The third episode of Hawkeye gave the series quite the boost. In fact, Echoes seemed to upgrade nearly every element of the show. The action-packed episode stands out from the first two in terms of its energy level and tone-shifting scenes—Hawkeye now feels like a bonafide superhero romp while its potentially intricate street-level organized crime plot still grounds the episode. While the action is undoubtedly loud, the quieter moments in Echoes spoke volumes and let the characters shine in competition with the high-speed car chase and explosive trick arrows.
Right off the bat, the episode jumps into action sequences that feel miles beyond Hawkeye’s first two episodes. It emphasizes that Clint Barton is, in fact, pretty cool, and can fight off an entire gang both with and without a bow and arrow. We know that Clint pulled this off as Ronin, but it’s a different experience to see family-man Clint in action. Kate Bishop’s skills were also upgraded and highlighted in this episode, as we see her holding her own hand-to-hand against the Tracksuit Mafia and later showing off her masterful archery skills during the car chase.
The car chase was certainly the prized action sequence of the episode, and it gave the series as a whole a needed and appreciated extra dose of adrenaline after a fairly sleepy start to the series. The camerawork and editing allowed it to play out as hectic and wild. The high-speed chase was clearly heavily inspired by Matt Fraction and David Aja’s original in the Hawkeye comic. While the iconic red 70’s Dodge Challenger was inexplicably not used as Clint and Kate’s getaway vehicle, nearly all of the listed trick arrows from the comic—putty arrow, suction arrow, electric arrow, etc.—were given a nod, though with Kate in the archer’s seat this time around. But the episode also fit in a broader MCU reference with Clint’s Pym arrow, which gave an ordinary arrow a larger-than-life moment.
As given away by the episode title, Echoes prominently features Alaqua Cox’s newcomer Maya Lopez, or, Echo, who is introduced as one of the highest-ranking members of the Tracksuit Mafia. Cox is phenomenal in the role and no doubt was pivotal in the wonderful and stunning debut. Maya’s and the actress’s own deafness was highlighted and portrayed as a personal and physical strength, and Cox’s prosthetic leg—lent to Maya as an unbreakable weapon—took the character to new heights. It was not ambiguous in the slightest whether Maya was a crushing force and an extremely powerful character.
The episode also gives the first real “look” at Kingpin, referenced as Maya’s “Uncle” and his iconically large body was briefly teased. Clint hints that this character is at the very top of the Tracksuit Mafia food chain and, more importantly, is incredibly dangerous. It is revealed that Clint killed Maya’s father when Ronin attacked the Mafia during the Blip. This gives Maya her motivation to stay connected to Clint and Kate. Combined with Kingpin’s stronger introduction, this episode gave the Hawkeye plot more shape. While Kate’s own investigation into Jacques remains on the side, Episode 3 painted a clearer picture of the story the series is trying to tell.
While the action was flashy, the scaled-down moments in the episode were extraordinary. Maya’s origin managed to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking in the same moments, as well as hitting notes purely at each end of that spectrum throughout. It’s not an easy feat by any means, but it was the perfect start to the episode that set the tone for all character moments.
Clint struggled with his own hearing loss, which the episode used as much to its comedic benefit as it did to Clint’s own development. But seeing an Avenger in such an isolated space added new layers to the elder Hawkeye, which Jeremy Renner continued to excellently portray. The scene in which he struggles to talk on the phone with his youngest son, needing help from Kate, was a standout moment. Not only did we see Clint as a tender father—a role which was barely explored in the larger MUC—but we see his emotional range between the joy of speaking to his son and the guilt of not being with his family.
Clint and Kate’s relationship took off, rendering their reported chemistry in the first two episodes virtually void. The two moved past their introductory phase and started to look and act like partners rather than simply two entirely separate characters. Their banter throughout definitely improved, though Clint’s hearing loss did a lot of work at times in that regard. For the first time, Clint compliments Kate, specifically giving her credit for her self-proposed “World’s Greatest Archer” title. It’s refreshing that Clint spent very time or effort trying to dissuade Kate from getting physically involved in the conflict, and he ultimately even casually joins her in her further investigation of Jacques.
A particularly noteworthy moment for the two Hawkeyes came as they discussed Clint’s views on heroism. In particular, he says that he is no role model, which Kate vehemently disagrees with. While Kate has her suspicions about Ronin, Clint’s identity as the assassin is still a secret, and it’s unclear what effect the reveal might have on Kate down the line. It highlights a series theme about the Hawkeye symbol being important. What is the series trying to tell us about Hawkeye’s significance and place in society versus how Clint views himself? Like the Captain America mantle—and the upcoming onslaught of other legacy heroes—the MCU has an opportunity to tap into the franchise’s masterful amount of underlying story to truly say something about what makes a hero in this series.
To sum it up, Episode 3 of Hawkeye delivers on many of the series’ promised elements that had yet to truly be seen in the first third of the show. While the Tracksuit Mafia is still delightfully entertaining, the introduction of Cox’s Maya gave the story a threat to actually care about. The character development, mostly of Maya and Clint, was exceptional. The action in this superhero series went from virtually zero to one hundred almost immediately, giving Hawkeye a much-needed edge. With the episode ending with Jacques holding a sword to Clint’s throat, it seems likely that more physical battles are to come.