Hawkeye Episode 3 Review
If there were any lingering doubts that Hawkeye would give the master archer the series he deserved, Marvel just silenced it. Last week’s premiere saw poor Barton get dragged back into his superhero life thanks to the likes of Kate Bishop. The two archers have genuine chemistry, and fans seemed to love their snarky banter. The big thing holding it back was the uninteresting mystery surrounding Kate’s Mom’s fiancee and its role in the overall plot. Thankfully, Marvel drops the latter this week in favor of All Hawkeye and Kate, and it is glorious. Not only does “Echoes” introduce an important, new villain, but it’s also hands-down some of the best action we’ve seen in an MCU show in 2021.
Who Is Echo?
The episode starts with an extended flashback about the early life of Maya Lopez, AKA Echo, and the apparent leader of the Tracksuit Mafia. Born deaf, Maya has an uncanny ability to learn other people’s skills just by watching them. Her father always encouraged her to develop her skills despite her handicap, only to fall victim to Barton while he was Ronin. So, for her, Ronin’s apparent return is a very personal matter.
As far as villains go, Echo may be one of the more sympathetic ones in the MCU. She’s driven to avenge the death of her father, the one person who truly understood her, at the hands of Barton during his five-year period of rock bottom. In addition, it also sets her up as an excellent foil to Kate Bishop. Both are strong-willed, tough-as-nails women who had a very close relationship with their dads, who they lost due to the indirect influence of Thanos. However, whereas Kate Bishop comes from a wealthy background, Echo comes from the lower class and has had to fight to survive. As the series continues, it’s likely that Echo and Kate will clash more than once.
An Epic Holiday Car Chase
Good villainous backstory aside, the other major highlight of the episode was the extended fight and chase scene. After Hawkeye escapes from his bindings, he frees Kate, and the two flee the Tracksuit Mafia in a commandeered car. What follows is not just an entertaining car chase throughout New York but one of the best MCU moments of 2021 as a whole.
There is just some much about this one extended scene that is so awesome. We only witness the fight from the POV of inside Barton and Bishop’s stolen car in one portion. As the Tracksuits pursue them, the camera does several 360-degree spins that let us fully appreciate the scope of the moment, making it feel like the viewer’s being taken along for the ride.
Then we have the various arrows that Hawkeye and Bishop use to hold off their pursuers. From arrows that fire purple putty to jam the wheels on a car to ones that shoot acid, Hawkeye’s truly prepared for anything. The coolest arrow, though? The one loaded with Pym Particles that he launches at another arrow, making it gigantic enough to crush the Tracksuit’s cars! “Echoes” gave us some of the best actions scenes out of all the MCU shows to come out of 2021, and fans will wonder how Hawkeye can top it going forward.
Did we mention that all this happened while Barton’s hearing aid was damaged, rendering him hard of hearing?
An Evolving Partnership
Without the conspiracy to worry about, the show could fully utilize its greatest asset: the banter between Hawkeye and Kate Bishop. As the episode drags on, Barton admits that he’s impressed by Bishop’s skill, realizing she might be one of the best archers in the world. However, he remains adamant that she not follow in his footsteps as a superhero, which is something that she fails to understand.
It’s a tale as old as time: the jaded veteran has to deal with the idealistic newcomer they take under their wing. Kate’s focused more on the positive aspects of being a hero, like saving lives. In contrast, Barton knows how dangerous being a hero can be. Before he was an Avenger, he was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he had to do some things he wasn’t proud of. He had to watch friends like Pietro, Black Widow, and Tony Stark die in front of him. And while he got his family back, it’s clear he’s guilt-ridden over his time as Ronin and the loss of Natasha. It’s no wonder why he doesn’t want Kate to be like him.
If things go the way they are, though, then it’s likely that Kate will end up reminding him what it means to be a hero. At the least, she may end up helping him heal from his PTSD regarding the death of Natasha. Regardless, though, “Echoes” is one of the best MCU moments of 2021, and raises the standards for Hawkeye. As the episode comes to a close, the conspiracy the archer duo find themselves involved in only seems to grow.
“Echoes” is as close to perfect as the MCU can get. And if the fan theories are right, then it may have just hinted at the arrival of another big crime boss in New York before the series ends.