Yelena is one of the top fighting machines in the world, an assassin who quickly thinks on her feet, adapts to her environment, and uses her fists to respond in a bad situation. She has no problems figuring out how to safely maneuver a helicopter around even when it involves busting into a prison to break out her “fake dad.” She is just as good at hand to hand combat as her sister, which makes it hard for them to beat each other, and they call a truce. She sends her sister the serum, without thinking to warn her not to come home. Yelena as a child thought nothing of her happy utopian life, certainly never that it was fake, and finds it horrific as an adult to realize the emotional attachment her “parents” had for her was mostly fabricated. She’s torn up inside with remorse upon finding out she’s been mind-controlled and killing people, some of whom she cares about, without having any say in the matter. She storms out of the room when she doesn’t want to hear a conversation and shuts the doors on the rest of her “family.” She often goes straight for the most reliable way to fix a problem, rather than over-think it, and lacks her sister’s emotional detachment. Yelena has no real grand scheme for her life in the future, other than to destroy what her sister thought she had destroyed, so she can free the rest of the Black Widows from mind-control.

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Yelena shows a sunny and optimistic side as a little girl, but the hell her life went through has shifted her into full-blown reactivity. She refuses to be vulnerable or give quarter to anyone; she questions, challenges, and applies pressure to them, to get what she wants out of them. When her “dad” makes a reference about grandkids, she flat out tells him that having her uterus removed was part of becoming an assassin, and she had no say in the matter. She hammers this point home so hard, he asks her to stop talking about it, since it’s making him uncomfortable. Yelena shrugs and goes back to piloting the helicopter, unruffled. She frequently tells people what they are doing is stupid, or that they need to shut up, and mentions on several occasions that she feels like punching people. She mocks her sister’s “fight pose” because it looks fake and doesn’t require a “hair flip.” Yelena doesn’t dwell on the unhappy things in her past; she wants to avoid them, because they upset her, so she will walk out of the room rather than talk about them, and refuse to listen to people tear down her happy memories of suburbia.