The Meachums try to keep the problem that is Danny Rand away from their company, while he finally finds a way to prove his identity. After two episodes of no one believing him, it is nice to see it finally come together and all thanks to everyone’s favorite Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss). She has some of the best lines in the episode, and with her realizing that Danny is alive, she suddenly becomes a much softer character. Also, it is kind of adorable how she is referred to as J-Money. It is a nice reference to the type of music little Rand loved listening to on his old iPod. It also gave us a small insight into her early beginnings as a lawyer, which was interesting to see where she started her career. The ties she holds with the Rands also gives her more humanity.
Madame Gao makes her appearance and it is quite dramatic. It does reveal the closer ties between the Rand Corporation and Gao’s drug operation, but the best part is seeing the way her voice alone commands presence. It is an interesting choice to keep her in the shadows even though we have seen her on multiple occasions so far, but it highlights her position as a manipulator. It isn’t very subtle, but effective enough to give her a higher presence in the show moving forward. It also feels like an effective way to highlight that the character we believed to be the big bad is just part of something bigger. Making him kneel in broken glass is just such a power move fitting for someone like Gao.
One sequence in this episode is probably quite famous for stirring some more controversy than the show already has. We see Danny and Colleen testing each other’s abilities through which Danny ends up explaining aspects of martial arts that he has learned while living in K’un Lun. The scene is quite effective in highlighting Danny as a character. He never has ill intentions, he just does what he is used to and has spent a lot of time perfecting Kung Fu. It was noted that his fighting style is quite different from Wings’, which is why he tries to show her what he learned, as he thinks that showing his abilities would be enough proof that he could start working there. He is on the run and needs a place to stay, but going by his experiences he feels at home in a dojo. It highlights both characters’ distinct way of fighting while building up to something that will come at a later stage in the show.
It actually highlights his actions later on when he is ridiculed by one of the students only to knock him to the ground. He doesn’t know it any better, as his schooling of martial arts was a much harder school. He is naive outside, but takes the art he was taught very seriously. We get a short flashback of him being trained as a kid while being repeatedly hit on the back to train him. When seeing kids joking around, he has no idea how to handle the situation but the way he knows, through disciplinary actions.
There is a major action sequence that takes place in a records room, as Danny searches for an old X-ray file. I have to say that I am quite amazed how they pull off the Iron Fist effect and would love to find out how exactly they did it with the lighting. Seeing him punch out the henchman’s iron knuckle was also great, but sadly the fight that follows suffers a bit. The tight space could’ve offered a creative way to fight, as they slap each other through boxes, but sadly it suffers from over-editing. It is difficult to orient yourself throughout the fight, and it sadly suffers as a result of it. It also makes you wonder why a goon would decide to torch the entire room with an innocent in it instead of stealing Danny’s file. Luckily, we get a cage match fight featuring Wing that makes up for it, which still suffers from too many cuts at certain times, but allows the scene to breathe and the hits land much harder than with Danny’s previous fight. Colleen also gets quite the Fight Club moment that highlights an inner rage that boils from within.
Joy got quite the focus this time around, as she was proven to be quite cunning herself. Up to this point, we assumed that Ward was the darker of the Meachum siblings, but when she pulls strings so that a business partner will accept a deal by sacrificing the life of a coma patient is dark. So far, we thought she was the more innocent member of the family, but it proves that she can be quite cunning. It was also highlighted in the way she tried to play to Danny’s naive trust in who he believes is his family to make a deal and get him to change his name. She does come to regret that action, which is a bit odd change considering she is fine with letting someone die to make money, but to some degree, it is understandable as it is a company she dedicated her life for. Her feelings towards Danny keep flip-flopping between scenes, as at one point she is glad and another she wants him gone.
It actually helps paint a rough picture of her inner turmoil, as she is conflicted between her real family and the one she believed to have been lost. There is a subtle usage of an item throughout the episode that is always present but ends up playing quite an important role in revealing Danny’s identity and revealing us more about Joy. It was a great gesture by Joy that slightly contradicts her “rough business woman” appeal, but you can see a slight regret in her eyes, which was a great performance by Jessica Stroup. The pacing was slowly building to this moment of Danny finally getting confirmation for who he is, and I actually like this approach. Unlike let’s say, Bruce Wayne, Danny vanished while he was still a kid, so naturally, no one was going to recognize him that easily, especially how much he has changed over the years. It takes its time, but it is a believable problem he would face when heading home and going: “Hi, you thought I was dead, but I am here so can I have my 51% inheritance!”
Last but certainly not least, let us talk about Finn Jones‘ performance in this episode and the character of Rand. There is an interesting thing the creators are trying to approach, as Danny is struggling with his environment. He was able to channel his inner Chi effectively before, but there is so much personal stress he just never experienced in K’un Lun. There is a very strong internal turmoil of the character and Jones really sells it. He is still a bit of a child, and being in this new environment is throwing him off. Learning his entire life to focus his chi and achieve inner peace, but this new environment is really throwing him off that he can’t control his emotions anymore like he uses to. It is a character aspect that can easily be misunderstood as temper tantrums if you aren’t invested in Danny’s story. The first episodes were a bit more obvious with the shaky camera and visual effects, but now they let the characters actions speak for themselves. He makes mistakes because he is supposed to, but I can understand if someone would say he is just being a child. There is a fine line in his performance that can be viewed from both standpoints.
3.5 homemade bowls out of 5. Actually, I will update it to 4 homemade bowls, as from all the episodes so far, this one has the most cliffhanger of cliffhangers. Even if it is out of nowhere, I quite love how sudden it is and it kept me interested in what would happen in the following episode. In general, it’s still a slow burn but we got much more action this time around. What hurts it was that one scene that sadly was just cut in a way that it fell flat, but Wings fight makes up for it a bit. In general, we finally end the “Danny Rand is Alive?!” story arc and finally move into the larger story with Gao’s first appearance. Jones‘ performance is great in this episode, as we slowly his world views collide even more, especially with the difference between his behavior in the real world and in the dojo. The best part of the episode though was Hogarth’s return, as she gets some hilarious lines and just seeing her more humane side added so much to the character. Here’s hoping we get much more of her moving forward, and I am quite intrigued which direction it will continue.
Danny seems to have been inspired by Spider-Man in how he avoids villains. Looking up must be their true enemy!
I adore how Danny grins as he looks around his old home with such a big smile on his face, I wonder how nostalgic it must feel to return there.
I wonder what kind of scholarship I could’ve gotten if I stuck to Taekwondo back in the day!
One of my favorite transitions in this show is the one from the white curtains that Danny tries to sleep on as it then turns into the snowy mountain near K’un Lun.
Colleen calling herself “The Daughter of the Dragon” at the cage fight was a great touch.
Speaking of cage fight, as the guy who wants to fight her comes out, there is a guy in the front who just makes the funniest face while the contender walks past him.
Is Gao the Crane Mother? It is really difficult to figure out, as she hinted at her origin being from K’un Lun, but knowing the Hand is the big bad in the show, could she have defected to them after being banished?
Part of me wants to add a cartoonish sound effect when Danny gets pushed off the window.