If we rewind six months of so, and ask my former self if the upcoming Hawkeye TV show would have been my most anticipated of the new MCU TV outings, I would have laughed long and hard. But then they signed up Hailee Steinfeld, then they set it at Christmas, and then they made all the artwork and superhero uniforms purple. Tick, tick, tick.
The season finale was released yesterday, bringing to a close a six-episode arc that introduced a new character to Hawkeye’s life, as well as bringing in some returning faces both friend and foe. And you know what? I loved it. Every episode was well crafted, the banter between first Clint and Kate, and then Kate and Yelena, was top notch, it had a good mystery at the heart, solved a lot but also left plenty of questions open, and it was a heartwarming journey into living with grief as well.
There was so much packed in to these six episodes, kicking off with the Battle of New York and how it a) had a huge influence on Kate’s life and b) is now an incredible musical in the MCU world. I know I’m not alone in wanting more of this musical (the one song is streaming now).
Along the way we saw the impact of years of fighting on Clint - both in terms of his enduring grief over the loss of Natasha, and the loss of hearing in one or both of his ears. I thought this was a really interesting and important part of the story, grounding the series in reality. Clint doesn’t have super powers and fighting like that will take its toll, physically and emotionally.
We saw new enemies in the form of the hilarious Tracksuit Mafia, the intimidating Maya and the larger than life Kingpin… who I’ve only seen before in the Spiderman game but apparently also rocks up in Daredevil. I’ll be watching that next, naturally. People are annoyed that Kingpin’s story appeared to be finished before it even started, but I see that storyline going two ways. First, we didn’t see it, so he’s probably still around. But second, if not, Maya looks ready and full of enough rage to take over the family business.
And then finally, how much more love can I have for Hailee Steinfeld? She brings so much charisma and charm to everything she’s in, and it really works in this show. I had some reservations about how this odd-couple would work: grumpy father figure teaming up with the overly-enthusiastic fangirl, but it worked so well. Kate Bishop gradually managed to chip away at the walls Clint had put up, whilst he managed to show her the real side of being a hero without fully quashing her spirit. Plus there was plenty of quipping and ribbing along the way. Loved it.
This year, we have had five incredible MCU TV shows, starting with exploring grief WandaVision style and ending with exploring grief Hawkeye style. It’s been an incredible ride along the way, questioning how the world replaces Captain America, what the effects of time travel and the multi-verse might be, and what might have happened if things worked out differently. But we ended the year in style: at Christmas, with family, and love. What on earth will next year bring?