Reviews | Written by Paul Mount 24/12/2021

HAWKEYE – EPISODE SIX: SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS

So this is Christmas… but war very definitely isn’t over for Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and his new bestie Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) as the stunning and joyous Disney +  Marvel series reaches its epic conclusion. And what a conclusion. Across the previous five episodes, the show has set up its protagonists and carefully positioned them in readiness for the final confrontation, which must surely settle old scores and, hopefully, heal old wounds. Last week threw an extra spanner into the works of Clint’s increasingly convoluted plan to escape New York and spend Christmas with his family when the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), last seen in Season Three of Netflix’s Daredevil – thus tantalisingly bringing together the defunct Netflix Marvel Universe with the wider MCU – is revealed as the master manipulator who has been the unsuspected architect of Hawkeye’s ever-increasing misfortunes. D’Onofrio is wonderfully sinister and threatening as Kingpin/Wilson Fisk – not only because of his imposing bulk – as he glowers and trembles in the wake of what he sees as the betrayal of those who owe him and whom he has bent to his will. Some commentators have suggested that this version of Kingpin isn’t the same as the one we’ve seen in Daredevil and certainly Hawkeye doesn’t allow time for the sort of deep dives into his tortured backstory we’ve seen in the past and whilst the MCU’s current exploration of the Multiverse concept certainly allows for different versions of the character, we can’t help hoping that when Daredevil eventually turns up (and we now sort of know he’s on his way, right kids?) he and Kingpin are indeed the incarnations that the Netflix audience, at least, has already become acquainted with. Time will tell…

But the battle lines are drawn in this final episode with Maya/Echo (Alaqua Cox) trying to sever her ties with Kingpin but with unfinished business with Hawkeye’s Ronin persona and with Yelena (Florence Pugh), vengeance uppermost in her mind, blaming Clint for the death of her sister Natasha in Avengers Endgame. Kate has her own problems now she knows that her own mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) has been in league with the Kingpin all along and was responsible both for the death of Armand in episode one and for framing her own fiancé Jack and, of course, the massed ranks of the Tracksuit Mafia are closing in for the kill too.

These delicious plot threads all come together – and how – at Eleanor’s Christmas Eve party (although perhaps she should have cancelled it and laid low for a bit, bearing in mind she’s just royally pissed off New York’s biggest crime lord) when Kazi (Fra Fee) tries to assassinate Eleanor on the orders of the Kingpin. Luckily, Clint and Kate are in attendance, and before long pitched battle ensues as the final reckoning approaches…

So This Is Christmas is about as satisfying a finale for this wonderfully-watchable and enjoyable series as we could ever have reasonably expected. The action is, once again, feature film quality with superbly-choreographed fight sequences, witty and imaginative action scenes (Kate and Clint’s demolition of the Tracksuit Maffia with their superannuated arsenal of arrows is, quite literally, a hoot) and there’s real wallop and oomph in the physical punch-ups between Clint and Yelena and, especially, Kingpin and Kate where we can really feel those blows. Unsurprisingly -  and not at all disappointingly – the show deftly ties up all its plotlines in a big Christmas bow but with plenty of opportunities offered for the story to continue elsewhere in the sprawling MCU as several key characters disappear into the night or suffer ambiguous and undoubtedly misleading deaths.

The episode ends as we secretly always hoped it would. Clint is back with his family (with one final little surprise following his wife’s reunion with her long-lost watch) and Kate joins the Bartons for a picture postcard Christmas. Kate and Clint really are partners now and in the final scene Clint symbolically burns his old Ronin suit (but not, thankfully, his snug new Hawkeye costume) and the pair wander off spit-balling new superhero names for Kate, the show jumping to its credits just as Clint suggests a name that might be the most appropriate for his eager young protege…

Hawkeye has been an absolute blast, six episodes of prime Marvel entertainment from a series most had considered unnecessary and few had seriously expected to turn out to be the boldest, brightest, and punchiest of all this year’s Disney + exclusives. The mid-credits sequence gifts us a revisit to Rogers: The Musical and a full-length, full-cast rendition of the musical’s signature song, briefly teased in Episode One. It’s a well-pitched moment of tongue-in-cheek celebration that reminds us, as if we needed reminding, of why Marvel is currently the world’s most popular entertainment franchise. Long may it continue. We could watch this all day…

Hawkeye is available on Disney+.

Read our previous reviews here:

Episodes 1 and 2.

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5