It’s the final episode of Iron Fist. Danny Rand has finally realized something we knew all along: who the real villain of his story is. Danny was blinded by his hatred of the Hand and missed what was right in front of him. The real person he should’ve been worried about wasn’t Madame Gao, but Harold Meachum, the man Danny desperately saw as his replacement father figure. Throughout the series Danny allowed his judgement to be clouded by his past. His idea of who he should be loyal to was based solely on those he had history with (the Meachums, Jeri Hogarth) and those who showed him any kindness (Claire, Colleen). Harold capitalized on Danny’s nativity and, like the master manipulator he is, used it to his advantage. So like most origin stories, with the finale comes the time for the hero to face their demons.
You Can’t Handle the Truth
For viewers, and especially for comic readers, the big reveal that Harold is the one who sabotaged Danny’s plane isn’t that big at all. We know Harold is evil; we’ve seen his interactions with Ward and his plotting and ruthlessness. This is a man who can carry on a conversation while hitting a dead body with a hammer- of course he poisoned the pilots! It also logically makes the most sense because he would have the most to gain with the Rand’s deaths.
However, this is a lot to take in for Danny. Colleen lied to him about who she was and her true intentions. And now Harold also is not who he said he was. He had provided Danny with a connection to his past and to his father. He was one of the few people Danny thought he could trust. But when the truth comes out, Danny’s desire for vengeance takes over. He wants more than just the tablet with the evidence that he had no part in the Hand’s dealings inside Rand Enterprises- he wants to kill Harold.
Danny isn’t the only one who wants to see Harold dead. First in that line is Ward. Harold cost Ward his relationship with Joy. Ward’s drug use and lies were to cope from his father’s emotional and physical abuse and to protect his sister. But, like Danny, Joy can only see the fact that the two people she loved the most lied to her face. She pushes Ward away despite his repeated attempts to warn her to Harold’s dangerous nature. It isn’t until Joy confronts her father herself that she realizes the truth: Harold made it look like Danny was the one behind the Hand’s heroin dealing and money laundering at Rand Enterprises.
It seems this betrayal may take Joy down a darker path in seasons to come. At the end of the episode she is seen plotting with Davos. And of course, the ever-present Madame Gao is nearby. Will Joy follow her father and take up with the Hand? Does she really blame Danny for all her problems? Or does she have some bigger plan in mind? Only time will tell.
The relationship between Joy and Ward was a stand out part of the first season of Iron Fist. It will be interesting to see the Meacham siblings at odds for season two especially if Joy blames Ward for their father’s (third) death.
Best Laid Plans
Danny, Colleen, and a reluctant Claire make a (very bad) plan to get the tablet back/get to Harold. Except Harold overhears Ward making plans with Danny on the phone and hits him in the head with a golf club (shouldn’t that have killed him??) which puts a damper on things. The group decides to continue the plan even though Harold A. knows about it and B. is really mad. A lot of fighting ensues as Danny and Colleen punch their way through the minor bosses to get to Harold.
The climax of the battle takes place on the roof of Rand Enterprises as these things tend to do. Harold and Danny are both blinded by their hatred. They each see the other as the cause of their misery. Harold villain monologues and taunts Danny about his inability (and unwillingness) to use his powers. In a moment of clarity Danny is taken back to his fight with Shou-Lao the Undying. He realizes Harold and his anger are just another obstacle in his way. With that realization he is able to push his feelings aside. And despite Danny’s plans to send Harold to prison, Ward is finally able to end the torment of his father once and for all with a few bullets and a well placed roof ledge. (But will some bullets, a fall, and the burning of his body stop the Haroldator?)
Despite the big showdown, the final moments of the episode are anti-climatic. Fans hoping for a Defenders teaser were sadly let down. Instead we get Danny’s sudden desire to go back to K’un Lun. And since we know the crossover is the next place we will see Danny this doesn’t make sense. The limited Defenders series doesn’t have time to break Luke Cage out of jail AND get Danny back from an alternate dimension. So when K’un Lun appears to have mysteriously vanished, it is just another moment that is not a total surprise. (And also hopefully something Danny won’t have to worry about until Iron Fist season 2.)
So we still don’t know why or how our ragtag group of heroes will be brought together. It will be interesting to see Danny’s mindset going into The Defenders and how his experiences will have changed him by that time. Danny is a character who is best when he is playing off others around him like Claire or Hogarth. The Defenders will be a good chance to show off Danny’s fun and naive side opposite the other more damaged, experienced heroes. It may also help give the character second chance for fans who weren’t so pleased the first time around. (Plus we have some ideas about what we would like to see in Iron Fist season 2.)
Final Thoughts & Easter Eggs
- Thembi Wallace, who was last seen in Luke Cage, appears on TV in the beginning of the episode
- Stan Lee also makes his cameo appearance on a NYPD poster
- Claire finally admits to Danny that he’s not her only “friend with special powers”
- “I didn’t realize there was going to be so much emotional honesty.” Hogarth’s discomfort at Ward and Danny sharing their feelings during Harold’s cremation has to be one of the best parts of the entire series