As we reach the halfway point of Iron Fist‘s second season, I’m surprised I’m not more exhausted.
Although the series struggles at times to maintain its seemingly multiplying story lines, there’s plenty of action and intrigue to go around, so I’m fairly If you haven’t read the previous recaps for episodes 1/2 and episodes 4/5, you can find them here and here, respectively. For now, let’s center our chi and punch our way into the next stretch of episodes!
EPISODE 5: “The Heart of the Dragon”
Following the scattered “Target: Iron Fist”, it looks as if this season has found its focus again.
Davos, now instilled with the power of the Iron Fist, puts on the iconic mask from the comics and puts his powers on display. He wastes no time with his newfound powers, busting up a Golden Tiger nightclub. Stopped just short of wrecking too much carnage, a Tiger who Mrs. Yang previously stabbed in the eye tells Davos he can help him end the Triad War.
Since the end of season 1, Davos has had the potential to be one of the better Marvel Netflix villains. He takes that crown confidently in this episodes. Obligatory flashbacks to K’un Lun with his mother portray someone with a good heart that genuinely wants to do good, helped by the fact that Sacha Dhawan refuses to let his character descend into over-the-top villainy.
Davos’s shadow hangs over the entire episode. Danny, now de-powered and left for dead by Mary, is a sad shell of his former self. Thankfully, Misty and Colleen are on the case. This pairing works a lot better than it did in the previous episode because now their conversations actually move the plot along. Misty tells Colleen that she can’t take responsbility for everything Danny does; she needs to forge her own path. This conversation hints at a natural way for the story of Colleen’s mystery box to tie into the plot thematically, while also serving as a decent advertisement for a Daughters of the Dragon spin-off.
That’s not the only disparate plot thread that comes back into the fray. After finding Danny, Colleen and Misty need to get him medical attention immediately. Ward comes to the rescue by employing the help of his girlfriend/sponsor Bethany to patch Danny up. I’ve got to admit, for a second I was expecting another Rosario Dawson appearance!
Ward reveals that he’s looked into Mary, finding out two key pieces of information: she’s in the Rand database and has a background in Special Ops. Misty and Colleen depart to go ask Joy some questions, with Ward staying behind. Him and Danny have an emotional, tender conversation about how much they mean to each other that actually really resonates. It may not have the heart of a dragon, but this show has a heart nonetheless.
There’s not too much time for emotional conversation, however, because Misty and Colleen find Mary (or, more appropriately, Walker), in her apartment. After she puts up a characteristically vigorous fight, they take both Joy and Mary back to the dojo. Joy apologizes for everything she’s done to Danny, saying Davos needs to be stopped.
There’s too much to love in “The Heart of the Dragon”. Iron Fist‘s prioritization of character-focused storytelling over bombastic action might put some off, but here it’s the greatest strength. I’m particularly pleased that they’re leaning hard into Mary being more an anti-hero than a villain. The wild card character is always more fun than the outright villain.
Moreover, that same treatment is being given to most of the characters, putting everyone in an utterly delightful shade of gray that reminds me of, once again, Luke Cage season 2. Like that season, Iron Fist has shown itself to be capable of delivering some outstanding episodes.
EPISODE 6: “The Dragon Dies At Dawn”
You see, set-up doesn’t have to be dull! “The Dragon Dies At Dawn” isn’t quite as eventful as some other episodes this season. What it lacks in forward momentum, it makes for in excellent characterizations.
This recap’s going to be a bit shorter than the others since not as much happens, but there’s still a decent amount to talk about. First up, Joy & Ward. These two finally sit down and have a much needed conversation where they talk about the abuse that Ward endured under the watch of Harold. The conversation is heartbreaking to watch, and the pain in Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey’s expression makes this a dramatic scene on par with an HBO show.
This is especially true whenever the conversation turns to Joy, who accuses Ward of not allowing her to make her own decisions or live her own life. Look, I don’t know why, but the drama with the Meachums has always been compelling to me, so seeing the relationship between these two fall so far is rough. Director Phillip John doesn’t let us linger on this too long, as we’re on to Colleen and Misty’s story.
The two track down the Crane Sisters, the tattoo artists who helped perform the ritual to turn Davos into the new Iron Fist, and after another perfectly choreographed fight, the Crane Sisters agree to perform the ritual again.
It may be too late.
Davos has been all killing gang members throughout the city in his attempt to end the Triad War, but in reality is probably just making more trouble for Chinatown. However, with the help of Walker, Danny tracks Davos down. Not even this lasts, as Davos activates the fist, dispatches them, and escapes. As an ambulance arrives, Walker walks into the rain, turning back into Mary before fleeing.
“The Daughters of the Dragon” may not be super eventful, but it’s one of my personal favorites of the season so far. You get a clear sense of what’s at stake and where each character is coming from, with the universal threat of Davos a good reason for most of the characters to unite.
Even if we don’t get a ton of huge events going forward, if the episodes continue to be this well-made, I don’t necessarily mind. Like the best comic arcs, even what may be considered “filler” can be outstanding.