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Hawkeye: Season Finale Winners and Losers

Taking stock as Marvel's latest Disney+ series wraps its six-episode run.
  • Who was left standing after the Battle of Rockefeller Center? (Photo: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)
    Who was left standing after the Battle of Rockefeller Center? (Photo: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)

    SPOILERS for the Hawkeye season finale ahead.

    Hawkeye may not have been the most eagerly anticipated of Marvel's Disney+ series, but it sure managed to pack in a ton of story development, characters, and Marvel Cinematic Universe-building into just a half dozen episodes. So where do we stand now that it's done? Is that a wrap on Clint Barton? Where does that leave his young apprentice, Kate Bishop, the Black Widow assassin Yelena Belova, and Maya Lopez, disillusioned soldier for the Tracksuit Mafia? And what of the Kingpin? How did each of the show's characters fare in this season that had a lot of mouths to feed, and not a ton of time to do it?

    After a season finale that tore up a good portion of Rockefeller Center (Disney+ punching down at Peacock, no?), here are the show's ultimate winners and losers:

    Winner: Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld)

    For a character who had yet to be introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were a lot of expectations placed on Kate Bishop heading into this season, considering she'd be co-headlining this show with Clint, and heavy speculation that she'd end the series as the titular Hawkeye herself (Clint almost bestows that moniker on her before the end credits roll). The mission succeeded wildly. Kate underwent a flash apprenticeship with her idol, earning his respect and his partnership. She tangled with some formidable foes, including an FAO Schwartz brawl with the Kingpin. And she ultimately underwent that most formative of superhero experiences: disillusionment with someone she trusted. With her mom in jail, where Kate goes from here isn't clear. There are no known current plans for a Kate Bishop/Hawkeye movie or — as has been rumored for years in Marvel circles — a Young Avengers initiative that might team her up with the likes of the Maximoff twins, Kid Loki, or Cassandra Lang. Unlike Loki, Hawkeye didn't end with the promise of a second season, but it would make a whole lot of sense to bring Kate back for another adventure on D+.

    Winner: Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)

    We went into this series making the case that the much-maligned Hawkeye was an underrated MCU character who we've grown to root for. And damned if he didn't end up making us look good. The banged up and battered Clint of Hawkeye, hearing aid and all, ended up being a deeply human centerpiece for this story about how weary cleaning up the mess of your choices can make you. Staying true to its central character, Hawkeye puts Clint's relationships at the forefront: his family, his anguish over his fallen best friend, and now his mentorship of a new generation of non-superpowered superheroes. In facing down Yelena, Clint was finally able to grieve for Natasha. In training Kate, he may well have been able to pass on the Hawkeye mantle and finally do what he's been longing to all this time: be with his family on the farm and stay out of the fray for good. Until perhaps Kate Bishop comes asking for an assist.

    Winner: Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh)

    Yelena may be the biggest winner of Hawkeye on account of her being the absolute most fun thing on the screen at all times. Which is why it's a shame we only got two episodes out of her instead of ten. The problem for Yelena is what now. Her quest to avenge her sister ended in complicated emotions rather than a satisfying murder, and now, like Kate, Yelena doesn't have a natural next step in the MCU quite yet. Again, Young Avengers, if it's gonna happen, would be a long way off, and whatever Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is planning by recruiting the likes of Yelena and John Walker from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is riding on the fringes and in post-credits sequences. Here's hoping Kevin Feige knows a good thing when he sees it and finds a place for Yelena to surface again very soon.

    Winner: Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox)

    Breakthrough character Maya Lopez was already on course for her own spinoff series — Echo, coming soon — before Hawkeye even premiered, so she was always one to watch. At times it was a struggle to find mental space for Maya amid everything that happening with Kate, Clint, Yelena, the LARPers, wondering when the Kingpin was going to show up, and of course that mysterious Rolex. But Maya showed up big in the finale, including an emotional showdown with her trusted ally Kazi, followed by what certainly was meant to look like her executing the Kingpin. We've watched enough TV to know that when the camera pans away before a death it's either because it'd hurt too much to watch the victim bite it or they're leaving the door open for them to stay alive, and since the former would certainly not apply to Wilson Fisk, we'll have to watch Echo to see what really happened.

    Winner: The LARPing Community

    It's gotta be a win for the LARPing community, who going into Hawkeye were seen as faux-medieval, turkey-leg-chomping, chivalry fetishists at best. Now they're the Lone Gunmen to Clint and Kate's Mulder and Scully, and they even got to kick a little IRL ass! Gotta respect a leveling up in the culture like that.

    Loser: Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga)

    We were suspicious of Eleanor basically since we saw she was being played by Vera Farmiga, whose vibe is always more than a little bit complicated. Even before Kate and Clint got their proof, we'd wondered whether it was Eleanor and not Jack who was the shady villain in that relationship. In the finale, it was revealed that Eleanor was indeed bad … to a point. Her criminal activities — including murdering Armand, framing Jack, and hiring an assassin to kill Clint — were bad, but learning that Eleanor fell into the Kingpin's debt after her husband died and she was only trying to keep Kate safe does mitigate her character somewhat. And heading to the slammer on Christmas Eve courtesy of your daughter does have to sting.

    Winner: Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton)

    Freed from the fiancee who tried to frame him and the potential stepdaughter who couldn't stand him, Jack is now free to find love and acceptance in the LARPing community, while at the same time upping their fancy factor considerably.

    Loser: The Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio)

    I mean. Rough day for the big guy. After waiting for him all season, Wilson Fisk finally showed up, cashing in on speculation that had been running rampant basically since we learned the Hawkeye series was set in New York City. It's been a good month for Daredevil characters breaking free of the prison of Netflix's failed Marvel series, with Charlie Cox cameoing in Spider-Man: No Way Home and now the Kingpin wreaking havoc all over the Hawkeye finale. That is, until the havoc started wreaking him. He got slammed into by Eleanor's town car, aggressed by Kate Bishop's arrows in a toy store, and finally, seemingly, executed by his former protegee, Maya. One imagines that Marvel wouldn't have dug Vincent D'Onofrio out of the Netflix mothballs just to off him like this (though leave it to Kevin Feige to salt the Earth of those quasi-canonical shows), so we'll put his status as pending.

    Winner: Laura Barton (Linda Cardellini)

    Who doesn't love receiving a pricey accessory on Christmas morning? The amount of speculation about Laura Barton that spiked around the middle of the season certainly came as a surprise. But after all that cryptic talk about wristwatches, he breaks out some conversational German? Our minds got to racing: was Laura once a spy? An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Was she Mockingbird, Hawkeye's love interest from the comics? Ultimately the Hawkeye finale was too stuffed with showdowns between its other characters to open up the Laura Barton can of worms any further, but when Clint handed her that silver Rolex, we all got to see that S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the back of it, suggesting that she was, indeed, once an agent. Whether Laura's story will ever be told remains to be seen, but for now, Mom's secret is safe once more.

    Loser: Rogers, the Musical

    Poor Marc Shaiman, one Oscar away from an EGOT, a massively acclaimed musical theater talent, and he shows up in the MCU only to get saddled with the responsibility for Rogers, the Musical, a musical number from which played in excruciating full length as our post-credits scene. Serves us all right. For all its virtues of compassion, teamwork, and shared humanity, Hawkeye doesn't seem to think all that much of Broadway, if this tuneless monstrosity is anything to go by. There are ways to do purposefully cheesy musical theater that is still lovingly crafted and maddeningly tuneful. This was not that. (But yes, it was nice to see Adam Pascal from Rent on a stage.)

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    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Hawkeye, Disney+, Alaqua Cox, Florence Pugh, Hailee Steinfeld, Jeremy Renner, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Marvel Cinematic Universe