Meanwhile, the Tracksuit Mafia is revealed to be under the control of Maya Lopez aka Echo (Alaqua Cox), a deaf athlete and martial artist heavily connected to Daredevil, Kingpin and Moon Knight in the comics. Her right hand man is Kazi (Fra Free) aka The Clown, and it appears that MCU Echo will be portrayed as less of a heroine here than we might have expected – at least at first.
Two episodes in, and many of Hawkeye’s pieces are already on the chessboard. Kate’s mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is deeply suspicious and dexterous, and wears red in present-day scenes (either as a cheeky “red herring” or a nod to her latter-day West Coast Avengers reveal as a vampire), and Kate is clearly in line to be passed the MCU Hawkeye mantle. Steinfeld is predictably great in the role, so it never feels awkward. Along with the style choices that the Hawkeye team have made for her character and the way she’s clearly thrown herself so completely into being Kate Bishop, she’s truly nailing it.
Tantalizingly, Echo’s introduction also signals the integration of Netflix’s Daredevil crew into the MCU, with Spider-Man: No Way Home arriving in a few weeks – I feel like we all know by now that Charlie Cox is destined to make an appearance in it.
There’s also the mysterious watch that the Tracksuit Mafia were out to snag at the auction, found in the debris of Avengers Compound. Echo was clearly desperate to acquire it, but for what purpose? And who did it belong to?
Alongside the the show’s intriguing mysteries were a number of other highlights. Rogers: The Musical was inevitably one of them, but I’m not sure how I feel about these tributes to Captain America’s legacy becoming A Thing in the MCU. What with the Smithsonian’s notable collection in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the Statue of Liberty holding Steve Rogers’ shield in No Way Home, it’s giving second-hand cringe every time I imagine how embarrassed Steve would be. I also loved Clint’s weary, slow-motion larping, and the call-back to Scott Lang’s selfie rejection from the kids in Avengers: Endgame who were more hyped to see the Hulk.
Overall, I really enjoyed these first couple of episodes. With the MCU introductions of Kate, Lucky the Pizza Dog (the adorable Jolt), Eleanor, Kazi, and Echo, Marvel Studios has created an appealing, Die Hard-esque world for Clint Barton here; full of jingle bells, bows, and bullets. It suits him down to the ground, though we do get the sense that this might be Renner’s swansong as Clint. I wasn’t really expecting to be sad about that, but here we are.
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