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Hawkeye Episode 3 Review – IGN

This review contains spoilers for episode 3 of Marvel’s Hawkeye, ‘Echoes’, now available to view on Disney+. To remind yourself of where we left off, check out our spoiler-free review of Hawkeye episodes 1 and 2.

The dynamic between Clint Barton and Kate Bishop was always going to be Hawkeye’s linchpin, and its third episode offers a fully convincing argument that the show’s creative team knows exactly what they are doing with the duo beyond introductions. Stripped of almost any baggage, this is an episode in which the pair are in almost every scene and shot, convincingly pushing forward and building up their partnership.

Largely focused on Kate and Clint’s feud with the Tracksuit Mafia, this episode treats us to an action sequence that makes Hawkeye seem genuinely, unironically cool. An indoor battle with goons showcases his archery skills in a much more deliberate fashion than any Avengers film ever has, with fantastic trick shots that get to be the headliner rather than a warm up for Iron Man’s repulsors or Thor’s lightning strikes. This fight flows into a car chase, starting with a brilliant one-shot sequence that builds tension as Kate prepares to play shotgun, and concluding with an inspired use of Pym particles. Directors Bert and Bertie instantly prove themselves among the MCU’s best action visionaries with this sequence, and it’s no surprise that the chase and its use of fun special arrows was such a prominent part of Hawkeye’s marketing.

Who’s Who in Marvel’s Hawkeye on Disney Plus

Bringing out the cool in Clint fits into Hawkeye’s central goal of having Kate push and prod him into a more prominent, heroic position. This week’s slice of superhero glow-up is neatly capped with a conversation in which Kate reveals a Hawkeye costume design for Clint. It is, of course, the daft purple design from the comics. It’s a funny Easter egg, but one that further highlights Kate’s naivety about the dangers of superheroics. Clint juxtaposes this moment with more serious concerns. This isn’t a fun ride, he warns: costumes come with a price, both physical and emotional. This is far from a new idea for Marvel, and will need more development for this side of Hawkeye to ring true, but it helps build a more serious tone that keeps the drama in check under its Christmas wrapping paper made of quips and festive needle drops.

Further dramatic heft is built with the introduction of Alaqua Cox’s Maya Lopez, a deaf member of the Tracksuit Mafia. Deafness is a major topic this week, with the opening chronicling Maya’s soundless childhood, and Clint navigating the world without sound for a good portion of the episode. Writers Katie Mathewson and Tanner Bean use these sequences to briefly highlight a number of real-world topics, such as how those around Maya refuse to learn sign language, and differing opinions on hearing aids among the deaf community. While these topics so far don’t drill down deep, it does ensure deafness is more than just a passing mention. Marvel also deserves kudos for casting Cox, who is deaf, and thus bringing authenticity and representation to this aspect of Hawkeye’s story.

Maya herself brings some raw anger to the otherwise goofy Tracksuit Mafia, and makes them a more genuine threat. Her dead dad motivation may be comic book 101, but the sympathetic direction of her scenes promises that Hawkeye wants to add complexity and ambiguity to its villains. Hopefully this will be navigated with a more steady hand than that used for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s Flag Smashers, who never successfully rose above terrorist tropes.

While Maya could be built into a fascinating anti-hero, right now it’s her superior that casts the most intriguing shadow over the series. Hawkeye wastes no time in revealing that Maya is not the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia, and that a mysterious “Uncle” rules over the group. Quite who that Uncle is remains to be seen, but internet rumours have certainly been flowing. Regardless, it’s a storyline that seems destined to end in the reveal of another major Marvel villain. Such foreshadowing in an MCU project is never going to lead to an original character, after all.

Talking of comic book villains, very little time is dedicated to Jack and Kate’s family murder mystery. That’s a mercy, considering how dull it could be in the premiere, and its exclusion means Hawkeye’s zippy tone is continuous throughout the whole episode. While the storyline does get its five minutes at the very end, having Jack pull the Ronin sword out on Clint instantly makes him a more interesting threat. If Jack knows about Clint’s other superhero life, this secondary plot could neatly tie into Hawkeye’s commentary on the dangers of costumes and the positives of being an invisible, boring Avenger.

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