Between all the damage to the newly reconstructed Statue of Liberty in Spider-Man: No Way Home and the destruction of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in this week’s final episode of Hawkeye, New York City’s landmark sites have been subjected to a lot of drama during the MCU’s holiday season. And I’m not talking about Rogers: The Musical on Broadway, either.
“So This Is Christmas?” features hordes of Tracksuit Mafia bros facing off against a pair of archers, LARPers turning their fantasies into reality, and a family reuniting on Christmas Day as Hawkeye rushes to wrap up its story in an action-packed season (and, barring a Loki-style surprise renewal, series) finale. The episode provides some closure for Clint Barton, who was forced to confront the past he thought he’d left behind and come to terms with the loss of his friend Natasha Romanoff. And after teasing Kingpin’s highly anticipated return for much of the season, it also revives the classic Marvel villain–only to maybe kill him by the end of it. But perhaps above all else, the Hawkeye finale marks the beginning of a new life for Kate Bishop, as she officially earns a new moniker and becomes the MCU’s newest superhero.
Almost every superhero is born out of tragedy, and Kate’s origin story began the day that her father was killed during the Battle of New York. Now, years later, Kate finds herself working alongside the same arrow-slinging hero who saved her life on that fateful day. In the finale, she finally tells Hawkeye about the impact he had on her as a child. “When I was younger, aliens invaded, and I was alone,” she says to Clint. “And I was terrified. But then I saw you, fighting aliens with a stick and a string. I saw you jump from that building even though you can’t fly–even though you don’t have superpowers. And I thought, ‘If he could do that, then I didn’t have to be scared.’ You showed me that being a hero isn’t just for people who can fly or shoot lasers out of their hands. It’s for anyone who’s brave enough to do what’s right, no matter the cost.”
Throughout Hawkeye, Clint has been (reluctantly) sharing with Kate some of the wisdom he’s accumulated through years of working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avenging–from the importance of a properly cleaned wound to the losses you must endure as a hero. His final lesson is that heroes need to make “tough decisions,” and Kate is quickly tested when she has to decide what to do with her mother after discovering that Eleanor had been working for Kingpin all along and had hired an assassin to kill Clint, killed Armand Duquesne, and framed her fiancé to take the fall for her.