Hawkeye – Season 1, Episode 3: Echoes


Three episodes in and ‘Hawkeye’ takes a dark turn. We flashback to 2007 and the early years of Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who in present day is holding Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) hostage. Maya is a deaf Native American who will go on to be the hero Echo, we know this because she already has her own series announced, and what we get at the start of the episode is an effectively told origin story. Her father (Zahn McClarnon) is a cash-strapped member of the Tracksuit Mafia who has promised his daughter a special education but can’t afford it. She spends her days in regular education where she relies on heightened observational skills to get by. This skill carries over to her karate class, which appears to be run by the Tracksuits, where she can beat opponents larger than herself and we discover that Maya is also an amputee. It’s at this junior fight club that we get our first glimpse of Uncle, the head of the criminal empire. Uncle is a large man with heavy footsteps but all we see is a cufflinked arm. All signs point to this being Kingpin but Marvel have done this sort of thing in their shows before only to pull the rug out from under the audience later.

The story then jumps forward to an adult Maya who is still successfully beating larger opponents in the ring. She visits her father’s garage only to discover his gang being slaughtered by Ronin (maybe Clint, maybe not) and witnesses her father’s murder. As he dies he leaves a bloody hand print on her face which echoes her look in the comic (did you see what I did there?). Now, with her bloodlust for Ronin established and the fact she doesn’t know who they are so she will go after anyone wearing the suit, the narrative jumps back to present day.

At first it looks like a bond may form between Maya and Clint due to both characters suffering from hearing loss but Maya quickly loses respect for him when it becomes clear he cannot communicate effective using sign-language. She accuses him of relying too much on technology, meaning his hearing aid, and would be better off without it. Clint jumps straight to the point of him being there and tries to convince her that Kate is not Ronin. He tells her Ronin is dead, killed by Black Widow, and he was the only witness. Maya finds this hard to believe and the pressure is rising on Clint to do something. He escapes and after a brief scuffle with the tracksuits he gets into a fist fight with Maya who kicks out his hearing aid and stamps on it.

Clint breaks free of Maya and it’s at this point, after two and a half episodes, that he finally picks up is bow in anger. He pins Maya to the wall, flies through the air while unleashing a shot to free Kate, and works his way non-lethally through the Tracksuits. The pair escape, steal a car, and the chase that follows is the centrepiece of the episode and the series so far. Shot like an action film rather than a TV show, the camera moves in and out of the action will Clint drives forwards and backwards while Kate hangs out the window firing off a series of trick arrows. She goes through all different types, excited as the audience to see which comes next. It all comes to a climax on a bridge with a fist pumping moment where, when it looks like all is lost and the Tracksuit are about to run Clint and Kate down in a van, Clint tells Kate to fire her arrow high and then pulls out a Pym branded arrow that he fires into her’s, enlarging it to massive proportions and crushing the van. They jump off the bridge and escape on a passing train.

In their first quite moment together for a while they share a sweet moment where Kate expresses concern about Pizza Dog needing a walk but Clint, without his hearing aid, doesn’t hear her and repeats the same sentiment. Clint may not want them to be working as a team but they are starting to be on the same wavelength. This is followed up by an emotional bonding moment when Clint takes a phone call but can’t hear the person on the other end. He assumes it’s his wife but it is his youngest son. Kate steps in and writes down what is being said so Clint can converse with his boy without upsetting him.

While they are having breakfast, Kate brings ups the idea of Clint wearing a costume. Clint gives her three reason why he won’t – it’s his job to be invisible, his wife will divorce him and, most importantly, he is not a role model. Kate protests because, to her, he is. Clint goes on to fill her in on the Tracksuits’ past, again with hints Kingpin is behind everything. He is becoming worried that there are more Avengers items on the street from the auction (we know there is a watch knocking about) and Kate focusing in on Jack Duquesne being the Big Bad of everything. They go to Kate’s mother’s house to get into the Bishop Security database and find that Kazi (Far Fee), Echo’s righthand man, works for a company called called Sloan Limited. Clint walks around the house and ends up with Ronin’s sword held to his throat with Jack on the other end of hit.

With Kate established and us now having a better understanding of where Clint is now from the first two episodes, this episode really shines. It has top notch action and keeps its light touch while handling darker material. But most of all it respects it audience and doesn’t feel the need to explain any references. The main example of this is the Pym arrow. This is a gag that has been set up by the ‘Ant-Man’ films. The characters in the show know what is happening and the assumption is that audience will understand, so no time is wasted on spelling it out for us and we can just enjoy the great comic book moment.

But what is really making the show stand out is the relationship between Clint and Kate. Clint doesn’t believe in himself since Black Widow’s death but he is her role model and she will be his emotional saviour. Although Clint doesn’t want it, the bond is naturally growing. The parallels between Kate and Maya are also interesting. They lost their fathers, both of whom were having money troubles and one was a clear criminal and the other is strongly hinted to be, at a young age. Both grew up to be strong, independent women and skilled fighters but are from different ends of the social spectrum. You get the feeling that at some point there will be a connection or understanding between these two.

Hits the target and more.


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