The latest episode of the Marvel Studios Disney Plus series Hawkeye picks up the pace and presents probably the most complete and best episode so far. Part of picking up the pace meant speeding through flashbacks to tell the origin story of one of the series’ main characters, Maya Lopez. Much like the flashbacks that told the tragedy of Kate Bishop’s early life, Maya’s flashbacks take up about 5 minutes of screen time and end in a similar tragedy. Through the use of these flashbacks, the episode draws some intriguing parallels between the two young women and gives them a common point from where their paths through life diverged.
In the cases of both Kate and Maya, Hawkeye establishes a loving relationship between father and daughter. Both Derek Bishop and Willie Lopez are shown to share special bonds with their daughters. In Kate’s case, it’s made clear that her childhood relationship with her father is stronger than that with her mother. When it’s noticed that she is eavesdropping on her parents’ argument, her mother indicates to her father that he’s the one who will have more success communicating with Kate while she’s upset. In Maya’s case, it’s implied that her father is a single parent but it is clear that the two share a special bond. When Willie is unable to send Maya to a deaf school, he teaches her to embrace her disability and assures her that she’ll be stronger for it. He’s portrayed as a father who teaches his daughter to refuse to use her disabilities as an excuse and one who wants the best for her, even if his station in life doesn’t make it possible for him to deliver.
Essentially both girls look up to their fathers as heroes but the two fathers’ lives are very different. Derek is portrayed as an optimistic silver spooner while Willie is equally optimistic but seems to have to scrape for every penny and chooses to do so as part of a criminal organization. And make no mistake about it, the difference in the circumstances in which Kate and Maya were raised lead directly to the divergent paths they took in life.
For both characters, the relationships with their fathers have truly made them who they are. Both are shown to be uniquely skilled and driven; both are shown to be determined and dynamic; both are also shown to have apply those characteristics in very different ways.
Death of a Father
In the case of any child, the death of a parent is traumatic. Hawkeye draws another parallel between the two characters by having them both experience the deaths of their fathers. However, the responses of the two character to the death’s of their fathers are entirely different. The death of Kate’s father (bit mysterious, don’t you think? I’m not convinced her mom didn’t kill him) during the Battle of New York set Kate on her journey to be a protector, a hero, like her father; the death of Maya’s father (much less mysterious) set her on a journey to become a violent, vengeful criminal.
The New Father Figure
After suffering the loss of their fathers, Kate and Maya have father figures step into the void. In Kate’s case, Jacques Duquesne tries to charm his way into her life, going so far as to brag about buying a book about being a stepdad. In Maya’s case, her not-so-mysterious “Uncle” is still looking after her and she find herself in his employ. On one hand, we see Kate rail against allowing someone as slimy as Jacques into her life; on the other hand, we see Maya, choose the life of a mob enforcer. Simply enough, one chose the light while the other chose the dark.
The Clint Connection
The two characters have walked divergent paths following the losses of their fathers but those divergent paths have now converged thanks to a common interest: Clint Barton. The ending of Episode 2 and beginning of Episode 3 really highlight the entirely opposite interests the characters have in Barton: Kate comes crashing into the abandoned KB Toy Store warehouse to save Clint just as Echo makes her way to interrogate him about the Ronin. Clint Barton is the intersection of these characters lives and the revelation of his secret, which he’s holding from both of them, will greatly impact how both of them view him.
How will Kate look at her hero when she finds out he was Ronin? How will Maya deal with discovering the identity of her father’s murderer? While it was Clint that brought the two together, the answers to those questions could well set them on divergent paths once more in the aftermath of Hawkeye.