her or any other Widow from attacking him. With Natasha in his apparent control, he reveals his plans of manipulating the Avengers. Fortunately, Melina earlier told Natasha the only way to escape from Dreykov’s control is to sever the olfactory nerve. Natasha tries to goad him to beat her and sever the nerve for her. When that doesn’t work — as Dreykov is not just strong enough — she does it herself by slamming her head against the table and freeing herself.

Where is Natasha Headed in the Final Scenes? When is Black Widow Set in the MCU Timeline?

In the film’s final scenes, the audience sees that Mason has gotten a quinjet for Natasha. Before she leaves, she tells Mason that she is going to break some of the Avengers out of prison. This, along with the opening scenes, gives a good idea about the film’s placement in the MCU timeline. The opening scenes take place after the skirmish among the Avengers at Leipzig/Halle Airport. After Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Rogers (Chris Evans) escape and have their confrontation with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) at the Siberian Hydra facility, we don’t see Natasha again. This film reveals what she does immediately afterward. She escapes from Ross and eventually reunites with the family of her childhood.

Family is one of the main motifs of the film, along with feminism and the idea of heroism. Natasha considers the Avengers as her family as well and goes to break Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackle) out of the Raft. This scene plays out towards the end of ‘Civil War.’ Although we see only Steve breaking into the Raft and freeing his comrades, we now know that Natasha has been there as well.

Who is the Taskmaster? Is She Alive?

The Taskmaster is revealed to be Antonia (Olga Kurylenko), Dreykov’s daughter. Natasha thought that she had killed her along with her father, whose death was the price she had to pay to join S.H.I.E.L.D. She blew up the room with Antonia inside it to ensure that her father would be there as well. However, they both survived, and Dreykov turned her into his greatest weapon with Melina’s technology.

Yes, Taskmaster or Antonia is alive. When the Red Room begins to blow apart, Natasha rescues Antonia and frees her from the brainwashing. After the climax, Melina, Alexei, and Yelena take her and other freed Widows with them. As Natasha suggests, Melina will likely produce more Red Mist, and Yelena will go around the world and free other Widows.

What is the Red Room?

The Red Room is the program that the Russians have established to create superspies. Dreykov is in charge of the project. It brings in young women from all over the world and then uses brainwashing and abusive training to turn them into Black Widows. The program has been active for decades. Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) from ‘Agent Carter’ is the first character in the MCU canon who was a Red Room operative. Following Natasha’s attempt on his life, Dreykov shifted the Red Room headquarters to an aerial base. This is how he stayed under the radar all this while. He chose not to go after Natasha for trying to assassinate him and his daughter. He knew that if he did, the other Avengers would come for him.

What Happened to Natasha’s Biological Mother?

All her life, Natasha has believed her biological mother discarded her. However, she learns from Melina that it wasn’t the case. Her family sold her off to Dreykov, but her mother continued to look for her. When this proved to be problematic for Dreykov, he had her killed. Natasha desperately wants to know the real name of her biological mother. Dreykov realizes this and taunts Natasha by saying that the woman is buried under a gravestone that reads “Unknown.”

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