Let’s Talk about Hawkeye Episode 1-3
Every hero needs an origin story, even if they’re the villain for the time being.
That’s the message we learn during the latest Hawkeye episode. Yes, let’s talk about episode 1-3, the one with the Echo.
Maya Lopez hasn’t said a word as an adult. Instead, she has dismissively flicked her hand to shoo off an underling.
Before we learn about her as a power player in the Tracksuit Mafia, we flash back to her childhood.
Adorable isn’t a strong enough word for this chubby-cheeked little girl. The instant you see her, you’ll want to hug her.
Alas, young Maya faces challenges at the public school. As a deaf child, she can read lips, but her forgetful teacher often turns toward the blackboard.
None of the other kids know sign language, making her the loneliest one in class. Even worse, her father delivers some bad news.
He cannot afford to send her to the school “with kids like me.” Character actor Zahn McClarnon nails the caring father moment here. It’s powerful television.
As a child, Maya wants to know about sounds since she cannot hear them. And she’s especially interested in dragons, sensing kindred spirits.
A touching bit of parental wisdom involves William Lopez telling Maya that she is one of a kind.
Moments later, she proves the point by watching a large boy win a karate battle against another kid.
Seconds afterward, she puts the MUCH larger kids on the ground. She’s a savant who loves her father and her “uncle,”…the latter of whom sure sounds like Kingpin.
Episode 1-3 doesn’t let the cat out of the bag quite yet, but the implication is impossible to ignore. Vincent D’Onofrio sure sounds like he’s back as the Kingpin.
Yes, that’s the Daredevil villain from Marvel lore…and a Netflix television series. In addition, we’re only two weeks away from the debut of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
So, some secrets are starting to slip out. This one’s a biggie if it’s not just a WandaVision-esque swerve.
The Disney Story Repeats
During the recap of the first episode of Hawkeye, I discussed Kate Bishop’s origin story while joking about the show’s producers.
They knew they were doing a Disney+ series. So, they killed off Kate’s parent, as has happened in so many Disney animated movies.
Well, we’re doing a mirror episode now. Apparently, the storytelling will take Maya Lopez’s codename quite seriously.
Her origin story echoes Kate’s. Maya faces many hardships as a child. She’s a one-legged deaf girl and apparently poor to boot.
While her father doesn’t die until she’s an adult, Maya watches helplessly from a distance when it happens.
Ronin invades “Fat Man Auto Repair” (they REALLY want us to connect the dots on Kingpin) and stabs William through the chest.
Then, we flash forward to the current time, the moment where we got cliffhung last week.
Maya Lopez now has Bishop and Clint Barton as hostages. She expects them to reveal everything they can about Ronin.
Notably, nothing in Lopez’s backstory demonstrates that she’s mean, petty, or even vindictive. On the contrary, her father was her world, and Ronin took that from her.
To Echo, Ronin is no different than the hunter who shot Bambi’s mother. You’d want revenge as well.
Since we know that an Echo series is coming, it’s interesting that Hawkeye’s story doesn’t pigeonhole her as a villain. Instead, she’s motivated due to hard luck.
The Heroes of the Piece
At some point, Echo will do what the other members of Marvel’s emerging Thunderbolts team have done. She will have a moment where she chooses NOT evil.
For now, she’s the antagonist while Barton and Bishop are kidnapping victims. But, hilariously, the Tracksuit Mafia seems to like both.
Kate even helps a dude with some relationship advice. Thus, these guys are the comedy relief in Hawkeye, which makes me wonder if they’ll turn face when Maya does.
Anyway, there’s not much by way of story in this episode. Instead, it’s an introduction to Maya, two action scenes, and an interrogation plus some filler.
Speaking of the interrogation, Maya mistakes Clint as deaf. Eventually, she realizes that he uses a hearing aid and suggests he’d be better without it.
Barton, a pro at crisis situations, gets right to it. He absolves Kate of blame and then spins a tall tale…of sorts.
Hawkeye suggests that Ronin died at the hands of Black Widow. Of course, that’s a half-truth, but it’s a fascinating interpolation of those events as well.
When Natasha Romanoff tracked down Ronin, she appealed to Clint’s optimistic nature by offering hope. So he laid down his weapons and retired Ronin.
So, everything he says is valid, just dishonest. Somehow, Lopez can sense that he’s not being forthcoming. She bullies Kate into telling the truth.
However, Barton escapes almost immediately afterward, leading to a fight scene at the warehouse.
Then, there’s a chase scene involving a sports car, a junker, and some moving vans. But, really, it’s an excuse to show off Barton’s quiver of trick arrows.
Overall, this sequence is just 10 minutes of mindless Marvel fun…and it’s perfect for what it is.
Mentor and Protégé
During the chase sequence, Kate doesn’t notice it at the time, but she earns Clint’s respect. They have a conversation while taking a subway home.
She had previously referred to herself as the greatest archer in the world. He says she’s “not wrong” to say that. As we know, Barton’s not easy to impress.
So, this quiet moment reflects that Clint has started to view Kate as something other than a child.
Later, they bond when Kate writes down notes from a phone call Clint receives. His son, Nathaniel, is awake and bored.
Later, the child says he’ll understand if his father cannot be home for Christmas. At this point, Kate appreciates how much Clint is sacrificing for her.
Also, apropos of nothing, Pizza Dog appears, and my heart is full. Marvel, if you really love me, you’ll give Pizza Dog his own series.
Hey, there’s not much going on in this episode. So, I’m prioritizing what’s really important!
Anyway, after Clint and Kate feed their dog, they decide to sneak into Kate’s family’s penthouse.
The cliffhanger here is readily apparent. For the first time all episode, Kate mentions Jack.
Then, while Kate tries to hack her mom’s computer system, Clint hears a sound and leaves to investigate.
Yup, Jack places a sword against Clint’s throat. So, next week’s episode will be the two men discussing philosophy or fighting or both.
One significant note about this moment: Jack appears to be threatening Clint with the Ronin sword.
My wife reminds me that Jack tucked it into his jacket during the Tracksuit Mafia auction attack.
Folks, you should never threaten someone with their own sword. It’s bad form.