Hawkeye was always headed to the destination it reaches at the end of “So This Is Christmas?,” the episode that closes its six-episode first season (and officially only season, but the door remains open for more). Clint was always going to make it home for the holidays. Kate was always going to end up by his side as a partner. They were always going to put on the matching purple suits. (Even if that hadn’t been foreshadowed so heavily, they’ve been wearing the matching purple suits on the show’s Disney+ landing page for weeks.) The question has always been whether it would be a satisfying journey, and while it’s over-stuffed, busy, and more than a little silly, the finale provides an answer of “yes.” (It also raises new questions, but we’ll get into those in a bit.)
First up: the return of the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), the unexpectedly soulful, weirdly charismatic crime lord who rules New York from behind the scenes. It’s a job that keeps him busy, however, and one he takes seriously. Someone like Eleanor Bishop can’t just walk in and quit by saying, “That’s where I draw the line,” just because their long-standing partnership has started to threaten her daughter Kate. And they really can’t expect to threaten the Kingpin with blackmail and get away with it. That’s just not how it’s done in Kingpin’s New York.
Thanks to Yelena, both Clint and Kate get to witness this moment on video, which shocks Kate, who regards her mother as someone so on the straight-and-narrow she doesn’t even jaywalk, not as a key player in a far-reaching crime syndicate. Clint tells Kate they have to save Eleanor, which is pretty generous given that Eleanor hired Yelena, a top-of-the-line assassin, to take him out. But he also understands the rules of the game and, more importantly, he cares about Kate, finally using the “p” word to describe their relationship: “Kate, you’re my partner. Your mess is my mess.”
Meanwhile, Kingpin continues to try to lie to and manipulate another member of his organization, Maya. Oozing an amazing simulation of sincerity, he says of her father, “I only wish that he could be here now to see you and all of your accomplishments” then tells her he loves her. (As intimidating as Wilson Fisk is, both in presence and in manner, he’s also kind of charming and realizes he’s better off keeping his allies on his side rather than threatening them.) This has to be an unbearable time for Maya, who’s learned that both the man she regarded as an uncle and Kazi, the lieutenant she regarded as a close friend (and maybe more) both played roles in her father’s death. She holds her own, however, staring down the Kingpin but not letting on that she knows what she knows. She might have come to hate this life, but she’s cut out for it.
Trouble’s coming and Clint knows it. And if there’s one tool he knows he can use to fight trouble it’s trick arrows. So Kate and Clint montage their way into assembling an impressive array of arrows outfitted with flash bombs, magnets, and more (seemingly all of which we’ll see in action in the climactic battle). The job done, he gives her one last out before she heads into battle, knowing that there’s really no going back once you’ve become a superhero. “You don’t have to do this,” he warns. “It’s lonely. You will get hurt.” She knows and follows him anyway, essentially telling him her whole life has been leading to this moment since she saw him battling alien bad guys back in 2012. It’s a solemn but sweet exchange. Their relationship has been the heart of the show since they first squared off while Kate was dressed as Ronin, and everything since has been leading to this moment of understanding.
It’s also the last quiet moment the episode will have until the very end. A party at 30 Rockefeller Center (not traditional territory for Disney-owned projects) provides the backdrop for a long climax in which seemingly every character but the owner of the pizza shop below Kate’s apartment makes an appearance. Kate and Clint enter in formalwear and immediately start to case the place with the help of their LARPer allies, who’ve gone undercover as the wait staff. Fresh out of jail, Jack’s there, too, and toting a sword. (Clint: “Weird flex, but sure.”) It looks like a good time.
The festivities, however, don’t last for long. Charged with taking out Eleanor, Kazi settles in to shoot her from across the way shortly after Kate confronts her mother with the Kingpin video. But when a target of opportunity arrives in the form of Clint, Kazi decides to take that shot instead. Predictably, all hell breaks loose. As the LARPers attempt to get the civilians to safety, Kate and Clint try to restore order by finding the bad guys and taking them down.
It’s not that easy. Kate bumps into Yelena as Yelena makes her way to kill Clint (and maybe grab some appetizers), leading to a series of fights in which both try to outdo the other without really hurting each other. And though Yelena might be pulling more punches than Kate, she still leaves the encounter impressed with her frenemy’s fighting skills and her new costume, which Yelena accidentally reveals as they tussle. (Kate and Yelena’s scenes have been highlights of these last two episodes. Let’s hope that whatever future awaits Hawkeye it will involve more opportunities for them to get together, whether as allies or foes, or both.)
As first Yelena (gracefully) and then Kate (less gracefully) escape down the side of 30 Rock, the Tracksuit Mafia shows up. Seemingly all of them. And though Kate and the Imagine Dragons guy have a pleasant exchange in which he reveals her romantic advice worked (“We went to Maroon 5 instead!”), this development mostly means a lot of fighting (with some help from Jack and the LARP auxiliary). Up above, Clint engages in his own struggle with Kazi, who gives it his all but finds himself outmatched. (Clint is an Avenger after all.) Nevertheless, the arrival of a gaggle of other Tracksuiters sends Clint out the window and into the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree where he meets an owl.
That’s just the beginning of the silliness that takes over the climactic battle royale, which includes the downing of the Christmas tree and the deployment of one trick arrow after another as Kate and Clint fight the Tracksuit horde, including one from Pym Industries that shrinks the bad guys down to Lego size.
In more grave developments, Maya and Kazi fight, leading Maya to unleash the full fury of her anger at his betrayal. Though Maya throws him a lifeline, Kazi chooses to stay by Kingpin’s side and ends up on the wrong end of a sharp object. (RIP Kazi?) On the ice, another confrontation unfolds as Clint and Yelena talk it out. It’s not that Yelena has changed her mind about killing him. It’s just that she wants some answers about Natasha first. Clint tells her the story of Natasha’s sacrifice but it’s not enough to deter her, until he deploys the secret whistle Natasha taught him. It’s a very “Your mom’s name is Martha, too” moment, but it works, allowing them to bond over their love for the late Black Widow.
Elsewhere, the Kingpin has designs on taking out Kate, designs momentarily disrupted when Eleanor hits him with a car, sending him into a toy store. But she’s only delayed the Fisk/Bishop combat. Fisk looms over her and outmatches her in hand-to-hand combat. But what Kate lacks in martial arts training she makes up for with trick arrows, and a fireworks arrow leaves Kingpin down (but not out).
Outside, Kate’s reconciliation with Eleanor is cut short by Eleanor’s arrest. Eleanor argues her scheme was just “an unfortunate arrangement.” The police, however, see things differently. “Is this what heroes do?,” Eleanor asks. “Arrest their mother on Christmas?” (Apparently, yes.) Moments later, another family(ish) reunion goes even worse. Confronting Kingpin on the street, Maya has little time for his excuses, which fall on deaf ears (literally and figuratively). She pulls a gun, takes aim, and we hear a shot ring out. (RIP Kingpin?)
And with that, Clint’s New York adventure comes to an end. With Kate and Lucky (a.k.a. Pizza Dog) in tow, he returns to the Barton farmhouse compound in time for Christmas. Tying up one loose end he returns Laura’s watch to her. And though it’s apparently just a watch and not a super-secret, ultra-powerful device, it is engraved with the SHIELD logo, hinting at a backstory for Laura we’ve yet to learn (though it may explain her facility for providing Clint with intel and her calmness during this whole crisis). After sending the Ronin suit to the barbecue, Kate floats some possible superhero names for herself (“Lady Hawk?” “Hawk Eve?”) only for Clint to offer a suggestion of his own. We don’t hear it but we see it. It’s the name of the show.
• And with that, we’re done. That finale was a lot, right? Maybe too much. It almost seems like a given at this point that the big, splashy action finales that inevitably end MCU shows are less memorable than the moments leading up to them. “So This is Christmas?” has so many loose ends to tie up and so many characters to pack away that it becomes frenetic and over-the-top in ways the previously grounded series had not been. (Who saw an owl flying off with tiny bad guys as a development?) It’s all fine. Just short of some of the high points that preceded it.
• In formalwear, Clint looks like he could fit into the martini espionage world of James Bond rather than the grittier underside he usually travels.
• But the real fashion statement in this episode comes from Wilson Fisk, who rocks a white suit with both a black dress shirt and a fun tropical print. Don’t wear white after Labor Day? Who’s going to tell this guy he can’t?
• It’s fun seeing Vincent D’Onofrio as Fisk again, who slips easily back into the role, hypnotic voice, eye twitch and all. But is this the end of the Kingpin? It’s hard to see how he gets out of this one, but we don’t see the body. By comic-book rules, it’s probably best not to write Fisk’s obituary yet.
• Where does Maya go from here? To her own series, sure, but what will her life be like? Does she try to take over the Kingpin’s turf? Go straight? We’ll have to wait to find out.
• Who’s the unfortunate soul still working on Christmas Eve when the Kate/Yelena fight goes through the office?
• You could probably build a whole spin-off series around Jack joining the LARPers.
• You asked for a full musical number from Rogers: The Musical. You got it.