Iron Fist recap: 'Lead Horse Back to Stable'
PREVIOUSLY: Iron Fist episode 10 recap
Let’s be honest: Iron Fist isn’t the most well thought out series. The show seemed like it was trying to offer some kind of critique of capitalism, but that has all gone by the wayside. So I was surprised to see the show really acknowledge something that’s been present since the first episode: Danny’s anger issues. Throughout the premiere, we saw Danny lose his cool several times — when he was being escorted out of the building, when he confronted Ward — and more so in later episodes. Danny finally confronts those issues head on in the eleventh episode, which is too long for what it is: a stalling episode.
My co-recapper Christian has pointed how weird it isn’t that we still haven’t seen K’un-Lun. Well, this episode kind of grants his wish because it opens with a flashback to Davos finding Danny unconscious in the mountains of K’un-Lun right after he defeated Shao-Lao the Undying, the dragon, and gained the Iron Fist. Davos tells Danny that he’s now the defender of K’un-Lun and his role will be to guard the pass. While it’s nice to finally see some part of K’un-Lun, it’s clear that show’s budget was severely limited because we only ever the pass in the episode. Furthermore, the flashbacks, for the most part, aren’t that revelatory because they just repeat what we knew and hammer home things we could’ve picked up from other scenes in the episode.
The other failure of the flashbacks is that they don’t do anything to flesh out K’un-Lun. We’re 11 episodes in and I’m still not sure exactly why it’s worth defending; that’s the other thing that prevents Davos’ problems with Danny from really landing. All we know about K’un-Lun so far is that Danny was beaten, it has some dope plum wine and chariot races, and there’s a dragon living in the cage.
The opening flashback also sets up the episode’s concern with fleshing out Danny and Davos’ friendship. In the present, Davos is pretty pissed with Danny about leaving K’un-Lun. As the Iron Fist, it’s his duty stand guard at the pass, but instead, Danny ran off from his post right after becoming the Iron Fist, like a thief. However, Davos’ anger runs deeper than that, as we find out later on when he’s talking to Claire after she heals him. He tells Claire that he believed the Iron Fist was his birthright but accepted the monks’ decision to have Danny go after it. Danny leaving K’un-Lun has reawakened those feelings of resentment. It’s a fairly interesting dynamic, but I wish the show had shown us more of Danny and Davos’ friendship via flashbacks to make this work in the episode. There are definitely hints of a close bond, like Davos volunteering to be Danny’s second while guarding the pass, but that’s not enough.
Colleen makes it back to the city and tracks Danny to Claire’s apartment. Luckily for her, Claire, despite her better judgement, has been defending Colleen to Danny because she thinks she’s still a good person. Unfortunately, Danny, who is busy practicing The OA movements to regain his chi, isn’t the in the mood for reconciliation. Danny says the Hand is evil. Colleen says he’s been brainwashed and that the Hand does some good, too. Both of them go back and forth, failing to acknowledge that actually, both of them have been indoctrinated and should probably take a step back to consider thing for themselves.
NEXT: The end of a bromance
Even though her attempt at reconciliation fails, Colleen tries to use the Hand’s resources to help Danny by getting his antibiotics from a hospital where one of the Hand’s recruits works. That fails, though, because the recruit, Becca, snitches on Colleen and the Hand shows up and captures her for failing to tell Bakuto where Danny Rand was.
Danny’s barely able to contain his anger, so Claire confronts him about it before he and Davos run off into danger. “You can do a lot more than destroy,” she tells him, worried that he might resort to murder. But those words fall on deaf ears for now. Danny and Davos go meet with Harold about taking down the Hand, and it seems as though Danny is very much on board with killing Bakuto, much to Joy’s horror. Their plan is for Joy to draw Bakuto out by shutting off the Hand’s access to Rand’s accounts.
So Danny and Davos stake out the compound, waiting for Bakuto to leave after the money is cut off. While they sit there, the two bros have a heart-to-heart about why Danny decided to leave. For the umpteenth time, Davos explains why he was pissed at Danny, who admits that he’s starting to realize that the fire inside of him is getting harder and harder to control. That’s something both of them have in common. Davos begs Danny to come home because there’s nothing left for him in this world (except for this summer’s The Defenders), but their conversation gets sidetracked because Danny sees Colleen starting to escape…
Wait, we need to back up: While Danny and Davos are having their chit chat, Bakuto is busy scolding Colleen for failing the Hand. He orders two of her former pupils to kill her, but not before harvesting her organs or something. It’s not entirely clear what they’re planning on doing with her before killing her. Thankfully, Colleen manages to overpower them and make her escape.
Danny runs after Colleen, who feels stupid for following the Hand so blindly and thinks Danny wants to fight her. But she’s wrong. I’m not sure when this happened, but Danny seems to be over his anger and simply hugs her in the rain. And like a scene out of a rom-com, Davos hangs back and watches the lovers’ reunion, looking heartbroken as he realizes that Danny actually has a reason to stay behind. Again, this show has no grasp over tone, so I don’t think it realizes how silly this scene is.
At this point in the season, we should feel some kind of drive toward the end since we’re about to enter the penultimate episode, but there’s no sense of rising tension here. For the most part, it feels like Iron Fist has struggled to follow basic storytelling because the writing has been so flat. The only reason I find myself anticipating the finale is because I know it’s coming; the story hasn’t done much for me to be excited about seeing the end. The one silver lining is that Joy might get more to do in the upcoming episodes because it’s clear that she’s very uncomfortable with how crazy her father’s been acting.