The third episode of “Hawkeye” introduces a new character who is slated to get her own MCU spinoff, features an archery-filled car chase, and tugs on our heartstrings just a little bit. The season is halfway over and still has a lot of questions to answer, but Kate and Clint have finally found their groove together. Of course, that groove seems to be going from one dangerous situation to another.
This episode begins with young Maya Lopez, a student struggling with losing her hearing. We see her in school showing great academic promise, helped by her developing ability to read lips. At home she is cared for by a loving father who wants to provide an education more suited to her needs but finds himself unable to. Years later Maya stumbles upon Ronin killing members of the Tracksuit Mafia, including her father. Naturally this inspires her to seek vengeance for her father’s death, and she continues in the family business as a leader of the Tracksuit Mafia under the name Echo.
In the present Clint and Kate, still duct-taped to their coin operated carnival rides, are interrogated by Echo. The Tracksuit leader is convinced that Kate either is Ronin or is connected to him, since she did wear the suit. Clint assures her that Kate put the suit on without realizing its connotation and that Ronin was killed by Black Widow. That line of reasoning has a real “Darth Vader betrayed and murdered your father” feel to it.
Clint and Kate escape in a dramatic car chase scene through a New York City that is apparently devoid of traffic and cops. Kate fires Clint’s trick arrows without knowing what they are when she uses them, miraculously avoiding killing anyone although it comes pretty close when Clint shoots her arrow with a trick arrow of his own – a Pym arrow that effectively turns its target into a missile.
Once safe, the pair returns to their safehouse. Clint answers a phone call, but can’t hear because Echo smashed his hearing aid during their fight. Kate intervenes, relaying the messages from Clint’s son Nathaniel and helping him communicate. With Nathaniel sufficiently mollified, the pair fetch Pizza dog and visit a diner where Kate insists on helping Hawkeye with his “branding”, even drawing a suspiciously familiar costume in crayon for him.
Clint pushes back, at first arguing that his job as a spy for SHIELD was to avoid drawing attention, then coming to the truth of the matter – he doesn’t see himself as a role model. We know that his past as Ronin plays a role in this, but Kate still doesn’t know and she insists that Clint is a role model, at least to her.
Clint and Kate go to the Bishop Penthouse, hoping to use Bishop Security resources to learn about the Tracksuits and possibly help uncover Jack Duquesne’s role in the murder of Armand III. As Kate begins uncovering more information, she is locked out of the Bishop Security system and Clint, who wandered off on his own, finds himself with Ronin’s sword against his throat being threatened by none other than Jack Duquesne.
There is plenty to like in this episode, starting with Maya, aka Echo. She has her own Disney+ show on its way, so there is definitely a redemption arc of some sort coming for her. It’s also pretty cool that she is an Indigenous deaf hero. That’s a long way for the MCU to come considering how long it took them to give a solo movie to an African-American hero or a female hero. The ongoing success of the MCU opens the door for them to continue to offer representation to diverse heroes, which means every kid should soon be able to see a hero on screen that looks like them.
Echo brings some much-needed relevance to the Tracksuit Mafia, who had felt a bit like a joke compared to some of the universe-threatening enemies we have seen in MCU shows. Maya even references her “uncle” at one point. If the show stays true to the comics, that would mean introducing Kingpin, whose presence would certainly change the dynamic of the MCU.
But some elements of Hawkeye are still leaving a bit to be desired. The animation during the car chase felt lower quality than I have come to expect from the MCU, to the point that it sort of pulled me out of the show a bit. While Echo and the possibility of the Kingpin’s introduction add new stakes to the show, I am still struggling to understand why I should be super concerned about who killed a character that we only met briefly in the first episode. Like I said in the last episode recap, I really want to see this show explore the emotional depths of Hawkeye’s arc, the implications of Ronin, and his possible retirement. I’m still hopeful that they will get to it, I’m just ready for it to happen.