Another year has passed and with it a slew of MCU projects. The first year of Disney+ shows has come to a close with the season finale of Hawkeye. The new premium long-format storytelling is new territory for Feige and everyone at Marvel Studios. No show has better put on display the potential of Disney+ content than Hawkeye. After five episodes of untangling a massive conspiracy and plenty of trick arrows, the show finally comes to its long-awaited conclusion. Kate and Clint’s partnership is finally put to the test. Facing what is arguably their biggest threat yet, the two get to really shine as a unit in this episode.
Like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier before it, the show waits until its conclusion to show the heroes in full form. The build-up to it was always slightly messy, but looking at Hawkeye as a whole, the journey to get to this point was just as satisfying as this explosive conclusion. The focus of the six episodes has always been Kate and Clint. The evolution of their relationship is what helps make the payoff incredible. Moreover, Kate comes to a crossroads that not only shows a new side of herself to Clint, but also a side of Clint himself that he hasn’t seen until he met Kate.
Something that doesn’t hurt the show’s finale either is the Kingpin. Vincent D’Onofrio makes his triumphant return as the Kingpin of Crime. He doesn’t miss a beat, either. The large and looming presence he brings with what few scenes he has is honestly incredible. More physically imposing than ever before, Fisk’s physicality and strength put on display is also extremely entertaining. The story manages to weave all the plot points together to make everything else in previous episodes make sense. The control he has over tracksuits leads to the explosive conclusion mentioned earlier. His business relationship with Eleanor is the driving force of conflict for Clint and Kate, making the personal stakes that much more intense.
Clint and Kate, fully restocked on trick Arrows and fresh new uniforms, crash the Bishop holiday party to save Kate’s mother from Kingpin’s wrath. Yelena’s presence makes things complicated, but also convenient for Kate and Clint to take on every antagonist this season in one go. What follows is without a doubt the greatest holiday fight scene the MCU has ever seen. Albeit, probably the only holiday fight scene in the MCU. Still though, the expertly choreographed action flows incredibly and is some of the best in all the Disney+ shows.
Clint and Yelena have their much-anticipated confrontation as well. And like most everything else in the MCU, the emotional stakes carry the fight more than the action itself. Their confrontation parallels with Kate’s and her mother’s, as she desperately tries to protect her from the Kingpin. The two characters, in a sense, confront their subconscious needs and fears through the antagonists they fight. Florence Pugh gives an incredibly sad and emotional performance, coming to terms with the loss of her sister. The shared grief with Clint is emotional catharsis for both the viewer and them.
Maya gets some much-needed closure as well. It isn’t done as neatly as Clint or Kate’s arcs but still finishes the story up. If there is one consistent issue with the Disney+ shows, it’s that the balancing of so many different stories and characters leads to some getting the shorter end of the stick. However, seeing as there are always more stories to tell in the MCU, this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of Echo.
By the time the dust settles, Hawkeye forges new relationships, with incredible character-driven action. Clint Barton is given the respect he deserves not only as an Avenger, but a thematically rich character. The MCU also has a new Hawkeye in Kate Bishop, and Steinfeld’s MCU debut couldn’t have gone better. Overall, Clint and Kate’s journey from strangers to partners makes this six-episode series another excellent addition to the MCU, and an incredible conclusion to the MCU content we’ve received this year. Happy holidays. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 9/10
All Episodes of Hawkeye are now streaming on Disney+.