Echo 3 Season 1 Review – Worth a watch despite lacking intensity

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -|Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -|Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 10 -|Review Score – 2.5/5


Echo 3 came on everyone’s radar with the name of Mark Boal headlining the project. Boal has a rich history of scripting similar-minded stories in the medium of film. His handling, expertise, and understanding of the subject matter makes his projects excitable. Season 1 of Echo 3 definitely has glimpses of Boal’s previous works. The focus, format, and narration are all inspired by films like The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and Triple Frontier. Yet for some reason, the storytelling lacks intensity and is very uneven.

At times, it seems inspired and brilliant, while at others, Echo 3 is downright ordinary. Even though the former holds true on most occasions, Boal’s latest work never quite reaches the heights of his previous successes.

The Apple TV production has a stellar cast including names like Luke Evans and Michiel Huisman but also some surprise packages in brilliant Jessica Ann Collins and James Udom. Echo 3’s highly volatile and political universe takes its bearings from the perennial intercontinental conflict involving the US and pretty much all of South America.

The title refers to a special unit that Prince (Huisman) and Bambi (Evans) are a part of. Their capabilities are in rescue missions on foreign lands and they face the challenge of their lives when Amber (Collins), Prince’s wife and Bambi’s sister, is abducted by rebels on suspicion of ties with the CIA in Colombia while working on a drug research problem.

There are majorly two settings for the story – Colombia and Venezuela. But they do not matter as much in the latter episodes as they do in the first part. Boal has previously used those settings really well before. Be it Iraq or Afghanistan, there was always an additional layer of tension that came from their mere presence and the uncertainty of anything wrong at any moment. Echo 3 lacks that explosive element. The locals, rebels, and guerillas are not as involved in the central conceit and do not come across as dangerous. Their presence on the screen, and lack thereof, does not intimidate the viewer or the operators.

Given how concentrated and spontaneous they are, perhaps more of their involvement could have helped. It ought to have given a more natural look to the environment. Fair point to Boal, part III veered towards showcasing the personal conflicts within our protagonists. The opportunity to integrate that element in the storytelling did become difficult due to that creative choice. But a desired balance could have made it more impactful. In bringing those conflicts with their pasts to life, Boal shows total commitment.

Bambi, Prince, and Amber’s unresolved issues, insecurities, and ambitions come to the fore in a very revealing, straightforward manner. He leaves no stone unturned to translate the emotions that forged them into who they are to the viewer. Boal uses all resources at his disposal be it imagery, allegory, or dialogue. That is indeed a highlight of Echo 3 and why it turns out to be an interesting watch.

Another triumphant aspect of the production is the camerawork. Boal uses both the handheld and wide dollys as the need arises. The team’s work with the former is really effective and adds depth to the storytelling. It places you within that place with the characters experiencing things first-hand. The framing and blocking are such that there are instances you sit and wait in anticipation for something to transpire and when it does, there is a kinetic flow of emotions.

Keeping in mind all those positives, Echo 3 still lacks the standard intensity we have come to expect from Boal. Perhaps because the standard is already so high, our expectations for the final product skyrocket. Comparing two different works from the same creator is a dangerous precedent but an important precursor to fully appreciating them. Although the plot moves at a taut pace, there are a lot of distractions along the way. They obstruct the flow of watching the series and it becomes tedious to follow the plot.

Some of these creative choices are why Echo 3 is not quite the complete package but an action-packed adventure that will please military action enthusiasts nonetheless.

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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