Hawkeye Comes to an Explosive Finale in “So This is Christmas?”

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Hawkeye ends running headlong into the holiday season… by doing truly unexpected things to the Rockefeller Christmas tree.

Summary

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

The episode opens on a meeting between the Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk, and Eleanor Bishop. They discuss their dealings, and Eleanor admits that she wants out of their business. It is revealed that her husband owed a small fortune to Fisk, which she repaid “tenfold.” She has insurance—records of all of her interactions with Fisk—but Fisk warns her as she leaves that this business is not the sort of thing you can walk away from.

Maya arrives at Fisk’s hideout to apologize for her high-profile hunt for Clint Barton, and requests a few days off “to clear her head.” Fisk agrees, and reassures Maya that he loves her. As she leaves, Fisk tells Kazi that he believes Maya has turned on them.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Meanwhile, Clint and Kate head back to Kate’s apartment to fabricate more trick arrows in preparation for Eleanor’s holiday party. As a beautiful Christmas-themed rendition of the Avengers theme plays, we see all of the arrows under construction: pepper spray, air bag arrows, flash bombs, Pym arrows, lightning arrows, Stark arrows, and one simply labeled as “way too dangerous.” As they work, Clint gives a final warning to Kate about the dangers they’ll face, and she confirms that she is ready for it. She tells Clint the story of her experience at the battle for New York, when she learned that “being a hero isn’t just for people who can fly or shoot lasers out of their hands. It’s for anyone who’s brave enough to do what’s right, whatever the cost.”

The Tracksuit Bros descend on Rockefeller Center as Kate and Clint arrive at Eleanor’s holiday party. Jack—somehow not in jail—is also present, wearing a sword and talking to the younger Armand VII. Kazi takes a sniper position on a nearby building as Yelena arrives at the party, followed by Eleanor. Kate pulls her mother aside, out of Kazi’s line of sight, and confronts her about her dealings with Fisk. They are interrupted by Jack, who also wants to talk to Eleanor.

Meanwhile, Clint talks to Wendy, one of the NYC LARPers who is disguised as a waiter at the holiday party. Kazi aims for Clint, but Clint notices the light and pulls Wendy out of the line of fire. Kate runs to help, leaving Eleanor and Jack in the back room. Eleanor takes off out a side exit leaving Jack alone and confused, but instead of running, he draws his sword and enters the fray.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Kate runs after Yelena and the two head for the elevators. In a tense, whimsical sequence, the two scuffle in the elevator and fight across an entire floor of the building before Yelena makes her escape out a window. As she rappels down the building, Yelena shoots at Clint, who takes cover. He then shoots a gas arrow at Kazi, drawing him out of the building. Kate follows Yelena and makes a not-so-graceful superhero landing in Rockefeller Center.

The Tracksuits swarm the plaza below. Jack enthusiastically joins the fight, sword in hand, as Clint is ambushed by Kazi. Clint knocks him out before making his clumsy escape out the window and into the Rockefeller Christmas tree.

Kate shoots the Rockefeller tree down as the LARPers—now decked out in their cool new suits—begin to shepherd the civilians to safety. She then joins Clints on the ice to make their stand against the Tracksuits. Trick arrows abound as the two Hawkeyes work together to fend off the bros, coalescing in the final use of a Pym arrow that shrinks the “Trust a Bro” moving van.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

With the Tracksuits taken care of, Kate runs to find Eleanor, just as Yelena and Maya arrive at the plaza. Yelena demands to know what really happened to Natasha, convinced that Clint is lying. Maya and Kazi fight; she begs him to leave it all behind, but he refuses, and she kills him.

Kate arrives just as Kingpin reaches Eleanor in her car. Kate shoots at Fisk, but he breaks off the arrow, seemingly unaffected. Eleanor breaks up the fight by ramming Kingpin through the wall of FAO Schwartz, giving Kate a chance to recover. Inside the store, Kate confronts Fisk, and is thrown through a dollhouse. Fisk snaps all of the trick arrows and scatters them to the ground, but just as he is about to attack again, Kate flicks a cufflink at the arrowheads, setting off a chain reaction and exploding the one labeled “way too dangerous.” Fisk is thrown across the store, unconscious.

Outside, Kate runs to Eleanor, who survived the car crash and is dazed, but apologetic. The police arrive and arrest her for the murder of Armand III. Eleanor asks Kate if this is what heroes do—arrest their mothers on Christmas Eve.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Back at Rockefeller Center, Yelena knocks Clint to the ground before rounding on him with a gun. But Clint gives a long, low whistle—the same one that Natasha would use to signal to Yelena as children—and Yelena pauses. Clint shares the stories that Natasha had told him over the years about Yelena, and about their escape from Ohio. The two have a moment of shared grief before Yelena leaves the plaza.

Meanwhile, Fisk escapes from the toy store and stumbles down a side alley. Maya confronts him, and despite his attempts to convince her that family “doesn’t always see eye-to-eye,” Maya shoots him.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Finally, Clint returns to the farmhouse on Christmas day, with Kate and Lucky in tow. The children run out to greet them, delighted that Clint made it home on Christmas. As the children open presents with Kate, Clint returns the watch to Laura, who flips it over to reveal the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo and the number 19. Kate and Clint burn the Ronin suit once and for all. Together, they head back to the farmhouse as Kate begins to brainstorm her own superhero name.

 

Commentary

Is good, bro!

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Like the rest of this season, this episode was the perfect combination of action, whimsy, and heart. Steinfeld and Renner continue to shine in both their personal moments together onscreen and in the more comedic action sequences. I loved seeing Kate learn and grow through this series, but I also appreciate that she’s remained Kate despite it all—headstrong, passionate, and determined to do the right thing, even at great personal cost. I look forward to seeing what else Steinfeld brings to the MCU.

I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by Clint’s own emotional journey and ultimate catharsis surrounding his loss of Natasha. The final confrontation between Clint and Yelena was beautiful, despite some clumsy editing, and provided some great acting moments for both Renner and Pugh. (“I loved her so much.” “Me too.”) These moments of interconnectivity between the Disney+ series and the movies not only strengthen the storytelling, but allow Marvel to continue to shine through its fantastic and somehow-believable comic book worldbuilding.

In the previous episode, we got our first glimpse at the comedic interactions between Yelena and Kate, and the finale continued to deliver great moments between the two. Kate seems to have a thing for awkward elevator encounters—in contrast to Steve Rogers’s badass elevator scenes—and I hope we get more of this new Hawkeye and Black Widow together in the MCU.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

The comedy throughout this episode was exactly what I wanted from a holiday action series: slapstick tree-climbing chaos, LARPer shenanigans, Clint’s Bond-esque one-liners, witty exchanges between Yelena and Kate, and surprising, enthusiastic heroism from the red herring villain, Jack Duquesne. I actually laughed out loud at his conversation with Armand VII, as well as when he joined the fight against the Tracksuit Bros. It turns out that he’s just a suave, vaguely European-sounding man who really loves swords, and that’s great. The setup for the owl, followed by the shrinking of the “Trust a Bro” moving van and its subsequent abduction, added more great comedic moments in an overall emotional episode. (Although I am now concerned for the fate of those bros.) And as cheesy as it was to have the LARPers suit up in the fight, I one-hundred percent believe that New Yorkers would rather listen to people dressed up like Asgardians than people dressed as regular waitstaff.

My only complaint about this episode is that like other Disney+ series, it felt a bit rushed towards the end, despite the episode’s hour-long run time. I definitely could have used more closure for Maya, Kazi, and Fisk, as well as for Eleanor and Kate. Fisk was great as a villain—imposing, menacing, and seemingly invincible—and I feel a bit robbed that we only really got him for the finale. However, I’m sure it’s not the last we’ll see of him or Eleanor Bishop, especially if Kate sticks around in the MCU. (Potentially forming the Young Avengers?)

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

And yes, Clint finally makes it home for the holidays, with Kate and Lucky in tow. We get the reveal that Laura was S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent 19, who in the comics went by the code name Mockingbird. (In the comics, Clint was also married to Mockingbird for a time, although the agent’s real name was Bobbi Morse. The marriage didn’t last.) The ending does leave room for questions: Will Clint finally retire? Is Fisk truly dead? Where will Maya go next? Is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. canon? Who gets Lucky the Pizza Dog? But despite the open questions, the series felt self-contained with satisfying emotional closure.

And of course I can’t forget the post-credits scene. Marvel knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas: the long-form, no-cut version of the song from Rogers: The Musical. Now film a whole two-act musical, you cowards!

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

I think ultimately, the series did exactly what I wanted it to do: it told a story about Hawkeye, both the new one and the old one, and used elements from one of my favorite comic runs all in the backdrop of New York City at Christmas. It provided an excellent introduction for both Kate Bishop and Maya Lopez, as well as further development for our new Black Widow, Yelena. It gave us—along with Clint—some closure on Natasha’s death, and continued to build on the state of the world following the Blip.

I really hope that the MCU continues to leverage the Disney+ series format to tell stories like this: smaller, more down-to-earth, and human. I loved Hawkeye and can’t wait to see more of Kate Bishop in the future of the MCU.

 

Asides

The music in this episode, like the rest of the series, was phenomenal.
Loved the callback to Clint teaching Kate how to snap a coin at a target, and that she ended up using Kingpin’s cuff link.

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

I hope Jack joins the LARPers.
I hope we see the LARPers again.
Kate telling Clint “you jumped from that building even though you can’t fly” to jumping off her own building to chase down Yelena was a heart-wrenching parallel.

Annika Rollock is a forever student and sometimes-writer working on her PhD in aerospace engineering. She enjoys comics, cycling, cephalopods, and coffee. Stop by her Twitter for space content and the occasional meme!

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