This review contains spoilers for episode 6 of Marvel’s Hawkeye, “So This Is Christmas?” It is now available to view on Disney+. To remind yourself of where we left off, check out our review of The Hole series, episode 5, with subtitles.
Is there a better birthday gift than a great season finale? Because that’s exactly what Hook offers. His final hour is the best of episode six, and it totally delivers on its promise of festive-flavored fun with plenty of heart under the action-packed wrapper. It also brings Kate and Clint’s first story together satisfactorily, and while not every other character gets the same victory, this chapter doesn’t leave you wanting much after Season 2.
The introduction to Episode 5 of The Kingpin suggested that Hawkeye’s roster of heroes and anti-heroes would eventually unite, all with Wilson Fisk in the crossfire. This never happens, but it is actually much more interesting to him. The final hour is generally divided into three encounters; Clint vs. Jelena, Kate vs. Fisk, and Maya vs. Kazee. While this means that the characters are somewhat isolated from each other for most of the second half, by breaking the action into separate encounters, Hawkeye is able to more closely wrap up his individual character arcs. Fortunately, this format never allows the storylines to stray too far from each other, so the end result remains a very coherent conclusion to the tale as a whole.
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Chief among these individual struggles, of course, is that of Clint, who has spent this entire season quietly grieving the death of Natasha. Yelena’s insistence on killing him, despite her conversation with Kate and (probably) a brilliant intelligence network, seems somewhat contrived. The special whistle moment interrupting their fight also feels a bit comforting and a little too close to Martha’s Batman v Superman exit phrase. But their melancholy argument allows Clint to express his regret for not stopping Natasha from sacrificing herself, and to express out loud that she was only able to do so because she was better than him. Clint has never gone to therapy, so just talking about what happened with someone who shares the same kind of love as Natasha seems to be the last needed step on his road to recovery.
Yelena’s split of Clint and Kate up means that the pint-sized archer must face The Kingpin of Crime solo, which is out of date for the ages. Vincent Donofrio shows that Fisk is so much stronger than he was in Daredevil, he’s able to send Kate flying with a punch and even tearing the car door off its hinges. It does raise the question of whether this is the same Kingpin from the Netflix show, especially with such a horrible feel to the dress. Regardless, the situation provides a side to David and Goliath to fight over, which Kate amusingly overcomes with intelligence rather than strength.
Kate didn’t get the final blow at Kingpin, though. Instead, Kate’s big finale moment was actually with Eleanor, and it’s fun to see her mother being treated as evil for what she did, rather than being treated as someone by chance in great depths. It creates a massive moment for Kate, as her biological family rejects and embraces Clint as her partner and surrogate father. I’ll admit seeing Clint bring her back to his family at Christmas made my eyes a little hazy. Much of the MCU has worked with the found family theme, and Clint and Kate’s relationship was one of the most potent examples of this.
Instead, Kingpin’s fate is left in the hands of Maya, who naturally has the most personal vendetta with him. Looking back on the series, Maya didn’t really see the growth she needed to make her part of the final episode real, but it’s still fun to see her work out the score with both Kazi and her “uncle.” Shooting an empty Kingpin in the face is a surprising moment, in large part because Vincent D’Onofrio has just arrived, but the off-screen action almost certainly appears as a TV icon for “things aren’t what they seem.”
It would be a shame for Kingpin to actually go away, because D’Onofrio is once again an exceptional presence like Fisk, even if this single episode doesn’t allow him the nuance that Daredevil did. His ability to mix sophisticated giant characters and deranged mob bosses means he’s still one of the MCU’s greatest villains, and the horror he offers completely outshines any of the threats presented by Hawkeye in his previous five chapters.
By bringing the conflict with Kingpin to its head, the epilogue is also the most fulfilling episode of the work. We finally get to see a scene where the Tracksuit Mafia throws bro after siblings Clint and Kate, who fight them both with an impressive lineup of trick arrows. There’s a sense of home alone in this sequence, thanks to the arrow-like nature and increasingly silly ways in which a tracksuit is dispatched. That feeling, combined with the ice rink’s setting, really delivers the promise of “Christmas superheroes,” something Hockey has never embraced wholeheartedly up to this point.
In between all these big scenes there are dozens of little moments that only add to the joy this ending brings. Duel Jack with a Bunch of Goons is a beautiful nod to his swordsman character from the comics. The LARPers help with the final investigation and battle turn them into something similar to Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irish, which fits perfectly in Hawkeye’s detective viewpoint. The Tracksuit Mafia thug thanking Kate for her ex-boyfriend’s advice is one of the best jokes in the series, topped off quickly by Pym’s hilarious shrinking arrow. And finally, Clint’s burning of the Ronin’s suit is a beautiful metaphor for the end of the Dark Period. With his grief expelled, comes a better new Hawkeye that I hope we see more of in the future.