It is still not clear if another season of Hawkeye is to come, but the disney+ series “season finale” titled “So This Is Christmas“, is the strongest installment of the series on almost all fronts including humor, character work, and action. The finale is also highly representative of the series as a whole. While it has several great components, it ultimately felt somewhat anti-climactic due to the weakness of the overarching plot. This episode emphasized how the series is more of a collection of other stories rather than its own. At the end of the day, the actual plot was Kate Bishop stepping into the shoes of a superhero, but it was flanked by the vague and stagnant criminal storyline.
By the end of the episode, it does not feel as though much has happened throughout the series. Even though there was an Echo, Black Widow, Kingpin, and a Kate’s-mom-is-actually-the-bad-guy reveal, none of these potential adversaries were genuinely essential to the story. Most of what happens in Hawkeye comes across as a string of crazy coincidences. As such, the lack of a central and strong adversary left the finale and the series needing more. Many interesting narratives turned out to essentially be interesting cameos rather than meaningful additions to the story. For example, the fact that the Rolex first encountered in the first episode revealed that Laura Barton was once an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is cool, but much of the underlying mystery was centered around that watch for the entire series for little to no plot payoff. There was a lack of connection why this watch was so relevant to the Tracksuit Mafia.
Kingpin’s use was a bit confusing in the finale. At first, it seemed like he was going to be grossly underutilized, but did have a solid fight scene with Kate where it was made clear that he is a military tank in human form. His ending with Maya supposedly shooting and killing him isn’t convincing given the importance of his character, but it would be quite a wild decision for Marvel to have made.
This episode and Hawkeye as a whole aced the character work, though. Clint got the first real development the MCU has given him other than a haircut, and he became a fleshed-out character that stayed true to what he experienced before the series. He’s a traumatized, mildly retired family man, and Jeremy Renner never really missed on his portrayal of the senior Hawkeye. The moments between Clint and Kate, including some of the more poignant conversations, were always strong and drove both characters’ development, and pushed the theme of what it means to be a hero.
The introduction of Kate Bishop was obviously the series’ main purpose, and while it felt plenty forced and contrived, Kate genuinely grew over the course of the series. By the time she did her leap of faith down the side of the building, the viewer was plenty invested in watching her true hero moment. The finale made it unambiguous that she had crossed the line from idolizing superheroes to embodying one herself. It doesn’t hurt that Hailee Steinfeld’s character already had twice the amount of personality that Clint did, and her personality was fairly fresh and unique when looking at MCU frontrunners.
The series also handled its other characters well. Yelena, while only making appearances in the final three episodes easily outshined the main characters and will likely forever be considered one of the most iconic parts of Hawkeye. While her quest to kill Clint was a bit shallow at first, her ultimate resolution with him evoked a great performance from Florence Pugh. It added a lot of color to Natasha Romanoff’s death and absence. The series offered us a decent epilogue to Black Widow, but that is another example of how Hawkeye juggled other stories more than its own.
Maya Lopez’s introduction in the series was similarly used as a vehicle for another project, which was evident in her waning presence after her initial appearance. The future for Echo is bright, but setting up her series was clearly the priority for the character rather than a focus on what she brought to Hawkeye.
Unfortunately, the least interesting character at the end of the day was also – in terms of the main Kate storyline – the “big bad”. Eleanor Bishop was fine, but there was not much about the character that was overly compelling. She worked well as a narrative tool to push back on Kate’s ambition, but Eleanor being the vague reason why all of the events of the series happened is not particularly memorable. The episode even managed to fully redeem and solidify Jack as a bonafide lovable guy, but the easy switch from the main suspect to completely in the clear was too uneventful to make any of it thrilling.
What the finale did prove is that Hawkeye is funny. From character personalities, LARPers to Tracksuit bros, this episode and the series as a whole had plenty of humor to go around on a higher level than simple comedic relief. The inclusion of the full Rogers the Musical musical number in the credits is a testament to the lightness of the series and the more upbeat approach to its production.
The finale’s extended skyscraper-to-ice rink scene joins episode 3’s car chase as one of two truly memorable action sequences of the entire superhero series. Between the trick arrows and the arrival of every character – other than Lucky the Pizza Dog – to the area felt like a worthy payoff. The archery and hand-to-hand choreography were very well done. The final Hawkeye suits were extremely corny, but fitting for the tone of the series and the weak gravity of the actual plot situation.
Hawkeye’s series (or season) finale capitalized on all of the things that the show did well. The character development and humor that it consistently mastered across all of its episodes are fairly unique to the MCU’s slate of Disney+ series, which makes Hawkeye a welcome addition for that alone. The action here is the series’ best, but overall that element was limited. Unfortunately, Hawkeye suffered a bit from a loose and varied narrative that lacked much punch. But overall the street-level, dog-loving holiday romp was a fun ride that brought plenty of lovable characters to the table.