These viewing notes contain spoilers.
Iron Fist, the fourth and final member of the Defenders, has finally made his debut. As with previous Netflix series, we’ll be reviewing an episode a day highlighting the characters, reference points and easter eggs we spotted. Feel free to read along as you watch too, but please don’t spoil future episodes for anyone in the comments!
There was some interesting stuff in this episode, not least the twist with Colleen which was reasonably interesting (if more or less exactly what I was expecting based on stuff set up in earlier episodes). The appearance of Davos also gave us someone who finally pointed out what many of us have been suspecting: Danny Rand is a terrible Iron Fist.
Interestingly, while I was expecting Davos – who is the Steel Serpent I’ve been talking about since God knows when – to be an adversary of Danny’s, he’s more of an antagonistic ally. I like that take on the character, although I am spending a lot of time wondering if K’un L’un has its own Newcastle. Danny and Davos fighting together was probably the most exciting these fights have been, though ten episodes in I feel like that’s not exactly high praise.
The most exciting part of the episode, though? Bakuto’s footage of a past Iron Fist, kicking the ass of some explorers with both fists ablaze. This is cool because A) as previously established, I love the mythology of this nonsense far more than the characters, and B) it shows us what Danny Rand might actually accomplish if he gets his act together.
We mentioned Bakuto’s introduction a while back – as revealed in this episode, he’s one of the leaders of the Hand. The comics have little connection between Wing and The Hand or the Iron Fist and the Hand, but this was quite a fun way to tie everything together. It’s a shame the execution of these plots is asking for some huge leaps from characters. I don’t believe the chemistry between Colleen and Danny, and that makes it hard to believe that she’d blithely betray people she thought were right – and indeed, were her family – for him.
And the episode ends with the Iron Fist failing to summon for Danny, which again, makes me wonder what’s going on here. Is he afflicted by some poison? Is it a purely psychological problem? How the hell did Danny get his powers in the first place given just how badly he’s dealt with everything since he got back to New York? I’m trying to give this show the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard to tell how much of it is intentional and how much is bad. If they revealed that Danny actually stole the power of the Iron Fist and ran away because he’s unworthy, I’d probably go “oh right, that makes sense” – but I really don’t think that’s where they’re going.
Of the comics stuff in this episode, I guess it’s time for the big one: In the comics, at least, Davos is the Steel Serpent. He debuted in Iron Fist #1 (1975) and is the son of Lei Kung, Danny’s adoptive father/master. Without knowing how much of the mythology they’re going to transplant, Davos failed to defeat the Dragon Shou-Lao before Danny did so successfully, leading him to resent Danny and covet the Iron Fist power for himself.
That past Iron Fist may have been Orson Randall, who was the Iron Fist of the early 1900s, though that’s reaching quite far into the speculation folder. In any case, Orson Randall first appears in Immortal Iron Fist #1 (2007).
Again, that’s about all we get here. I’m quite liking the dynamic between Davos and Danny. Maybe I’m just enjoying someone pointing out all the stuff the audience has been thinking. Either way, I hope he sticks around for a while.