“Echoes,” the third episode of Hawkeye, is the best episode of the series I’ve seen so far. The script has everything you would want from a superhero series. It also finally establishes a clear villain. While known in the comics as Echo, the series presents a woman named Maya (Alaqua Cox), who happens to be deaf or hard of hearing and a paraplegic. The episode takes us through what her life was like before she became an adult.
Maya’s father, William (Zahn McClarnon), kept her in regular schools so she could learn to read lips and essentially live in two different worlds. She also had martial arts training, where William emphasized how vital speed was, as opposed to strength, allowing her to counter attackers. One night, due to William’s ties with the mob, the Ronin attacked his business, executing the entire staff in the process. This included William, who dies in Maya’s arms from a stab wound. From that moment, Maya is driven by revenge, becoming the head of her father’s mob-related organization in the process.
There is so much to like about this episode. You feel like Clint and Kate are in horrible danger from the moment it starts. You have no idea how either individual will get out of their awful circumstances. Additionally, any weapons they could use have been locked away in a different room inside the factory the villains are hiding in. I like the unpredictable nature of the movements of both Kate and Clint. That first action sequence really raises the stakes.
Hailee Steinfeld manages to come off less annoying in this episode and more like the curious observer who wants to learn everything she can from her hero. I also love that Clint Barton is so battle-scarred that he must wear a hearing aid. I purposely omitted that fact from the previous two reviews because I wanted to see whether it would come into play throughout the series. It’s very interesting that the writers chose Maya and Hawkeye to be linked by their hearing impairments. This grows the opportunity for people who usually would have nothing in common to have something very specific that binds them together (in addition to the Ronin).
After Clint and Kate make their escape, which involves a very elaborate and fun car chase, there’s a heartbreaking scene involving Barton’s young son. Due to a damaged hearing aid, it relies on Kate writing down what Clint’s son is trying to communicate to his father. It emphasizes how Clint wants to be seen as supportive of his family. It’s tough to showcase that when you’re being chased by criminals on a consistent basis.
This episode highlights a particular strength in all of us that we forget we have. Our ability to be determined and push forward makes us superheroes to those around us. “Echoes” reminds the lead characters of that. I think that’s why they work so well as a team, as they believe in one another and are determined to move forward. So many people could learn something from that. I’m glad Hawkeye is finally on target. I sincerely hope it stays that way.