Hey there Pulse fans, it’s me, Penny Sautereau. Back as always to recap the latest Marvel Netflix series. This time it’s Dated White Saviour Trope! Er, I mean Iron Fist! Let’s give it a shot and see if this is the big steaming first miss for Marvel and Netflix eberyone seems to think it will be, or if it defies expectations and lives up to the standard set by it’s siblings Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Already off to an uninspiring start. The opening credits look like b roll footage from a discarded Jet Li flick and sound like they stole concept music from the first draft of Stranger Things. So once that ends, we see Danny Rand’s feet, so we’re jumping straight into the scene from the final trailer. Rand, missing and presumed dead for 15 years, is walking through New York to a forgettable and weirdly out of place rap track. He stares at his family’s office building, then goes in and laments that the receptionist he knew doesn’t still work here. He asks to see someone named Harold, and the new receptionist calls security. That goes about as well as you would expect it to in a show about a mysterious martial artist.
Rand takes the elevator, (stealthily manipulating some staff woman’s ID to access an unmarked floor, and talks to the children of Harold, whom he learns is now deceased. They are not receptive to Danny, as they believe him dead. More security arrives and they take Danny out of the office. Ward and Joy, Harold’s kids, discuss why some stranger would pretend to be Danny. Meanwhile, Danny has a flashback to the plane crash that took his parents’ lives and stranded him somewhere in Convenient Martial Ars Educationia.
Danny wanders New York and finds a house with some concrete graffiti of he and his parents, and finds an old key that no longer fits the lock. He uses WHITE GUY PARKOUR!!! to scale the side of the house to an open window, and explores inside the house. He sees photos and furnishings he doesn’t recognize and has a meditation mindmeld with a rottweiler. Once he’s calmed the guard dog, he resumes exploring. Finally seeing a familiar photo, he goes up to the rooftop patio and has another flashback, this time of playing Monopoly with Ward and Joy where we learn Ward was a douchey bully.
Danny is later sitting under a tree in presumably Central Park, (gotta love unintentional symbolism), where he puts earbuds in just as a man calling himself Big Al introduces himself. They have a friendly chat about their Apple devices, (PRODUCT PLACEMENT!!!), and Danny asks the guy to look him up. Then he asks him to look up Harold. Danny isn’t overjoyed to learn the details. Big Al points Danny to a shelter where he could get shoes, and I find myself wondering how he GOT to New York shoeless.
The next day he waits outside the house for Joy, trying to convince her he really is him. She threatens to have him arrested then is in shock after watching him Crouching Tiger over a taxi that was about to hit him. Hurt by her refusal to believe him, he walks away.
After awhile he finds an Asian American woman posting flyers for her martial arts school. She mistakes him for a beggar at first and gives him a $20. He takes interest in her flyer and starts speaking flawless Mandarin to her. At first she tries, surprised, to reply in kind but actually can’t keep up with him and asks him to speak English or Japanese instead because her Mandarin is rusty. He asks her for a job, but she assumes he means as a janitor and blows him off.
Back at Rand Industries, Joy tells Ward about her run-in with Danny, still weirded out by his strange acrobatics. Ward continues to shut down any talk of accepting he might really be Danny a bit too eagarly, suggesting he’s a fake sent by their competition to sabotage their impending expansion into China.
Later that night as Ward goes to get into his car to be driven home, Danny commandeers it to try and talk to him. Ward pulls a gun, and Danny easily disarms him. He is annoyed by how he’s been treated and says all he wants are answers to what happened with his parents plane. He tells Ward about dickish shit Ward did to him, and while the look on Ward’s face says “oh shit it IS you!” Ward denies ever having bullied Danny Rand and calls him crazy. Danny crashes the car in anger and storms away.
Danny and Big Al hang out in the park again as Al brings him a chicken parm sandwich he rescued from a restaurant dumpster. (Seriously, if you’ve never been as poor as me you’d be horrified how much perfectly good food restaurants throw away instead of donating to shelters because they don’t want to spend a few bucks delivering it. I suurvived over two decades on stuff I rescued from KFC and Burger King and Timmy’s dumpsters), Al says this kind of waste is where it all went wrong for mankind, how man went from hunter/gatherers to farmers and builders. He asks Danny what his perpose is and Danny says to protect.
The next day Danny shows up at the martial arts class as a class is finishing up and leaving. The as yet unnamed woman tells her class the studio will be gone soon. He challenges her, again seeking work. He annoys her to try to get her to accept a challenge but she still thinks he’s bullshitting, until she watches Ward’s security guards try to kill him and sees him more than hold his own. As they start shooting he leads them away from her school, and tries to lose them in a Chinese New Year street party. They stalk him through the crowd and Danny grabs a mask to disguise himself so he can catch them unaware. He disarms the guard that looks like WWE’s Rusev, then stalks the big bald black guy, and tumbles into a basement with him. He gets him to admit Ward sent them to kill him, and after spotting the martial arts teacher has followed him, he vanishes into the crowd.
Ward gets a call that his men have failed, and looking almost afraid, places a call to inform someone they have a situation. He leaves the office and goes to a building with unusual architecture to meet that someone. After an elevator trip then a few stairaces, he uses a biometric handprint scanner to enter what looks like a cross between a museum and a dojo. Apparently that someone is Howard, who is in fact not dead. For some reason he faked his death and chides his son about the Danny Rand matter. They discuss what to do about him and what he wants, and if he could actually BE Danny Rand. Howard tells Ward exactly what to do about Danny.
Danny goes looking for Big Al and findds him dead at their tree, apparently of an overdose. He says a Bhuddist prayer over him but gets agitated upon discovering a tattoo of a crow on his arm. Joy arrives at the office to find Danny waiting for her. He tells her about Ward’s attempt to kill him and she agrees to talk. She is obviously reluctant to believe her brother did such a thing. She says she’s more open minded than Ward and wants to resolves why he looks like a dead boy. Danny starts to tell her about the plane crash. Visibly agitated he describes the crash and suddenlt realizes she drugged his tea and he passes out cold. Ward walks in and the pair are the last thing he sees beforehallucinating two shaolin monks, then waking up dazed in a psych ward. The orderlies drug him again and he relives the plane crash yet again.
The same rap track from the opening plays as we see the plane wreckage covered in snow. End of episode.
See you shortly for episode 2.
Tags: iron fist, marvel, Netflix