The third episode of Disney+ and Marvel’s Hawkeye peaked before Clint Barton or Kate Bishop were ever on screen. Titled “Echoes,” the episode began with a flashback origin story of sorts for Maya Lopez, the character we met at the very end of the second episode and who has her own Marvel Studios series called Echo on the way. From there, the bulk of the episode was a fun but largely frivolous action scene capped off with a sprinkle of character development. An OK episode, but not great. Let’s get into it.
While comic fans probably know the basics of who Maya Lopez is, Hawkeye has to relay that info for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And so the episode begins with a flashback to 2007 in which we see a young Maya (Darnell Besaw) in school and quickly learn she’s deaf. She struggles a bit but she’s smart and learning. Back at home, she and her father (Fargo and Westworld’s Zahn McClarnon) communicate with ASL and he explains that while he can’t afford a school only for deaf children, being with hearing kids will be better for her in the long run.
Maya also takes karate and we see that even though she’s not the biggest person in the class, her ability to read a person’s body language makes her dangerous. We also learn that she has a prosthetic foot and a mysterious uncle who remains, for now, off-camera. Maya keeps up with martial arts into adulthood and she’s quite good when we next see her, now played as an adult by Alaqua Cox. Still in flashback, though now closer to the present, Maya shows up to her father’s garage in the middle of a battle. Inside, the Ronin is decimating members of the Tracksuit Mafia and by the time Maya can get inside, he’s killed her father, who was their leader. Knowing she would want revenge on the man who killed her father, the reason why her men captured Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld)—believed to be the Ronin—and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) now makes a lot more sense.
Again, this was certainly the best part of the episode because origin stories are always so crucial in the MCU—Maya is fierce, confident, and has a score to settle. This is why, now back to the present with Clint and Kate captured in an abandoned K.B. Toys store the Tracksuit Mafia calls home, she immediately starts asking about Ronin. Clint impresses on Maya that obviously Kate isn’t Ronin, she would have been a child when Maya last saw him, and that Ronin was killed by Black Widow. It’s a story that Maya, correctly, thinks is a bit too convenient. Meanwhile, it’s interesting that Clint still is either unable or unwilling to admit to anyone that he himself was Ronin. That includes Kate later in the episode.
Maya doesn’t have a lot of time to dig into the Ronin stuff though, because rather quickly, Clint escapes. The two fight and Maya more than holds her own, landing a staggering kick with her prosthetic foot to Clint’s head, knocking his hearing aid out. This puts Clint at a disadvantage for the rest of the fight but things even out when he finds his bow and arrow—you don’t let Hawkeye get his weapon back, bro! Once he does, he frees Kate with a graceful dive into a ball pit and the pair escape, boost a car in the parking lot, and the action hits the streets of New York.
This sequence very well could have been a standard car chase but Hawkeye went above and beyond to make it different. It’s presented as a long take with the camera, located in the back seat of Clint and Kate’s car, moving around 360 degrees, capturing all the action from eye level. It was a very cool trick that instantly gave the chase a fresh look. The freshness continued when Kate finally got her wish to dive into Clint’s trick arrows and the anticipation of her firing one and having no idea what exactly it does was very fun. There’s the putty arrow, the arrow that turns into a sort of web, a few exploding arrows, a smoke arrow, a suction cup arrow; each is used to either funny or frightening effects. But the highlight is when Clint tells Kate to aim a regular arrow up in the air in order to arc down on an approaching truck—as it’s in the air, he pulls out an arrow which we see has the “Pym” logo on it, fires it at Kate’s arrow, and upon contact, the arrow instantly becomes MASSIVE, destroying the truck. Of course, that allows our heroes to finally complete their dramatic escape.
Again, this was an entertaining, well-made sequence but when it ended I paused to see how much time had elapsed and found the episode was halfway over and... nothing of substance had really happened. Sure, we got to see Kate blossom as a hero a bit, and there were some fun arrows and stuff, but that’s a huge chunk of time to dedicate to an action sequence that is more about character building than narrative drive and doesn’t really have much character building in it to begin with. Basically, it was there to set up the moment where Clint tells Kate she might be right in calling herself one of the world’s greatest archers. She can hardly contain her excitement.
The two go back to Kate’s aunt’s apartment where Clint’s son calls him. Clint still can’t hear though, so Kate has to be his interpreter as she listens on speakerphone. Steinfeld’s face just gets sadder and sadder across this scene as her character realizes how much Clint loves his kids, how much his kids love him, and how difficult it is for him to balance his family life and hero life. It’s something the two discuss more at breakfast when Kate says that the car chase really made her feel like she was finally doing what she was meant to do, what she’s been training for her whole life. Clint explains to her that being a hero isn’t all glamorous, it comes with a price, sacrifice, and plenty of loss. A fact you think Kate would realize after the phone call she just witnessed but she’s still all amped up on costumes and trick arrows.
Meanwhile, Maya has decided the Tracksuit Mafia’s hideout is no longer safe and everyone is packing up. (RIP K.B. once again.) Before they leave though, her friend and interpreter Kazi (Fra Fee) has some thoughts. (Side note, if you look at the episode’s credits, the prologue included a “Little Kazi,” so he’s been with her since she’s a kid.) He’s worried that Maya and the Tracksuits are taking things too far going after Ronin and that her uncle might not like it. Oh right, that mysterious uncle. Could it be... Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin?
The uncle comes up again too when Clint and Kate try to figure out what the hell is going on. Clint explains to her why the Tracksuits want to kill Ronin and that Maya isn’t really the head of the gang, there’s someone above her. Kate thinks breaking into her mom’s apartment and using her security software could hold some answers and Clint is blown away by the Bishop’s ridiculously lavish apartment. She explains that her “great great great great” grandfather built the building (explaining where their wealth came from) while the software gives Kate and Clint a name: Sloan Limited. Before they can discuss it though, a familiar sword pops out in front of Clint—the Ronin sword, wielded by Jack (Tony Dalton), who has Clint at his mercy.
As a cliffhanger, Jack surprising Clint felt so dull. Clint is just going to say Kate’s name Jack will inevitably respond, “Oh, I didn’t know you were Kate’s friend” and that’s that. There’s no drama in it. Thankfully he’s holding the Ronin sword, which Clint didn’t know had also been recovered from the Avengers compound—at least that’ll be another new wrinkle. But beyond that, the back half of “Echoes” mostly consisted of hints regarding Maya’s uncle (likely to be the Kingpin), Kate’s continued superhero rise, and some sympathy for Clint since he’s still not home for Christmas. He still has a few days though, and Hawkeye has three more episodes to pick things up a bit, and hopefully it does, because this episode was not particularly special.
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