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Hawkeye: Every Marvel Easter Egg & Reference In Episode 3

Caution: spoilers ahead for Hawkeye episode 3

Hawkeye embraces the Christmas spirit by bringing friends closer together, running over Santa, and gifting viewers a brand new selection of Easter eggs connecting to MCU history and Marvel's comic books. After a well-received opening on Disney+, Hawkeye continues with "Echoes," picking up in the immediate aftermath of Kate Bishop's interrogation interruption. Now Clint Barton's game of "catch-release" with the Tracksuit Mafia is ruined, both archers are prisoners of Hawkeye's fashion-backward gangsters, and the bulk of episode 3 charts their dramatic escape through the snowy streets of New York.

Mostly, Hawkeye episode 3 acts as a formal introduction to Alaqua Cox's Maya Lopez - better known by her super-moniker, Echo. Flashbacks reveal Echo's struggle as a deaf child in non-specialist education, her ability to mimic the movements of others, and how her father led the Tracksuit Mafia before Ronin killed him. Though Clint Barton and Kate Bishop have escaped for now, Echo's relentless quest for Ronin revenge is far from over, and as Kate duly points out, there's still the small matter of her swordsman step-father.

Related: Where Is Yelena Belova During Hawkeye Episodes 1 & 2?

Hawkeye episode 3 is also especially generous with its MCU and Marvel Easter eggs. There are nods to other Avengers, massive character teases, and a greatest hits of trick arrows from across Clint Barton's comic and movie career.

During Hawkeye episode 3's opening flashback sequence, a young Echo is struggling to keep up with a teacher not using ASL to communicate. Echo is, however, supremely intelligent, and completes her schoolwork regardless. Maya gets extra marks for including a Marvel Easter egg too, as she writes, "This year, I want to learn how to play capoiera [sic]." Capoeria is a Brazilian fighting-dance hybrid Tekken fans will remember as the distinctive fighting style of Eddy Gordo. During Echo's battle with Clint Barton in the present day, she's visibly throwing capoeira kicks, proving her classroom goal was wholeheartedly achieved. This Easter egg is heavily informed by Echo's comic book counterpart, who is both an elite martial artist and a skilled dancer.

Echo was obviously inspired by dragons as a child, and her father used the mystical creatures as an allegory for her deafness. Just as a dragon exists in both its own world and the outside world, Maya must balance her soundless environment with a society that never stops talking. When Echo innocently asks if dragons are real, her dad says, "Dragons live in a different world." A member of the Tracksuit Mafia probably isn't versed in the ancient lore of Ta Lo, but Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings proved dragons like the Great Protector do indeed dwell inside alternate planes of reality.

While father and daughter discuss dragons, a toy owl is prominently placed in Echo's bedroom. It may not be a coincidence that The Owl is a Marvel comic book villain who, like Echo, has ties to Kingpin. Predominantly an enemy of Daredevil, The Owl shared something of a rivalry with Wilson Fisk, and would have a natural entry point into the MCU via Hawkeye.

Related: Hawkeye: Whose Avengers Watch Is Stolen In Episode 1

During Echo's flashback karate class, Hawkeye shows her carefully watching an obnoxious kid's take-down, before perfectly countering the technique minutes later. Though Hawkeye understates her ability, Echo in the Marvel comic books is able to copy movements precisely after only a single glimpse.

Echo's father says her "uncle" will be waiting after karate class, then a mysterious (giant) hand playfully pinches Maya on the cheek and laughs. Hawkeye episode 3 goes on to make repeated references toward this enigmatic character, who Clint Barton reveals is the true mastermind behind the Tracksuit Mafia. The man in question is almost guaranteed to be the MCU's Kingpin - Wilson Fisk to his mother. In the Marvel comics, Echo's biological father died on Kingpin's order, but Fisk adopted the orphan as his own, raising her into an elite combatant. Something very similar has evidently taken place in the MCU's live-action world.

Though Hawkeye never shows the uncle's face, his laugh is very reminiscent of Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of Kingpin from Netflix's Daredevil series. The actor has long been rumored as making a Hawkeye appearance, and "Echoes" all but confirms his return.

Immediately after establishing Kingpin as the Tracksuit Mafia's leader, Hawkeye episode 3 fires off another Fisk-themed Easter egg. When an older, Blip-era Echo pulls up at her father's HQ, the Tracksuits are working out of a mechanic shop. The garage in question is conspicuously labelled as "Fat Man Auto Repair." Kingpin obviously isn't known for his slender frame, and "Fat-Man" has been used as another nickname for Fisk in the Marvel comics. If the MCU's Wilson Fisk truly does command the Tracksuit Mafia, it makes sense that he'd call one of his legitimate fronts "Fat Man."

Related: Marvel Knows It Messed Up Thanos In Infinity War (& Hawkeye Proves It)

As he lays dying from Ronin's blade, Echo's father bids farewell to his child and gently touches her face with a bloody hand, leaving a crimson print upon her cheek. This brutal image derives directly from Echo's Marvel comic book backstory, where a much younger Maya was also left stained by her dying father's touch. As an adult vigilante, Echo paints a white hand on her face as a reminder of that fateful day. Hawkeye foreshadows this moment in its aforementioned "dragon" scene, where a blue hand painting can be spied on the young Echo's bedroom wall.

Because Echo is desperate for vengeance, the Tracksuit Mafia want to know Ronin's real identity and current whereabouts. Despite his secrecy putting Kate Bishop in imminent danger, Hawkeye still doesn't admit he was actually the mysterious Ronin. Instead, Barton claims Black Widow killed the ninja, and that he "was there" when it happened. From a certain point of view, Clint isn't lying. After losing his family to Thanos' snap, Clint Barton adopted the Ronin persona, but Black Widow's noble sacrifice on Vormir made him retire that mantle and return to being everyone's favorite family-friendly archer. So, technically speaking, Black Widow did kill Ronin, and Hawkeye was present at the time.

The first two episodes of Disney+'s Hawkeye series drew heavily from Matt Fraction's 2012 comic run, and the appearance of a red 1970s Dodge Challenger in episode 3 provides yet another link. In Fraction's story, Hawkeye buys a Challenger, but later destroys it during a chase with the Tracksuit Mafia. Echo's muscle car in Hawkeye is near-identical to Clint's, and his refusal to jack such a beautiful vehicle pays homage to his taste of automobiles from the source material. Just like Fraction's story, the live-action Dodge Challenger gets beaten up anyway.

And it's not just Hawkeye's Dodge Challenger that hails from the 2012 comic series - the entire car chase adapts a classic scene from Matt Fraction and David Aja. In the comics, Kate Bishop is driving the Challenger whilst Clint Barton fires arrows at the Tracksuit Mafia, and though the roles are reversed in the MCU, the setup is otherwise identical in printed form. Both versions of the chase sequence also feature generous amounts of tricks arrows and culminate with a pile-up on a bridge.

Related: Hawkeye Sets Up Phase 4's New Ronin, Despite Endgame - Theory Explained

Firing one's first-ever exploding arrow is a rite of passage for any archer, and Kate Bishop is suitably thrilled when one of her projectiles detonates a Tracksuit Mafia van upon impact, uttering, "Holy S-" before the camera cuts away. Unfortunately for Kate, she's just the latest in a long line of MCU characters who still haven't finished swearing. Past victims include Aunt May's "what the fu-" in Spider-Man: Homecoming (upon learning her nephew is secretly Spider-Man), and Nick Fury's "motherfu-" when he gets dusted in Avengers: Infinity War.

Christmas really has come early for fans of trick arrows, as Hawkeye episode 3's car chase sequence is loaded with fun (and mostly lethal) treats from Clint's quiver. Five of these arrows are inspired directly by the comic book car chase mentioned previously - the putty, cable, smoke, suction and acid varieties. The MCU's cable arrow is a little more sophisticated, firing out multiple ropes and latching onto every Christmas tree within a 5 meter radius, while the acid arrow does exactly as advertised in both mediums. The comic book's putty arrow leaves one poor Tracksuit Dracula covered in goop but, just like the smoke bomb, isn't quite as purple as Jeremy Renner's version. Finally, the suction cup arrow that Kate deems useless (before it saves her life) is also part of Hawkeye's Fraction-era arsenal.

Hawkeye reveals Clint Barton now wields arrows loaded with Pym particles, courtesy of Ant-Man. Just like his fellow Avenger, this means Hawkeye can grow (and presumably shrink) objects by shooting them - in this case one of Kate Bishop's regular arrows.

Black Widow has her trademark superhero landing, but Clint Barton beats his bestie for originality with a patented pose of his own. Jumping from height and shooting an arrow on the turn is a trick Hawkeye has used in Marvel's comic books, The Avengers, and What If...?, but this time he takes Kate Bishop along for the ride. Expect Bishop and Yelena Belova to come to blows over which of their mentors has the better signature move.

Related: Why Hawkeye Takes Place During Christmas

You thought Hawkeye was done with the trick arrows? As a final flourish, Clint pulls 2 more cards from his quiver - both of which have made past MCU appearances in 2012's The Avengers. The USB arrow Kate "threatens" the Tracksuit Mafia with was fired by a possessed Hawkeye to hack into SHIELD's helicarrier system, used by the animated archer to carry an Ultron-killing virus in What If...?, and held Clint's tax records in the comic books. The grappling arrow Kate and Clint escape with is whipped out during the Battle of New York after Hawkeye leaps from the roof of a building.

Hawkeye episode 1 gave the MCU fandom "Rogers: The Musical" and, in episode 2, a commercial for the fictional (for now) Broadway production played while Kate Bishop watched TV. Episode 3 features a massive "Rogers: The Musical" billboard that rears its head after Hawkeye and Kate escape via train. As a fun bonus detail, note how Hawkeye is hilariously tiny and shoved to one side compared to the other Avengers.

Previously, Kate Bishop hit the bullseye by pointing out branding is Hawkeye's biggest problem. She tries to remedy that in episode 3, drawing a potential new costume design on a diner napkin, which Clint Barton immediately shoots down for looking ridiculous. Amusingly, the outfit Kate sketches is Hawkeye's classic Marvel comic getup, complete with winged eye mask and "H" on the forehead. Jeremy Renner has never worn his character's traditional costume in the MCU, and this scene suggests he probably never will.

As Kate Bishop recaps the current situation with Clint Barton, she refers to Kazi as "the hot guy who spoke sign language." Though seemingly just an offhand comment that fits Kate's confident personality, she and Kazi (known as Clown) did actually have a thing for each other in the Marvel comics.

Related: Kate Bishop Stole Black Widow's Most Famous MCU Move (But Not Her Pose)

Hacking her mother's security company, Kate Bishop discovers Kazi is registered as an employee of "Sloan LTD" and Hawkeye makes a point of mentioning how this name sounds familiar to Clint. That could be due to Willy Sloan - one of Kingpin's henchmen, who made an appearance in 1982's The Spectacular Spider-Man #67. Assuming Kingpin is head of the Tracksuit Mafia in the MCU, it makes sense that his followers might have shell companies registered in their names.

More: Hawkeye Secretly Hinted Clint Isn’t Redeemed As A Hero After Ronin Yet

Hawkeye continues Wednesday on Disney+.

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