That cliffhanger didn’t need long to get solved, but it was still interesting to see Danny in such a situation. It also played into a rather quick reveal, as Harold reveals himself to be alive. There is a cute moment where he looks over to Ward asking if he also sees him, a nice callback to when he believed to be dreaming. The dynamic between Danny and Harold is actually heart-breaking, as seeing him twist from confusion to joy is quite a sight. The only person that remains from his past life, someone who has not really changed, is finally in front of him. It was a nice moment even if the audience knows that you cannot truly trust this particular member of the Meachums. At least we get a deeper look into what exactly happened and why he was still alive. Him hinting at his death is a rather interesting, as it could be a connection between Nobu’s resurrection and Meachums. The fact that he sees the punching bag and tells him he’ll teach him Kung Fu was an adorable addition. Hopefully he will take Ward’s advice to heart.
We also receive a deeper look into the importance of the Iron Fist, and his relationship with the Hand organisation. The fact that K’un Lun instilled this believe that the Hand is a quasi Boogeyman. His purpose to defeat the Hand is probably used as build up for his role in The Defenders. The ability of the glowing fist might be tied to defeating whoever Sigourney Weaver is playing in the upcoming mini-series. This opens up the question if the faction that Stick belongs to also has some ties to K’un Lun, as in the comics the Caste were the direct opposition to the hand. Maybe they have some ties to the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven? Seeing him discuss about becoming the Iron Fist is also a nice touch, as it is obvious that Danny is quite aimless, something the show tries to reflect, but could lead to some thinking the show lacks any structure. I appreciate the show attempting this direction, but it makes it more of a bridge season into The Defenders rather than its very own season like the ones that came before. It suffers similar issues that Iron Man 2 did in that way.
Danny’s press conference was funny, as we see him shortly smile and wave at Hogarth only for her to blow him off. The speech was effective, but I did question the fact that he so openly mentioned that he was raised by monks, but luckily he didn’t just naively gave away that it was a mystical city in the middle of nowhere. Have to say that music in this scene pushed the importance of what was said, but it was a bit over-dramatic and did not really add much tension to the scene. One thing I have to note, is the surprisingly clever reaction Danny gave when asked why he was in a psychiatric ward. Showing his kindness after everything the Meachums did to him was a bit adorable, and highlights that he is very forgiven yet slightly misguided. Some other moments highlight this aspect as when he grins thinking he did a good deed after getting involved with one of the business meetings at Rand Corporation. It was also great to see how his training has left an impact on him, in a short moment with Joy that gives us brief flashbacks into his mind through the audio playing. Only issue I have is the fact that Ward kind of babbles everything out to a reporter, which at first seems rather out of place for his character, but given that he only sees the bad side of the world, he probably did not expect that reaction.
Many critics pointed out the strong focus on corporate drama this show takes, and as someone with a business background myself have to praise the show in this regard. The boardroom scene, while having a nice little tribute to the chair scene in Men in Black, highlights two very strong business ideals. We have Danny representing the political aspect that Bernie Sanders pushes, as in that businesses should sell at cost to allow everyone access to the antibiotics. Naturally, the Trump business aspects push through in the believe that a $5 produced pill should be sold at around $50. His naive nature is pushed forward as saving lifes is much more important than making a profit, but reality is much harsher. The company can only produce the product if it can make enough money to fund further research, production and marketing for the product. Danny’s mindset isn’t flawed but highlights his disconnect with the real world. It also offers a surprising neutral view into corporate, as normally everyone in the room would’ve just been a money-hungry business person. They did highlight their annoyance with the decision, but they gave reasoning why this was the direction they took. It may not be a hyper-stylised approach on the topic like other shows tend to do, but it was a great way to highlight the characters different outlook.
Wing’s storyline is quite interesting, as she does not have a direct influence on teh story so far, but we get to learn more about her. The money troubles she faces with her dojo are starting to leave a mark with her, and the episodes are slowly highlighting that there is a lot of inner rage she is holding. First, seeing her take it out on the training dummy, and then taking on two guys in a cage fight. This fight scene was much better than in the last episode, as the camera did in fact show us more, but it still suffers from over editing. it resembles Daredevil’s fighting style more than what one would expect from Kung Fu action, as it is rather raw rather than stylistic. This could be one letdown as up to this point we are very much use to a specific way of handling these kinds of action sequences.
Let’s get to the meat of the story, the traditional Defenders hallway fight sequence. The music used in this scene was great, as I am starting to adore the techno-Asian combination in the audio department. It adds its very own flair and I wished they used it a bit more. It sadly does not quite pop like Daft Punk’s soundtrack did in Tron: Legacy. Actually quite like the way this scene was shot, as it moves from the hallway into a elevator fight taht has a great tribute to Kill Bill with one punch getting an additional shot to highlight the impact. Makes me wish that this was just a general visual style given to the fight scenes to give it a different feel among the other shows. Usage of slow-motion also gives some sequences a nice brevity, as seeing him use the Iron Fist to deflect a hatchet was a nice touch. The editing was much better this time around, as some scenes are given more time to breathe and the action is not constantly cut off by edits. My only complaint would be that it is very brief, but it also does not hold up with Daredevil’s one-shot takes. Still, it is a great addition and there is a nice twist that the attackers weren’t in fact the Hand, as one would’ve guessed. It is a small twist, but it does keep people wondering when exactly the Hand would truly make its move.
That was surprisingly answered quite quickly, as Gao now confirms her involvement with the group. Going by past shows, it seems she is in control of the drug ring, but how she ties into the organisation is still up in the air. The fact that they enter the place in ninja gear would be a hint that this is a splinter group of Nobu’s, but she didn’t seem directly involved with them. We see the ninja gear and the handprint from a few episodes ago, which would imply the connection is real. Somewhere I have a feeling that there is a bit more to her story than she will let on. Her sending a small present to Danny was also a nice touch, as if you look closely it features the hatches from the triad, but the message and drugs are from Hand. Gao is certainly making her point as the show moves on.
The episode gets a 4 out of 5 dragon symbols, as it features the best action scene so far in the show, and the individual pieces are slowly moving. I have to commend the show for approaching the corporate aspect with much more taste than other shows do, and there is an interesting theme between Danny’s and Ward’s views that tie quite closely to recent politics. I am still a bit unsure how exactly the Hand operates and what role Gao exactly plays, but the reveal at the end of the episode was well done to keep people interested in how exactly everything is connected. The underused soundtrack also gets a nice moment to shine with some more unique shots being added in the hallway fight. Still, it made me wish that the show had a bit more of a unique flair to add to their fight sequences with these special cuts, but it is nice to see some references to the genre.
Ward’s reaction towards Danny’s tie was perfect, the tie is just absurdly thin.
Once again, Jeri gets the best lines and reactions. I’d be happy if she played a bigger role throughout the entire show.
I spy with my little eye Orrgo under Danny’s desk! no idea if the stickers were tying into the Monsers Unleashed storyline in Marvel Comics, but it was great nonetheless.
“I pretty much had to raise the dead!” was quite on the nose, but the grin he shared was once again fitting to highlight his base personality.
In a way we got Colleen’s costume from the comics, which is great to see, but also continues the Defenders fascination with hoodies in the various series.
Colleen head butting a guy’s fist is just hardcore!
That noise the finger makes when he puts it back in place went down to my spine!
Hand returns with their ninja gear, was surprised they had one in Meachum’s size. That sword was also very different from what they have used before, maybe Gao is posing as the hand?
I never realised it, but this is the first time we actually see his symbol in the show. Tying it together with the drug, is a great way for the audience to go: “Wait, what?!” if they haven’t seen any trailers, or read the comics.