Review: ‘Hawkeye’ Episode Three – ‘Echoes’
Hawkeye delivers on its promises of a Christmas romp this week, in an episode that flies by in both good and bad ways.
Echoes runs at just over 35 minutes excluding credit sequences, which means it has the same issues as a lot of Disney Plus series. I was ready for another 15 or 20 minutes of runtime, only for the episode to end on another cliffhanger instead. The episode really does fly by, thanks to its stellar action sequences — there is a lot of action in Echoes — but by the time it’s ready to end, it feels like we’ve only reached the halfway point.
This isn’t helped by the fact that for all the action, there isn’t an awful lot of story in this episode. It only really stretches across a couple of plot beats — fleshing out Echo’s backstory, Clint and Kate’s first confrontation with her, some downtime between the two heroes afterwards, and then setting up the next story beat at the end, which cuts off halfway through. It’s certainly a better cliffhanger than what we got last week, but it’s somewhat frustrating all the same. I’m dying to see what happens next week, but if they keep pulling this trick, it’s only going to get more annoying.
That said, the action is great. It takes up half the episode, but this is the first time we really get to see Hawkeye shine in the series. So far, Kate has had the majority of the action, but this episode reminds us just how good Clint is with a bow, delivering some of the moments we saw in the trailers. Kate talks about trick arrows in said trailers, but thankfully Marvel waited until this episode to show us just what these arrows do. They don’t disappoint and contribute heavily towards a highly entertaining car chase.
I generally loved Echo’s flashback sequence at the beginning. Hawkeye makes good use of these flashback sequences; so far, both have been used to great effect when giving us a look at key events that shape each character. Kate’s in episode one was emotionally charged, and I found Maya’s heartbreaking. The music plays a significant role here, but it was definitely emotional watching her grow up as a deaf child, with all the challenges that brings.
The moments shared with her dad really tugged on the heart strings too, as she asked him why they couldn’t pay for a school with other children like her. You can see the pain in Zahn McClarnon’s (Westworld, Doctor Sleep) eyes as he wrestles with the fact that he can’t give his daughter the life she deserves.
Unfortunately, this was undercut by the subsequent reveal that he was the head of the Tracksuit Mafia. I immediately felt less sympathy towards him after learning that he was the leader of a criminal gang, though having him be killed by Ronin is an excellent motivation for Maya.
This reveal would have worked better had we seen more of him before he died, which could have happened with a longer runtime. If we’d seen that, perhaps he had a code of honor and wasn’t that bad of a guy, then maybe I’d have felt bad when he died. As it is, his only redeeming feature was that he was a loving father. But that’s hardly unique as villains and criminals go; it’s a trope that’s been done time and again.
Alaqua Cox was impressive as Maya Lopez though, and you could feel her anguish as she held her dying father in her arms. She really sells that Echo is a driven and determined woman, motivated by a singular purpose: to avenge her father. She makes for a good antagonist so far.
As an aside, eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a hand belonging to a certain rumored character in this sequence, along with a familiar sounding chuckle. A great way to build hype ahead of a much anticipated reveal.
The action is great and takes up half the episode’s runtime. It’s great seeing Clint Barton finally let loose and kick these gangsters’ asses with trick shots and hand-to-hand combat. The cinematography is great during the warehouse fight as well, with the camera pulling back for some longer shots that let you take in all the impressive fight choreography going on.
The chase scene is even better; the trick arrows are wonderfully creative, from playdough arrows and acid arrows to even a Pym Particle arrow that’s used to spectacular effect. As an aside: I have no idea how Clint got that arrow, considering Hank Pym never worked with the Avengers. Presumably he got it through Scott Lang, but that leaves more questions than answers: who made it if not Hank Pym, and why did Clint ask for it if he’s been retired ever since Endgame?
It was great hearing Christmas songs playing on the radio during the chase scene while our heroes take a detour through a Christmas tree lot. It’s details like this that deliver on that Christmas romp promise, and add another dimension to the action.
It should be said the humor is in good form this episode too. The banter between Clint and Kate is excellent, considering Clint couldn’t hear her without his hearing aid for most of it. Clint constantly reminding her that he can’t hear her while giving orders was great fun, and it was hilarious watching them talk to each other on the subway, only to realise that Clint still can’t hear her and begins repeating points she’s already made. Kate’s writing felt true to her as well; it felt right that she would still talk to Clint, knowing that he can’t hear her, and it gets plenty of laughs.
This feels like the midpoint of the episode, but then, once Clint gets his hearing aid fixed, the show is ready to move on to the next episode. They break into Kate’s family home to hack into the Bishop security system and find more information on Kazi, Echo’s right-hand man, before Clint gets held at sword point by Jack and the episode ends. It’s a better cliffhanger than the one before, and I do think this episode benefitted by not spending too much time with Kate’s family, but it would have been nice to see that scene play out. I know we’ll likely pick up where we left off next week, but it felt like this episode could have run for longer if it wanted to.
Between finishing off this scene and showing more of Maya’s childhood with her father, Echoes could have extended its runtime by at least 15 minutes, so it’s frustrating when it doesn’t take that opportunity. There wasn’t a lot of plot progression in this episode, so it would have been nice to watch Clint and Jack meet for the first time, before then setting up future events for the next chapter.
In the end, the episode felt too short. I hope this issue doesn’t keep repeating itself, otherwise Hawkeye will suffer from pacing problems. Be sure to come back next week for our review of episode four!