'Hawkeye' Finale & Series Review: A Somewhat Disappointing Christmas Gift
The 'Hawkeye' season finale features all kinds of cool characters and resolves its loose plot threads efficiently, yet it's lacking when it comes to the vital development of its characters.
December 23, 2021
The Hawkeye season finale wraps everything up in a neat bow just in time for Christmas, though somewhat disappointingly. Spoilers ahead!
Episode six begins with a meeting between Eleanor Bishop and Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. Fisk plays a huge role in this episode in person. I’m so happy to see Vincent D’Onofrio back in this role; he is the perfect Kingpin. During the meeting, Eleanor lays out rather obviously for the audience all that she’s done and why: she’s killed Armand, framed Jack, and laundered money all to repay a debt owed by her late husband to Fisk. Now Kate has come too close to finding out the truth, which puts her in danger. That’s where Eleanor draws the line, and she tells Fisk she’s leaving the business. Fisk tries to get her to stay, but Eleanor reveals she has backups of his files as leverage, and she exits.
Maya later comes to Fisk. Fisk is dressed in a horrendous outfit consisting of an aloha shirt ripped straight out of the comics. This is one case in which I have to go against comic book accuracy. This outfit does not match with this character, or at least with the one we know from Daredevil. He looks tacky, cheap, and silly—three things Wilson Fisk never should be. In Daredevil, Fisk’s style is sleek, modern, and minimalistic.
Maya communicates with Fisk with Kazi as an interpreter, using her best poker face to tell him she’s given up on hunting the Ronin. Fisk responds to her verbally and uses some basic ASL as well, which is a nice touch to establish their relationship. They exchange signed “I love you”’s, giving us a little glimpse into their supposed father-daughter bond, leaving me more curious about their relationship. But Maya knows that Fisk had her father killed. After she leaves, Fisk complains about all his problems, Maya now being one of them. Thankfully, the show makes him smart enough to see Maya’s turned on him. He plans to hurt Eleanor Bishop and Maya for what they’ve done to him.
Back to the Hawkeyes: Clint and Kate make a ton of trick arrows in preparation for their confrontation. At the holiday party, everyone is in attendance. Clint and Kate come dressed immaculately. Eleanor arrives and Kate tries to keep her out of trouble. Jack appears, fresh out of jail and now wielding a sword. I guess he’s not a villain after all; he’s just a guy with a weird love of swords. The LARPers come as backup disguised as waitstaff. Kazi stands outside as a sniper. Finally, Yelena Belova arrives in a striking green coat on her mission to kill Clint Barton.
Kazi’s mission is to kill Eleanor, which doesn’t seem in character for Kingpin, who usually tries to keep his murders and dealings out of public light. Kazi tries to take the shot but misses. All hell breaks loose. Yelena goes after Clint, and Kate goes after her. Yelena clearly has a good heart. She never tries to kill Kate or even hurt her severely. They get in an elevator together where they banter a bit and Kate presses all the buttons to slow Yelena down like the moment in Elf when Buddy presses all of the buttons in an elevator to make them light up.
Yelena and Kate get out of the elevator and chase each other across rooms in a great fight. I love seeing all female action! It’s an amazingly filmed sequence in a single moving long shot. The fight seems more fun than fatal, though. Yelena thanks Kate again for a fun time before jumping out of the roof and gliding down the building, holding onto a wire attachment. It’s an extremely similar visual to Die Hard, no doubt another Christmas movie reference. She shoots at Clint a few floors below but misses. Above, Kate overcomes her fear of heights and uses the same wire to slide down the building, too.
Meanwhile, Kazi tries to kill Clint, who quickly knocks him out. The other Tracksuits arrive and Clint has no choice but to jump out of the window and grab onto the wire Yelena left behind. But the wire snaps and Clint plummets, falling into the tree in Rockefeller Center.
Kate shoots the tree down for Clint to escape. The pair reunite on the ice rink and shoot their awesome trick arrows at all the Tracksuits before Kate departs to track down her mom. Kazi arrives to try and kill Clint again, only to be interrupted by Maya and Yelena. Maya asks Kazi to leave this life behind with her, but Kazi can’t because being in the mob is his entire life. You can’t just leave the mob! Maya and Kazi fight, and she’s forced to kill her former friend.
Kate finds her mom after Kingpin’s wrecked her car. He now has a white fedora, which makes the whole getup even worse. Fisk shows off his brute strength as he literally tosses Kate around like a sack of potatoes. I liked this depiction of his frightening strength and force. However, Kate takes him down pretty quickly with more trick arrows.
Sidebar: All Fisk does in this episode is lose to other characters, something that’s only supposed to happen rarely to him. Because of this, he feels much less powerful and dangerous than he did in Daredevil, where he was portrayed I dare say perfectly. In Hawkeye, Fisk feels watered down the entire time, not allowed to be his intelligent, brutal self that makes him such a threat in Daredevil. This is one of the most disappointing aspects of this finale, and it’s no fault of D’Onofrio. It’s a problem from the writers, which points to a larger looming issue: Disney won’t get violent. At least, not on DisneyPlus, where the Marvel Netflix characters are going. If this Kingpin depiction tells us anything, it’s that Disney plans to water down any Marvel Netflix character they use. If they strip the Marvel Netflix characters of the brutality and grit that made their shows so iconic and well done, then I’m not sure I want them to appear in these DisneyPlus shows at all. It’s a disservice to these characters. Sidebar over.
After Kate takes down Fisk, she gets her mother arrested. Back at the rink, Yelena and Clint fight. Yelena takes her grief out on Clint, beating him with her staff. Pugh’s facial expressions are once again gut wrenchingly powerful. Yelena has him at gunpoint and is about to kill him before suddenly, Clint starts whistling. It’s the special whistle from Black Widow, created by Natasha to communicate with Yelena. Clint tells Yelena how much Natasha cared about her. Yelena cries, claiming she could’ve stopped Natasha’s death. Clint remarks that nobody could’ve stopped her. Both Clint and Yelena loved Natasha so much. These two were the people closest to her. They are connected by Natasha and should be helping each other through her loss. Yelena seems to realize this and puts away her gun, offering her hand to help Clint up. They share a beautiful silent moment of shared understanding before Yelena leaves.
After this, Maya finds Fisk injured in the street. Fisk claims they’re family. Maya then shoots him. I wish they’d waited until Echo’s show to show this iconic moment between her and Kingpin. It felt rushed into the finale, which is disappointing. In the comics, this moment comes after Echo has been fighting Daredevil by Kingpin’s command, thinking Daredevil killed her father. She discovers he is really Matt Murdock, the man she’s in love with, and that Kingpin killed her father. So, she goes to Kingpin and shoots him point blank in revenge.
This moment happens so suddenly in Hawkeye, in the midst of everything else, that it feels squeezed in to complete Echo’s arc. Her vengeance should have been explored in depth in her own show. Instead, it doesn’t feel earned here because this show hasn’t committed as much time to exploring her character—it’s Hawkeye’s show, after all. Where does Maya go from here? The Echo show will answer this, though I’m not sure how, now that one of her most compelling storylines has been taken.
Kingpin also probably isn’t dead. In the comics, Maya’s shot only blinds him in one eye, and he returns. The show never actually shows Maya shooting him or even his body afterward, leaving this open ended. It would be a gigantic waste of Vincent D’Onofrio’s talent and the character if they actually killed him here. I expect to see him again, though where, I’m not sure.
The show concludes with Clint and Kate going to Clint’s house for Christmas. He has a sweet reunion with his wife and kids. Clint hands his wife the watch Maya had been after, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo is revealed on one side. This proves Laura Barton was once an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The number “19” is engraved beneath the logo. Agent 19 was another codename for Mockingbird in the Marvel comics, implying that Laura was formerly Mockingbird.
Like all the other DisneyPlus Marvel shows, Hawkeye has a post credits scene. Marvel has set a precedent with their post credits scenes so far, using them to tease what characters will do next. But Hawkeye’s post credits scene subverts this expectation by showing the extended version of the “Save the City” song from Rogers: The Musical. It’s cute, but it doesn’t tell us anything about where any of the characters might be going next. It’s an unfortunate way to end the series, leaving viewers disappointed.
In terms of conflict resolution, the ending for Hawkeye is much more satisfying than those of the other Marvel DisneyPlus series. It’s the longest finale, giving it more time to tie up all the loose ends. It also delivers on most of the promises it makes, particularly the appearance of Kingpin. Yet, the finale feels truly inadequate when it comes to characters. Maya’s vengeance is rushed, Eleanor Bishop is never shown doing the bad things she says she does, Jack Duquesne never becomes Swordsman, Kingpin seems like an entirely different character, and Clint doesn’t get enough development.
Hawkeye receives a General score of 3.5/5. Overall, it did a fine job of developing all of its characters and its plot. I especially appreciated the focus on the consequences of being an Avenger on a normal human through Clint’s hearing loss and PTSD. What brings down its rating for me are all the missed opportunities. I think it could have benefitted from more episodes to better explore each character, particularly Clint Barton. Although this is technically his show, he still doesn’t feel as fleshed out as he could be.
Hawkeye receives a 4.5/5 Incluvie score. It stars a hard of hearing protagonist! Although some things about this depiction could have been improved, it’s a huge step forward for mainstream hard of hearing representation. The inclusion of an accurately casted Maya Lopez—a Deaf Indigenous woman with a prosthetic leg—is absolutely fantastic. This show generally has great female representation. The stars of this show are truly the women: Kate Bishop, Maya Lopez, and Yelena Belova. We got such great female interactions from well developed female characters from this show, and I hope to see more. Hawkeye‘s characters all deserve more development in future projects.