Warning: This article contains major SPOILERS for Hawkeye episode 6.
The ending of the Hawkeye finale sets up the future of Kate Bishop and Clint Barton – and sees Kingpin betrayed to set up an MCU future that most fans probably didn’t see coming. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye has always felt like something of a second-tier Avenger, in large part because he’s never been given the chance to star in his own MCU blockbuster. Still, he’s an essential part of the MCU’s Phase 4, serving as a mentor to one of the New Avengers – Kate Bishop, the second Hawkeye from the comics, played by Hailee Steinfeld.
The Hawkeye finale is a breath of fresh air, because – unlike most Marvel movies – the entire world isn’t in danger. Instead, the two Hawkeyes are simply trying to get out of a mess; Kate became a target because she wore the Ronin suit, inheriting all Ronin’s enemies, with Yelena Belova’s Black Widow has targeted Clint Barton. Footage of Kate’s mother Eleanor attempting to get out of her deal with Kingpin means things are going to escalate, though, with the Tracksuit Mafia called in to make an example of Eleanor Bishop – and only the Avengers’ archer can save the day, by finally embracing his partnership with Kate.
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Hawkeye’s ending is a fun full-stop to an MCU Disney+ TV show that feels surprisingly self-contained. In truth, though, the dramatic season 1 finale of Hawkeye is all about setup, with new heroes stepping out of the shadows – and a hint Clint’s wife Laura Barton is secretly Mockingbird, a superhero from the comics as well. Here’s Hawkeye’s ending explained, and all its setup for the future of the MCU.
Kate Bishop Becomes Hawkeye – Clint’s Partner
Kate Bishop was thrilled when Hawkeye crossed her path, and she’s been attempting to persuade him she’s his partner. It’s only when Clint learns Eleanor was working with Kingpin that he finally accepts this, though; he knows Kate’s in over her head, and she won’t survive without him. The two Hawkeyes don the costumes created by the LARPers to work as a team, armed with a supply of home-made trick arrows that deploy Stark tech and Pym tech. They prove more than a match for everything Kingpin can throw at them, successfully taking down a literal army of Tracksuit Mafia goons. By Hawkeye’s ending, Kate is considering her future as a superhero, tossing out codenames. The episode doesn’t show it, but it’s pretty clear Clint tells her she can be Hawkeye.
The MCU’s Disney+ TV shows have been setting up the Young Avengers, and Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye is one of their most important members – often serving as their leader. Where the other Young Avengers had relatively minor roles – Wiccan and Speed were introduced in WandaVision, Patriot has minor roles in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, and Stature is being set up through the Ant-Man films – Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye literally has an entire Disney+ TV series dedicated to her debut, focusing on her relationship with the original Hawkeye. Marvel is yet to confirm when she’ll next appear, but her future is secure.
Yelena Belova Learns The Truth Of Natasha’s Death
Eleanor Barton hired Yelena Belova’s Black Widow to kill Clint Barton, but in truth for Yelena this was personal; she blames Clint for the death of her sister, Natasha Romanoff. Yelena has correctly deduced the Avengers didn’t tell the truth about Black Widow’s death in Avengers: Endgame; the heroes seem to have kept the time travel secret, and nobody is talking about what happened on Vormir. The confrontation between Yelena Belova and Hawkeye takes a twist, however, when Clint reveals he even knows the secret whistle Yelena shared with her sister – proving just how close he was to Natasha Romanoff. This leads to an emotional moment in which Yelena confronts her sorrow and grief, and decides to walk away rather than kill Hawkeye, who she senses shares her pain. It will be interesting to see how this affects her relationship with the Contessa, who presumably arranges the jobs on Yelena’s behalf.
Maya Turns On Kingpin – The Birth Of A Ronin
Vincent D’Onofrio reprised his role as the Kingpin in Hawkeye episode 5, and he becomes a true force to be reckoned with in the finale. There’s intense debate among the fans over whether or not this means the Marvel Netflix Daredevil show is officially canon, or whether this is a reboot played by the same actor; Marvel Studios seem to be attempting to avoid clarifying one way or the other, because nothing in the Hawkeye finale gives any real indication one way or the other, and that’s clearly by design. Certainly, this version of Kingpin is more like the comic book version, though; Kingpin was strong in Daredevil, but in Hawkeye Kingpin is powerful enough to tear a car door off its hinges.
But Kingpin’s sins come back to haunt him by the end of Hawkeye. His niece Maya Lopez has learned he manipulated Ronin into killing her father, and she confronts him, apparently shooting him in the head. It’s best not to assume Kingpin is really dead – the actual murder isn’t seen, and this is a superhero adventure inspired by comic books, after all. Whatever Kingpin’s fate, though, this is the origin story of another Marvel hero, because Alaqua Cox’s character is destined to transform into Echo, starring in her own spinoff Disney+ TV show. It’s likely she’ll become Marvel Studios’ version of the Punisher, going on a rampage against crime in the same manner as Ronin.
The Watch’s Owner Revealed – Confirming Laura Barton Is Mockingbird
The Hawkeye finale finally reveals the true owner of a mysterious Rolex watch found in the wreckage of the Avengers Compound. Previous episodes had established the watch offered a clue to the identity of someone Hawkeye used to work with, who has retired either from spycraft or from the Avengers. Hawkeye episode 6 reveals it actually belonged to his wife Laura Barton, and it was a SHIELD watch given to her when she became one of their agents. Inscribed on the back of the watch is the number “19,” a nod to Agent 19 in the comics – Mockingbird, the woman Hawkeye married. Hawkeye must have kept the watch after he became Ronin, a memento of his wife, and he believed it destroyed when Thanos blitzed the Avengers Compound. It’s possible Laura Barton clashed with Kingpin and his forces while she was a SHIELD agent, explaining why she’d become a target if her identity was exposed.
This is a fun twist, confirming the best Hawkeye fan theory about the watch’s owner, but it may be a little more sinister than it seems on first viewing. The MCU is building towards a Secret Invasion Disney+ TV series, and in the comics this event saw Hawkeye learn Mockingbird had been replaced by a shapeshifting Skrull imposter years ago. He was rather taken aback when the original Mockingbird returned, freed from Skrull imprisonment, and the two had to try to figure out what (if anything) they meant to one another given their vastly different experiences.
Jack Becomes Swordsman – After A Fashion
The Hawkeye finale confirms Eleanor’s fiancée Jack Duquesne (played by Tony Dalton) was framed. In the comics, Jack is actually Swordsman, Hawkeye’s mentor, but in the MCU he’s simply a rather naïve businessman with a talent for the blade. He proves helpful during the battle with the Tracksuit Mafia, rather enjoying himself, and amusingly he’s approached by the LARPers and offered a chance to join them. The LARPers, for their part, consider themselves Avengers for a day, due to their being given a chance to help Hawkeye against the Tracksuit Mafia. It’s a rather amusing twist, effectively giving all of these secondary characters something of a happy ending.
Hawkeye Doesn’t Die And Makes His Christmas Promise – With A Plus One
At heart, Hawkeye is a Christmas series. All this means there was only one way the Disney+ TV series could end – with Christmas dinner, celebrated by the Bartons at their homestead and with Kate Bishop as a plus one. Kate has essentially rejected her own family, arranging for her mother Eleanor to be arrested on Christmas Eve of all days, but she has a new family now. In the comics, both Hawkeyes tend to be quite lonely and isolated figures, but the MCU’s iterations are much healthier, with a dedicated family around them.
Hawkeye Ends As It Began – On A Musical Note
Post-credits have become a Marvel Studios tradition, and Hawkeye has one of the longest to date – but for once it’s not setup. Instead, it’s a five-minute clip from Rogers: The Musical, the show glimpsed in Hawkeye episode 1. It features a number of amusing in-jokes – there’s a line about how the Avengers will save the day but be blamed later that will definitely amuse viewers – and it reinforces the sense Hawkeye is rather more self-contained than most MCU content. It means Hawkeye ending is crowned as it began – on a musical note.
More: Kingpin’s Return in Hawkeye Ruins Daredevil Season 3 Ending
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About The Author
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Tom Bacon is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers, as well as a Peer Mentor for new writers and a member of the Care Team, offering support and a listening ear to members of the Comics group. A lifelong fan of major franchises including Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Marvel, Tom is delighted his childhood is back – and this time it’s cool. You can find him on Twitter @TomABacon.
A graduate of Edge Hill University, Tom remains strongly connected with his alma mater as a volunteer chaplain. He’s heavily involved with his local church, and anyone who checks him out on Twitter will swiftly learn he’s into British politics too.
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