Review: ‘Hawkeye’ Episode Six – ‘So This Is Christmas?’

Kate Bishop and Clint Barton in Hawkeye

Hawkeye has been bubbling along quite nicely across its first five episodes, and now it’s delivered the best season finale of all the Marvel Disney+ series so far.


As expected, the finale is action-packed following the reveal of Kingpin in the previous episode. But Hawkeye manages to balance all its different sub-plots well, ensuring that no one gets left shortchanged (Maya has the least to do in this episode, but her arc gets resolved in the context of the show).


Vincent D’Onofrio also makes his first full appearance as Kingpin in the MCU, and fans of the Daredevil Netflix series will be very happy to learn that his character is appropriately honored. It feels as though Fisk has stepped straight out of Daredevil and into Hawkeye with no drastic changes to his personality or wardrobe. D’Onofrio excels in every scene he’s in, and the character is just as physically imposing as he was in the Netflix show.


D’Onofrio isn’t the only guest star that shines in this episode however, as Florence Pugh brings home a magnificently well-rounded performance as Yelena Belova. Pugh provides some hilarious banter and impressive action sequences, while also demonstrating the grief and devastation Yelena feels at the loss of her sister.


The series comes to a head at Eleanor Bishop’s Christmas Ball at the Rockefeller Center, and the ensuing chaos is light and entertaining fun as Kate and Clint fight off what feels like a small army. Between the New York snow, Christmas music, and decorations, it all works to make it feel like a real Christmas romp, a feel that Hawkeye has consistently achieved over its six-episode run.


I wouldn’t say the episode ever really makes it look like Clint won’t be home for Christmas, as you never feel like he’s running out of time, but the question is answered nevertheless. Now, it seems like Clint will take a step back from the MCU and make way for Kate Bishop to take his place. Hailee Steinfeld is predictably fantastic in the finale, as she has been all season, and I can’t wait to see more of her.


Spoilers ahead…


I’d been so excited by the rumors of Kingpin’s official introduction into the MCU that I’d been anxiously awaiting his debut in Hawkeye for weeks now. I had been disappointed that his reveal last week was a poor quality image on a cellphone screen, and it would have been nice if his and Eleanor’s opening scene this week had bookended last week’s episode (or at least part of it, with the full scene opening this episode as normal).


The scene itself was great though, and it felt immensely satisfying to see D’Onofrio back to his scenery-chewing self as Wilson Fisk. As mentioned above, this is the Kingpin we all know and love from the Daredevil Netflix series, and it’s great that Kevin Feige and the showrunners didn’t feel the need to change anything about his character.


Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin in Hawkeye


It was nice to see that Eleanor Bishop wasn’t evil too. She makes it very clear that she only got into business with Kingpin to pay off her husband’s debt (mentioned in the first episode’s flashback scene), and as soon as Kate got exposed to their operation, she tried to get out to keep her daughter safe. Kate realizes that too; while she is crushed by the revelation that her mother has been working with the mob, she still loves her and knows the feeling is mutual.


The Christmas party provided the perfect setting to bring all the characters together. With Clint and Kate attending the party to question Eleanor, Kingpin and Kazi sent their forces to eliminate all three of them. Yelena turns up to kill Clint, while Maya is hanging around planning to confront Kazi and kill Kingpin. This could have felt contrived in a poorly planned show, but it all feels natural here.


Once Kate confronts her mother, everything steps up a notch. Clint spots the red dot from Kazi’s sniper rifle, and Yelena enters the building as the party turns chaotic. Clint gets into a shootout with Kazi, and Kate chases Yelena through the building, trying to prevent her from reaching Clint.


Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in Hawkeye


This chase is tremendous fun, as the two fight each other in an elevator and then through an office floor with terrific banter. You can tell Yelena is actively trying not to kill Kate and feels inconvenienced more than anything else. I particularly enjoyed Kate taking a stop to yell “Stop making me like you!”


I have to applaud Tony Dalton’s performance as Jack Duquesne as well. With the red herring finally out of the way, the show really has some fun with him now that we know he’s not a villain. His relentless positivity is so much fun, from the moment he psyches himself up for the upcoming action – “Okay Jack, this is it. It’s your time!” – and his cries of enthusiasm when fighting with his sword later on. His brutal takedown of his bratty nephew was particularly satisfying too. I hope we see more of him in future Kate Bishop stories.


Tony Dalton as Jack Duquesne in Hawkeye


When the rest of the Tracksuit Mafia shows up, we get treated to a trick-arrow-fest in the middle of the Rockefeller Center ice rink, after Clint and Kate manage to topple the huge Christmas tree (that moment felt ripped out of a classic Christmas romp movie). The action is ridiculously entertaining, and the tiny high-pitched screams of the Tracksuit Mafia after being shrunk by another PymTech arrow was possibly the funniest moment of the episode.


The light and funny moments end there though, as the show begins to wrap up its more dramatic arcs. Yelena and Clint finally face off on the ice rink, and for a while, Yelena refuses to listen to his claims that Natasha sacrificed herself. The episode doesn’t really dig into why this is, but it’s easy to imagine Yelena has been stricken by grief for so long that she’s been happy to blame Clint for Natasha’s death. It can be easier to hold on to that anger than to confront the much harder truth.


Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in Hawkeye


It is heartbreaking to see Yelena finally accept that truth, realizing that there is no injustice for her to avenge, and begin to process her grief. Florence Pugh plays all this to perfection.


Kate confronts her mother once again, before Kingpin arrives on the scene to kill Eleanor once and for all. We’re treated to an action scene which remains true to Kingpin’s character from Daredevil, as his brutish fighting style remains the same as it was in the show. Kate is outmatched against him, as she should be, considering she only started this hero business six days ago. If not for some quick thinking on her part, Fisk would have killed her.


Vincent D'Onofrio as a battered Kingpin in Hawkeye


Finally, Maya arrives halfway through the fight to confront Kazi. He regrets having to kill her, but his loyalty to Kingpin over her proves to be his end. Maya then hunts down Kingpin and holds him at gunpoint, but the camera pans up and away before we hear the shot ring out. This works for the context of the show, letting us believe that Maya got revenge for Uncle’s betrayal, but realistically there’s no way that Fisk is dead. Rather, it seems likely (and faithful to the comics) that this is a set-up for the Echo Disney+ series, which will show us Maya’s origin story with Fisk, presumably the series’ villain, given the two characters are closely tied together in the comics. Maya only had about three short scenes this week, and really has had very little screentime in this show as a whole, but Hawkeye does enough to give her a proper arc and set up her own story in the future.


The show closes with Clint finally making it home for Christmas, with Kate in tow. It’s a bit of a bummer that the watch Clint was desperately trying to find seems to be nothing more than his wife’s keepsake from her days as a SHIELD agent, but the number #19 apparently confirms she was the MCU’s Mockingbird before retiring.


Hawkeye ends with Kate Bishop and the Bartons enjoying Christmas Day together, which is how a good Christmas romp should always end.