(Photo courtesy of: GamesRadar) “‘Echo’ showcases disabilities and Native culture.”
Marvel Studios’ most recent addition to their universe of shows and movies is uniquely character-driven and emotional. Earlier this month Marvel released a show called “Echo”. The five-episode limited series follows the character Maya Lopez who was first introduced in 2021 as a villain in the show Hawkeye portrayed by Alaqua Cox. Echo also saw the return of the Hawkeye villain Kingpin played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who is an important part of Echo’s backstory.
Echo is most famous for being both Native American and Deaf and the show made waves by starring Cox who has that same background. The show spotlights Echo’s unique perspective, and they are eager to explore the reality of Deaf and Native American people. “Echo” is also Marvel Studio’s first TV-MA show and is more violent than their previous shows. This helps to highlight the protagonist’s villainous position and helps viewers get a good idea of the anti-hero she becomes by the end of the series.
The show was written in collaboration with the Choctaw nation, who had a role in every stage of the show’s production to ensure that Choctaw culture was represented properly. Echo and Cox are both Choctaw women and Choctaw culture plays a huge role in the show’s plot. Choctaw culture is one of the show’s highlights, being integrated very elegantly.
The story of Echo is in many ways about the journey of reconnecting to everything she has been separated from in her backstory. Throughout her life, Kingpin has been Echo’s surrogate uncle, and he was one of the only family she had a consistent connection. This made her feel isolated from her culture and her family. Hawkeye’s finale had Echo discover that
Kingpin was responsible for her father’s death, and after that, she is left trying to escape the false identity Kingpin trained her to have—an arc that is fully realized in this series.
On this journey, she reconnects with her extended family and her culture and realizes that both have been part of her the entire time. Each episode of the show opens with a scene following a different Choctaw woman each at different historical times. These scenes mirror Echo’s arc in the rest of the episode, which shows just how connected to her culture and family she is, even if she doesn’t see that connection all the time.
The show explores the similarities between Kingpin and Echo and every scene between the two is fantastic. Kingpin’s bizarre bond with Echo, both humanizes him and makes him seem more terrifying, there is nothing he won’t do to bring her back to his side which is the attitude that drives her away.
Echo’s capabilities are also explored, and we learn a lot more about her skills and powers. But unfortunately, the show falls short in this area as Echo’s limitations and specific specialties are underdeveloped, which ends up leaving the viewer with a lot more questions than is preferable.
The show also relies very heavily on its place in a franchise. The story of the show is started in another show and left unfinished, implied to be continuing in another project. This makes the show less accessible to casual fans who are not interested in committing to watching multiple shows for one story.
In conclusion, Echo is very heartfelt and the love and care put into exploring her psychology and worldview is great. But, there are parts of the show that lose focus or are underexplain. Overall, the show is filled with love and action, and it is worth a watch.
Overall Grade: A-