After the slow build of the first two episodes, Episode Three of Marvel’s Hawkeye, titled “Echoes”, brings to the forefront a new antagonist while setting the stage for the greater conspiracy at the heart of the series. Filled with action sequences that are shot extremely well, the third episode of the series provides the audience with a few heartfelt moments as well, including a couple I was not expecting.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.
The cold open of the episode focuses on Maya Lopez, aka Echo. I have to say that I’m loving Marvel’s inclusion of actors and actresses that are outside of the norm. In this case, Alaqua Cox is both deaf and amputee, which adds a dimension of determination and sheer badassery to the character of Maya. We see Maya as a young child, attending school with hearing students and using her ability to read lips to understand and outpace her teacher. We also see Maya observing a martial arts match between other children, using what she observes to enable her to overcome her opponent later on. Time is also spent between Maya and her father, William Lopez (portrayed by Zahn McClarnon, most recently seen on HBO’s Westworld). There’s a tenderness between father and daughter that is more than a little touching, even when we see later on that William is a member of the Tracksuit Mafia. Years later, Maya comes across a massacre of the Tracksuit Mafia at the hands of Clint in his Ronin gear, at which point William is killed by Clint.
Cutting back to the present, its clear that Maya is directing her crew of the Tracksuit Mafia in a quest to avenge her father and kill who she believes is Ronin. The action sequence in a former KB Toys warehouse (which as an 80s kid, I just adored) is choreographed well, giving us a chance to see Clint and Kate use their prospective skills in battle. Maya makes sure to damage Clint’s hearing aid, which leaves Kate and Clint unable to properly communicate as they make their escape.
The chase sequence is probably my favorite part of the episode, largely because it is shot in a unique way at first. Focusing not on the exterior of the chase, the camera is in the back seat (essentially) of the getaway car Clint and Kate are using, which for me added a visceral and tension-filled feeling to the sequence. The inclusion of some of the trick arrows that Clint is known for was a welcome addition, particularly at the end of the sequence where we see a Pym arrow be used in conjunction with a regular arrow. Anyone who has seen the Ant-Man movies knows what can happen when Pym particles are used offensively, which adds a nice capstone to the chase.
My second favorite part, though, is the moment back at Kate’s apartment when Clint receives a call from his youngest son, Nathanial. It’s the first time we see Kate and Clint bond substantially, as Kate helps Clint understand what his son is saying by writing down Nathanial’s words. Jeremy Renner sells the heartbreak of Clint realizing that he’s not there for his family during the holidays and Hailee Steinfeld really brings an earnestness to the moment when she realizes just what Clint is sacrificing to help her. The conversation the pair have over lunch is also telling, largely because Kate is still dismissive of Clint’s claims that her desire to become a hero like him involves sacrifices that she isn’t yet prepared to make but that Clint has had to live with. When Clint says that he’s not a role model, Renner adds a weariness to his expression, making it clear that his actions as Ronin still weigh heavily on him.
The closing moments of the episode involve Kate and Clint returning to Kate’s mother’s home, which is a culture shock for Clint. Seeing the level of privilege Kate grew up in, I get the sense that Clint still doesn’t quite get why Kate would want to pursue the line of work he has done. The pair discover that Kazi, Maya’s interpreter and lieutenant, is part of a company called Sloan Ltd., which I’m sure is going to come up soon enough. The episode ends with Jack, the fiancé of Kate’s mother, holding the Ronin sword at Clint’s throat, clearly setting up a brief confrontation to start the next episode.
Overall, I’m still digging this series quite a bit. It’s not as action-packed as Captain America and The Winter Soldier but there are strong moments throughout the first three episodes that I’ve found deeply enjoyable. The various story threads haven’t come together just yet but there are still three more episodes to the series and I have enough faith in Marvel Studios at this point to give them the benefit of the doubt.