It seems that Gao has stepped up her game ever since Daredevil took down her last production facility. Having created a new drug that works in a similar manner to a nicotine patch, we get a deeper look into how Rand Corporation has been infiltrated. It was a nice touch to see the ladies from the opening suddenly make an appearance later on as they pass Danny when he was leaving the building. It was not too subtle, but it was a great way to build on some of the aspects he discussed with Harold in the last episode. It was a nice continuation on the storyline that was introduced back in Daredevil, but it was continued in a manner that people new to the series aren’t forced to play catch-up with previous shows.
The corporate corruption aspect also pushes its way into this episode, as we see Joy as a rather ruthless business woman. Declining a woman’s plea to close down their production facility due to 15 cases of cancer, was extremely harsh and further enforces her rather harsh views on business. Given their father it isn’t too surprising that both Ward and Joy care about the well-being of their company more than what they believe to be an unimportant issue to some degree. Her showing regret shortly after does highlight her softer side, and the discussion between her and her brother in the elevator was quite touching. Even siblings that drift apart, they are still there for each other. The viewpoints from the previous episode are also pushed further in this episode, especially when Ward scoffs off Danny, who believes that drugs are being sold through the company. His interactions with the employees make that distinction even harsher, but highlight the stark difference in their world views. The fact that it is given a strong PR twist with how he is being guilt ridden into the issue and then photographed, adds an interesting touch to the corporate story. Corporate is sadly not the most compelling story lines to tell, but there is a harsh reality this show wants to push forward among its more fantastical elements.
She finally makes her grand return, as Claire Temple makes an appearance that highlights she did in fact join Colleen’s dojo to get in shape. Guessing the many crazy people she gets stuck with are leaving an impact on her wanting to be able to take care of herself. Her reaction when she sees Danny is quite adorable, and how fast she picks up on what is going on between Colleen and it fits her character. She was also a great character to start questioning Danny on aspects of his former life, which also lead to an interesting name drop. That grin she has on her face is quite great, as both discuss if it is a date or not. While I don’t think the romance is a necessary plot line, it seems like it is building up towards something larger, as Colleen is given a lot of attention on her inner turmoil. He also trusts her a lot in her ability, so seeing him wanting to cooperate with her is a nice twist from other Netflix series, as Cage, Jessica and Matt try their hardest to do things on their own.
The soundtrack makes a nice return as Danny and Colleen have a small bout once again, as she shows off her sword skills. Seeing them try to showoff their various skills is a nice touch, as it gives off a more playful banter between the two. A highlight of the series is the way these two characters play off of each other, and it is great to see the two friends behind-the-scenes getting the chance to work with each other more. This then leads into both investigating the docks, which seems to be the Hands go-to smuggle place. It was good seeing these two play off of each other more, as up to this point we only got short moments. This episode also highlighted Danny’s obsession with uncovering the truth of what is happening behind his companies back, and it tries to highlight his flaws as a person at times. He is childishly obsessed with things, and is torn between his duty as Iron Fist and company.
Our fight scene this time around is actually quite creative, as Danny is forced to fight in a moving truck. We see the shaky environment really making it difficult for both fighters, but it still is a nice way to mix up the environments. Sadly, unlike the hallway fight from the last episode, this one suffers once again from too many cuts. It was also a bit convenient that the Chemist gets accidentally stabbed at one point in the fight to add drama. Made me wish that they went a more Jackie Chan approach with him having to use the environment to keep the man safe, only to fail and accepting he has much to learn. The largest flaw of the character in this show is that they want him to be flawed, but he is only rarely called out on it. They are making the Iron Fist more of a door opener rather than a weapon to attack, but it seems to take a lot out of him, which makes sense that he wouldn’t use it as often. Perhaps he left K’un Lun right after gaining the ability, so he isn’t in full control?
One of my favorite aspects of this episode is the fact that Claire actually knows more about the mortal enemy of the Iron Fist than the guy who holds the title himself. It is also a great way to reference back to the second season of Daredevil, which gives people new to the series an idea why she is where she is currently. It is also great to see the continuity to be kept with people being forced to work through their children being used as leverage. It was a bit on the nose that they need someone with powers, and it was odd that she doesn’t try to call Daredevil, as he has the most experience with this group so far. Still, it is unclear in what position Murdock is after the events of his show, so it could be that he is trapped in a legal battle to get Cage out of prison. At least, that is my head cannon on why he has not showed up so far.
The episode gets 3.5 samurai swords out of 5. It is a bit slower than the last episode, as it focuses more on uncovering what exactly the Hand is up to, but feels more like it is building up to something. The fight scene offered a creative environment, but sadly still suffers from too many cuts to really allow the action to speak for itself. Still, we get probably one of the most memorable scenes featuring Madame Gao, who is finally is forced to leave the shadows. Claire’s return is also highly welcomed as she offers some nice comedy relieve to the series, and we get some nice moments between the Meachum siblings. Overall an enjoyable episode that effectively builds up to the confrontation between the main players.
It was a bit cliché how the ladies used their sex appeal to sell the drugs, but I did laugh when one client was revealed to be a lady. An interesting way to twist the cliché to some degree.
I am starting to like Megan, but Danny calling her an “apprentice” was a cute assumption. Also, Danny, always get Fruit Roll-Ups!
If I were Claire, I’d also abuse the situation to get my hands on that extravagant take-out.
There is an interesting usage of pills as symbolism throughout the series. Danny gets drugged heavily in episode 2, Ward is addicted to pain pills, Rand Corp. is a pill manufacturing company, etc. Iron Fist is Marvel’s own version of Requiem for a Dream.
I don’t know why, but Ward is growing on me and I adore the scene when he starts flipping off the entire room knowing his father is watching.
Davos is mentioned, and it seems he is Danny’s friend and not his father. Makes you wonder if his father has no more connection to K’un Lun like he did in the comics.
Iron Fist, great title and door opener!
Claire isn’t just a nurse, she is a miracle worker at this point.
Seeing the consequences as Gao makes the subordinate pay was beautifully shot and paced. The slow build up towards what she was going to do with the rain in the background was a nice touch. The music also got some time to shine here, which makes me sad it isn’t used more often throughout the show.