Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Echo - Chafa

Spinning out of the events of Hawkeye, Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) gets her own five-episode series with Echo. The opening episode "Chafa" feels a bit oddly cobbled together. Following an elaborate opening sequence taking place outside of time and space alluding to the origins of the Choctaw, we're given an episode focused on the childhood of young Maya (Darnell Besaw) growing up, racing through some individual scenes going into the family business, with the events of Hawkeye oddly jammed in, before picking up the thread of what happened to the character after the events of Hawkeye.

The scenes of Maya's childhood are well done, exploring a bit about her family life and the struggles overcome. However, I don't know that shoving that all into a single episode, or framing it better with current events, was the right choice, especially as once we return to the present none of the scenes actually do anything to change the character. At the end of Hawkeye and two-thirds through the first episode of Echo, Maya is still the same person. The events from her childhood also don't color and modern day interactions as pretty much everyone she interacts with as a child is now dead or to be avoided in the opening episode.

During the segment from the past with Maya working for Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio), we do get an extended action scene between Maya and Daredevil (Charlie Cox) which oddly earns in a draw with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen basically giving up on taking her down (something he's never done in any MCU episode). The sequence is quite good, and is meant to remind people of the action sequences of Daredevil (which unfortunately it doesn't quite measure up to). So even at its best moments, things feel a bit off either by the awkward construction of the episode or in sequences that remind us of better storytelling.

By the time we get to the present there isn't much time to spend with Maya, but we do get enough to find out her motivations. Of all possible worlds, having Maya be obsessed with becoming a gang boss wouldn't have been my choice, but it will allow for the return of a certain character whose identity is revealed at the end of the episode (and in the short teaser for events in the upcoming four episodes of the series). Hopefully with the upcoming episode more grounded in the present, the show will run a bit more smoothly, although Maya learning no lessons and struggling to becoming even a bigger criminal isn't something I'm all that excited to see unfold. After a number of underwhelming projects, simply being part of the MCU is no longer enough reason to watch; you need to sell me specifically on this show which "Chafa" struggles to do.

  • Title: Echo - Chafa
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