‘Hawkeye’ episode 3, a spoiler review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

It’s finally December,  and we’re already halfway through with “Hawkeye”.

We cut back to Clint and Kate after they were captured by the Tracksuit Mafia. It is here we learn more about their leader, Maya Lopez (Echo), and her vendetta against Ronin, who unbeknownst to anyone is Clint himself. With Christmas on its way, Clint and Kate make a quick escape as they uncover an expanding criminal conspiracy.

The episode establishes multiple elements while still pushing the story forward. Despite being played out mostly as an escape leading to a chase and leading to investigation, there are a few things I greatly enjoyed here. The most prominent being Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez. This is her first starring role, and she absolutely nails this performance. In my last review, I said I didn’t know anything about this character. But having gotten to know her more, I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I wanted to know about her.

When the episode starts, it brings us to 2007, where we see Maya’s backstory as she struggled with being deaf in a mainstream learning environment. This scene was done effectively as we see events play out from a young Maya’s point of view, as she is unable to hear anything. They accurately depict the advantages and disadvantages that people feel in a learning environment. This includes having Maya interpret her teachers words via lip movement, her use of sign language, etc. It is also later revealed that she also has a prosthetic right leg to help her move around. Despite her disabilities, it is shown that Maya is more than capable of learning as she manages to excel in her class.

We also see she had a loving relationship with her father, who is unable to put her in schools that help kids who are hard of hearing due to financial reasons. It is because of this that he encourages her to persevere and continue to grow in her environment.

 I think her Father says it best when he tells her,  “You have to jump between two worlds.” In my opinion, this is a perfect metaphor for people with disabilities who live in mainstream society. It isn’t very often that you see characters like this in the media, let alone superhero films/shows. So, to see one shown here so accurately and respectfully makes me appreciate the effort that people put into this aspect. It also helps that this ties in perfectly with the series protagonist, as Clint himself is hard of hearing.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

We then move on to see Maya in a karate class, as she hones her visual skills studying people’s movements during sparring matches. Her father is watching her until he has to leave to do some business with a mysterious person. After he wishes his daughter luck, a mysterious man in a suit briefly touches Maya’s chin before leading her father away. There is a lot of speculation online as to who this character is. Most sources claim that this character is none other than Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio from Marvel’s critically acclaimed “Daredevil” series. As much as I don’t want to get my hopes up in the possibility that this character might be back, I can also see how someone like Kingpin would factor into this show. In a plot that revolves around someone masterminding a criminal conspiracy in New York City, this does feel possible. Though people could be completely wrong and this could be a completely different character, it can’t hurt to keep our fingers crossed.

Several years later we see Maya continue sparring, as her visual skills allow her to mimic and easily defeat her opponents. Another factor that I would like to mention is that so much of this is conveyed so well because actress Alaqua Cox herself is also deaf. So when you see her, you instantly believe her performance as she conveys herself so well to the audience. 

Things take a dark turn when Maya comes to see her father in a car garage, only to see Ronin (Clint) massacring everyone from outside. Once Ronin escapes, Maya finds her father fatally injured as they share one last tearful goodbye. From this flashback, we instantly understand Maya’s motivation, as well as her personal vendetta against Ronin, who unbeknownst to her and most people is Clint himself. It also draws upon the consequences of Clint’s actions as Ronin, as his victims have people still out there waiting for revenge.

We then cut back to the present day, where Clint and Kate are still held captive by the Tracksuit Mafia as Maya walks in to interrogate them on Ronin’s supposed return. Due to Clint and Kate’s inability to understand American Sign Language (ASL), Maya’s subordinate Kazi Kazimierczak steps in as interpreter. It is here that Barton tries to tell Maya that he witnessed Ronin die at the hands of  Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff). While audience members know that’s not what happened, there is a bit of truth to what Clint is saying, as it was Natasha herself who helped him break free of his dark persona. Their interrogation is cut short when Clint breaks free from his restraints.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

This leads to a chase throughout the warehouse as we see Clint reach for his bow and quiver. The sequence creatively makes use of the environment, which is filled with objects you’d find at a carnival. We see Clint jump off shelf aisles, surprise his opponents from ball pits, and even use some arrows to creatively incapacitate some of the gang members.

However, Clint is forced to face Maya, she smashes his hearing aid to bits, leaving him partially deaf. Clint uses an arrow to free Kate as the two hijack a car with the Tracksuits trailing them. Things are not made easier as Clint now has a hard time communicating with Kate due to his hearing. 

The chase scene that follows is the highpoint of the episode, as it makes great use of the show’s elements. Not only is it partially scored to a Christmas soundtrack, but we also get to see Kate use a wide variety of “trick arrows” that take out their pursuers. They include putty arrows to block their windshields, rope arrows that tie nearby christmas trees to one of them, and acid arrows to take out stoplights. With all the creative arrows used in this sequence, I believe everyone’s personal favorite is going to be the PYM arrow that enlarges over the Manhattan Bridge and destroys the Tracksuit’s remaining vehicles. As the gang members chase them on foot, Clint and Kate make a quick getaway by swinging onto a train underneath the bridge.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Once the archers make their way to the apartment, Barton receives a call from his family asking how he’s doing. Because Clint is unable to hear well, he asks Kate to help him communicate via writing their words on a notepad. I like how this scene is portrayed, as it’s showing Clint trying to communicate with his family despite his disability. Even though he can’t hear them on the phone, when he sees their words, “It’s okay if you miss Christmas,” written on Kate’s notepad, it doesn’t take away from the impact.

When they go to Chinatown to get Clint’s hearing aid fixed, he and Kate have a conversation about how she wants to be a hero like him. Clint understandably tries to convince her otherwise, as people who want to be heroes will at some point make personal sacrifices, or potentially lose things forever. You can easily tie this back to Clint’s personal experiences as he’s had to leave his family for multiple missions, and even lose some of his closest friends, namely Natasha. Kate tries encouraging Clint to elevate his branding and recognition. She even draws him a redesign of his costume, which is an obvious easter egg to his classic appearance in the comics. Naturally, Clint scoffs at that as not only is it ridiculous, but it makes more sense for someone like him who is a secret agent to maintain a low profile compared to other heroes. Despite his insistence that he is not a role model, Kate points out how he came out to help her anyway, despite knowing it would negatively impact him and his family’s Christmas.

Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

While looking for leads on who is leading the Tracksuits, Kate remains suspicious that his mother’s fiance, Jack Duquesne is the true culprit for his blavk markets dealings and possible connection to Armand III’s murder. The duo sneak into Kate’s family penthouse to breach Bishop Security to find information related to the Tracksuits. They look up Maya’s right hand man Kazi Kazimierczak, where they discover he is employed at “Sloan Ltd”, a name that Clint is familiar with. When Kate tries to look up information on Duquesne, she is locked out of the system as Jack comes in threatening Clint with Ronin’s sword.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Episode 3 meets the season’s halfway mark with the strongest episode so far. The actors’ chemistry is still top notch, it’s fun and mature in all the right moments, and it sets up characters I can’t wait to see more of. The episode definitely hits its target

Rating: 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails


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