MARVEL’S IRON FIST: SEASON ONE RECAP
It’s been two weeks since the newest series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s Iron Fist came to Netflix. This is the fourth original series following Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage that will cumulate with The Defenders later this year. How does it fair to the others? Let’s examine. Warning, spoilers ahead…
Like its predecessors, Iron Fist was a 13-episode tour de force. It tells the story of Danny Rand (Finn Jones) a billionaire, martial arts expert who was thought to be dead for the past 15 years after he and his parents were in a plane crash over the Himalayan mountains. Danny was rescued and raised by Buddhist Monks in the mystical city of K’un L’un. K’un L’un is a realm that resides on a different Earth. Danny becomes the Iron Fist and sworn protector of K’un L’un against the evil organization known as The Hand. The Hand had previously been introduced in Daredevil. His return home to reclaim his identity is under understandably met with great opposition. Mainly, from those who were closet to him. Complicating things further is Danny’s duty as the Iron Fist. His quest reminds me of DC’s Oliver Queen/Green Arrow.
From the start Danny’s return was problematic at best. His childhood friends Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) run Rand Enterprises and are skeptical, if not hostile towards him. Ward goes as far as to try and have Danny killed while Joy questions his mental state. Danny ends up seeking help from a young martial arts instructor, Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) who had showed him kindness earlier after he had escaped a hospital. Danny also reaches out to a family friend, Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) to help prove his identity. Danny gets some unlikely help from Harold Meachum (David Wenham), Joy and Ward’s father who himself was thought to have died 13 years ago from cancer. Ward knew his father was alive and has helped him. Harold made a deal with The Hand to bring him back to life and in return, he is indebted to them as The Hand uses Rand Enterprises to further their illegal heroin activities. It doesn’t take long for Harold to learn of Danny’s special abilities as the Iron Fist and the cliche of the enemy of my enemy is my friend comes to play. Harold sees a way out of his relationship with The Hand and partners with Danny to rid The Hand for good. But Harold can’t be trusted as Danny will later find out.
Learning of the drugs that was being sourced through Rand Enterprises, Danny and Colleen look to put a stop to it. Things start to spiral out of control for Danny after learning that the chemist making the heroin tells him that The Hand has his daughter and this is why he is doing this. Besides enlisting Colleen, he also enlists help from Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), a former nurse to save the chemist’s life. Claire, is the Nick Fury of the Marvel series for Netflix as she has appeared on all the series. Danny decides to fight The Hand and bring back the man’s daughter. During the fight, Danny comes face to face with the leader, Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho). Danny does indeed win his challenge and saves the man’s daughter. Meanwhile, Ward finally snaps and kills his father Harold by stabbing him to death. As we learned earlier, death isn’t as final as it should be as Harold returns to life as he awakes from his watery grave.
To put an end to the stranglehold The Hand holds on their city, Danny, Colleen and Claire fly to China to kidnap Gao. upon their return to New York, Colleen had been infected with a lethal poison. Fearing that death was near, Colleen calls upon her sensei, Bakuto (Ramón Rodriguez), to save her. Bakuto arrives and instead of saving her directly, he instructs Danny to use the power of the Iron Fist to heal Colleen, which he does and Colleen is saved.
Here is where things go on an unexpected turn. Danny, Colleen, Bakuto with Gao in tow go to Colleen’s home that turns out to be a base of operations for The Hand! What? All this time Colleen was a member of The Hand? Feeling betrayed, Danny escapes the compound with help from his friend Davos (Sacha Dhawan), son of the leader of K’un L’un. Davos had followed Danny to New York initially because he was upset that Danny had abandoned K’un L’un and left it unprotected. Then there is the issue of Danny becoming the Iron Fist which Davos thought would be his birthright.
Going back to Harold, every time he comes back to life, he loses what’s left of his humanity. If he had any to begin with. Harold sends Ward to mental hospital and reveals himself finally to his daughter Joy. He wants Joy to help him defeat The Hand. So many twists and turns to this point in the storyline and things only get more convoluted when Bakuto betrays everyone by trying to kill Colleen and shooting Joy as part of another power struggle involving The Hand. Still with me? Colleen teams up with Danny and Davos and together they defeat Bakuto.
Thinking that he is no longer under the control of The Hand, Harold comes out of hiding and tries to frame Danny for the heroin operation that was occurring at Rand thus putting a target on their back with the DEA. To “help” Danny, Madame Gao revealed to him that it was Harold who had his parents killed. Not as big of a surprise as it could have been. In the end, the final showdown with Harold ended with his death as Danny defeats him along with Ward. Ward in return the evidence needed to prove Danny and Colleen were innocent of any wrong doings and they are let free by the DEA. To make sure Harold never returns, Ward has his father cremated and he and Danny take over Rand Enterprises.
The season draws to a close when Danny and Colleen venture off to K’un L’un so that Danny could learn more about what it means to be the Iron Fist. However after their arrival, they discover that the mystical city has vanished. As for Joy, she is with Davos at a café in France working on a plan take down Danny. Unbeknownst to them, an escaped Madame Gao was shown eavesdropping and looks quite satisfied by what she was hearing.
Unlike its predecessors however there were inconsistent pacing issues with the story and too many periods of “I don’t care about certain characters”. Finn Jones is quite likable. There were plenty of exciting action scenes throughout the season. The biggest standout to me was Jessica Henwick. She was by far the most well-rounded character and if Marvel wanted to do an original series centered on her, I’ll be all for it. There is still so many questions, so many unresolved issues. Iron Fist, as of this writing has been widely panned by critics and many fans alike. While it’s not nearly as bad as some have written, it still has a sense of something missing. I do look forward to seeing the Iron Fist joining the others that makeup The Defenders later this year. Some characters work best in a group setting than on their own. Perhaps, Iron Fist is one of those characters. We’ll have to wait and see.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight