TV Review: Hawkeye Season One Finale

Hawkeye concluded with a lengthy action final episode, which showcased some revelations which could have been better expanded upon in previous episodes.  

This hour-long episode of Hawkeye proves how much story the final episode must do; a consequence of the series’ slow start. We open with Kingpin discussing his arrangement with Kate’s mum, with her announcing that she wants to leave. This makes for an intriguing setup, however, this could have been better expanded upon in a more dynamic way, if this had been introduced earlier in the season.

This also solves the Armand murder by telling us that Kate’s mum did commit it, through a reason isn’t given nor is this framed in a way that recontextualises events through how it was originally show. The reveal simply takes place through conversation. This storyline from the show is certainly the weakest and would have been better if it was dropped altogether. 

This brings us onto Jack Duquesne. It’s shown that he was framed for the crimes he committed, though it wasn’t explained how he was released, nor did it explain the hints to a larger criminal underworld. However, this episode showed his character in a much less annoying light, helping our heroes this time, as well as hinting at a happy ending for him; with the LARPers to practice his swordplay. This and the LARPers themselves were a great inclusion, showing a more down to earth nature of New York, and focusing on the people that live there. 

Kingpin in this finale was a mixed bag. The episode opening scenes placed a heavy focus on him, with a strong, intimidating performance given by Vincent D’Onofrio. His absence was felt during the middle parts of the episode, with his large presence looming over the action set pieces. He made his return, brutally taking down Kate Bishop, proving his worth against the new hero. However, his ending in the show left a lot to be desired. Fans were excited about D’Onofrio’s return as the character, and he had potential to be a major mainstay in the MCU, especially for the upcoming Echo series. 

This potential has been squandered by Kingpin getting an anti-climactic death at the hands of Echo. While the way in which he died begs the question of whether he did die or not, if the answer is no then it renders this fake out meaningless. It doesn’t serve either Kingpin or Echo in ways that couldn’t be done in a similarly satisfying way.

If Kingpin did die, then it is truly a waste of potential for the character. The series could have ended in a more ominous way, setting Kingpin up for future appearances, possibly even teasing a link to other MCU heroes.

Florence Pugh however gave an extremely emotional and heart-breaking performance in the episode, as Hawkeye desperately tries to convince her that her sister sacrificed herself. This is also matched by the playful dialogue she shares with Kate Bishop, having a sibling-like relationship to her. This was fun and at times funny to watch, making the audience look forward to both characters’ next scenes together. Her character was used much better this episode compared to the last one, with it complementing rather than overshadowing our main heroes.  

Finally, the episode’s action was more comedic and sillier compared to previous scenes. Hawkeye’s trick arrows are de-powered, instead of featuring a quiver that changes arrowheads like in Avengers he is now forced to make his own, limited supply of trick arrows, further emphasising how Hawkeye is not reliant on tech or supernatural powers.

While this could be interesting and the show rightly plays into the messaging of this, it portrays Hawkeye as too old for this kind of business. However, calling his arrows “tricks” and having Hawkeye’s opponents be goofy iterations of the mafia, highlights the fact Marvel have stopped taking their hero and enemy seriously. 

This finale overall is a missed opportunity to demonstrate the true threat of Kingpin and features a confusing end to the murder mystery plot. The action verges on silly and doesn’t take itself seriously, something that is highlighted by the goofy nature of the arrows and enemy. 

By Kieran Burt

Feature image: Disney

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