In terms of personality and life trajectory, Yelena Belova and Natasha Romanoff are as opposite as two people can be. Aside from their upbringing in the Red Room and their past allegiance to General Dreykov (Ray Winstone), their lives take very different routes once Nat defects. Her escape leads to her joining SHIELD, breaking free of Dreykov’s mental conditioning, and becoming a world-renowned hero. However, this leaves Yelena trapped, with Dreykov’s scientists experimenting on her and rendering her a mindless drone for the Red Room — a trance broken by a rare antidote at the beginning of “Black Widow.”
Shortly after their reunion, Yelena and Nat’s similarities begin to shine through. First and foremost, they engage in a brutal fight and go tit for tat, even inadvertently attempting the same combat maneuvers in unison. This showcases that they’re both at a similar skill level and are forever products of the Red Room training program.
Naturally, their duel ends in a stalemate, and viewers can get a good look at their respective ear lobe and cartilage piercings. They’re the same except for the ear they chose to pierce, with Nat choosing the left and Yelena opting for the right. This makes it so that when they stand face-to-face, it’s as if they’re looking in a literal mirror.
Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova are both world-class assassins (with similar piercing preferences) who honed their skills at the same location. No matter how different their lives and careers have panned out, they’ll never be able to shake the fact that they’re two sides of the same coin.