Read our previous reviews of Hawkeye here.

There is always a flip side to the coin. As in the first episode, where a young Kate Bishop gets inspired within the destruction of The Battle of New York, not everyone comes out of tragedy the same. In “Echoes,” we get a brief glimpse of young Maya Lopez’s life and how she had to adapt to things being deaf. Instantly, during classes and karate, she displays an incredible sense of mimicking things around her. There’s the conversation with her father, William (Zahn McClarnon), and how he wants her to operate “in-between two worlds” – one reason he sends her to public school rather than a school for the deaf. Maya’s character doesn’t allow being an amputee and hearing loss to hold her back.

Flash forward to an older Maya (Alaqua Cox) who has an exceptional fighter and leader of the Tracksuit Mafia – unfortunately, through tragic means because Ronin kills her father. That sets her on an unrelenting quest for vengeance, sacrificing the men she commands. Kazi (Fra Fee) explains his concerns towards her towards the episode’s last half. Ronin’s “ghost” continues to hang heavily over the Hawkeye show. Not only did his string of vigilante justice spook a lot of crime syndicates, but it also altered family dynamics. Maya lost a father, and Clint (Jeremy Renner)  can’t go home to his family until he cleans up the mess he created during his time of excessive loss.

Clint looks so worn down, and a great dynamic is that Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) continues to be lighthearted. Imagine Dragons date night problems, be dammed. She’s awestruck that she gets to be with her role model and that she’s making a difference. As Kate describes to Clint, that’s even rooted in how selfless her father was. When she’s trying out Clint’s gimmick arrows during the car chase, Kate is the audience’s perspective of living out their superhero dreams. Things happen that serve as a constant excitement for her – where Clint is like, “I’ve been here and done this. I want to go home.” The home deadline gets more urgent with Clint’s call from his family. Speaking to Nathaniel, it’s crushing that the presumption is his dad will miss Christmas. This scene works even better because Kate has to be an interpreter for Clint. She feels bad because he’s staying to help her, and you see the pain in Clint’s face as he’s not sure if he’ll sort this out in time.

Electricity is a sentiment every hero feels when they start, but not once they get long on the journey. As the MCU integrates more characters, both from the old and new guard, I wonder if it will be a theme as we advance. Directors Bert & Bertie balances a fun atmosphere with moments of seriousness with “Echoes” – a balance between the breakneck speed of car chases and a heart-to-heart talk at a diner. Sound design is critical, as the audience gets a sense of being in Maya and Clint’s shoes during lack of sound. Funny that Clint and Kate’s best parts of communication are when his hearing aid temporarily gets destroyed.

The Tracksuit Mafia continues to be a source of comic relief. However, as Kazi notes, “uncle” might not be pleased with them pursuing Ronin – highly rumored to be Kingpin’s introduction into the MCU. He’s also presumably the hand in Maya’s flashback. During the car chase, some of it takes place in a great one-shot rotation. A big mystery ends the episode as Clint and Kate try to look up information on the Tracksuit Mafia. Sloan Limited sounds like a sham company in front of something more sinister. They cannot get anything of Jack (Tony Dalton) before he holds up Clint with Ronin’s sword.

Halfway through Hawkeye, it’s done a considerable job setting up characters, the problems they face, and some mysteries to dive into. The final three episodes have the specter of Yelena (Florence Pugh) hanging over, Kate potentially finding out that Clint was Ronin, and the conspicuous identities of both Jack and Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). Not a lot of time is left to uncover everything, so the show’s speed should pick up from here. Somebody is ultimately pulling the strings, and somehow, Clint has to put the Ronin legend to rest to move on. What more will Clint lose in that process?

Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel