Welcome back to the second part of our five part series of Iron Fist season 2 recaps and reviews!
Last time, we looked at episodes 1 & 2, a pair of episodes of that were a bit weighed down by excessive table setting, but showed a marked improvement from season 1. It’s hard to tell exactly how one of these Marvel Netflix seasons will be in the beginning, so the question here is does the next pair of episodes continue the momentum established?
EPISODE 3: “This Deadly Secret”
Now this is what I’m talking about!
“This Deadly Secret” is packed to the gills with tension from its opening minutes. Danny looks in the mirror as the sounds of previous fights echo in his ears. It’s clear there’s been a bit of a time jump. Colleen and him have a conversation about Danny overworking himself and Jones’ performance is excellent here. You can really feel the weight of his attempts to defend the city as he decides to leave the apartment.
Colleen does the same, going to the residence of Frank Choi to try and find some more clues about the box bearing her family crest. There, she finds a mysterious notebook. This storyline feels a bit extraneous for this episode, but before we can dwell on it too long, we’re back in Narcotics Anonymous with Ward.
In yet another standout performance by Tom Pelphrey, Ward freaks out about his sister knowing that he’s in NA, accusing everyone of telling Joy. He storms out, going to an unexpected source for comfort, Danny, who he informs that Joy and Davos are in league. Mutually frustrated, the two plan to have a dinner with Joy and Davos to air all their grievances.
This is an ingenious way to bring the majority of the main conflicts together, but before we can get there Danny runs into Mary at his doorstep, taking back an envelope she had seemingly just left there. Danny questions her as to what she was doing and she begs him not to open the envelope. When he does, he’s disturbed by what he sees: a series of photographs of himself and Colleen that Mary claims somebody named “Walker” took. Then, Mary seemingly vanishes.
Trust me, we’ll return to her later.
Back to the dinner party: as it gets started, it’s initially civil. Joy does not yet know Ward is coming, so that issue is sidestepped, while Danny and Davos bond over making meatballs. However, their manners break down quickly and the dinner ends prematurely, with neither Davos or Joy privy to making amends. Ward doesn’t even show up.
The dinner scene is a huge bummer, in a good way. The divide between these characters is strengthened in a way that’s enticing, if only because we know it’s going to come to an explosive finish. Speaking of explosive, Mrs. Yang shows up at Danny & Colleen’s doorstep. She tells them that Mr. Yang is apparently going back to Hong Kong and that she needs them to accompany her to a meeting with the Golden Tigers.
The Tigers, however, have arranged an ambush at the meeting. After a pretty well done fight sequence, it seems the situation is diffused. However, this episode has one more trick up its sleeve. Joy and Davos talk about how they never received the photographs they bought from Walker (sound familiar?) and go to visit this mysterious person: revealing it to be none other than Mary with an alternate personality.
Alright, I must confess, I’m really starting to love this season. There’s an almost Game of Thrones level intrigue to the conflicts between these characters. Even though there’s not a lot in the way of action in terms of fights, it feels like anything could happen with these characters at this point.
I do get the sense that Mary and Colleen’s mystery box could end becoming a lot more important down the line. In terms of the former, that seems like a good move. A wild card character could always be interesting, maybe even a common threat for the heroes to unite against?
I’m not sure, though, how I feel about Colleen’s storyline. It’s all a bit disconnected from the rest of the season; moreover, Jessica Jones season 2 showed what could happen when you focus a bit too much on lineage in your sophomore season.
All that aside, “This Deadly Secret” is the best episode of Iron Fist season 2 yet, which is a sentence I hope to repeat with each new episode.
EPISODE 4: “Target: Iron Fist”
Talk about a mixed bag. “Target: Iron Fist” has both some of my favorite and least favorite scenes of the season so far, taking several leaps forward and equally big leaps back.
The episode starts with a flash forward that shows Danny beaten down as a hooded figure approaches him. There’s considerable grit here, carrying over the tension from the previous episode. Despite the opening, we’re then treated a series of rather dull scenes in a row: Danny mopes to Colleen about his inability to make the deal with the Golden Tigers go better, Danny and Colleen go to meet with Mrs. Yang, where he then mopes again.
At least some intriguing information is gleamed in their meeting, as Mrs. Yang reveals that Mr. Yang has actually had a stroke, which is fairly surprising considering he seemed like a goner two episodes ago. Danny goes to talk to Mr. Yang in the other room, where he mutters “Hancock 212”.
Just as things are starting to get interesting for Danny, Luke Cage standout Misty Knight shows up. Although that may sound like a positive, it’s not really. Simon Missick brings her headstrong charm to the table, but her role doesn’t give her much to do beyond tell Danny to stand down. It’s a disappointing usage for a fan favorite character.
Thankfully, the back half of the episode improves significantly. In a truly frightening scene, Alice Eve really gets to be scary when she reveals the full extent of Mary/Walker’s dissociative identity disorder, while Davos goes to the docks.
Davos, once again, shows himself to be a complete badass, taking down a series of Golden Tiger members while trying to get to “Hancock Shipment 212”. This is actually one of two great fights we’re treated to this episode. It’s fast, smooth, fun, and everything this series needs in its action department.
Even better is the reveal of what’s in the box: the body of a prior Iron Fist. Davos steals its outfit, cuts the chest (including the tattoo) off the body, and runs, leaving Danny to get there just as Davos leaves. Defeated, Danny goes to catch the subway, where he’s accosted by none other than Mary herself in her “Walker” persona.
What follows is my personal favorite moment of this season so far. Walker brutally beats down Danny as he attempts to hold on too his consciousness, as Alice Eve brings a raw, almost supernatural physicality to her fight scenes. Danny’s knocked out, reawakening in the middle of a ritual Davos is holding to make himself the new Iron Fist.
DUN DUN DUN!
I’m incredibly torn on this episode. Half of it feels not quite like table setting, but more like wheels spinning in place. I’m invested in all of these characters, they don’t need to spend these long dialogue scenes reaffirming things we already know. Heck, I didn’t even bring up the Meachums’ scenes because they were so inessential to the plot, and they’re my favorite characters!
The lack of movement in Colleen Wing’s story this episode is a bit worrisome. Yes, I know I complained about that aspect in the last recap, but now it feels even more extraneous. Instead, this episode chose to use her storyline to cash in on fan love for Misty Knight. If you’re going to tease Daughters of the Dragon, just make a Daughters of the Dragon spin-off.
On the other hand, whenever this episode is good, it’s positively electric. The villains are top tier in an already top tier television franchise for villains and the action and performances are out of this world.
As Davos makes his transformation into what I can only assume is the Steel Serpent, Iron Fist season 2 remains an overall enjoyable experience that could very well change if we get missteps like those made in the first half of “Target: Iron Fist”.