Hawkeye recap: A trick arrow-filled car chase
This is the episode everyone has been waiting for — or at least fans of Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye run. (Are you tired of people mentioning that excellent comic book series yet?) With episode 3, titled "Echoes," Hawkeye the show puts its own spin on Hawkeye #3, which saw Clint Barton and Kate Bishop caught in a delightfully chaotic and trick-arrow filled car chase with the Tracksuit Mafia; it's one of the most memorable sequences in the entire comic book. Of course, the show alters the reason for the destructive high-speed pursuit because it's not telling the exact same story as the comic. Even though the constraints of live-action television prevent the show from reaching the same heights as the comic book version of the sequence, it still manages to produce something pretty clever, fun, and definitely surprising.
But, episode 3 isn't just about the car chase. "Echoes" is focused on two things: Introducing Alaqua Cox's Maya Lopez and, more importantly, deepening and softening Clint and Kate's dynamic. The hour is mostly successful on both fronts, especially on the second. That being said, it's not a completely satisfying installment because it ends rather quickly after the lengthy action sequence. The conclusion feels rather abrupt and as though an entire act was chopped off to make this cliffhanger possible. Nevertheless, it's still fun — so let's dive in.
"Echoes" opens with a flashback to 2007 where we meet a young Maya, who is deaf and learning how to navigate the world with the guidance of her father, William (played by Zahn McClarnon). In the comics, Maya, who goes by the alias Echo, has the ability to perfectly copy other people's movements, which makes her quite a skilled fighter. We get our first hint of this skill in a flashback to a martial arts class when she watched one of her classmates perform a move and then used that move against him when it was her turn to face him in the ring. From there, the action jumps forward to the post-Snap period when she was forced to watch as the Ronin killed her father and his men. That explains why she is so interested in Ronin's apparent return: she wants her revenge.
In the present, Maya confronts Clint and Kate, who are still tied to mechanical unicorns, and interrogates them about Ronin. Clint tells Maya that Kate isn't actually Ronin and the real one is dead because Black Widow killed him. Of course, that's not literally the truth, and Maya doesn't buy it, but it's figuratively true to some extent. By both bringing Clint back into the fold and sacrificing herself on Vormir in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow forced Clint to abandon his murderous persona, so to some extent, she did kill Ronin. Naturally, Clint, who isn't one for words, can't say all of that.
The softening of Clint and Kate's relationship begins right before Clint breaks free of his restraints when he tells a somewhat frightened Kate to draw on her overconfidence to get through this next bit. Once Clint escapes, the action starts.
Directors Bert and Bertie make clever use of the Tracksuit Mafia's hideout. I particularly loved how the abandoned store shelves looked like a maze as Clint tried to evade the goons. Of course, he's eventually spotted and starts using anything he can find as a weapon, including a stuffed unicorn. (In the comics, Hawkeye turned things like collar-stays and his own fingernails into deadly weapons.) And things get really exciting once Echo joins the fight and smashes Clint's hearing aid, which is one of the smartest decisions in the episode because it allows the show to play with sound and silence in both Maya's scenes and Clint and Kate's interactions since Clint is almost deaf without it.
Anyway, once Clint recovers his bow, he frees Kate with a stylish mid-backflip shot, and Kate enters the fray and shows off even more of her skills — from the way she swings around a pole and sweeps a goon off his feet, to how she use a shopping cart while fighting Maya's right hand man. The takeaway from those two moments in particular is that Kate is just as smart and resourceful of a fighter as her mentor. This is what makes the fight scene so effective. Yes, it's entertaining, but it's integral to fleshing out Kate and Clint's dynamic.
The two archers eventually hop in a car, and the Tracksuit Mafia gives chase. As I mentioned above, the ensuing car sequence is fun, but definitely not as wild as the comic book version. That being said, there were several moments that delighted me: the playdough arrow; the rope arrow that yanked a bunch of Christmas trees into the Tracksuit Mafia's truck; and, of course, the truly clever Pym arrow that Clint breaks out at the end of the sequence. If you had asked me to guess which trick arrows would be in Clint's quiver, I definitely wouldn't have suspected a Pym-branded arrow that can increase the size of another arrow. Genius stuff on the show's part! (I'll admit I'm not entirely sure I believe the MCU version of Hawkeye is playful enough to come up with all these arrows, but I'm not going to dwell on that too much.)
The car sequence also highlights how close Kate and Clint are becoming. Even though Clint can't hear a word Kate is saying, which is the source of much humor, the two are still on the same page throughout. And once the action is done, that connection continues as Clint essentially starts repeating things Kate says because he didn't realize she said it already and, more importantly, tells Kate she wasn't wrong when she declared herself to be one of the world's best archers.
Thankfully, comedic banter and mutual appreciation isn't the only thing that's used to cement Kate and Clint's bond in this episode. Before they fix Clint's hearing aid, Kate is forced to help her near-deaf idol through a heartbreaking phone call with his youngest son Nathaniel. Jeremy Renner does a great job of conveying how much it pains Clint to hear his son tell him it's okay if he won't make it home for Christmas, and Hailee Steinfeld perfectly relays Kate's sympathy for her role model. Speaking of which…
After fixing Clint's hearing aid, the duo get breakfast together and the conversation becomes unexpectedly deep when Clint admits that he doesn't believe he's a role model, which says a lot about how Clint views himself and the work he's done as Hawkeye. I'm definitely interested in seeing whether Clint's opinion on this point changes over the course of the show. I mean, it has to, right?
From there, Kate and Clint decide to break into Eleanor's apartment so that they can research Maya's right-hand man and Jack in the security firm's database. Unfortunately, Kate gets locked out of the system, and Clint finds himself on the other end of Ronin's blade, wielded by Jack right as the episode cuts to black. On the one hand, that's a pretty good cliffhanger. On the other hand, I was surprised when the episode ended right there because it felt as though something was missing. B+
This post has been updated.
ign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.