Episode Analysis Hawkeye: So This Is Christmas?

What made Hawkeye one of the best of the MCU Disney+ shows as well as, of course, more about Rogers: The Musical.

Episode Analysis Hawkeye: So This Is Christmas?
Screencap from Disney+ because I refuse to use pictures that don't feature the actual star of the show

Warning: The following contains spoilers for all of the MCU including every episode of Hawkeye. It will also contain brief mention of No Way Home but only with regards to information revealed by the trailers, specifically that No Way Home touches on the concept of the multiverse. There are no No Way Home spoilers to be found here, I promise.


Congratulations to Hawkeye for being the first of the live action MCU Disney+ shows that fully stuck its dismount. Well done!

For me it’s not my most favorite of the shows. Falcon and Winter Soldier holds that spot. But that’s purely on an emotional level of what appeals to me most in stories. Snark and mental trauma are my catnip, I admit it.

Plus there’s the element that, of the Disney+ shows so far, WandaVision and FAWS aimed higher in their goals. Those two very much attempted to do the work and in many aspects they succeeded. However when you aim high you run the risk of your mistakes being that much more obvious which both shows suffered from as well (cough WandaVision finale cough). Mind you both shows were also hit incredibly hard by covid and that affected their final products. I grade on a curve for that but I understand why others don’t.

Hawkeye, on the other hand, did not attempt to aim so high. But that’s okay! As I’ve said elsewhere, the vast majority of Marvel movies don’t and they are some of my favorite films of the series. And to a large extent I think not aiming so high is a big part of why Hawkeye succeeded: it aimed for a solid B+ effort and turned in a solid B+ effort. It never overextended itself and thus stayed consistent in quality. I think this was a great decision on the part of production and I tip my hat to them for it.

And to be clear, I’m mixing grading metaphors here. The B+ refers to the level of work they attempted to do, not how well they did it. Put another way, both Black Panther and Hawkeye get gold medals but Black Panther was competing in the Olympics while Hawkeye was competing on a JV level.  It doesn’t make Hawkeye lesser, just different in what it was trying to accomplish.

Hopefully that makes sense. I’m not a sports person.

Anyway, let’s get into the details and there will be a lot of them. The end credits scene was Rogers: The Musical, of course I’m going to have a lot to talk about. We’ll also get into the episode and the series as a whole.

Also in case you glossed over the warning at the top, let me mention again that I am going to have a brief mention of No Way Home in this but it will be brief and contain no spoilers for the movie other than that No Way Home touches on the concept of the multiverse. That’s it. If you haven’t seen No Way Home yet you are safe. No spoilers to be found here.

Okay, with that said, let’s get into it!

Hawkeye on a Story Level

One of the things that Hawkeye did well was have a consistent idea of the story it wanted to tell and it managed to tell it. It wasn’t a story that was a metaphor, like WandaVision (which was about grief) and Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which was about race relations in America), but that’s okay! You can be a story that’s just a story. In this case it was the story of Kate Bishop’s journey to becoming a hero, and that story was told well.

Which brings me to my first point about what the finale established, which is that in this show the main Hawkeye of the title was Kate. Clint Barton was there, he was a significant character, but other than briefly touching on his grief and trauma he didn’t have a journey here. Yes, he started out not wanting to deal with Kate and then regarding her as his partner, but that’s still about Kate’s story. If the show had been about Clint’s story we would have seen more about him having processed his grief, or having a bigger goal for himself beyond retrieving a surprisingly flammable onesie and an accessory his wife left behind at the Avengers compound even though there is literally no time during which she would have been in that building.

(Shush, I get that we can fanwank it by saying something like Clint hung on to her watch as a reminder of her when he was at the Avengers compound in Endgame. The point isn’t that we can’t get there from here the point is that one of the things the show treated as an afterthought is any logic behind the MacGuffins they gave Clint as starter motivations for staying in the city. More on this in a bit.)

What’s nice is that coming to the end of the show and seeing that Kate was intended to be the main character then retroactively raises the level of previous episodes. It’s now not a failing of the show that they didn’t delve too deeply into Clint’s trauma because the show never intended to give him an arc about it. It only needed to tell us he had said trauma and sure enough it did. Done and done.

Also in terms of story goals you had things like introducing the character of Maya to the MCU. At bare minimum she needed an arc for her character that could be properly self-contained in this show, since she was originally brought in with no other future goals for her, but then at the end to provide a good launching point for more. Again, they did this well. We met Maya, we understood her past and motivations, we saw her go through trying to get revenge for her father’s death, discovering how much of her life was a lie, needing to change her plans, and, seemingly, executing those plans but doing so in a way that leaves the door open for more. Chef’s kiss to that, I say.

And again: compare Maya to Clint. She had more of a story arc. She went on a journey with clearly defined goals and her character ending in a different place both internally and externally because of it. Clint had none of those things. Which is not me slagging off on Clint, it’s just me bringing more evidence to the pile of how the show didn’t intend to be about Clint as the main character.

Even Yelena had more of a story arc in her couple of episodes than Clint did. In some ways she had a shortened version of Maya’s story in that hers was also about trying to avenge the death of a loved one. But even still it was a story with a start, middle, and finish. Even if you’d never met Yelena before you were given a solid picture of her goals, motivations, and how the events of the story affected her. By the end she was given the information she needed to start processing her grief over the death of Natasha. She’s not fully healed by any means but she’s at least on that path now.

(Also hey: let’s note how the trained assassin managed to handle her grief without hurting anybody but the guy who she thought killed her sister. Funny how it’s possible to do that without mind raping an entire town and treating it like an oopsie, Wanda.)


Of course there is the Kingpin of it all, but even with that I think the show handled it well. Unlike some shows we could mention which basically fucked around for five episodes to kill time before a lore drop that to date has not been anywhere near as significant as people assumed it would be, Hawkeye was not set up as the Introduce Kingpin to the MCU show. It was set up as a show in which there could be a bigger antagonist than Maya and sure enough there was.

I’ll be honest, I knew Kingpin was coming, so I was able to watch the show as it aired with the eye of how they were going to handle it. And one of the things they did very well was at no time did they set up the idea of Kingpin as the thing that was actually important to the story. Yes, the “big guy” was mentioned and he was defined as someone of not insignificant concern. But every time he was brought up it was more in an abstract concept. It wouldn’t be great if he got involved, but if they never bumped into him then that would be fine too.

Which makes sense. Clint knew who he was even if he was coy about the name until the real world calendar said he was allowed to mention it. So think about it in the context of the story: Clint knows Kingpin exists. He knows the danger he represents. Clint’s an Avenger. If Kingpin was in any way a significant part of any of Clint’s goals Clint could’ve just handled it right then and there, either on his own or by giving a call to somebody like Scott, who he apparently has on speed dial.

So Clint treating Kingpin as irrelevant unless they bumped into each other set the stage perfectly. The final episode then delivered on that promise. Kingpin wasn’t a significant part of the story, he was somebody who might appear and cause some extra conflict. He appeared, there was extra conflict, he was handled, his part of the story is done.

Now of course there are people in the audience tearing their hair out and screaming how dare the show treat Kingpin so cavalierly. To which I will say I drink their tears like the finest ambrosia because oh come the fuck on. The show told you what it was about and gave you exactly what it promised. If you didn’t learn your lesson after WandaVision that’s on you.

Granted, yes, Loki did fuck things up by the way it introduced Kang. But I would reply to that by pointing out that Loki’s horrendous level of quality is the direct counterpoint to Hawkeye. Loki had five episodes of never once being about the character the fucking show was named after and then revealed that it was intended as a Kang delivery device the whole time. The Kang reveal only worked - and the word “worked” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here - because shows need to be about something and ending on Kang made it feel like he was the answer. I mean it says a lot that when you ask people why Loki’s show was important and they say it’s because it introduced Kang for the other movies. There’s nothing in Loki’s story in and of itself that made it worth the time. Its value is entirely in the implication that the things learned in episode six might be useful at some future date.

Conversely Hawkeye was about a week in the life of Kate Bishop in which she encounters various threats, dangers, people, and revelations about her own family on her way to officially becoming a hero. It started with that premise, it was consistently about that premise, and it finished with that premise. Because of shows like Loki there may have been concern about trusting that the show would fulfill its promise but in the end it did. Absolute kudos for that.

We’re starting to get into the parts of the show that are execution rather than story so let’s move on to that bit.

Hawkeye on a Production Level: What Didn’t Work

Outside of story, production is where the “did the work” aspect really comes in. And as I said before it didn’t aim as high but it didn’t have to. Unlike Loki which claimed to be working on a higher level and instead thought vomiting up accidentally eaten crayons counted as art, Hawkeye knew what it was about and more or less hit its marks perfectly.

(Get it? GET IT??)


Now of course there were things it didn’t do well at. I’m going to touch on those first because we’re talking minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things.

To start with this episode continued the trend of effectively cutting off Alaqua Cox’s performance by not showing her signs every time she spoke. It was better than last week, granted. But more often than not they framed her conversations the same way they would a conversation with people speaking verbally and you can’t do that. The way she does her signs conveys her tone of voice. Yes, Alaqua’s face is very expressive (insert your own joke about the majority of Renner’s performance here) but you can’t stick to that when she’s speaking.

I do think they did a pretty good job at least in the way that they treated Kazi when he was translating, though. Because as we discussed last week the translator isn’t the focus. So keeping him offscreen in favor of Maya and Wilson Fisk was perfectly fine.

There were also things I liked about the dynamic with Maya and Kingpin though I will admit the shaky execution of treating a Deaf character does leave me wondering how much was on purpose instead of accidents with good outcomes. For example, Kingpin going on and on about how much he cared about Maya had me writing multiple notes about how if he cared about her and was this involved in her life maybe he should have learned ASL well enough to talk to Maya directly instead of needing Kazi to translate her signs for him.

I’d like to think this was a purposeful choice to indicate that Kingpin was lying about how much he cared about Maya, much in the same way Eleanor’s delayed rescue of Kate in episode one was a hint she wasn’t winning Mother of the Year anytime soon. But I don’t think the show earned enough trust in its handling of sign language to make this conclusion a certain one. Especially when you have things like later in the episode where yes, they did show Maya’s signs when she was speaking to Kazi but she was wearing all black clothing in a dark night time scene so you could barely see them. I mean come on, they were at Rockefeller Center! Plenty of ways they could’ve given Maya enough light reflected from somewhere else without ruining the necessary privacy they needed for the moment.

As long as we’re talking about confusing things at Rockefeller Center, what the eff with the LARPers? I’ve already talked about how badly their inclusion was executed (having it be an activity Clint did with his kids would’ve solved so many problems!) and boy did the head scratching continue right through the end.

I’m fine for the magic of TV meaning that two superhero costumes can be created overnight without a single fitting. I’m also fine for the LARPers being backup at the party. But part of why I’m fine with that is the show established that these people were cops and firefighters. Why, dear god why, when the LARPers were called upon to guide people to safety during a life or death emergency would they not put their actual fucking uniforms on? Because let me assure you, regardless of how people feel about New York City cops in the MCU vs in the real world, in no part of the infinite multiverse will New Yorkers stop and listen to some dumbass in a random historic/fantasy costume in any circumstances, let alone an emergency that requires evacuating a building. The LARPers may as well have pulled out some clipboards and asked everyone if they wanted to sign a petition about saving the bilgesnipe. It would’ve taken less time for them to do and been exactly as effective.

Other things which didn’t really work were, as mentioned before, the Ronin suit and the watch as Clint’s MacGuffins. I was fine for the Ronin suit being the vector by which Clint and Kate met up, but after that it made no sense that he was so obsessed about it. First off because apparently the suit was made out of flash paper and could’ve easily been destroyed at any time someone so much as frowned in its direction. Second the watch was just... what? Yeah, yeah, a wink at Mockingbird if you knew the reference but in the story why do we care? All we’re ever told is that it’s Laura’s watch and there’s a number on it. What’s so special about it that people broke into the auction to steal it specifically, especially since they immediately sold it on the black market? This is a very long walk for something that, as far as we know, only tells time.

And for those who make the argument that it’s worth it to tell us that Laura is Mockingbird I’m going to counterpoint that with no, that is not what the show told us. Yes, this could mean that Laura is Mockingbird. Perhaps it even means that Linda Cardellini will return in the MCU at some point to do more than sit at home and answer phone calls, which would be great if that is what they have planned. But at the same time please imagine a world in which there's no further plans here and one day Emily Blunt calls up Kevin Feige and says she wants to play Bobbi Morse and Kevin replies - what? Sorry, we put a number on a watch in a Disney+ show so that’s not going to happen?

Yeah, didn't think so.

The watch is just a watch. The 19 is a “if you know you know” wink right now. Maybe that will change in the future but we can’t judge stories based on what might be. We can only go on what they gave us. And what they gave us is... a watch with a number on it. There’s no hidden information. There’s no secret tech. There was nothing told to us about it to make us care. It’s a watch with a number. Which most watches tend to have twelve of so again, not really that special.

Other things that didn’t quite work was costuming. And in many aspects this was fine. Again, you don’t have to be Ruth Carter. Few people are. But it was disappointing for me in this episode to see them finally playing with color only to realize that no, nothing was going on there. They were just putting people in red and green because it’s Christmas and who got which color was effectively a coin flip.

On top of that I’m sorry but Clint’s final outfit was not good. Kate’s was great. Clint’s looked like the design was put on a spare long sleeved t-shirt with duct tape and woo boy did it not fit Renner well. They made the right call to delay the reveal of it as long as possible. Honestly I wonder if this was a covid casualty where real life got in the way of them being able schedule enough time with Renner to get it right.

Finally, we had some questionable moments with Yelena. For starters, as funny as the fight with her and Kate was I’m sorry but Yelena is a Black Widow and Kate is somebody who did really well in martial arts competitions. Yes, Kate is going to be better in a fight than I am, but there is no way she should even vaguely be an issue for Yelena. I’m entirely on board with how Yelena had no beef with Kate and thus wouldn’t have killed her, but Yelena should’ve easily been able to incapacitate Kate with minimal effort and move on to Clint. The only way this works for me is if we fanwank it to say Yelena unconsciously wanted something to delay her because she was emotionally torn about killing Clint but there’s nothing in the text to support that so I’m back on this not working.

Also where was Yelena from the time she rappelled down the building until she showed up again to attack Clint? Yeah they included the sound of footsteps to indicate she ran off but what? She decided to go get a soft pretzel and coincidentally the tracksuits showed up in the meanwhile?

So yeah. As I say slight quibbles in the grand scheme of things but stuff that could’ve been handled better all the same.

Now let’s talk about the stuff that was better.

Hawkeye on a Production Level: What Did Work

Hold on to your butts, folks, because I’m going to say something that will shock you: I thought Renner did okay this time around.

I know, right?

Look he wasn’t great. But there were two things that worked well here. First up that Clint was mostly in badass hero mode, which based on the breadth of Jeremy Renner’s career we know he enjoys doing. He got to play Clint as being cool and confident as he took down bad guys and this is something he’s  good at. Wins all around for him and the audience.

Second he actually had some moments of doing that “acting” thing I’ve been bitching about him forgetting how to do. Not many, granted. But case in point the “So this, uh, holiday party tonight” conversation showed Clint having some emotions. He was trying to reach out to Kate and you could feel that he was balancing the line of attempting to connect with her at the appropriate level. Supportive, not condescending, friendly, but still a mentor.

And let me point out that at no time in this scene did Renner have to broadcast his emotions like he was in the middle of a panto play. He still got to be someone keeping things close to his chest while still giving enough for the audience to see that still waters ran deep, as it were. The shame is that we could’ve used more of this the whole time but hey, points for giving it to us eventually.

What was a nice touch is that scene was also about what it takes to be a hero when you don’t have superpowers. I know one of the moments that fans of MCU Hawkeye love the most is his “The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow.” speech to Wanda and Pietro in Age of Ultron. So this is a great through-line to one of MCU Hawkeye’s greatest strengths regarding his ability to inspire others as well as showing how Kate is continuing that tradition of understanding what it means to try to do the right thing even if all you have at your side is a stick and some string.

Sticking to Renner for a moment I’d also like to give a shout out to the “Nice shot” “Yeah, no shit!” exchange he had with Kazi. Honestly Renner had far more chemistry in his scenes with Fra Fee than he did with Hailee Steinfeld. It’s a shame we didn’t get more back and forth between the two of them.

Of course Hailee knocked it out of the fucking park. You can’t find a single moment when she isn’t bringing Kate to fully realized life. And she nailed, absolutely nailed what makes Kate such a fun and wonderful character. Again credit there to the writers as well. I mean Kate hitting all the elevator buttons was such a Kate move I was clapping with glee when she did it. But in terms of acting just look at moments like Kate’s quiet panic as she’s watching the video of her mother and Kingpin. Hailee’s got no lines but you still know exactly what Kate is thinking and feeling.

Also Florence Pugh who is also a fucking amazing actress. Again focusing on the moments when they have no lines just to give the full picture but look at her expression when she hits Clint over and over again on the ice rink. You can tell Yelena’s taking out every ounce of the grief and anger she’s feeling at Natasha’s loss with every blow. Then later the little choked sound she made when Clint said “Nothing was going to stop her, Yelena. You know Natasha.” The amount of times I wrote down “SOMEONE PLEASE HUG HER” in my notes probably can’t be counted and that was entirely thanks to the way Florence conveyed how Yelena was feeling.

Pulling back a bit, I also want to talk about the handling of the reveal of Wilson Fisk, and this is when we briefly mention No Way Home. As I said before, I knew Kingpin was coming. But, unlike people who thought that Hawkeye was going to be the Kingpin show even before a single episode aired, I also paid attention to how there was a Marvel movie coming out on December 17, 2021 which included the concept of the multiverse.

Now let’s consider this from a production standpoint. “Look! Multiverse!” is the hook of No Way Home. Do we, at any time, think that Disney and Sony are going to risk undercutting the impact of their movie by having a TV show potentially muddy the waters with a reveal that’s guaranteed to trend on Twitter and thus be spoiled even for people who don’t have access to Disney+?

And this has nothing to do with what goes on in No Way Home! This is back to the WandaVision problem, where some fans will take any vague allusion to something and blow it up out of proportion (”Monica’s engineering friend is obviously Reed Richards! The Fox X-Men are coming to the MCU!” and so on). You want to try to avoid the “If Kingpin is on Hawkeye then that means that No Way Home is going to have an appearance by Luke Skywalker!” type of thinking if at all possible.

So how do you do something like establish that yes, the Netflix Marvel shows are either MCU canon and/or they are going to use at least one actor from said show to play a character of the same name as his Netflix counterpart, without sending people on a wild goose chase of their own imaginations about what this could mean for No Way Home as well?

Well, you do what Hawkeye did. First up you keep Kingpin as a minor character, which we previously discussed. But then you also, rather expertly, pace that reveal in time with the movie. When they finally confirmed Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin in last week’s episode they did it the week of No Way Home’s US premiere and they did it with a blurry picture at the end of the ep. It gave enough introduction of the concept to set us up for this week without giving so much that it could confuse people about whatever No Way Home’s story turned out to be.

Yes, granted, some members of fandom are going to go on those wild goose chases regardless, but even then production was smart. Hawkeye comes out on Wednesday, No Way Home was available for people to see in theaters as early as Thursday night. That’s a very small amount of time for people to get confused in combined with only a tiny amount of information that could cause any confusion.

Doing that required both figuring out the best way to handle the Kingpin reveal and the ability to time the release of both the episodes and the movie during covid which fucked up the scheduling for everything in the entertainment industry. I suspect the timing may be the real reason why they released episodes one and two the same day instead of episode one a week earlier (which is to say episode one may not have been ready in time for one week earlier thanks to covid) but even so. That’s a lot of work by people who do things that don’t get noticed when it comes to making TV shows and movies happen, so I tip my hat to them for getting it done.

(And for the record this is what I was talking about at the end of last week’s article when I said I had things to mention that touched on spoilery topics. See? Promises made, promises kept! Ta da!)

With that, do I even need to tell you what the next thing is we’re going to talk about?

I’m Back on My Rogers: The Musical Bullshit Again

So obviously the show loves me and gave me, specifically, a Christmas present and I appreciate that so much I’m happy to share it with the rest of you. You’re welcome.

Yes I’m going to overanalyze the shit out of it, have you met me?

(Kidding. I know at this point you all consider this a feature, not a bug.)

Where do we start? To begin with we’re back on what the heck is this musical? Is it even about Steve Rogers?

Because here’s the thing, musicals don’t tend to have big numbers from the point of view of background characters. I’m not saying it’s never been done. Turning from Les Misérables is an example of one such instance. However in Les Misérables this doesn’t come from nowhere. The thematic concepts of Turning are set up much earlier in Lovely Ladies which, yes, also features background characters but is ultimately about, and features, Fantine. The same singers for Lovely Ladies sing Turning. So, as a concept, the musical teaches you in Lovely Ladies that you may hear from background characters to set a tone if it’s needed, but this isn’t the main thrust of the show.

(We could also discuss how Fantine not being in Turning is symbolic on many levels about how Turning is about death but this isn’t an article about Les Misérables so I’ll stop now.)

(Also you’re welcome for how I didn’t link to the movie version.)

Bringing this back to Rogers: The Musical, we’re not being given a tone setting piece. We’re being given a bombastic number which many of us assumed was the act closer before intermission. You don’t do act closers on people who aren’t main characters. Yeah, you could do something featuring the entire ensemble and this is often what many musicals do (One Day More for Les Misérables and Non-Stop for Hamilton being just two examples) but what does Save the City not really feature? The Avengers.

Yeah the Avengers have lines but the unnamed New Yorkers take it over again. I mean come on, who do you hear better at the end? Adam Pascal as Lead New Yorker #1 or Tom Feeney as Steve?

I’m sparing you an entire history of how musicals work going back to the days of opera - you’re welcome - but the short version is that songs in musicals are either by people we’re supposed to give a shit about or about people we give a shit about. And the more we hear somebody sing the more we’re supposed to be caring about that person. Again going back to Turning: it’s a short song. Even if there was nothing else in the show to teach us how to understand Turning thematically, the length of it is enough to tell us these voices aren’t supposed to be that meaningful to us. (And, again, the song is ultimately about characters we are supposed to care about.)

So one of the implications of Save the City is that Rogers: The Musical, in spite of the name, isn’t actually about Steve Rogers. Or if it is it’s more about the concept of Steve as seen by the world than it is about Steve as a person. The main characters actually are the New Yorkers, Steve is just the thing they talk about.

Another option is that Save the City isn’t an act closer but a show opener. Which particularly struck me when you watch the part when the Avengers come on because what happens? The New Yorkers introduce the Avengers. Why does the show’s audience need that introduction unless this is the first time the Avengers including Steve show up? Steve is included in this Mickey Mouse club roll call. Not only that but he’s in the middle. They go Hulk, Tony, Steve, Thor, Natasha, Scott, then Hawkeye. Compare this to single character named shows like Hamilton and Sweeney Todd where the opening numbers make it very clear which character is the main focus.

(Okay I’m cheating a little there since Lin-Manuel Miranda took inspiration from Sweeney when writing Hamilton’s opening number but the point still stands.)

So on the one hand while it could work that the intent of Save the City is to establish that the Battle of New York is when people in modern times first became aware enough about Steve to care, to which then we assume the show goes into a deep dive on who the heck was Steve anyway, but that again goes back to how the song itself doesn’t conclude with that. I mean sure maybe the next song is “That guy giving orders, what the fuck is up with him?” but we’re not being guided in that direction.

What also doesn’t help is that we don’t know why Clint and his family were at this show. Not only did they all seem to agree that it sucked but none of them were disappointed to leave early. If any one of them had been excited about the show you’d think that at least one of them would’ve been sad that they thing they thought would be fun turned out to be awful. What was the draw, then? Did they want to see the show about Steve? About how people think about Steve? Did Clint just get free tickets and figure it was a cheap way to spend time with his kids? Other?

We also have the issue of what is quality of the show vs purposeful. Because this show is operating on two levels: how it works in the world of the show and how it works to us the people watching on our screens at home.

Case in point the musical’s treatment of Clint, which is hilarious and yes sometimes I am easy to please. Steve’s shield blocks Clint and Clint’s actor is noticeably pissed about it. Clint’s treated as an afterthought by the lyrics, first by being mentioned after Scott who wasn’t even there, then by his intro being that “Hawkeye seems cool, like a really nice guy” which is the most “beautiful gowns” moment of the MCU to date.

But how much of this is for us at home and how much meant to be the actual musical? In other words, is it part of the show that Steve blocks Clint with his shield eight times a week or was that a one off accident? As I’ve asked before, is this supposed to be Hamilton or is it Diana the Musical? The reaction of Clint and his kids suggests the latter, but that then makes it harder for us to figure out the intent and placement of Save the City. Because either Save the City is a purposeful, thoughtful piece that does exactly what it’s supposed to or it’s a shitty song written by people who don’t actually know how to do musicals properly yet still got all the way to a Broadway stage. Which is still realistic because, again, Diana the Musical is a thing that existed in our world.

My hope is that when they finally do the making of Hawkeye they give us more insight into how the musical came together because, unfortunately, when you look at the things they didn’t quite execute well or at high quality elsewhere, like the LARPers, I’m left sitting here like okay this sucks but did you purposefully want it to suck and specifically suck in this manner or no?

What doesn’t help is that there are clearly things which were done with thought. Case in point, when the Avengers movie came out one of the things that was deliberately included was showing first responders helping take care of civilians because it was understood you cannot set a huge catastrophe in New York City after 9/11 without giving a nod to the importance police and firefighters had that day.

But look at the types of New Yorkers we see in the musical: mostly people in medical outfits. Yes the waitress is an obvious nod to Ashley Johnson’s character but even so look at how well she fits into the overall theme of the people the musical shows us: essential workers. This was filmed during covid. You cannot tell me that wasn’t done on purpose and it was absolutely the right call.

So if they were thoughtful about that were they just as thoughtful about everything else? I hope so. And dear god will somebody finally tell us where in the show this song is supposed to be???


As always, things that don’t fit anywhere else.

  • As good as Vincent D’Onofrio is at doing “As you know, Bob” type dialogue, Eleanor’s meeting with Kingpin really could’ve been handled in an email
  • “She doesn’t even jaywalk” - file this under tell me you don’t actually understand how living in New York works. Everyone jaywalks. It’s practically the law that you have to.
  • If Clint could make his own trick arrows the whole time why did Kate need to get the other arrows back from the LARPers?
  • The owl in the tree is based on a real life owl named Rocky. It even looked like Rocky, which was a nice touch.
  • “It’s supposed to be scary.” It’s a leap of faith!
  • They did better editing on the stunt work this week compared to previous episodes. I wonder if they managed to get better coverage, or if maybe this got more resources given that it was the ending set piece.
  • As always, if you don’t include Clint firing off a successful shot without even looking what are you doing managing a Hawkeye show? Sometimes fanservice is a good.
  • Why wouldn’t Clint tell Yelena exactly what happened? Half the universe got dusted by an alien and then brought back. “Your sister died because we needed the stone to reverse that” barely rates on the scale of weird in comparison.
  • I know it’s the magic of TV but I was still amused at how quickly Eleanor was arrested. Like yeah, the cops had nothing else to do in that moment, including worry about the pile of dead and/or unconscious bodies just a few feet away from them at a major tourist attraction.
  • Speaking of cops, why did they have the whole thing about that cop who wanted to talk to Kate about the fire at her apartment if nothing ever came of it? Again a problem that could’ve easily been fixed in editing by, yanno, not including it in any way.
  • Why would Maya have her hair down for a fight? It makes no sense, especially when the people doing the hair understood that Yelena would always have hers kept up when she’s prepared for an altercation. Unless maybe all the hair team took away from Black Widow was “Yelena likes braids” and none of the thematic work behind why all the women’s hair was and wasn’t put up at any given time? I dunno.
  • Since we’re all the way at the end it seems worthwhile to point out that in the comics Jack Duquesne is known as Swordsman, hence his fighting at the end.
  • This has nothing to do with the comics but we’re all agreed that MCU Jack Duquesne is as gay as a summer frock, right? Not just me?
  • I have no spoilers regarding what this means for the future of Kingpin in the MCU but it’s worth noting that the final scene of Maya and Wilson is taken almost directly from the comics. Be warned there are spoilers for how that comic storyline turned out at the link.
  • I recognize how much work is involved in getting cameos at all, let alone during covid, but how hilarious would it have been for the camera to pull out during the musical number to show Sam and Bucky side-eyeing each other in the audience?
  • Shout out to my regular readers who, when I said something about the closing credits had me shaking my fists in frustration, immediately guessed it was that they didn’t mention who did the choreography. I love you guys too.
  • IMPORTANT UPDATE: TBQ Krewe member @margreyn has better eyes than I do and spotted that they did, in fact, credit the choreographer and assistant choreographer. So shout out to her for doing it, and to Joshua Bergasse and Katherine Roarty for the choreo.
  • This would have been cheesy as shit, I know, but I was kind of expecting the reveal of Pizza Dog’s name to be something like “What’s he called?’ and Clint, looking out over his family and Kate at Christmas, responds “Lucky.”

And that’s all she wrote! Literally, since she is me. Thank you for joining me on the Hawkeye journey. Or, as we call it here, “The MCU on Disney+ foolishly provided a scene from a musical and then happened to have a whole show attached to it that also seemed worth mentioning from time to time.” Off the top of my head I don’t know what shows are next on the docket but we’ve got plenty of things we’ll keep talking about both Marvel and otherwise so stick around.

Thanks and happy holidays!


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