With the release of ‘Echo’ miniseries, we’ve gotten a better insight into the relationship between Kingpin and Maya Lopez. We know that Kingpin seemingly cared a lot about Maya. He even presented himself as her uncle despite not having biological connections to her. But, despite all of this, we’ve also seen that Kingpin never bothered to learn American Sign Language despite his impressive intellectual abilities. Echo gave us the answer in episode 4, but let’s analyze it in more detail, shall we?
Kingpin is supposed to be a genius, but he never learned ASL
Over the course of the ‘Echo’ show we’ve seen that Kingpin and Maya Lopez go way back since the two met while Maya was still a little girl. Maya first lost her mother in an accident connected to Kingpin, and then, sometime later, she lost her father, his death also ordered by the Kingpin. It’s safe to say that Maya spent 20 or so years in Kingpin company, and despite Wilson acting like a father figure, an uncle to her, he was never able to communicate with her privately as he didn’t know sign language.
When the two were having dinner or hanging out in general, Fisk would have interpreters present at the dinner, and when their job was done, the interpreters would be promptly killed due to the sensitive nature of their conversations.
We’ve also seen in the show that Kingpin gained access to a special technology that allowed him to communicate with Echo without him actually using ASL. Maya got a special contact inserted into her eye that allowed her to simulate virtually what Kingpin was saying, and he got a special earpiece that automatically translated all that Maya was signing in ASL.
This does seem like a drastic length to go, considering that thousands of ordinary people learn ASL every year because they need to or want to. And we also know that Kingpin has an incredible intellect that can hardly be called “ordinary,” so why didn’t he learn ASL?
Echo revealed that Kingin never bothered to learn ASL because he didn’t care
Echo actually revealed to us the primary reason why Kingpin never learned sign language; the truth of the matter is that he didn’t care enough. He did have some kind of obsession with Maya, but he likely considered her a glorified guard dog and was trauma-bonding with her. You can’t really tell someone you care about that person if you are capable of murdering their father and training them into a lethal assassin, which is exactly what Kingpin has done.
Kingpin was likely incapable of truly bonding with people, and since Maya saw him as some kind of heroic personality when she was little, Kingpin liked it; he liked being adored instead of feared, and this is why he developed the whole “we are the same and family” routine.
Kingpin further proved that he didn’t really care about Maya when he was willing to harm her biological family.
Kingpin also likely knows ASL to some extent, just not enough to communicate fluidly
Maya was correct to an extent, but Kingpin also proved that he did know some sign language when he met her grandmother, Chula. Chula had an ASL pendant with the sign love, and Kingpin noticed it and even commented how he learned ASL because of his “nice,” if he didn’t know anything, he likely wouldn’t be able to recognize the exact symbol, he would be aware that it’s ASL but not what it means. He probably either tried learning ASL sometime in the past but gave up for whatever reason, because the technology was more convenient, or he started learning the language rapidly after Maya used his ignorance as an argument that he doesn’t truly care about her.
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