Iron Fist 1.03: “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch”
Iron Fist‘s third episode is off to a good start with a scene of Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) fending off intruders. The only issue is there’s a few too many quick cuts, making it harder to appreciate her skills. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) hiding on the ceiling while Colleen convinces the Rand Industries minions that she hasn’t seen him was a fun moment, however. Her resignation to helping him remains both humorous and relatable, reminiscent of Claire back in the early days of Daredevil.
Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) goes to visit his father Harold (David Wenham) once again, who looks like a vampire while sleeping. Their discussion about business deals isn’t easy to follow, but the gist is that Harold is abusive towards his son yet insists that he’s doing everything for him. I wouldn’t believe him either, Ward.
Speaking of unbelievable occurrences, Danny offers to teach Colleen how to master internal force while fighting and proceeds to best her in a practice battle. She remains unimpressed, but her quick barbs seem to just make him even more desperate to stay with her. It’s only been a few hours into the series, but it feels like Iron Fist is selling a strong connection between these two. Or at least Danny wants there to be one, and she seems to find him just charming – or helpless – enough to accommodate.
Joy (Jessica Stroup) is saddled with a pier deal, since her life is devoted to helping her brother achieve whatever it is he wants, but her day gets more interesting when she finds Danny on her front door step with oranges and flowers. Their shared bond as well as their shared pain is a much more compelling story than the mechanics of a business Danny doesn’t even want. Considering how terrible Harold is to Ward, it’s saying something that I think his treatment of Joy is worse. Who lets their child believe them dead, and for what purpose? If it’s to turn her into a shrewd businessman who puts contracts above friendships, then it worked, as Joy once again turns on a dime and tries to convince Danny to give up his name and shares for $100 million. Not only that, but she uses organ donation to secure her brother’s deal – and still her family won’t treat her as an equal. What’s a girl gotta do to be respected in Iron Fist?
At a loss for what to do next, Danny goes to visit Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) for help. She was an intern in his father’s law firm, and Danny’s impeccable memory makes her believe his identity. “I can help you get your business back, but I cannot help you make friends,” she declares – cementing that her personality has undergone absolutely no change since Jessica Jones. Jeri is not the only familiar face, though, and soon enough Harold receives a less-than-welcome visit from the great Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho). She is the embodiment of speak softly and carry a big stick, and it’s nice to see that she strikes fear into the heart of a man as self-assured as the head Meachum. Both women bring the much-needed connection to the rest of the Defenders early on while also instilling a more specific sense of place than Iron Fist previously had.
Danny oversteps his bounds this episode, trying to teach a lesson to Colleen’s students and taking it too far. While I’m not entirely sure where he went after Colleen rightfully kicked him out, at least his dreams included a visual flashback to K’un-Lun. More training sequences and a deeper understanding of how exactly Danny became the Iron Fist would not hurt this show one bit. In the present, though, getting in over his head seems to be his most salient quality. That being said, the battle for Rand Industries finally gets serious now that the Meachums have invented an enemy out of Danny. Perhaps it will bear fruit in the next episode.
Colleen is also in over her head, needing to participate in cage fights to raise her money. The best part of this is hearing her call herself a “Daughter of the Dragon,” but watching her take down a brawny brawler is also rather rewarding. She remains the most rootworthy character in Iron Fist, and worthy of her own Netflix series.
The final part of “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch” includes Danny stepping up to the plate, though, holding firm to the significance of his name and producing proof of his identity. While my personal interest lies with Joy and her muddled motivations, Danny chooses to follow Ward and thus uncovers part of a larger mystery. The audience learns that Harold is trapped by The Hand and has faked his death to protect his children, while Ward pushes Danny off before he can break in.
But how far will Danny’s tumble take him? Find out with our review of Iron Fist 1.04: “Eight Diagram Dragon Palm”