Third episode of Disney + and Marvel’s Hawkeye topped before Clint Barton or Kate Bishop were ever on screen. Entitled “Echoes”, the episode began with a flashback origin story a kind for Maya Lopez, the character we met at the end of the second episode and who has his own Marvel Studios series called Echo on the road. From there, the bulk of the episode was a fun one but largely nonsense action scene ended with a sprinkle of character development. And OK episode, but not fantastic. Let’s get into it.
While comic book fans probably know the basics of who Maya Lopez is, Hawkeye must forward that information to Marvel Cinematic Universe. And then the episode begins with a look back at 2007, where we see a young Maya (Darnell Besaw) in school and quickly learns that she is deaf. She struggles a little, but she is clever and instructive. Back home, she and her father (Fargo and Westworld‘s Zahn McClarnon) communicates with ASL, and he explains that even if he can not afford a school only for deaf children, it will be better for her to be with hearing children in the long run.
Maya also takes karate, and we see that even though she is not the greatest person in the class, her ability to read a person’s body language makes her dangerous. We also learn that she has one prosthesis foot and a mysterious uncle who so far remains outside the camera. Maya keeps up with martial arts into adulthood, and she’s pretty good the next time we see her, now played as an adult by Alaqua Cox. Still in flashback, but now closer to the present, Maya shows up at her father’s garage in the middle of a fight. Inside, Ronin is decimating members of the Training Mafia, and when Maya can enter, he has killed her father, who was their leader. Knowing she wanted revenge on the man who killed her father, the reason her husbands captured Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) – believed to be Ronin – and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) now makes much more sense.
Again, this was definitely the best part of the episode, because origin stories are always so crucial in the MCU – Maya is tough, confident and has a point to make. That’s why, now back to the present with Clint and Kate trapped in an abandoned KB Toys store, as the Tracksuit Mafia calls home, she immediately begins to ask about Ronin. Clint impresses Maya that Kate is obviously not 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 little too convenient. Meanwhile, it’s interesting that Clint is still either unable or unwilling to admit to someone that he himself was Ronin. That includes Kate later in the episode.
However, Maya does not have much time to dig into the Ronin things, because pretty soon Clint is released. The two fight, and Maya holds more than herself and lands a dizzying kick with her foot prosthesis against Clint’s head, knocking out his hearing aid. This puts Clint at a disadvantage for the rest of the fight, but things settle down when he finds his bow and arrow – you do not let Hawkeye get his weapon back, bro! When he does, he frees Kate with a graceful dive into a ball pit, and the couple escapes, boosts a car in the parking lot, and the action hits the streets of New York.
This sequence could very well have been a standard car chase, however Hawkeye went beyond to do it differently. It is presented as a long shot with the camera located in the back seat of Clint and Kate’s car, which moves 360 degrees around and captures all the action from eye level. It was a very cool trick that instantly gave the hunt a fresh look. The freshness continued when Kate finally got her desire to dive into Clint’s trickpile, and the expectation that she would fire one and had no idea what exactly it was doing was very funny. There is putty arrow, the arrow that turns into a kind of web, a few exploding arrows, a smoke arrow, a suction cup; each is used to either funny or scary effects. But the highlight ofs when Clint tells Kate to straighten an ordinary arrow in the air to bend down on a nearby truck – when it’s in the air, he pulls out an arrow that we see has the “Pym” logo on it, fires it at Kate’s arrow, and on contact the arrow instantly becomes MASSIVE and destroys the truck. It, of course, 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 long it had been, and found that the episode was halfway over, and … it really had not happened something significant. Of course we got to see Kate flourish a bit as a hero and there were some fun arrows and stuff like that, but it’s a big part of the time to dedicate to an action sequence that’s more about character building than storytelling and doesn’t really have much character building in it to begin with. Basically, it was there to create the moment when Clint tells Kate that she might be right in calling herself one of the world’s greatest archers. She can hardly accommodate her enthusiasm.
The two go back to Kate’s aunt’s apartment, where Clint’s son calls him. Clint, however, still cannot hear, so Kate must be his interpreter while listening on speakerphone. Steinfeld’s face just gets more and more sad over this scene as her character realizes how much Clint loves his children, how much his children love him, and how hard it is for him to balance his family life and heroic life. It’s something the two discuss more at breakfast, when Kate says the car chase really made her feel like she was finally doing what she was supposed to, what she’s been training all her life. Clint explains to her that being a hero is not only glamorous, it comes with a price, sacrifice and lots of loss. A fact that you think Kate would realize after the phone call she’s just witnessed, but she’s still full of costumes and trick arrows.
Meanwhile, Maya has decided that the training mafia’s hiding place is no longer safe, and everyone is packing up. (RIP KB again.) Before they leave, however, her friend and interpreter Kazi (From Fee) has some thoughts. (Side note, if you look at the episode’s credit, the prologue contained a “Little Kazi” so he’s been with her since she was a kid.) He’s worried that Maya and the tracksuits are taking things too far after Ronin, and that her uncle might not like it. Oh right, the mysterious uncle. Could it be … Wilson Fish, aka the Kingpin?
The uncle also comes up again as Clint and Kate try to figure out what the hell is going on. Clint explains to her why the tracksuits will kill Ronin and that Maya is not really the leader of the gang, there is someone above her. Kate thinks that breaking into her mother’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, however, a familiar sword appears in front of Clint – the Ronin sword, led by Jack (Tony Dalton), who has given up on Clint.
As a cliffhanger, Jack surprisingly felt Clint felt so bored. Clint just wants to say that Kate’s name, Jack will inevitably answer, “Oh, I did not know you were Kate’s friend,” and that’s it. There is no drama in it. Luckily, he holds the Ronin sword, which Clint did not know had also been recovered from the Avengers lineup – it will at least be another new wrinkle. But beyond that, the back half of “Echoes” consisted mostly of hints about Maya’s uncle (probably Kingpin), Kate’s continued superhero progress, and some sympathy for Clint since he’s still not home for Christmas. However, he still has a few days, and Hawkeye has three episodes more to pick things up a bit, and it does hopefully, because this episode was not very special.
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