Iron Fist Review: 1.01 “Snow Gives Way”
Iron Fist opens with a barefoot Danny Rand walking the streets of Manhattan, listening to Outkast’s So Fresh, So Clean on a classic, white iPod. The song, which debuted in 2002, was likely the last song Danny downloaded before he left New York City 15 years ago. He arrives at Rand Enterprises, presumably his company — only not his company — as he got escorted off the property pretty quickly. Danny then dodges his security by using some slight-of-hand martial arts and makes his way to the top floor. There, Danny sees Joy and Ward Meachum. He claims to be Danny Rand, but the Meachums retort with something Danny was not expecting to hear: You can’t be Danny Rand, Danny died in a plane crash 15 years ago. Whoa. Talk about a dead man walking. When Danny asks about their father, Harold Meachum, they reply that he is also dead. Double whoa. Is everyone Danny knows dead?
This first sequence of events tells us a lot about Danny: First, he has been missing for almost two decades. Second, Danny has no idea what’s going on the real world. His parents are dead, his father’s business partner is dead, and no one has used an iPod since 2010 — sorry bro. This scene also sets up Danny’s journey for the first part of the season: proving that he is who he says he is.
Throughout the episode, Danny returns to his childhood home, where Joy Meachum has since moved. Danny meets Colleen Wing, who through her own kindness, offers him a pair of shoes before turning him away from her dojo. We also learn that Harold Meachum, the man who was believed to be dead, is actually alive. The only person on the planet who knows this fact is his son Ward (and his very young assistant.) This sets up another season-long mystery: why is Harold pretending to be dead? Why is he living in seclusion? Will Danny’s sudden arrival interfere with Harold’s long-term plan for Rand Enterprises?
The final moments of the episode show Danny being committed to a mental hospital for being crazy and pretending to be the boy who went missing all those years ago. That is something I was not expecting to see — the Iron Fist, in a mental institution? And what is with his homeless friend’s bird tattoo? This episode set up a lot of plot lines and questions. Will Danny get to prove that he really is Danny Rand? Will the Meachums give him back his shares of the company? Why doesn’t Joy know about her father still being alive? What is the bird that Danny keeps seeing overhead?
This episode did a really good job of just giving us a taste of Danny’s world and showing us that he will have much more to overcome than just The Hand — first, he’ll have to get through the Meachums. I also enjoyed seeing a glimpse into Danny’s PTSD. He was traumatized by losing his mother and father in that plane crash and even though it’s been many years, he still relives that moment over and over again. That’s part of what makes the Netflix heroes so compelling. They are broken, they are damaged, they deal with fear and trauma just like everyone else. And yet, they never let the pain stop them — they press on to be heroes in spite of that. I am very curious to see what’s next!
Stay tuned for our review of Iron Fist 1.02 — all episodes are now streaming worldwide on Netflix.
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