Alaqua Cox in Echo


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So far, I’ve caught every Marvel TV series exclusively tailored for Disney+. The only exception has been “What If…?” as it appears to stand alone rather than align with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, I find myself grappling with a certain weariness towards these productions. Post Avengers: Endgame, most films have been lackluster at best, and the TV series follow suit. While efforts like Loki and WandaVision endeavor to break the mold, others like Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight feel like drawn-out origin stories spanning six episodes. Now, the spotlight falls on Echo, a character likely unfamiliar to many.

“Echo” is a five-part miniseries centered around the character Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), also known as Echo. Initially introduced as an antagonist in the TV series “Hawkeye,” she gained prominence in the final episode by shooting Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) in the face. Don’t fret if you missed “Hawkeye”, as the first episode of “Echo” will feature extensive flashbacks to bring newcomers up to speed.

In “Echo,” Maya confronts her past and seeks to reconnect with her Native American heritage and family. Despite Kingpin’s apparent demise, she devises a scheme to seize control of his empire—though, unsurprisingly, he proves resilient even after taking a bullet to the face.

With just five episodes, each running approximately 35 minutes sans credits, “Echo” could have easily been condensed into a two-hour movie. However, the series feels burdened by excessive padding. Yet, in the realm of streaming, marketing a movie is a one-time affair, while a series spread over five weeks maintains prolonged attention on the platform. While this strategy might seem cynical, it reflects executive decisions. “Echo” isn’t treated as art but rather as content, solely designed to drive subscriptions to Disney+.

They certainly go to great lengths to obscure this from the audience. How? By crafting narratives centered on representation. Many of these Marvel TV productions for Disney+ spotlight characters from marginalized communities. “The Falcon & The Winter Soldier” showcases a black superhero and an amputee, “Ms. Marvel” follows a Pakistani Muslim girl, “Moon Knight” features a character of Egyptian descent, and in “Echo,” Maya Lopez stands out as a female Native American deaf amputee. She’s the epitome of representation, especially considering actress Alaqua Cox embodies all those identities in real life. It’s a cunning ploy, as audiences are duped into applauding hollow content simply because the protagonist isn’t your typical able-bodied white male.

Yes, I’ve grown disillusioned with the entire MCU, particularly everything post-“Avengers: Endgame” and the advent of Disney+. Last year’s “Secret Invasion” was the final straw for me, and “Echo” fails to mend that disillusionment. While not as dismal as “Secret Invasion,” “Echo” lacks the standout performance of Olivia Coleman and instead offers only a few standout action sequences, like one involving a speeding train. However, the show mostly meanders, punctuated by occasional fight scenes. Its reliance on Maya’s sign language becomes a drag, as she remains essentially mute throughout, seemingly unable to lip-read, forcing every interaction to be in sign language. This reliance on sign language may accurately represent deaf individuals on screen, but for viewers, it quickly becomes tiresome.

Everyone she encounters is proficient in sign language, but later, Kingpin provides her with an eye implant that translates spoken words into sign language for her. This sets the stage for one of the most perplexing moments in the series: Maya confronts him for allegedly loving her yet refusing to learn sign language. However, the inconsistency arises when, despite her accusation, he communicates through sign language with her on multiple occasions throughout the show. Equally confounding is Maya’s apparent refusal to learn to read lips, adding another layer of inconsistency to the narrative.

“Echo” emerges as yet another installment in the MCU that feels optional for keeping up with the overarching narrative. There’s undoubtedly a solid 100-minute movie buried within this 200-minute miniseries. While the show does offer a win for representation, particularly for people of Native American descent, the deaf and amputees, it ultimately serves as another example of soulless content churned out for a streaming behemoth.

Echo poster
Echo poster
  • Year:
  • Director:
    • Sydney Freeland
  • Cast:
    • Alaqua Cox
    • Chaske Spencer
    • Tantoo Cardinal
    • Vincent D'Onofrio
  • Genres:
    Action, Adventure, Crime
  • Running time:


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