Marvel’s Iron Fist has come out on Netflix and unlike the previous Marvel Netflix shows, it’s gotten quite a bit of bad reviews. So, instead of binging on them one after the other, I decided to write down a review after watching each episode to see what I thought over the entire season and if the show itself would improve.
So, the question: Is Iron Fist any good? My answer: well...yes. It’s quite good. But it all depends on if you can get past the main setback to the show: Danny Rand himself.
What I mean by that is Danny, as a character, is all over the place. While every other character is solid and we get a great foundation for them, Danny himself is...not so solid. We get a lot of things from him that don’t make sense. Part of that is because Finn Jones just can’t convey the subtle emotions necessary — don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a bad actor. He just doesn’t have enough chops to hold up the entire show, like Charlie Cox or Krysten Ritter or even Mike Colter can. Finn Jones as Danny just is kind of...there. And his line readings are possibly the silliest of the entire MCU — when he tries to sound angry, he just ends up sounding petulant.
But the show itself, after a slow and shaky start, quickly transforms into something genuinely awesome. Everyone around Danny is so good, I can almost forgive Danny himself. And towards the end of the season, another character shows up whose acting is so good that it, in fact, elevates Danny’s character and makes us understand him all the better.
This is where Iron Fist succeeds where the other shows kind of failed. The other shows started strong and then kind of nosedived towards the end of the season. The only one I think avoided this was Jessica Jones, but that had problems of its own.
Iron Fist isn’t as good as those shows, but it gets better. It starts very, very slow, but by the fourth episode, it’s really good and by the sixth episode, it’s awesome. And it neatly avoids the villain problem, too.
So here we go with my episode by episode reviews. Beware, there shall be spoilers.
1x01 “Snow Gives Way”
So, first episode, how was it? Not bad. It’s certainly a slower burn than the other shows, especially shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, which seemed to hit the ground running. This show seems to be aiming for a more meandering pace, slowly setting up mysteries and characters one at a time.
Danny is naive, like I assumed he would be. At times, he is kind of annoyingly naive, as when he just assumes that everyone will believe him when he says that he’s Danny Rand. In fact, he says “I’m Danny Rand” so many times in this episode, it could be a drinking game. However, at other times, his naivety seems a bit better, such as when he befriends a homeless man who assumes that he, too, is homeless (which, let’s face it, he is). The homeless man is pretty much only there to give some character to Danny, which is fine by me, until the homeless man dies and we get another Mystery of the Mysterious Tattoo, which...okay?
Fight scenes were certainly interesting. I enjoyed the first fight with the guards, because Danny is clearly not trying to hurt any of them and I liked the way he pressed the elevator button with his feet. The other fights were just okay. I enjoyed him listening to an old school iPod, which was a nice touch (his flight would have crashed in 2002), but choosing to end the episode on a shot of the iPod playing music was certainly weird. It would have been much better if they kept the last shot of Danny in the hospital, which seems like a much better cliffhanger than a plane crash we already know he survived.
Of the side characters, Colleen Wing is definitely the most interesting so far. The Meachums seem...kind of blah at the moment, although the Mystery of Why Harold Meachum Faked His Death is kind of interesting. Joy Meachum is probably the best of the bunch, though, considering that I totally fell for her “I’ll let you talk, until I poison your drink” act.
Oh and the opening credits are, I think, Danny made of ink. They are okay, but the music is kind of super generic. I wish they chose a better song.
Onto episode two.
1x02 “Shadow Hawk Takes Flight”
So I’m beginning to see the upsides and downsides to Iron Fist. The upsides are all of the supporting characters, from the awesome Colleen Wing taking her students on a class outing where they try to fight her to Ward Meachum being just the most incredibly squirrely person ever to Harold Meachum playing the alongside the knife-edge of maybe evil? Maybe good? I mean, as soon as he hears that Danny is the “sworn enemy of the Hand,” he wants to keep Danny safe, which means that he is against the Hand, right? And his drugged interrogation of Danny was pretty creepy, as well as the mysterious “Where did you go?” message.
The downside to Iron Fist? Well, the Iron Fist himself. Danny. I mean, sure, he should be naive, he hasn’t been back in civilization for fifteen years. But that doesn’t mean he should be stupid. Coyly saying that he trained in “K’un L’un” is fine; telling your psychiatrist who is in charge of telling if you are sane that K’un L’un is in another dimension only accessible every fifteen years and now Danny has the power to focus his chi into his fist to just punch the shit out of everything is just plain dumb.
This episode also brought up another upside/downside: the show is super slow. I mean, that’s not a bad thing — I kind of like the build up to the Meachums finally believing he is Danny and their various responses to it (Ward wants to get rid of him, Joy wants to let him go, and Harold just wants to keep him safe for some reason). But it’s been two episodes and...not much stuff has happened. This kind of slow storytelling is perfectly fine for a weekly show that has twenty-two episodes a season, but for a thirteen episode season that drops all at once...this pace can seem glacial.
In other news, acting wise, Colleen Wing and Harold Meachum are clearly the champs. Thankfully, the show is managing to build up the ensemble because...unfortunately Finn Jones just can’t hold the entire show up by himself. He’s no Charlie Cox or Krysten Ritter or, heck, even Mike Colter. Sure, his naivety and cluelessness makes him stand out from the rest of the Defenders...but they also make him somewhat annoying. Which, I mean, if that was the point, that because of the trauma Danny suffered as a kid, he never really grew up, then, well, good job. I guess.
1x03 “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch”
Now that’s what I’m talking about. The mysteries become deeper, the characterization becomes better, and Danny actually gets to do something proactive for once.
That proactive thing is finding Jeri Hogarth to represent him and she is possibly the saving grace of the show, because Carrie Ann Moss being awesome and lawyer-y makes everything better. I didn’t even mind the scene where they exchanged their offers, because it served a point. In fact, everything in this episode pretty much served a point (unlike previous episodes which were filled with random side characters that were pretty much give Danny someone to talk to — the homeless guy from episode one and the crazy guy from episode two). Jeri is someone that believes Danny is who he says he is and is on his side and is completely practical.
Danny, on the other hand, vacillates between semi-interesting and kind-of-stupid. Sure, this episode contains the infamous “chi-splaining” scene, where Danny fights Colleen and tries to explain how she can fight better, but it’s so very clear Danny is being an ass in this scene (as he also is in the later scene where he hits one of Colleen’s students). He’s still in K’un L’un mode and in K’un L’un, his teachers beat him with sticks, something which is not appropriate.
Speaking of Colleen, I am in very much agreement with her: Danny had to go. And without Danny around, Colleen was free to fight in a no-holds-barred cage match, which was pretty sweet. Although I still don’t know how she got from telling her student that he should never fight for money and then going out and fighting for money (unless she is giving that money to him, but she is still fighting for it).
In any case, this also had one of the better fight scenes, where Danny uses the Iron Fist to break a guy’s brass knuckles (and hand, probably). And then the episode ends with a nice cliffhanger of him almost learning that Harold Meachum was alive, but then falling from a building. If the next episode doesn’t begin with him using his chi to cushion his fall, I will be very disappointed.
Oh, right, Harold Meachum. Turns out that he faked his death and is trapped in one nice looking apartment because of Madame Gao. She makes him kneel in broken glass, which isn’t very nice. I kind of love Madame Gao.
1x04 “Eight Diagram Dragon Palm”
Well well well. This show is appears to be on a pretty good learning curve. It’s gotten past the whole “nothing happens” portion and well into the whole “more mysteries, more characterization, and more fights” portion.
Specifically, this episode has the Patented Netflix Marvel Hallway Fight and while it isn’t as good as Daredevil Season One, it is pretty good. Notably, it something we haven’t seen before: Danny versus a hallway full of hatchet men. The fight itself was pretty inventive, especially when it entered into the small enclosed elevator and I really like how Danny summoned the Iron Fist just so the hatchet would shattered against his hand (although did Joy see that? Does she know about his power now?). I also like how this wasn’t the Hand that was doing it, but rather the Triad — although it does unfortunately introduce a new Yellow Peril-type villain, I did like how they immediately backed off when they heard about the Hand. And the ending — where it’s revealed that Harold Meachum himself is a member of the Hand and kills the man who hit Joy — was a nice twist, especially after we just saw his happiness at finally getting to see his daughter after so long.
Joy and Colleen finally meet and I think that scene went well, although it did fail to Bechdel Test as soon as they started talking about Danny. After all, though, Colleen continues to be an interesting character — and it’s become clear that she isn’t fighting for money, but rather for some adrenaline rush, making her characterization much more interesting.
As for the corporate stuff, it didn’t bug me like it seems to have bothered the critics. It was five minutes of the episode and it served a point — although the point is served might have been the opposite of what the show wanted us to think. The show wants us to think that Danny was right, but, correct me if I’m wrong, the profits of the drug would have been used to fuel further drug research, right? So if you make a drug for $5 and sell it for $5, then there’s no profit for that research! I’m not saying they should have marked it up as high as $50, but even if they sell it for $10, that’s cheap enough to buy and a fifty percent markup for profits for the next drug. So, man, Danny was wrong. (Although I did love how Ward slyly manipulated the reporter. It shows how he’s a much better manipulator than we thought.)
In other news, the last scene wasn’t as powerful as the show thinks, because the pale hairless chest of Danny was kind of weak. Also, we already know Gao is behind this, did we really need a cliffhanger involving the Steel Serpent symbol? (Also, is Gao part of the Hand now? Because I thought she and Nobu worked for different parties.)
In any case, the show gets better, even if Danny himself is still kind of the weak link.
1x05 “Under Leaf Pluck Lotus”
Yay! Claire’s here! I love Claire. Especially since when Danny showed up to have an unexpected dinner with Colleen, Claire saw how uncomfortable Colleen was and just invited herself there to stay. Which, let’s face it, was pretty awesome.
In other news: I can see why some critics didn’t like the corporate stuff, again, but it’s still not taking up that much space for me and it’s giving us a lot more depth to both Joy (who is a ruthless businesswoman and still sympathetic) and Ward (who is still slimy, but we know has daddy issues). Also, I love Ward just flipping off his entire office as his dad spies on him.
This is also the episode where the main plot comes into focus (yes, I know, finally): the Hand is using the Mystery Pier to ship drugs into and out of the city. Danny and Colleen go there to find evidence, Danny gets locked into one of the trucks, cool fight scene ensues, but chemist is stabbed and they need Night Nurse Claire to help! Which, yay! More Claire is always better. And I like how she hears “the Hand” and just is like “I give up! What the fuck!”
Which means, of course, that this show is now intrinsically tied into Daredevil Season 2. Hell, in fact, I think this show kind of wants to be Daredevil, it’s using the same street-level approach, Danny is only using his big mystical power sparingly (once an episode now), and they’ve even taken Daredevil’s enemies. Hell, Harold Meachum is like a Diet Kingpin even, though there are enough differences that it isn’t that bad.
I’m glad Madame Gao is the big bad, but, again, forgive me if I’m wrong, she wasn’t originally part of the Hand, was she? In Daredevil S1, it was Nobu who was the Hand’s representative and Gao represented “interests in China” or something, right? And she didn’t really appear in Daredevil S2 except for one scene where she actually helped Matt. So did she just decide to switch sides? Or was she always a member of the Hand and nobody knew? (The dangers of multiple showrunners in the same universe, I guess.)
Danny can still come off as kind of stupid and even sometimes creepy. His reveal that he bought Colleen’s building and now her landlord could have been something super creepy, but thankfully wasn’t. I mean, it wasn’t “cute” either, like I think the show wanted it to be. Danny, again, comes off as someone who just simply never grew up and is now a big kid who knows he has to do a bunch of stuff, but doesn’t know how. Which, if that’s what they were going for, again, nice job. But that also means that the romance they are teasing is a bad idea. Don’t do it, show.
1x06 “Immortal Emerges From Cave”
Now this is what Iron Fist should have been from the beginning: an awesome, awesome show involving inventive fights, interesting Eastern philosophy, and loads of comic book mythology.
It’s weird that they introduced a voice in Danny’s head — which I took to be Lei-Kung the Thunderer — only in the sixth episode, but it really worked and helped us understand Danny and his training better. Pushing everything else aside, killing the “old” Danny and becoming the Iron Fist, these were all things he had to do...and then he came back to New York for some unknown reason, so what would drive him to become the Iron Fist and then leave K’un L’un? That’s the question.
And those fights were super awesome. RZA — who coincidentally directed a movie called The Man With the Iron Fists — managed to make some pretty inventive fights, moreso because each fight was different. I recognized the Bride of Nine Spiders immediately — although here, she wasn’t the Immortal Weapon that she was in the comics, but rather an assassin that used spider venom, which I guess Danny can just shrug off? But also, apparently his third fight was against an Iron Fist villain called Scythe, which is pretty cool. (Also, Scythe singing “Take On Me”? Best part of the episode.)
Also, can I just reiterate that I love Madame Gao? I mean, she’s totally the Crane Mother, right? She came from K’un L’un and we know that Danny was rescued by monks from the Order of the Crane Mother. And she can’t be human — she managed to toss Danny around without even touching him. When she said that she knew Danny’s father, a theory occurred to me: perhaps Gao/the Hand originally offered their deal to Wendell Rand and when he said no, they sabotaged his plane to crash, which would lead to the irony that they, ultimately, are responsible for Danny becoming the Iron Fist. Which would definitely make an interesting twist on Danny’s normal backstory. (It seems like “the Hand infesting Rand” comes directly from Brubaker and Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist, although the show is mixing it with Danny’s origin with the Meachums.)
As for the other plotlines, Ward continues his descent into drug addiction (which I guess was foreshadowed with the pills he kept on taking, but the actor just played slimy so well that I overlooked that aspect) and Claire and Colleen continue to kick ass and take names. Especially Colleen, who has probably the most brutal fight of the episode.
More of this please! MORE OF THIS!
1x07 “Felling Tree With Roots”
So the pre-credits scene not only included another cool fight scene, but also Harold Meachum cutting off his own pinkie. Damn, Harold is awesome. Which just makes the end of this episode all the sadder.
But for now, this episode continues the upward trend of Iron Fist. It’s not as good as the last episode, but still pretty damn good — Madame Gao just casually walking into Danny’s office and talking about feng shui was pretty damn awesome and then her casually tempting Danny into just...not fighting the Hand. And then the fact that she has a secret office on the 13th floor — which was nicely foreshadowed earlier this season by having all of the heroin reps walking into the Rand building as Danny was leaving it. Nice.
Not so nice was the Danny and Colleen sex scene. I mean, it was fine, but it wasn’t really necessary. Hell, this was the first time they had even kissed and then they had sex and...honestly, was romance really needed for this show? Can’t we just have an awesome kickass kung fu show without the need to force two characters together? It wasn’t as obnoxious as I thought, though, and I did like that Danny explicitly asked permission. (Also Colleen gets a mysterious visitor who apparently knows about the Iron Fist? IS SHE SECRETLY THE HAND? Because that would be a twist.)
Meanwhile, Karen Page is namedropped, Danny decides to shutter the plant that may be causing cancer, and the board kicks him and the Meachums off. Except...doesn’t Danny hold 51% stock in the company? Doesn’t that mean they can’t kick him off? Whatever. I don’t care, because after that DANNY AND COLLEEN GET THE HATCHET MEN AND INVADE GAO’S HEROIN WAREHOUSE YEAH. I wish we got to see more of that and that the hatchet men would have used actual, you know, hatchets instead of guns, but what we got was pretty good.
And then the whole thing ended with Ward killing his father. Stupid, stupid Ward. I mean, I understand why and they pretty much heavily foreshadowed that he was slowly losing his grip and rebelling against his father was the one thing he really wanted to do, so I can’t blame the show for going there. But dammit, Harold Meachum was just so good. He was a bad guy who wasn’t that bad and he has just great lines. Even at the end, when Ward tells him the last happy day he had was when his father died, Harold goes, “Well, that’s just mean.” And you had to kill him. DAMMIT, WARD.
Next episode: we get an episode directed by Kevin Tancharoen. I hope he can achieve at least a great a fight scene as the Agents of SHIELD episode where May fought Agent 33 posing as May. Because that was awesome.
1x08 “The Blessing of Many Fractures”
Well, this was a weird one. I mean, Kevin Tancharoen did manage to include one of the very, very best and most unique fight scenes of the entire show, but other than that...it was weird.
Okay, first: Danny decides he has to go to China. Specifically, the city Anzhou where his family was going before the plane crash, because there is a Hand plant there that he thinks his father was going to shut down and then the Hand caused their plane crash because of it. Okay, fine. Sure.
And then he says he’s going to capture and/or kill Madame Gao. But see...a few episodes ago, he couldn’t even touch Madame Gao. She tossed him aside without even touching him. So...how? “I’m the Iron Fist” is basically Danny’s answer to everything. Hell, Claire asks a lot of honestly good questions like “What is your plan?” and he gets pissy because he can’t think up one and so his answer is “I’ll think of it on the plane.”
And then on the plane, he’s all “I have complete control over my emotions” and then ten seconds later has a panic attack. I mean, I think that was the point that he doesn’t have control over his emotions, but when it’s so apparent all throughout the show that he doesn’t have control, him saying “I have control over my emotions” just becomes this hilarious thing.
And then they arrive in China and China looks just like a random warehouse in New York. Okay then. But then then Danny has the SINGLE BEST FIGHT EVER with Zhou Cheng (Lewis Tan), the protector of the Hand who has to pretty much stay drunk all the time because otherwise his “dragon” will get loose and bad things will happen.
Yes, it’s the Iron Fist versus the Drunken Master and IT IS GLORIOUS. Cheng has a bottle of alcohol in his hand half the time and he’s so loose and fluid, it’s great. The fight itself is hilarious, especially with Cheng spouting off all throughout about how they really aren’t that different. Seriously, why didn’t they hire Lewis Tan to play Danny? HE IS SO GOOD AS ZHOU CHENG. And Danny in this episode was...really blah. Despite the fact that Iron Fist has become much, much better, the show’s biggest hurdle is still Danny himself. Finn Jones is a fine actor, he just can’t hold up the show — and he’s no good playing this naivety bordering on stupidity. Lewis Tan’s One Scene Wonder just shows how much better he would have been as Danny.
And then Danny beats him up and then they face off against Gao and Claire randomly grabs some iron gloves or something (which is kind of silly — like she goes “I didn’t bring my own weapon like them, so I’ll just...grab this weapon you guys have lying around”)? And then Danny realizes that Gao did kill his parents and manages to capture her...because she didn’t fight back. Why didn’t she fight back? I have no idea. She can easily toss him, but she didn’t. Whatever.
In subplot news, Joy tells Ward that she has a plan to get back on the board and it involved hiring a PI (implied to be Jessica Jones). Meanwhile, Ward is going all Lady Macbeth after killing Harold (YOU DESERVE IT FOR TAKING AWAY SUCH A COOL VILLAIN, WARD) and tries to tell Joy about their father having still been alive (well, not anymore), but gets a Shining blood elevator vision and leaves. Honestly, this was interesting before, but now I kind of want to see them do different things. Joy hasn’t had much to do at all aside from be “generic businesswoman” and almost get kidnapped by the Triads in one episode, while Ward has slowly descended from “slimy creep” to “slimy patricidal creep who hallucinates blood.” Which is still more interesting than Danny’s “AAAAH I CAN’T CONTROL MY EMOTIONS” plotline.
So, like I said: weird episode. Lewis Tan was great though!
1x09 “The Mistress of All Agonies”
HAROLD IS BACK! YAY! As is Kyle, his assistant! I mean, it’s not so good for him at the end, but still: YAY!
In fact, this entire episode was pretty good, despite the fact that I’m really, really tired of the whole “We captured the villain, but they are actually manipulating us” trope. They did it in The Avengers and Skyfall and, hell, they did in both seasons of Legends of Tomorrow.
However, we did manage to get some answers, if Gao wasn’t lying (which she might have been). I did like that they went to all the trouble of getting truth serum...and Gao just, like, pretends to go along and then says, “I spent most of the 17th century getting tortured, so FYI this is nothing.” Claire’s response of “Bullshit” was a little silly — I mean, if you’ve already accepted the secret group of ninjas that can bring people back from the dead and a guy who can focus his Chi to punch things really hard, then is a woman who lives for thousands of years really that unbelievable?
Claire was good in this episode, though, although I didn’t like Gao saying that she wanted to be special, hoping the others “specialness” would rub off on her. And hey, she also helped Jessica Jones! Although I guess nobody but Jessica knows that.
And I guess we now know who Colleen Wing actually serves, because Bakuto and that group at the end? They were totally the Chaste, right? That’s why they know about the Iron Fist and why Gao didn’t want them let in, because the Chaste is the enemy of the Hand. (Which begs the question...why doesn’t the Iron Fist work for the Chaste, anyway? I mean, I guess it’s because he’s supposed to guard K’un L’un all the time and so Danny is the first to leave his position, but...seems kind of weird.)
Also, Harold meets Joy finally and I just love Joy’s facial expression as Harold hugs her. He is super creepy and her face is just going “WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK.”
Again: a pretty enjoyable episode overall. But not for poor Kyle, who only wanted some vanilla ice cream. RIP Kyle.
(Also, that assassin that made ninja stars out of tin foil? That can’t be Bullseye, right? Because that would be silly. Could it?)
1x10 “Black Tiger Steals Heart”
Well. I guess I was right the first time: Colleen works (or, rather, worked) for the Hand. Also, Davos is right: Danny is the worst Iron Fist ever.
Man, this episode was good. I always enjoy those “The players in the game aren’t who you think they are” episodes, the ones that present a twist to the normal “Who is good and who is bad?” And, to be clear, the only person who ever said that Madame Gao was a part of the Hand was Harold Meachum...who clearly has his own agenda. So to learn that she actually wasn’t a part of the Hand (or, rather, she was the head of a splinter group) makes complete sense, especially with what we know about her from Daredevil (and how she was completely willing to give Daredevil information about the Hand’s dealings).
Hell, when Danny learns this and confronts Colleen, that is some of Finn Jones’ best acting. His feelings of betrayal are palpable. Of course, then he goes and messes it up by finding the Hand’s surveillance network and throwing a tantrum — seriously, Danny? “I can control my emotions...except RAAAAAGE.” But that did lead to Davos, who is FRICKIN’ AWESOME. I’m checking his IMDB page, because the actor (Sacha Dhawan) is awesome — ooh, he was Waris Hussein from An Adventure in Space and Time. I probably know him from NBC’s Outsourced though. His banter and his back-to-back badass moment with Danny are the highlights of this episode. I don’t care that Davos becomes Danny’s enemy in the future — KEEP HIM ON THE SHOW. He brings out so much in Finn Jones’ performance that he ultimately makes this a better show. Especially that last scene.
In subplots: Harold tells Joy (almost) everything, but instead of Gao, he’s now under the thumb of Bakota. He also kills that guy who ousted the Meachums and arranges for it to look like a suicide. I love how David Wenham has tinged his witty banter with just the right amount of creepiness.
In fact, the only part of the episode that I didn’t like was Colleen letting Danny go — I mean, I understand why, it’s just the cliche of “Hero turns the girl who works for villain into a good guy through the power of love” that bugs me. She grew up with the Hand — would falling for Danny really make her change her mind? Especially when she did have some good points — the Hand is a cult, but K’un L’un doesn’t sound much better.
Other than that, this episode also featured the biggest fight, with Danny and Davos versus dozens and dozens of fighters. It was really quite awesome. And I like that they are showing Bakota as a completely different “bad guy” than how Gao was.
1x11 “Lead Horse Back to Stable”
Oh yeah. Claire’s back, baby. Claire + Davos + pizza = win. Also, I swear that Sacha Dhawan is so good an actor, he’s even bringing up Finn Jones’ acting. That last scene when they are talking together in the car, that was seriously one of the best acted scenes in the show.
Which brings up an interesting point: in a lot of respects, in this episode Davos acts more like a jealous boyfriend than he does a betrayed friend. I mean, sure, he calls Danny his “brother,” but he appears jealous that Danny left not just K’un L’un, but also him especially. And then the last scene where he sees Danny and Colleen hugging, he just looks like he feels super betrayed — sure, in context, it’s probably because he knows Colleen is the one that’s keeping Danny in New York (despite Danny leaving for New York before even knowing Colleen), but it really comes across as if Danny and Davos were in a relationship and then Danny left and now Davos is jealous of his new girlfriend. I’m not just seeing too much into this, am I?
In any case, Davos is awesome and Claire is awesome and Colleen finally realizes that the Hand is not awesome when she betrays Bakuto and is then taken one of those basements that the Hand uses for taking away people’s blood and I guess using it to resurrect other people? Her fight with her former students was pretty awesome, although the show did such a stupid thing by cutting away at the very end — c’mon show us the whole goddamn fight. We don’t want half a fight and then at the climax to cut away.
Meanwhile, Harold continues being super creepy and it looks like Joy is finally realizing that he is super creepy. But they shut down the Hand’s bank accounts, so the Hand should be coming after Harold pretty soon.
1x12 “Bar the Big Boss”
“This isn’t about leaving K’un L’un. This is because I left you.” OH COME ON. This episode was just ALL ABOUT how Danny and Davos loved each other and then Danny left and now has a new girlfriend and Davos is angry at him! Hell, at the end of the episode, Danny says that the stuff with Davos got “ugly” and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen with Colleen. HOW IS THIS NOT INTENTIONAL?
Okay, let’s start at the beginning: Ward is having hallucinations of his father which are genuinely terrifying. Like, give all the awards to David Wenham because he can so easily go from petty to hilarious to GODDAMN HORRIFYING. Ward is let out from his hospital by Bakuto so he can lead them to Harold (although wouldn’t Bakuto already know where he was?) and then make a trap for Danny. Danny, of course, runs straight towards the trap because Bakuto shoots Joy and threatens to behead Harold (the only way to genuinely kill him). Danny goes, gives himself up, and then we get an awesome hallway fight outside the elevator where we get a cool split-screen between Davos fighting his Hand ninja and Colleen fighting her Hand ninja. And when they get rid of their opponents, Bakuto runs outside into the rain and, of course, we finally get a BATTLE IN THE RAIN! YES!
Even better? It’s a battle not with Danny, but between Bakuto and Colleen. And, thankfully, Davos holds Danny back so he can’t interfere, because so help me if Danny saved Colleen from Bakuto, I would have been pissed. But no, it’s Colleen herself who has the awesome sword fight in the rain and uses her broken katana to stab Bakuto. And then, of course, can’t kill him, because blah blah heroes don’t kill blah blah. And while Danny and Colleen are saying how they are going to arrest him, Davos just fucking stabs him in the heart. Because, you know, Davos is awesome.
Which then leads to the big Danny versus Davos fight, which is pretty evenly matched until the end, but which is laden with SUPER SUBTEXT. I mean, like, really.
And then the episode ends with Danny and Colleen back at the dojo, doing exercises to Danny’s hip hop music. Which is when Ward warns him that Harold has sent men to kill them. Which turns out to be the DEA, which I suppose means that Harold has framed them for all the heroin stuff that Gao was doing.
Which brings us to a super interesting thing I’m noticing with Iron Fist. It has perhaps the opposite problem of all the other Netflix shows: it starts out weak and slow and then gets stronger and stronger. But also the villains: the first villain is Harold, but then that quickly becomes Madame Gao and when she’s incapacitated, it becomes Bakuto. But now that Bakuto is dead, the main villain of the show returns to be Harold Meachum. The show essentially went ended up in a place where their first villain is also their last villain. Which neatly sidesteps the other shows’ problems.
Hell, this show managed to even troll people expecting something like Luke Cage, where the main villain was killed by a family member and replaced by someone else in the middle of the season. In Iron Fist, Harold was killed by Ward in the middle of the season...and then a few episodes later, he comes back to life. Even though the show was super slow in the beginning, it has essentially sidestepped the Marvel Netflix Second Half Slump.
Which is pretty damn good. Hell, even Finn Jones was good in this episode. Mainly his interaction with Davos (and man, am I sad that Davos won’t be in the last episode), but still.
Now onto the finale!
1x13 “Dragon Plays With Fire”
Well, that was a slight letdown from the previous episode’s awesomeness. It turns out that the climax of the episode was another cliche: a shootout fight on a smoky rooftop where the bad guy just comes right out and confesses.
Other than that, however, the rest of this episode was pretty good. I love how Jeri Hogarth, when told Harold Meachum actually did come back from the dead, says, “There are several things you are never to say to me. That is one of them.” Both Jeri and Claire elevated this episode so much with what they said — I mean, Danny says he needs to kill Harold and then Colleen says that no, she has to kill Harold to saving Danny from killing Harold, Claire just raises her hands, like, “I give up! Is the universe punishing me for some reason? Did I upset a witch? WHY DOES EVERYONE I MEET WANT TO KILL SOMEONE AND THEY ALWAYS TELL ME?”
I also love how Claire basically lays out the fact that Danny is SO FUCKED UP because of the plane crash and his survivor’s guilt, that he really needs therapy. I mean, like, she basically says that all of the heroes she meets need therapy, which I think means we should definitely get a Defenders episode where they have a big group therapy session. It would be awesome.
The ending of the episode was a definite highlight, too, as we see Ward making a smart decision for once and cremating his father’s remains, which is a nice way to make sure someone who always comes back from the dead, you know, doesn’t. And we get to see Davos again! Who is apparently working for Gao! Yay! (I mean, I know Davos becomes the Steel Serpent and Gao was using the Steel Serpent symbol on her heroin packets, but somehow I didn’t get the connection that they would work together until right then.) The only part I didn’t buy was Davos convincing Joy that Danny needed to die — heck, it was Harold framing Danny that convinced Joy that Harold was evil. Joy believes that Danny is good and I don’t think Davos would have been able to convince her otherwise.
And then there’s the ending: Danny tries to return to K’un L’un with Colleen, but finds a bunch of dead Hand soldiers and no K’un L’un to be found. Which...I mean, okay, sort of interesting, I guess. A nice cliffhanger type ending, which may or may not be resolved with Iron Fist Season 2. If there is one.
I do think there is one very true scene in this episode, though, and that’s the scene where Jeri Hogarth tells Danny that because he proved he was framed and then made a “generous donation” to the DEA Widows and Pension Fund, he is cleared of all charges, even assault (which he did do). I mean, while Luke Cage rots in prison for something he definitely didn’t do, Danny is a free man because, of course, he is a white billionaire.
Man, I can’t wait to see how the Danny and Luke friendship pans out. I hope it’s good.
So. I guess the real mystery was...where did Assistant Kyle’s body go?