Mild Spoilers for Episode 3 of Hawkeye follow!
While the two premiere episodes of the show established a strong murder mystery theme for the upcoming season, episode 3 of Hawkeye decides to shelve the mystery for the most part, instead ramping up the action that was all but missing earlier. The fast pace doesn’t interfere with the core of the show, however, still working within a street-level narrative and focusing heavily on character dynamics.
Episode 3 of Hawkeye gives a lot of focus to Maya Lopez, the second-in-command to the shadowy leader of the Tracksuit Mafia and their current field leader. The spotlight is on her backstory during the opening and the episode title itself, ‘Echoes’, is named after her alter ego. We get a sense of her purpose in these scenes. Alaqua Cox portrays Maya with stern charisma, making it immediately clear why Marvel Studios chose to greenlight her spinoff series, Echo. She plays off Clint well, the two characters being tied together because of their deafness.
As well as being linked with Clint in this way, Maya’s origin is actually paralleled in a lot of ways with Kate Bishop’s from the first episode. While Kate saw Clint at his best, a founding member of the Avengers, when she lost her father and used it to motivate her in a positive way, Maya saw Clint at his worst, a murderous vigilante who killed her father, using it to motivate her search for revenge. In a show heavily focused on Hawkeye’s legacy and the impact he’s left in his wake, it’s appropriate to have two characters on such opposite sides of that coin.
The bulk of episode 3 is focused on a very long action beat as Clint and Kate attempt to escape the tracksuits. What starts as a fairly grounded brawl in the warehouse escalates into a car chase, with Clint having lost his hearing aid and his ability to understand Kate. It’s here that the strength of Hawkeye truly comes into focus, as Kate gets to use Clint’s visually distinct trick arrows and has to make due without knowing what each one is going to do once she fires it. This scene is adapted almost directly from Matt Fraction and David Aja’s influential run on the character (it is worth noting that the latter has been outspoken about not recieving compensation for his work’s heavy visual inspiration on the show) though the live-action take gives the scene even more franctic chaos.
After wrapping the scene up perfectly with a big finish, Hawkeye once again slows down to give Clint and his son an emotional moment. This once again shows the series’ dedication to finally exploring Clint as a person rather than just an agent, and the follow-up scene in a diner allows Kate to further express her vision for Clint’s future as a full-on superhero, still unable to accept that her hero may not be all that she imagined. Both of these scenes come after an episode where Clint is shown to have warmed up to Kate, deeming her worthy of being called one of the world’s greatest archers and encouraging her during a tense fight. Their dynamic only grows more likable here with Clint opening up to Kate.
Hawkeye uses its short break from the family drama to give viewers an incredibly fun double-sequence of action, though it never lets up on exploring both Clint and Kate as characters, weaving in some genuinely impactful scenes. Leaving off on a dramatic beat that’s sure to further the developing mystery next week, Hawkeye puts the cherry on top of an already strong episode, leaving viewers with plenty of questions, a few more clues, and a lot of hype for more of a certain uncle.