We’re running a recap of Hawkeye on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
Hawkeye dashed my hopes for a forgiveness-heavy “Reason for the Season” Christmas finale. The showdown between Clint and Maya, which, while thrilling, didn’t dissipate the central conflict between these two as much as the showrunners seem to think it did. Maya, if you recall, had been on a mission to avenge her father’s death and kill the Ronin. But when Clint, as Ronin, finally revealed his true identity to her, he also revealed something more: Maya’s father’s murder was actually a hit orchestrated by her boss, Wilson Fisk (also known as Kingpin, the deranged Big Bad from the MCU-ish Netflix series Daredevil).
Maya intuited (correctly) that Kingpin used her so-called friend Kazimierz “Kazi” Kazimierczak to betray the Tracksuit Mafia (and Maya’s father), and tip off Ronin to their whereabouts, thus ensuring a quick, bloody murder to the crew.
And that’s how Maya’s rage turned from Clint to Fisk and Kazi, thus setting up her own Disney+ spinoff series in the not-too-distant future.
And if you’re thinking to yourself, Wait, how does that get Clint off the hook for killing her dad? the answer is, it doesn’t. But we’re all adults here, which means we’re old enough to realize that sometimes things on TV and comic books don’t make much sense.
Speaking of things that don’t make sense, five years ago, a very bad movie called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice graced our screens. “Filled” is probably a better word than “graced.” It filled our screens. This was back when Warner Bros tried to launch its own Marvel-esque extended universe for DC, and they decided the best way to do that was building upon the not-so-fertile ground laid by their Superman reboot movie Man of Steel from 2013–a film that very few people remembered, and a fraction of those who did actually liked.
But unlike Man of Steel, lots of people do remember Batman v Superman for being an absurdly awful film. And while there were lots of things that made it awful, most people agree that the dumbest, most terrible thing about it was the silly and very dumb “out” it gave for why Batman didn’t want to kill Superman anymore.
It turns out, Superman’s mom’s name was Martha. That was Batman’s mom’s name too! So after Lex Luthor threatened to kill Superman’s mom if Superman didn’t kill Batman, and after Batman was actually killing Superman because of…reasons (don’t overthink it), Superman’s dying plea to Batman was, “You’re letting them kill Martha!” This surprised Batman. What do you mean Martha?! My mom? Are you talking about my mom? Then Lois told Batman that Martha was Superman’s mom’s name too. So Batman realized that Superman and Batman both have moms, and their moms both have names, and their mom’s names were Martha. That is when Batman said, “I am very sorry I wanted to kill you. Please forgive me.” And the credits rolled.
Or something like that.
All of this matters because Maya wasn’t the only one who wanted Clint dead. So when the writers needed a way to make Yelena relent of her bloodlust and finally free Hawkeye of his predicament, five years was long enough for too many people at Marvel Studios to forget the terrible plot of Batman v Superman. Someone thought, you know what would be a good way for Yelena to stopping wanting to kill Hawkeye? Just when she’s about to shoot him dead, we could have Clint whistle the secret whistle that only Natasha and Yelena knew about from the movie Black Widow. So when Yelena hears the whistle, she would remember her sister, and realize that Clint also knew her sister, but like, on a deep level because it’s the same whistle. And then Yelena would say, “I am very sorry I wanted to kill you. Please forgive me.” And the credits rolled.
Or something like that.
Okay, okay. It’s not as bad as Batman v Superman. Nothing ever could be. But it’s close! Too close for comfort.
Meanwhile, Kate Bishop learned the truth about her mom being a criminal, just in time for Christmas. Eleanor Bishop, the woman in charge of a “security” company, has been deep in Kingpin’s underworld for Kate’s entire life. And even when Eleanor tried to blame the entire arrangement on Kate’s dad (who was too dead to defend himself), Kate saw through the gaslighting and confronted her mother with the simple fact that whatever mess her father got the family in doesn’t explain Eleanor killing Armand Duquesne and framing her own sword-loving fiancé Jack for it.
Speaking of, Jack Duquesne, the Swordsman? Not a bad guy after all! And I must say, seeing him fence a bunch of Tracksuit Mafia lackeys to death was a weirdly satisfying arc to an otherwise baffling character.
So if you’re keeping track, Maya and Yelena both dropped the whole trying-to-kill-Clint chestnut, Maya “killed” Kingpin instead (it happened off screen, so it probably didn’t happen at all), and Eleanor is in jail.
Despite me spending this final recap goofing on this goofy show, Hawkeye was a genuinely enjoyable series, and far better than it deserved to be. Marvel took an Avenger filled with grief and shame from the events of Avengers: Endgame, and partnered him with an apprentice whose level of enthusiasm and youthful optimism hasn’t adorned the MCU since the introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The Hawkeye Scrooge faced his past, burned the suit, and gained something of a daughter in the process. And Kate, ever the Hawkeye admirer, adopted a new family, new dog, and a new superhero name to boot. (Pssst…she’s Hawkeye now too.)
All signs point to this being less of a “pass the mantle” kind of story, less of a “Jeremy Renner doesn’t want to keep playing this character anymore” type of story, and more of a “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” kind of story.
You’ll get no pushback from me on that. The more, the merrier.
Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one!