Disney Plus Show Review: Marvel’s ECHO is Gritty and Compelling

In Disney Plus and Marvel’s new show ECHO, Maya Lopez’s story continues after her showdown with the Kingpin.  Wounded and bleeding out, she stitches herself up and makes it to Oklahoma on her motorcycle.  At first, it looks like Maya is there to hide out after wounding Kingpin but it quickly becomes clear that she is there not to reunite with her family, but to mess with and eventually take over Kingpin’s criminal activity in the area.   

But as one knows, the past always catches up and Maya finds herself unable to avoid reckoning with the past and facing the trauma she has run from for so long.

Disney Plus ECHO
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios’ Echo, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2023. All Rights Reserved.

There’s a scene set in the past in the first episode of ECHO that is very reminiscent of Netflix’s Daredevil series.  It’s a continuous camera shot showing Maya and the rest of Kingpin’s crew busting into a warehouse.  This scene is important for a few reasons all surrounding Maya’s firsts. 

This scene is the first time Maya sees someone killed and she hesitates just a second before walking through the door.  It’s also the first time Maya takes a life with a rear naked choke.  Finally, it’s the first time Maya fights Daredevil one one-on-one with no help.  She engages with him and survives which impresses Kingpin enough for him to welcome her into his criminal crew as family.  This scene has so many ramifications in Maya’s overall story.

Alaqua Cox is as perfect as Maya.  She physically embodies the role with her kickboxing and jiujitsu skills.  She also has a very emotive face so while she uses ASL, her stoic gaze often cracks when she is overwhelmed with emotions.  I can’t say enough about Vincent Donofrio as Kingpin and the majority of the Native American cast. 

Several cast members were in the show Reservation Dogs like Graham Greene, the luminescent Devery Jacobs, William Lopez, and the hilarious Jana Schmieding. ECHO is cast well, you can imagine these characters in Oklahoma trying to preserve their culture but exist in a state like Oklahoma.

It feels like the writers respectfully intertwined Native American history and culture into Maya’s backstory. Maya discovers that she is descended from the first Choctaw woman and finds that she can use the power of her ancestors to get out of dangerous situations.  These scenes don’t feel cheesy or like cultural appropriation but more of a respectful fictional depiction.

ECHO is shot extraordinarily well, especially the fight scenes. There’s no blurriness and the gritty cinematography captures the essence of NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen and Oklahoma’s Tahoma which is where Maya originates from.

While this Disney Plus show is easily one of my favorites, ECHO falters when it comes to the pacing.  The show moves much too quickly, and I would have liked to see Maya explore her hometown instead of immediately trying to take over Kingpin’s crime syndicate.  Still, this Marvel show is so much grittier than Werewolf By Night or even Moon Knight and I’m looking forward to Marvel’s future titles with these characters.

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