Hawkeye is back this week in “Echoes,” and trick arrows abound…
This episode opens in a classroom in 2007. A young Maya Lopez (Darnell Besaw) watches her classmates tentatively; the scene is silent, but Maya reads the lips of her teacher as she asks the class to open their workbooks. That night before bed, Maya signs with her father (Zahn McClarnon), asking why she could not attend school “with kids like her.” Her father reassures Maya that it will be better for her this way.
The scene then shifts to a martial arts class, where Maya is carefully watching her classmates before a practice match. Her father tells her to be good in class and reassures her that the match is “more about speed than size.” He also tells her that Uncle will take her home after class. Another man—presumably Uncle, although his face is out of frame—pinches Maya’s cheek before leaving with her father. Maya enters the ring and swiftly evades her opponent before knocking him to the ground.
We then see an older Maya training in a boxing ring. After taking her opponent down, she leaves on a motorcycle to the Fat Man Auto Repair shop. Just as she is about to enter the building, fighting erupts from inside, and Maya watches as the Ronin attacks the people (who appear to be the Tracksuit Mafia). She enters the building just in time to watch as her father is stabbed by Ronin. Maya holds her father as he dies.
We return to the run-down mall where Clint and Kate are being mocked by the Tracksuit Mafia. Maya enters with Kazi; she signs to Clint, who replies with a clumsy “I’m hard of hearing, not deaf.” Maya asks why Clint is there at all and scolds him for his reliance on his hearing aid. Clint then tries to convince Maya that Kate is not Ronin, and tells her that Ronin was killed by Black Widow. Not convinced, Maya attacks Kate, but is pulled away by Kazi. As they argue, Clint reassures Kate that now is not the time to be scared, and says to wait for his signal. He then breaks the duct tape handcuffs and runs up the stairs through the mall, pursued by the Tracksuit Mafia who have orders not to kill.
As Clint takes out members of the mafia, Maya joins the fight, and is able to kick Clint’s hearing aid out of his ear and smash it under her boot. Clint recovers, although he can no longer hear, and bounces up to the office to retrieve his bow and quiver. He shoots two arrows through Maya’s jacket, restraining her to the wall. As Clint leaps out over a ball pit, he shoots another arrow that clips Kazi’s ear and cuts Kate free.
Clint and Kate escape out into the parking lot to find a getaway car. Kate stops by a beautiful vintage ‘72 Challenger, enamored, but Clint responds that he refuses to destroy that car, and instead smashes the window of another older model. Maya and Ivan take the Challenger, Kazi takes a van, and a moving truck (“Trust a Bro” moving company) follows in pursuit. Chaos and trick arrows abound as Kate begins to shoot at their pursuers: the putty arrow covers Kazi’s windshield; the plunger arrow does nothing (yet); the exploding arrow takes out the van; acid arrows are used to drop the stoplights, and a grappling arrow covers Kazi’s van with Christmas trees.
The chase ends on the Triborough Bridge as Kate and Clint are finally cornered by Maya and her crew. Kazi aims to ram them, but Clint instructs Kate to “shoot up” with a regular arrow as he nocks what is then revealed to be a Pym arrow. The newly giant arrow smashes the back half of Kazi’s truck and brings the chase to a full stop. Kate covers Clint with the USB arrow—a playful nod back to Avengers—as he retrieves the plunger arrow, and together they make their escape off the side of the bridge and onto the subway.
Now safe, Clint and Kate slump, exhausted, into the subway chairs. Kate realizes they should probably walk the dog, and Clint, who cannot hear, realizes with great comedic timing that they should probably walk the dog. The two return to Kate’s aunt’s apartment, where Clint receives a call from his son, Nathaniel. Kate translates Nathaniel’s speech via a notepad so that he can properly respond to his son. Meanwhile, the Tracksuit Mafia clears out from the abandoned mall. Kazi stops Maya and tells her that it is dangerous to continue going after Ronin, and that Uncle would be upset.
Clint and Kate head to a doctor to repair his hearing aid, and then sit down for breakfast in a diner. Kate tells Clint that he is her role model, and that she’s been waiting for this moment—to be a hero, to be like her dad, to help people—for a long time. Clint responds that this sort of life comes with a price, and that Kate will need to be prepared to make sacrifices. Kate then admits that she’s been thinking more about Clint’s branding issue, and shows a cartoon illustration of the classic Hawkeye suit, which Clint rejects on the basis of being too flashy.
As the two walk through a park, they discuss the Tracksuit Mafia. Clint assures Kate that there is someone at the top that she does not want to mess with. Eager to pursue her lead on Jack, Kate convinces Clint to sneak into her mom’s penthouse to search her security database. They discover that Kazi works for a company called Sloan Limited. Kate tries to search for Jack, but is locked out of the security system. Meanwhile, Clint wanders the penthouse, only to be ambushed by Jack wielding the retractable Ronin blade.
Did I think this episode was a blast? Absolutely. Did I think it advanced the plot in any meaningful way? Absolutely not. Which worries me, because we are already halfway through this series. Nevertheless, I loved a lot of this episode; I’ve been impressed with Marvel’s ability to use the Disney+ series to efficiently establish new characters, and Maya’s introduction in this episode was perfect. Alaqua Cox does a phenomenal job in the role—which, according to a Variety interview, is her first acting role ever—and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future of the MCU.
While I was initially excited by Fra Free’s portrayal of Kazi, for the moment he seems rather under-utilized. However, he serves as an interesting counterpart to Maya: caring, defensive, and a rational voice alongside her desire for revenge. It is a far cry from the psychopathic character we see in the comics, which might not be a bad thing—although I hope his character is ultimately more than just a pretty face.
I found the car chase scene to be an absolute delight, and one of the better action sequences in the Marvel TV series. While some of the fight scene cuts can be a little rough, I loved everything about this sequence: the rotating camera, the music, the quippy, repeated dialogue when Clint can’t hear Kate. The trick arrows were a blast to see onscreen, and were creatively worked into the fight in fun, exciting ways.
Renner’s acting was particularly strong in this episode, and especially so when Clint is on the phone with his son, Nathaniel. My heart broke when his son told him that it is alright if he doesn’t make it home for Christmas this year, and we get to see all of Clint’s conflicted guilt laid out in his expression. Steinfeld and Renner have great onscreen chemistry, both in comedic moments, and more emotional scenes like this one and their conversation in the diner. Sometimes Marvel has the tendency to overuse comedy, particularly in what would otherwise be emotional scenes, but I thought the balance between Clint’s mentorship speech and Kate’s hilarious costume drawing was written well.
I think this episode sets up some interesting comparisons between its characters, and especially around their losses. The death of loved ones is an almost ubiquitous trope in comic book media. Although it can be trite when overdone—think of how Marvel avoided using Uncle Ben for a third time onscreen—I think it becomes interesting when we are able to compare the response from different characters. In this episode, it is revealed that Maya is on a quest to avenge her father, which will most likely mirror Yelena’s desire to take revenge on Clint for his role in Natasha’s death, whenever she does appear (if at all).
In contrast, the series opened with Kate’s experience in New York, which ultimately led to the loss of her father. Rather than take revenge, Kate decides then that she wants to be just like the heroes she saw that day—and in particular Hawkeye. Perhaps the difference there is that she was a child, or maybe that the death of her father couldn’t be pinned on one individual, save perhaps Loki.
And underlining it all we have Clint, the man who spent five years taking out underground criminal organizations as an outlet for losing his family in the Blip. While it could be argued that this is just a more violent form of the vigilantism most heroes partake in, and despite his history of being a literal assassin, the MCU makes a decision to explicitly frame his time as Ronin as his darkest hour. Clint carries a lot of guilt as a hero, from his time as a mind-controlled pawn of Loki, to his crusade as Ronin, to Natasha’s death, and each moment inspired a different response to trauma. In Avengers, he blamed his own weakness, and then Loki; after the Blip, he took his grief out on the world under the guise of masked vigilantism; and following Natasha’s death, we have seen a more complex and mature form of personal grief.
Each character responds to their grief differently. In some ways, Clint is the most mature, or at least he has learned from his time as Ronin. Maybe I’m overthinking these parallels, and it is very likely that this series might not even address them, but I enjoy the comparisons nonetheless. I only hope that we have some time to explore some of the nuance and emotion behind each character’s loss.
I do also wonder how this series will handle Clint if it is let out that he was Ronin. Will we get a public apology? A real retirement? Or will it remain a secret?
I am still worried that with three episodes left, the resolution may end up feeling rushed or incomplete. However, looking across to other Marvel series at this same point, both Loki and FWS used their third episodes as largely transitional worldbuilding, with the journey through Lamentis and Madripoor, respectively. And despite little plot advancement, this episode offered up some incredible acting moments, a delightfully fun car chase, and a lot of heart.
- When Clint jumped in the ball pit, all my broken brain could think of was Bazinga.
- Loved the Pym arrow. I am now seriously hoping for an eventual Antman and Hawkeye team up, because I think their humor would play well off each other (as seen in Civil War).
- I laughed when Kate searched Kazi, and was able to spell his last name on the first try (and somehow knew his last name in the first place?).
- Kind of a small thing, but I enjoyed Clint’s consideration of civilians when he instructs Kate to shoot down the traffic lights with the acid arrows. He’s written pretty consistently that way (from the bus in Avengers to saving people in Ultron) and it really serves to underline his compassion and humanity.
- The line “I’m not smashing a ‘72 Challenger” to watching it get totaled anyway was heartbreaking.
- The sound mixing in this episode was great. I liked that the audience was able to experience silence whenever the scene was shot from the perspective of Maya or Clint without his hearing aid. I almost wish they kept him without them a bit longer, as it was resolved quite quickly, but it was clear that Clint wasn’t the best at communicating without it.
- I also enjoyed Clint thinking he’s not a role model despite being objectively the most caring/human of the Avengers .
- Uncle is definitely Kingpin, and I hope we finally get his reveal next episode.
Annika Rollock is a forever student and sometimes-writer working on her PhD in aerospace engineering. She enjoys comics, cycling, cephalopods, and coffee. Stop by her Twitter for space content and the occasional meme!