Why Hawkeye's Finale Is a Successful Ending (Review)

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Hawkeye Kingpin Yelena Finale

The Hawkeye finale is here, and it is without question one of the strongest conclusions that a Marvel Studios Disney+ series has had so far. Many agree that WandaVision’s was good but messy, whereas Falcon’s tripped up big timeLoki’s was grand but full of exposition, and What If…?’s logically flawed. Thankfully, none of those significant issues plagued this finale.

It wasn’t perfect, but Hawkeye continued the consistency of the series and gave a fitting conclusion to nearly all of its cast.

Barton, The Family Man

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for the season finale of Hawkeye.

Clint Barton Hawkeye

It wasn’t known if Clint would make it past the finale—in fact, many fans thought this show would be his swan song. Instead, not only has the character made it out alive, but he’s in a better place than ever before.

After all, he fulfilled his promise and made it home for Christmas, while also making sure to throw some more logs on the “is-Agents-of-SHIELD-canon?” fire. What a tiresome discussion indeed—though, it’s an entertaining idea for Marvel to add in such a big piece of MCU lore retroactively. Maybe this “Laura Barton” will get a mission of her own in the future; who knows how long she’s been out of the game.

Besides making it home for the holidays, Clint’s journey in accepting Kate Bishop as his partner came to a head, with him officially declaring the two a team—they even got to make trick arrows together. Despite pushing her away multiple times, he finally saw the light.

This is hopefully only the start of the two of them together, but the show successfully gave their relationship substantial weight. Not only that, but the two have an incredibly dynamic, and it would be a shame for this to be the end.

Thanks to his new partner, Marvel fans finally got to see Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton don a comic-accurate costume; it only took a decade. So from the bottom of fans’ hearts, thank you, Kate Bishop. Now, where’s that helmet?

Kate Bishop and Her Questionable Family

Kate Bishop Hawkeye

Steinfeld’s Bishop has been a thrill to watch. Seeing her journey of becoming a bonafide superhero reach its end was fulfilling, and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree brawl was a sight to behold. It’s no wonder she loves all those trick arrows.

Kate also got to face reality as she grappled with not only the high-stakes situation but her mother being the real bad guy—and Fisk, of course. The young archer turning in her mother to the police shows that she is willing to lose everything to make things right; that’s what heroes are made of.

Funnily enough, in figuring out the whole situation with Vera Farmiga’s character, Kate also learned that her mom’s fiancé wasn’t actually all that bad.

Tony Dalton’s Jack got more time to shine than any previous episode, and it’s frankly sad there wasn’t more of him in this new light. That said, the twist of his character being good was terrific. 

His brief moments taking down the Bros showed how the Swordsman is prime for more MCU spotlights. Maybe he can get that brief sting with the Avengers that the comics gifted him with?

Yelena Belova, A National Treasure

Yelena Hawkeye finale

One of the highlights of the episode was the interactions between Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop and Florence Pugh’s Yelena. The two demonstrated their flawless chemistry in the last installment, but they brought it up a notch this time. 

Hopefully, the next time Yelena and Kate are on screen together in the MCU, it will be for their own team-up project. That could only birth greatness.

Pugh is truly a treasure and an incredible win for any project she steps into. While her dynamic with Kate was a fun, leisurely rivalry, it was very different when she finally got some time with Clint Barton.

Some may be disappointed Hawkeye didn’t simply describe what happened; that’s understandable. However, this approach still worked, and even with avoiding the details of Red Skull and the Soul Stone, Clint made the most crucial part clear as day: Natasha sacrificed her life for the entire world.

As many have mentioned, this may be Clint Barton’s show, but Hawkeye has made for the perfect epilogue for Natasha Romanoff’s story, providing resolution from her death for those closest to her and making it clear the impact her choice had on them and the world as a whole.

The callback to Yelena and Nat’s secret whistle was excellent, as was the choice to have Clint Barton not fight back. His feeling of unworthiness regarding Natasha’s choice came through clear as day and played into Yelena’s decision to spare his life.

As an additional note, the musical cues in this show have been perfect, and that continues this time around with callbacks to Black Widow’s score.

The Kingpin and His Step-Daughter

Kingpin Hawkeye finale

Vincent D’Onofrio’s return as Kingpin was fantastic, and it’s great to see the character return on screen. Even better was how he was closer to his comics counterpart more than ever before—making it seem pretty clear that this is a slightly different rendition of Kingpin than what fans saw in Daredevil.

The sheer power he showed while fighting Kate was staggering and was a sight to behold. It goes the extra nine yards in demonstrating to the audience that he’s not an easy target, and there’s a reason he’s in charge.

While it was fantastic to see him fight one of the two leads of the series, one can’t help but wish he fought the actual Avenger, given how cool it was to hear that term leave his lips earlier in the episode. Kate will be on that level one day.

As great as he was though, it felt like the episode could have used more of him; or brought him in an episode or two earlier. Also, the fake out death cliffhanger is quite annoying, as everyone knows he’s not dead. Marvel isn’t going to bring the character back on screen for five minutes only to kill him off.

The moment plays explicitly off a comic panel where Maya is confronting him about her father’s death. She goes to shoot him, and instead of killing him, ends up blinding him. Needless to say, fans will see D’Onofrio again.

When it comes to Maya, this finale showed that the series could have used some more time with her. The big moments with Kazi didn’t land like the writers wanted them to because audiences didn’t spend nearly enough time with the two. Her big moment with her Uncle was also somewhat undercooked, and the show could have seen more screen time dedicated to them.

Clint Hits the Bullseye

Hawkeye finale

Hawkeye’s finale episode provided an excellent conclusion for one of Marvel’s most consistent series yet. The episode gave Clint and Kate’s journey a fitting resolution and set them up to be, hopefully, one of the core MCU partnerships going forward.

While the LARPing jokes didn’t really land most of the time, the show’s signature humor outside of that continued to shine through, adding levity to what were some fairly dark proceedings. It was great to see Marvel bringing back Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin in such a big way, but his character could have used a little more time to cook.

Hopefully, given the general reception to the show, Marvel Studios is considering a second season. These characters seem like prime candidates for a continued adventure, and it would provide the perfect place for more Yelena and Kate tomfoolery.

Who knows when fans will see these two expert archers again, but one thing is for sure: it can’t come soon enough.

Hawkeye is now streaming, in its entirety, exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.