Hawkeye 1×03, “Echoes,” springboards off of the prior two episodes’ groundwork and delivers a nearly perfect episode of television. In fact, “Echoes” does a great job of instilling genuine confidence that Hawkeye could be the series to break Marvel Studios’ mold — in more ways than one.
The hesitation in believing Hawkeye will stick its superhero landing comes from the other shows’ hits and misses. However, this episode’s cliffhanger suggests the series will be as full-speed ahead as Clint and Kate’s epic car chase from here.
Somehow, “Echoes” finds the way to balance a backstory and an origin story expertly, add believable tension and higher stakes to the core mystery, and potentially give us a soft reboot to Netflix’s Daredevil.
All the while, Hawkeye doesn’t lose sight of its titular characters — letting all of those moving parts stem from Clint, Kate, and their personal and interpersonal character development. It’s a true feat to watch, and it makes me wish this show could go on forever.
Meet Maya Lopez
It’s bizarre that Hawkeye is Alaqua Cox‘s first big gig because she is riveting to watch in “Echoes.” But, before we meet Cox’s iteration of the character, Hawkeye introduces us to a younger Maya Lopez. This decision continues to ground this story in a necessary yet devastating way.
Still, this episode holds enough of Maya’s story close to its chest that Hawkeye can reveal more in the next three episodes (if it sees fit), or her solo series Echo can give us all the details. You know we will be watching!
The stark parallels the beginning of this episode draws between Kate and Maya are excellent framing devices. They also work well in encouraging us to empathize and root for Maya in the same way (if not more than) we root for Kate.
The minute similarities cause us to question our immediate perception of Maya Lopez from the end of “Hide and Seek.” Both girls lost their fathers at a young age. Both girls sought out self-defense lessons at pivotal moments in their lives.
Kate and Maya’s paths diverge at multiple points — whether it has to do with race, class, ability, privilege, and the list goes on.
Furthermore, both girls latched on to a new role model or fatherly figure because of the circumstances of their childhood. Kate found solace in a hero, while Maya appears to have found power via a much darker path that is only beginning to see the light of day.
That red lighting at the end of “Hide and Seek” may appear as a Daredevil reference to some and a sign that Maya Lopez is a villain to others. These flashbacks, however, bring the latter into question.
The Disney+ shows continue to unpack what it means to be a hero or a villain. That’s what “Echoes” does for Maya Lopez by giving her a harrowing backstory that seamlessly ties into Clint’s time as Ronin.
Things Just Got Real, Bro
Hawkeye‘s handling of Ronin became a bit of a concern after “Never Meet Your Heroes” jarringly retconned our general understanding of Ronin’s purpose. The creative team must have anticipated such a reaction because “Echoes” answers many questions about Clint’s dark past.
Avengers: Endgame doesn’t spend enough time with Ronin or (and more importantly) his victims to form a meaningful connection with them. Because of the franchise’s flippant use of Ronin, Hawkeye must do the heavy lifting of making his actions’ impact impossible to distance ourselves from and impossible for Clint to outrun.
“Echoes” starts with a profound relationship between Maya and her father. That narrative choice changes everything and elevates the larger story. The MCU’s Clint Barton presents him as an everyman and a family man, and here he is separating families with the permanence of death.
Assuming that “Uncle” is exactly who we all think he is, Clint’s actions from when he deemed himself judge, jury, and executioner under the guise of vigilantism created a platform for Wilson Fisk to indoctrinate a young Maya Lopez (and others) into organized crime.
There’s a great chance we won’t see Fisk (ideally, portrayed by Daredevil‘s Vincent D’Onofrio) on Hawkeye. It may not be until the final episode if we do, and that’s a good decision. Fisk would serve as a far more compelling counterpart to Cox’s Maya Lopez on Echo. The fear (from everyone other than Maya) surrounding his name is more than enough to hold us over until he makes his necessary debut.
Communication Skills Are a Super Power
Communication (or lack thereof) is a central theme of “Echoes.” Throughout the episode, it plays out in multiple ways, whether through sign language or handwritten notes on a piece of paper. Hawkeye forces its characters to pay attention to each other.
Moreover, the show makes us pay attention to the characters. Sometimes they say one thing and mean the other. Sometimes ASL is used but never translated. Plus, there are moments when we see and hear things from the perspective of a deaf character and a hard of hearing character.
Hawkeye doesn’t bother with conforming their perspectives to fit the accepted and exclusionary dominant narrative perpetuated by mainstream media. Instead, it conditions the audience to adhere to their day-to-day life.
The show doesn’t lose its accessibility to the audience by doing that. Rather, it caters to a community that the MCU only started to represent last month with Lauren Ridloff‘s speedster Makkari in Eternals. Representaiton matters!
The multitude of standout scenes regarding communication is partly the reason for this episode’s excellence. One specific scene is when Clint can’t hear Nathaniel on the phone — causing Kate to translate their conversation. That devastating scene emphasizes the power of connection, communication, and Clint’s budding respect for Kate.
Plus, there’s the epic one-shot car chase that forces Clint to pay closer attention to Kate (and vice versa) for them to survive. Not to mention, that scene does more for Clint’s versatility than the MCU has done in the last ten years, but I digress.
Where Does Hawkeye Go from Here?
We are halfway through Hawkeye‘s debut season, and this show has plenty of moving parts to propel itself towards the finish line. That potential Wilson Fisk cameo implies a lot, but that feels more like a problem for another day.
The cameo at the end of “Echoes,” however, is a more imminent interest. Kate continues to go out of her way to list why her mother’s fiancé Jack is a bad guy, but like Clint, I grow more skeptical with each episode — especially considering the role of communication.
Jack sure knows how to communicate himself as potentially villainous, but that could make him a red herring for someone else pulling the strings behind the scenes. That someone is probably not Fisk, but it could be someone closer to Kate — like her mother.
Vera Farmiga is mysteriously absent from this episode. Eleanor doesn’t even spare her daughter a call or a text. It’s also suspicious that Bishop Security has intel on all the criminals key to the series at present. While Eleanor’s absence sparks questions, Jack’s appearance speaks volumes.
Jack stops Clint in his tracks by putting Ronin’s sword to Clint’s throat. The symbolism rooted in that action is enough to unpack, but it becomes more riveting when considering the implications of Jack and Clint coming face to face.
Refraining from diving too deep into the source material and spoiling those who wish to remain in the dark, know this moment is reminiscent of the excitement some fans felt (myself included) when Natasha urged Bucky Barnes to remember her in Captain America: Civil War.
And with that, I ask: is it next Wednesday yet?
Other Moments That Don’t Miss:
- Lucky the Pizza Dog steals every scene.
- I still can’t deal with Clint’s tattoos.
- Clint and Kate on the electric horses are too perfect.
- The fight sequences are purposeful, and the choreography is great!
- The Pym particles trick arrow
- The lines ripped straight from the comics
- The handprint on Maya’s face is a reference to the comics.
- Clint saying “Natasha Romanoff” but Kazi signing “Black Widow”
- Kate drawing a comics-accurate suit
- Clint responding with “My wife would divorce me if I put something like this on”
What did you think of the Hawkeye 1×03, “Echoes?” Let us know in the comments below!
New episodes of Hawkeye stream Wednesdays, exclusively on Disney+!