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November 23, 2022 / AppleTV+

Starring: Jessica Ann Collins, Luke Evans, Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Anweis

Created By: Mark Boal

“Echo 3” is an action-packed thriller set in South America that follows Amber Chesborough, a brilliant young scientist who is the emotional heart of a small American family. When Amber goes missing along the Colombia-Venezuela border, her brother, Bambi, and her husband, Prince – two men with deep military experience and complicated pasts – struggle to find her in a layered personal drama, set against the explosive backdrop of a secret war.

Written By Darren

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Echo 3 starts off with a bang, delivering an intense binge worthy thriller that is certain to hook audiences, but unfortunately loses its spark during the middle portion of the season.

AppleTV+ is a streamer synonymous with talent and excellence, which makes it no surprise that Mark Boal, the writer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, has his newest show on their platform. Boal has created some of the most thrilling modern war dramas in recent memory and having won two Oscars while doing so, is enough to sell me on his latest television series starring Michiel Huisman and Luke Evans. The series tells the story of Prince, a husband, and Bambi, a brother, trying to rescue Amber, the most important woman in their lives, who has been kidnapped in Columbia while working there as a scientist. However, the men quickly discover that Amber has been keeping secrets, and these secrets begin to tear the three apart as Prince and Bambi race to save Amber as they find themselves in the middle of a secret war.

Split into multiple parts, the first five episodes of the season sees the first two parts of the story. The first part is a heart bounding and exciting thriller, full of political intrigue and international conflict, which is Boal’s bread and butter. Tensions run high in this part of the series, delivering heart pounding action sequences that will have you holding your breath to see if Prince and Bambi will be successful in saving Amber. And this part culminates in a truly outstanding action sequence that is without question the best part of the first five episodes, which sets up the rest of the series’s story.

However, in the second part, the story changes gear and spends time focusing on the individual character and their personal struggles, with one episode focusing on Prince and Bambi and the other on Amber. It’s a drastic change in pace that halts the overall story of the show to a grinding stop. The intent of this part is a necessary piece of the story to develop the characters, but being combined with no events that move the plot forward make these two episodes a struggle to get through. There is potential going forward in the season, as there is still a goal that needs to be accomplished for Prince and Bambi, as well as the personal fallout that the situation has had on all three of our main characters. I just hope that the writing will find the right balance of character drama and action thriller that was present in the first three episodes in the second half of the season.

Leading the show is Huisman and Evans, and they are perfect casting choices for their characters. Both of these actors are incredibly charming men, but these roles require both of them to tap into a darker side of their personna. Evans stars as Amber’s macho brother Bambi, who is a bit more of a bull in a china shop, creating a volatile yet caring character over the five episodes. It’s a character that you can’t help but sympathize with, as there is nothing he would not do for his sister, and Evans never for a second loses sight of his character’s heart.

Huisman stars as Prince, Amber’s husband, who comes from a wealthy and entitled background. He has spent his life trying to break free of his privileged past, but he cannot fully shake the entitlement and arrogance that he was raised with. While he has a charming look and a disarming smile, Huisman does a good job of capturing this darkness to Prince and brings it out as the drama of the story unfolds. These two different personalities create some great conflict between Huisman and Evans, allowing these two forces on screen to clash and raise the stakes of the show at every turn.

In the other main role is Jessica Ann Collins as Amber, and she does a wonderful job developing her character’s story and carrying the half of the show that does not focus on Evans and Huisman’s characters. She finds the vulnerability of Amber’s situation, while giving her a fighting willpower to not only survive, but to escape her captors.

If I were to rate the two parts of this series so far, Part 1 would be a solid 4/5 while the second part is a 2.5/5, which puts my overall score between a 3 and a 3.5. Given the excellent start to the show and the stellar writing of Boal, I can recommend Echo 3 without hesitation, but I just hope that the second half of the season is as strong as the first three episodes. Thanks to a thrilling premise with nail biting sequences throughout and the strong trio of lead performances from Michiel Huisman, Luke Evans and Jessica Ann Collins, Echo 3 is off to a great start and sets up the back half of the season of AppleTV+’s newest series with the potential to deliver an exciting conclusion to Mark Boal’s story.

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