Episode 3 of Hawkeye hits the bullseye on what works so well about the show so far: its humour, its characters and its sense of self.
This review contains spoilers for episode 3 of Hawkeye: ‘Echoes’.
Echoing the first, episode 3 of Marvel/Disney+’s Hawkeye begins with a flashback. This time, it’s that of the show’s presumed antagonist, Maya Lopez, aka Echo (Alaqua Cox). There’s rumours of more if you go looking for them – don’t – but for the time being, it’s her and her Tracksuit mafia that’s causing the most trouble for our sharpshooting double act.
Young Maya (Darnell Besaw) is caught between two worlds: hers of silence and that of the hearing. It’s a lonely and undoubtedly frustrating experience, but her father William (Zahn McClarnon) is her biggest supporter. He’s also something of a mob boss and a flash forward sees him meet the business end of Ronin’s sword. It’s understandable, then, that Maya vows revenge and the episode beings proper with her interrogating Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) for the masked vigilante’s whereabouts.
The humour is really strong in this episode, broad without being cheesy, quick without being overbearing, and it’s one of the show’s strengths alongside the chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld. All whilst delivering the pre-required contextual exposition, – aka the motivation for our ‘bad guy’ – the episode manages to delicately balance those laughs with some pretty important and poignant plot points.
The first to discuss: deafness. It’s so refreshing to see a powerful character whose hearing impairment isn’t seen as such. (See also: Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in The Eternals, who needed more to do in that film. But that’s beside the point.) Maya is strong, skilled, intelligent and clearly respected, and her right hand man Kazi (Fra Fee) happily acts as an interpreter. And when Clint loses his own hearing aid, the difficulties in communicating are used for but not as jokes. It’s an important distinction, it’s never made fun of and feels inclusive and respectful, as well as a more simple nod to his comic counterpart.
There’s also a really nice dichotomy in the way in which Maya and Clint approach their hearing loss: Maya sneers at Clint’s reliance on technology, and Clint fears the loss of his children’s voices. The scene in which Kate narrates what his son is saying on the phone is heart breaking, as it emphasises what Clint is so scared to lose – again – and adds another reason as to why it’s so important that he makes it home for the Barton family Christmas.
The second point of discussion is consequences. The show is keen to explore the aftermath of the almost throwaway part of Clint’s arc in the MCU: his exploits as Ronin. Clint clearly made some enemies, smaller in scale than the likes of Thanos, but fertile ground for the type of midtown adventures that made him a favourite on the page and work so well on the small screen. By exploring this, the show feels grounded and not likely to run the risk of trying to do too much in its relatively short run. (We’re now halfway through.) It feels like Hawkeye knows what it is and what it can do, and do well, which is refreshing after the admittedly disappointing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which had the potential to do much of the same thing.
It also ties in with the idea of legacy, of heroism, and what that means to Clint. He’s always been the guy in the background, meant to go unnoticed and under the radar. His job pre-Avengers was as a spy, a sniper, the guy up high you can’t see. And so it’s understandable that being well-known chafes at him. He’s uncomfortable with being noticed and being thanked. Kate’s obvious hero worship feels somewhat unfathomable to him, but provides the show with its beating heart. It really does feel like, as mentioned in the last review, that Hawkeye is a passing of the torch. And the prospect of more of Steinfeld’s Kate in future Marvel properties is really exciting.
‘Echoes’ is the best episode so far, passing a pretty high bar. There’s some really fun stylistics – the 360° camera work during Kate, Clint and the Tracksuit mafia’s car chase is immersive and impressive, and the host of arrows (Playdoh! Plunger! Pym!) add a sense of excitement to the archery that runs the risk of becoming quite repetitive. Ending on a cliff hanger feels almost redundant when the show is so entertaining that tuning in next week is pretty much guaranteed.
Hawkeye continues to hit the bullseye, with each episode improving on the last and leaning in to what makes it special: small stakes with big characters, wit, heart, and important character explorations. Let’s hope the trajectory only continues upwards.
Hawkeye ‘s Episode 3, “Echoes”, is now available to watch on Disney Plus.
WATCH HAWKEYE: EPISODE 3, “ECHOES”
Don’t miss our monthly updates with film news, movie-inspired recipes and exclusive content! You’ll only hear from us once a month. #nospam