How did it take Marvel this long to do Christmas? Until we get The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special next year, Hawkeye will be the gift to beat in the MCU – unwrapping a season finale that already feels like a dozen festive classics in one. Bits of Die Hard, Home Alone and Elf collide as everything comes to a head in New York’s Rockefeller Plaza with a six-way battle royale that ties all the loose ends up in big glittery bows.
After last week’s revelations, we now know that Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is a baddie, Jack (Tony Dalton) is a goodie and Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) is the real string-puller behind everything that’s been going on. Yelena (Florence Pugh) sends video evidence to Kate (Hailee Steinfeld), which really ruins her family Christmas plans. Maya (Alaqua Cox) meets up with Kingpin and Kazi (Fra Fee) and tries to convince them both that she’s still on board with their dastardly plans. But they both know she’s lying (just look at D’Onofrio’s evil eye twitch), which means she goes into the final fight on the right team.
Back at the Hawkeyes, Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate are having one last heart-to-heart. “You showed me 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, no matter the cost,” says Kate, making one last argument to try and convince us all how cool Hawkeye really is. With that settled, it’s on to plotting their big Kevin McCallister plan (building loads of trick arrows that might as well shoot paint cans on strings).
— Hawkeye (@hawkeyeofficial) December 21, 2021
And on to the party. Kazi’s on the rooftop with a sniper, the LARPers are all dressed as waiters (for now), Yelena is heading down in the lift and the Tracksuit Mafia are assembling outside – with Kate, Clint, Kingpin, Jack and Eleanor all mingling somewhere behind New York’s biggest Christmas tree.
Five minutes in, all hell has broken loose. Director Rhys Thomas does a great job of wrangling six different fights at once as everyone starts exploding/abseiling/shooting their way through the mess. At one point, Kate is standing on the giant piano from Big shooting Clint out of the Rockefeller tree (because, like some kind of cat, he can’t seem to get down on his own), while Maya is stabbing Kazi and Jack starts duelling with goons. And then the matching costumes come out.
Clint and Kate get a nice back-to-back slow-mo hero shot as they start spitting trick arrows on the ice rink (nail gun arrows, magnet arrows, freezing arrows, tripped-up-by-drone arrows, giant inflatable ball arrows, miniaturising arrows), before splitting up to take on their own boss fights. Clint gets Yelena, managing to tell her the truth about Natasha just as she’s about to kill him, and Kate gets Kingpin – knocking him out just enough for Maya to finish the job.
Bad guys beaten, Mum arrested, New York wrecked and presents wrapped, Clint finally makes it back home for Christmas, bringing Kate and Pizza Dog with him to help roast his Ronin suit on the open fire. The final lines set up the proper handover, but it’s already clear what this show has really been all about. What else could we want for Christmas besides a shiny new Hawkeye? Other than a full-length end-credit sting version of Rogers: The Musical, of course…
- Maya shoots Kingpin off-screen, which means he’s almost certainly not dead yet. There’s no telling if/when Marvel will choose to bring him back yet, but, when they do, it’s sure to have something to do with Daredevil.
- Another loose end here is Jack Duquesne, with the Swordsman appearing as both a villain and a hero in the comics. Which side will he end up on now that Kate has sent his new fiancé to prison?
- We now know the Rolex watch belonged to Laura (Linda Cardellini), but the reveal of a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the back suggests a past life as an agent that’s sure to play a big role in future chapters. Kate might be the new Hawkeye, but it doesn’t look like Clint’s family are out of the fire just yet.
- We’re already getting a spin-off about Maya (aka Echo), but the side story we really want to see is the one about the little truckful of tiny mafia goons that got carried off by an owl in the middle of Manhattan. Think of the places they can go…