NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Hawkeye”, including a major character death, are present in this review
With the excitement of Marvel Television’s Netflix shows being inducted into the mainline MCU hanging fresh in the air, or at least Daredevil, Hawkeye stands poised to deliver a thrilling finish in its sixth and seemingly final episode, “So This is Christmas.” As much as it wasn’t a total surprise in the end, Wilson Fisk/Kingpin being unmasked as the true leader of the Tracksuit Mafia, and the secret co-conspirator of Eleanor Bishop, creates a highly compelling final obstacle for both Clint and Kate. With their partnership having been restored, and the end of Clint’s long Ronin history finally being in sight, both iterations of the MCU’s Hawkeye need only survive a final assault by Kingpin’s forces, all while Yelena continues to target Clint as retribution for her sister’s death during Avengers: Endgame.
Hawkeye has surprised many people by being an easy contender for the MCU’s best Disney+ series of 2021, and I’m happy to report that the show effortlessly sticks the landing with its finale. “So This is Christmas” delivers another perfect Holiday-themed cocktail of action, drama, humour and rewarding character work, all wrapped up with the metaphorical bow of Vincent D’Onofrio finally getting a chance to bring his Kingpin into the mainline MCU. There’s no mention of Daredevil, Matt Murdock or any other personality related to the Man Without Fear’s Netflix series here, sadly, but that’s okay, because D’Onofrio’s Kingpin remains a powerhouse villain and a terrifying presence regardless, even in a more light-hearted MCU series like Hawkeye.
Thus, with all of its mysteries now being revealed, Hawkeye can go all in on its engaging climax, even if that means there aren’t any real curveballs surrounding how the series concludes. The one exception however is the ultimate fate of Kingpin, who makes an apparently short-lived return before finding himself getting his own comeuppance at the hands of Maya. Maya suffers almost the entire brunt of tragedy in this finale in fact, since she has to put down Kazi shortly beforehand, sadly confirming that Kazi will never embrace his Marvel Comics identity as Clown in the MCU. Regarding Kingpin however, his fate is at least noticeably more ambiguous. Even after Kingpin is cornered and seemingly shot by Maya, the camera conspicuously pans up, and we don’t ultimately see Kingpin meet his maker. This leaves some very apparent wiggle room for D’Onofrio’s Kingpin to potentially return in the Echo spin-off series, or some other MCU project in the future, particularly since a Marvel Comics storyline did feature Kingpin being blinded by a gunshot from Echo, but ultimately surviving the bullet.
Before Kingpin’s implied demise however, he does square off with Kate, following a very lengthy series of action sequences set in and around the Comcast Building at Rockefeller Plaza. Once again, Hawkeye astonishingly raises the bar throughout its action sequences here, saving the most impressive action beats for last, as Clint and Kate initially end up separated during the chaos of a Tracksuit Mafia attack, one meant to assassinate Eleanor under Kingpin’s orders. This lengthy sequence even manages to incorporate Jack and the LARPers to boot, as the entire might of the surprisingly huge Tracksuit Mafia is suddenly brought down on Clint and Kate. This climactic battle provides plenty of opportunities for the two heroes to incorporate an especially awesome selection of trick arrows as well, particularly when they’re eventually reunited on the plaza rink, at which point they use nothing but their hand-to-hand and archery skills to take on numerous Tracksuit Mafia thugs, a moment that easily stands among the best in this series!
The Kate/Kingpin confrontation is also nicely hair-raising, even if it’s quite evident that Kingpin is pulling his punches. Even then though, Kingpin’s extraordinary strength from Marvel Comics lore suddenly appears to have been fully incorporated into the MCU, in a bit of a departure from the character’s slightly more grounded portrayal on Netflix’s Daredevil series. It’s not truly explained why D’Onofrio’s Kingpin can suddenly snap a whole quiver of arrows in half, or toss Kate around like a ragdoll immediately after surviving Eleanor ramming him full-speed with a car, but perhaps Kingpin’s appearance and strength more closely mirroring his comic book inspiration in Hawkeye could be a way to help the character better translate into the more fantastical Marvel Studios arm of the MCU, especially if he’s expected to, say, battle Tom Holland’s Spider-Man at some point.
As frustratingly short-lived and ambiguous as Kingpin’s return to MCU canon is however, we get a much more definitive and rewarding payoff to Yelena’s connection with both Clint and Kate alike. Kate initially tries to stop Yelena from killing Clint through another highlight action sequence, one involving the two women fighting their way through several offices in a series of lengthy takes. Yelena still manages to make it to Clint anyway, but after Yelena beats Clint within an inch of his life on the plaza rink, while Kate is indisposed battling Kingpin, Clint is eventually given the opportunity to tell Yelena that Natasha voluntarily sacrificed herself to save the world. Yelena obviously doesn’t quite understand Clint’s claim, but after Clint proves that he knows the Black Widow sisters’ secret whistle, and that Natasha talked at length about Yelena, Yelena eventually finds herself unable to go through with the assassination job. I guess that assignment is moot anyway, with Kingpin likely being shot, and Eleanor definitely being arrested.
Like I said, there aren’t much in the way of surprising turns during this finale, but the exciting, thoroughly entertaining finish still manages to carry Hawkeye to an exceptional conclusion. Kate is even allowed to come along with Clint to the Barton family Christmas, with an adopted Lucky by her side, at which point we also learn that Clint retrieved Laura’s mysterious watch off-screen. It’s too bad that we didn’t have more plotting room to fully wrap up the mystery of the watch, but it’s nonetheless another twist that may prove bittersweet for fans of the MCU’s Marvel Television catalogue.
This is because the watch not only confirms that Laura was a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but also that she was Agent 19. This would seemingly confirm that Laura is the MCU’s Mockingbird, a love interest and eventual wife to Hawkeye in Marvel Comics lore (even if the two later divorced). Problem is, a different version of Mockingbird, known by her civilian name, Bobbi Morse, was featured on a couple of seasons of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where she was played by Adrianne Palicki. Since that character was never referred to as Agent 19 however, nor did she appear to have any connection to Hawkeye in the MCU, it’s possible that, should Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. be ultimately maintained in MCU canon, that Laura and Bobbi may simply be two different people in the MCU, both serving as loose adaptations of the same Marvel Comics character.
“So This is Christmas” focuses on bringing Hawkeye to a fully satisfying finish on its own merits, rather than throwing a bunch of last-minute surprises at viewers. While some may feel that this doesn’t set fans up with much of a concrete idea about what’s next for the street-level sector of the MCU, it does allow Hawkeye to fully focus on its own mysteries and plot elements, while mainly leaning into its established strengths. As such, there’s really nothing notable to complain about in this highly entertaining, action-packed finale, unless you’re extra shaken at the idea that Kingpin may be (but probably isn’t) dead so shortly after making his triumphant MCU return, and being the first character from Marvel Television’s Netflix shows to graduate to the mainline MCU canon. Like I said though, Maya turning a gun on Kingpin is more likely a tease for how their strained family relationship could evolve within the upcoming Echo series that’s currently in development for Disney+, rather than a frustrating one-and-done wrap-up for D’Onofrio’s Kingpin.
I guess I can respect even Hawkeye’s post-credits scene simply serving up a full encore of the fictional Rogers: The Musical stage number as well, as a cheeky, slightly trolling gift to fans. With the MCU thus being set to take a nearly six-month breather from here, assuming this May’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness still manages to make its planned theatrical premiere date, all us True Believers can do for now is wait, but man did 2021’s MCU catalogue go out on a high note!
- Excellent, relentlessly exciting climax at Rockefeller Plaza
- Kingpin's imposing, triumphant return to the MCU
- Highly satisfying resolutions for almost every character
- Some may feel that Kingpin was neutralized too easily (even if it probably won't stick)