By Brian Richards | TV | December 23, 2021 |
By Brian Richards | TV | December 23, 2021 |
Previously on Hawkeye: Clint ends his partnership with Kate and sends her home upon realizing that an actual Black Widow assassin has now shown up to make things more dangerous and complicated. Kate is confronted in her apartment by Yelena, who informs her that not only was Natasha her sister but that she’s been hired to kill Clint, whom she blames for Natasha’s death. In order to keep his family safe once and for all, Clint wears the Ronin costume to confront Maya, who is left wondering what really happened on the night that her father was murdered. Kate finds out the heartbreaking truth as to who actually hired Yelena to go after Clint.
THE STORY SO FAR: Clint and Kate discover that Eleanor is the one who hired Yelena to kill Clint, as well as the fact that she has been working with Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin. Eleanor severs her business relationship with Kingpin in order to protect Kate, which only results in a target being placed on her back. Yelena continues her attempt to hunt down Clint and kill him because she blames him for Natasha’s death. Maya is torn in deciding what to do about her own discovery that both Kingpin and Kazi were responsible for her father being killed.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: Clint: “Kate, you’re my partner.” Clint and Kate working together to design more trick arrows, including Kate using a label maker to tell them apart, and Clint using some Stark Technologies-designed arrowheads. Kate telling Clint how seeing him during the Battle of New York is what inspired her to be a hero, and to be brave enough to do what’s right, no matter the cost. Every single second that Yelena and Kate Bishop are onscreen together, particularly the shocked expression on Yelena’s face when Kate Bishop actually slaps her, and then when Kate Bishop presses all of the elevator buttons to slow her down and get on her nerves. (Which is something that Amy March would probably do to piss Jo off)
FYI: If you’re wondering what Yelena says to Kate Bishop before she runs out of the elevator, she calls her a bitch in Russian.
The entire showdown with Clint and Kate vs. The Tracksuit Mafia, including Tomas thanking Kate for her relationship advice which resulted in him taking his girlfriend to a Maroon 5 concert instead of Imagine Dragons, though it doesn’t stop Kate from kicking him in the stomach. Kate psyching herself to jump out of the window after Yelena, which she does, and pulls off a Superhero Landing once she hits the ground. Jack putting his swordsmanship to use against a few of the Tracksuits and looking very stylish while doing so. Yelena’s one-on-one battle with Clint, where she learns the truth about what happened to Natasha, and how much she really meant to Clint. Kate going up against Kingpin and using her ingenuity to beat him and not end up like Ben Urich (I’m still unbelievably mad at Daredevil for killing him off and getting rid of Vondie Curtis-Hall like they did, just so Karen Page could swoop in and be a reporter without setting one single foot in journalism school) or Chris Pine-as-Spider-Man. (I know that the f-ckboys and Pick-Mes from Get-Woke-Go-Broke Twitter won’t be happy about that at all, and will use this as another example of Kate being a Mary Sue, and the amount of f-cks that I give about them and their feelings are completely nonexistent) Kate putting the Pym arrow to use against a couple of the Tracksuits, which shrinks them to the size of a Micro-Machine before an owl swoops down and takes them away for its dinner. Kate confronting Eleanor for everything that she’s done and watching as the cops place her under arrest and take her into custody, but not before Eleanor channels Livia Soprano and tries hitting her with a guilt trip about letting her own mother be arrested on Christmas. Clint letting Kate know how proud he is of her, and then taking her with him to spend Christmas with his family, and then burn the Ronin outfit on his barbecue grill.
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE?: As happy as I was to see Vincent D’Onofrio reprise his role as Kingpin, his first full appearance onscreen since Daredevil didn’t really make the best impression. When he’s talking to Kazi about these challenges to his authority (Clint, Eleanor, Maya) and says “The people need to be reminded that this city belongs to me,” we’re never given a reason to truly believe that this city belongs to him, or that he has so much of it in his grasp that even Clint considered him a serious threat who is not to be underestimated. And yes, we have three seasons of Daredevil to show us how powerful and deadly Kingpin is, but if you’re going to talk constantly about him on this show as if he’s Keyser Söze, then you should show us why he’s feared, and it’s why I wish he was in more than one episode instead of being saved as a last-minute surprise that didn’t really surprise too many people. (And also to show us more of his relationship with Maya, and why his involvement with her father’s death hits her so hard as a personal betrayal, instead of simply rushing through it)
And like everyone else, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at Kingpin’s wardrobe choices, which really made him look like he went shopping for zoot suits with Lou Bega and Pitbull.
As cool as it was to see Grills, Missy, and the rest of the larpers recruited by Clint and Kate for backup at the Bishop holiday party, the moment where they walk out in their larping costumes to be more authoritative just seemed like the show was leaning too hard on the “We need comic relief” button when it wasn’t really needed. We never really get to see Jack absorb the fact that Eleanor set him up and had him sent to jail, or the fact that she’s just been arrested and is now going to jail herself, since we instead get to see him frustrated about blood getting on his tie, while the larpers approach him about possibly becoming a member. And Eleanor sneaking up on Kingpin and hitting him with her car doesn’t make much sense, especially when she didn’t have enough distance or momentum to hit him that hard with her car that was literally parked less than six feet away from where Kate and Kingpin are fighting.
DO ANY OF THE AVENGERS APPEAR IN THIS EPISODE?: No.
LUCKY THE PIZZA DOG?: Yes. He accompanies Clint and Kate to the Barton farm when Clint is finally able to go back home to his family just in time for Christmas.
YELENA BELOVA?: Yes. We see her reunite with Kate Bishop (sadly, there is no macaroni and cheese for them to share) as they fight over elevator buttons as if Kate Bishop is Plucky Duck, and then fight it out in an entire row of offices before Yelena leaps out of the nearest window to escape and to confront Clint. And confront him she does, as she demands to know what happened to Natasha and how exactly she died. Clint only says that she sacrificed her own life in order to save the world, which results in Yelena taking out her electro-shock baton and beating him like he’s a damn piñata. It isn’t until Clint uses the secret whistle that Natasha and Yelena would use to alert each other in Black Widow that Yelena starts to believe him, as she listens to Clint tell her how much Natasha would talk about her, about their childhood together before they were separated, and how much she truly loved her. The fact that Clint knew Natasha so incredibly well and got so much time with her is what truly has Yelena feeling so much anger and regret, and they’re finally able to bond with each other over the one thing that they have in common: they both love and miss Natasha.
And also, Yelena’s braids are once again on point.
KINGPIN?: Yes. He appears in the opening scene as he converses with Eleanor (which is the conversation that Yelena records and sends to Kate in the previous episode, revealing that Eleanor is the one who hired her to kill Clint), and she makes it clear that she no longer wants to do business with him, and that she has copies of their past conversations and transactions as an insurance policy to protect herself. Needless to say, he’s not happy at all about Eleanor thinking that she can just quit and walk away as if this were a job at Goldman Sachs.
THE BARTON FAMILY?: Yes, we do get to see the entire family as Clint fulfills his promise and arrives back home to be with them in time for Christmas. Though to be honest, when Clint got out of his car and looked at his front door, I got nervous and thought that Hawkeye was going to pull a “Season 4 finale of Dexter” and reveal that his entire family was dead or something. Fortunately, the show did not go in that direction.
DO WE SEE ANY CAST MEMBERS FROM 30 ROCK OR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE SINCE THIS FINAL BATTLE DOES TAKE PLACE RIGHT OUTSIDE THEIR OFFICE BUILDING? No. As cool as it would be to see Frank or Toofer or Tracy Jordan reacting to Clint and Kate vs. the Tracksuit Mafia, it isn’t meant to be. And I already know that Jenna Maroney would still find a way to demand attention and make these shenanigans all about her.
ANY EASTER EGGS WE SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR?: Kingpin is rocking his diamond-studded walking stick, which in the comics is capable of shooting laser beams or poison gas at his opponents. The object that Kate uses for her ‘coin toss’ attack on Kingpin to activate the trick arrows and defeat him is actually one of Kingpin’s cufflinks. Kingpin explained to his girlfriend and future wife, Vanessa, on an episode of Daredevil how the cufflinks once belonged to his abusive father (who he murdered when he was a little boy, FYI) and that he wears them as a reminder of him. When Kate ambushes a few of the Tracksuits from a window in F.A.O. Schwarz, she steps on a giant toy piano, which is a reference to the film Big. The costume that Clint wears during the final battle (courtesy of Missy and her handiwork) looks very much like the costume he wears in the Matt Fraction/David Aja run of the Hawkeye comic-book series. Kazi telling Maya that he can’t leave his life in the Tracksuit Mafia behind because he can’t walk in two worlds like she does, which is a reference to what William Lopez told Maya when she was younger, about being deaf and learning how to interact and deal with people who aren’t, since he couldn’t afford to send her to a school for the deaf. The owl who Clint sees sitting in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza may be a reference to the real-life incident of when an actual owl (who would later be nicknamed Rocky) was found in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza last year, and was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility before being released.
Kingpin being able to take Kate’s arrow to the chest and not be affected by it is another reference to Daredevil, in which we learn that Kingpin’s suits contain protective lining that keep him safe from physical harm. When Kate shrinks the Trust-A-Bro truck with her Pym arrow and asks Clint what happened next, he responds that he’s going to need ask Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, about that. Maya confronting Kingpin at gunpoint for having her father killed is from her origin story in the Daredevil comics, in which she also confronts him at gunpoint, but shoots him in the face and leaves him temporarily blinded. And I’m sorry to throw dogsh-t all over your picnic, but the “We Are Happy To Serve You” coffee cups that are spotted in the Trust-A-Bro trucks when the Tracksuits are driving them are not an Easter egg that connects this show to Spider-Man: No Way Home since Peter is seen drinking from the same coffee cup towards the end of the film. They’re just a really popular cup here in New York for those who purchase coffee from bodegas and food carts/trucks. And as much as I tease Kingpin for looking like Magnum P.I. in that loud-ass shirt of his, it’s actually a reference to the cover of Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business.
Also, if you listen very closely to the owl as it swoops down from the Christmas tree to fly away with the shrunken Tracksuits, you can actually hear the owl say, “Trans women are women,” so it’s safe to say that this is definitely not an owl from Hogwarts.
ANY FAN THEORIES SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE ACROSS THE INTERNET BECAUSE OF THIS EPISODE?: After this episode, many viewers have been left wondering if Kingpin is really dead, and if he was really brought onto Hawkeye just to be killed by Maya after making his first full appearance on the series. (I seriously doubt that he’s dead, and he’ll most likely show up again on Echo whenever that series drops on Disney Plus.)
DO SPIDER-MAN OR DAREDEVIL APPEAR IN THIS EPISODE AT ALL?: No, they don’t. Spider-Man: No Way Home may end with (and this is the only spoiler about the film you’ll get from me) Spidey swinging past the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza, and I’m sure this gave fans some hope that he would make his presence felt somehow during this episode, but it doesn’t happen.
DO WE EVER FIND OUT IF KINGPIN ACTUALLY BOUGHT AVENGERS TOWER?: No, we don’t. And we still get no glimpses of Avengers Tower in this episode.
DO WE EVER FIND OUT WHY THAT ROLEX WATCH AT THE BLACK-MARKET AUCTION WAS SO IMPORTANT?: Yes. The watch did belong to Laura, and when Clint returns it to her, we see that on the back of the watch is the logo for S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as the number 19. This confirms the popular theory that Laura was an agent/operative when she and Clint first crossed paths (which Tony Stark did joke about in Avengers: Age Of Ultron when he first met her, and clearly he wasn’t wrong), as well as the fact that Laura is actually ‘Mockingbird,’ whose real name in the comics is Barbara “Bobbi” Morse and who was also known as “Agent 19.”
HOLD UP! WE ALREADY MET MOCKINGBIRD IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE! SHE WAS ON AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. AND SHE WAS PLAYED BY ADRIANNE PALICKI, AND SHE WAS F-CKING AWESOME!: All of this is true (especially the part about Palicki being f-cking awesome), and all I can say is that if anyone needed further proof that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not and never was considered to be canon by Marvel, and that they have every intention of ignoring what happened on the show so they can do their own thing as the MCU continues to expand, this revelation pretty much confirms that.
SO THIS IS WHAT MARVEL AND DISNEY CHOOSE TO DO WITH MOCKINGBIRD NOW? JUST HAVE HER BE A STAY-AT-HOME WIFE PLAYED BY LINDA CARDELLINI WHO DOESN’T REALLY DO ANYTHING EXCEPT BE WORRIED BUT SUPPORTIVE WHEN TALKING TO CLINT?
ARE THERE ANY SCENES DURING THE CLOSING CREDITS?: Just the full version of “Save The City” being performed on stage by the cast of Rogers: The Musical.
THAT’S IT?!?! NOTHING ELSE THAT HINTS AT WHAT’S TO COME FOR THE NEXT SEASON OF HAWKEYE OR FOR THE NEXT MARVEL SERIES ON DISNEY PLUS?!: No, I’m afraid not.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: There was much to like and enjoy about this episode and how the season ended, but like nearly every other finale for a Marvel series on Disney Plus, it has its issues that prevent it from fully sticking the landing, as this season finale was clearly working overtime to wrap up its storylines while not giving enough time and focus to half of them. I know that many fans complained about the Marvel shows on Netflix having 13-episode seasons and how they felt that was way too much (honestly, it was less about the episode count and more about the pacing, and how each show handled it), but the 6-episode seasons don’t always do these Marvel shows any favors when it comes to what they set up and how they follow through with everything by the time they reach the finish line. (For further proof on how 6-episode seasons aren’t always enough, see the final season of Game Of Thrones) And of course, there was plenty of disappointment on social media because of how none of the theories that fans had in mind became reality. (I know that a lot of you would’ve loved to see Daredevil and Kingpin have another rematch, but The Man Without Fear was definitely not going to show up at the last second to fight alongside Clint and Kate) And as much as I love Vera Farmiga, she really wasn’t given much to work with in this episode or in most of Hawkeye, and it comes across as yet another example of Marvel/Disney hiring another well-known and incredibly talented actress to bring some gravitas to the project that she’s appearing in, only to give them material that’s less than great and isn’t really much for them to sink their teeth into (Glenn Close in Guardians of the Galaxy, Annette Bening in Captain Marvel, Sigourney Weaver on The Defenders).
But despite all of that, when Hawkeye was good, it was good. And much of that can be credited to the cast, particularly Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, who gave us a greater understanding of who he is, and of the grief, frustration, and self-doubt he carries because of Natasha’s death, his actions as Ronin which are now threatening his life and his time with his family, and him not feeling worthy of being looked at with admiration, especially by Kate; Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop/Lady Hawk/Hawk Eve/Lady Arrow, who was eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a hero like Hawkeye while showing that she has still much to learn, including the painful lesson that being a hero and doing the right thing is not always easy, and can sometimes break your heart in the most unpredictable of ways; Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez/Echo, who did a fantastic job at conveying Maya’s rage and grief at confronting Clint, her willingness to scour the ends of the Earth until she finds him and kills him, and then learning the horrible truth about who had her father killed, and I can’t wait to see what she does next on her own series; and of course, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, whose presence on the show was an absolute blessing, and the sooner that we can get more delightful scenes with her and Kate Bishop in Young Avengers, or whatever movie or television series that Kevin Feige has planned, the better.
And a round of applause to Bert & Bertie (real names: Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood) who directed the best episodes of Hawkeye and gave it the kick in the ass it so desperately needed.
Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa to those who celebrate, and Happy Saturday and Sunday to those who don’t. Please stay safe, wear your mask, avoid any and all tired-ass debates as to whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and if you’re not fully vaccinated and boosted, but you can get fully vaccinated and boosted, please do so ASAP, because the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is not a f-cking joke.
This episode of Hawkeye has been brought to you by “Merry Christmas, Baby” by Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown:
“Christmastime Is Here” by The Vince Guaraldi Trio:
And “Selling Jesus” by Skunk Anansie.
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