Iron Fist recap: 'Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch'
Danny Rand teams up with Carrie-Anne Moss' Jeri Hogarth to prove his identity
From the moment I saw Carrie-Anne Moss’ name in the opening credits, I knew that I would probably enjoy this episode more than I did the first two. I’m happy to report that I was right, but just barely. Moss, as power lawyer Jeri Hogarth, injects the episode with some energy that’s been missing so far; however, that can only carry things so far.
The arrival of Jeri Hogarth allows the show to tackle the issue of money. Is money the only thing that matters? If not, what could possibly be more important? Can you actually afford to not think about money? These questions are present in almost every plot in tonight’s episode. For Danny and Colleen, this means violating their beliefs and actually giving a damn about money for once, and for Ward and Joy, we find both of them forced to wonder if there’s more to life than just holding onto money. While these are inherently interesting avenues of exploration, they only barely begin to address the show’s blandness problem.
After escaping from the psychiatric hospital, Danny seeks refuge at Colleen’s dojo — without asking her permission, might I add. Colleen is excited about having a potentially crazy person who enjoys mansplaining kung fu to her staying at the dojo, but she has a kind enough heart and agrees to let him crash there if he follows a few rules. Naturally, Danny ignores said rules, because he’s Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist Goddammit!
For some reason, Danny hasn’t learned his lesson about dealing with the Meachums and approaches Joy once more, believing they had a breakthrough with the cheesy-as-hell M&Ms thing from the last episode. But he’s very much mistaken. Joy offers to give $100 million for his shares in the company if he agrees to change his name. “It’s not about the money. I thought you understood that!” says an insulted Danny. She responds, “I have to live in the real world, Danny. This is how it works.”
So, this latest disappointment sets Danny down a path that leads him to Jeri Hogarth’s doorstep. It turns out that The Lawyer Formerly Known As J-Money was a legal intern at Rand before the accident, and now she handles the Rand estate. After Danny proves he is who he says he is, she agrees to help him fight for his company but warns him that he’s actually going to have to care about the money because that’s the only language the Meachums speak. In his pre-air review of the first six episodes, EW’s Jeff Jensen said there were hints that Iron Fist wanted “to be some subversive scold of capitalism or secularism” and you definitely get that sense here, except it comes off as a shallow, like when your friend discovers socialism for the first time in high school.
Speaking of the Meachums, this episode manages to find the most boring way possible to develop them as characters: a real estate deal. Following Harold’s instructions, Ward asks Joy to close a deal with Raj Patel for some pier that Rand is overpaying for. Instead of throwing more money at Patel, Joy decides to get personal and offer him something a bit more important: a liver that’s a perfect match for his ailing son. It’s her way of showing the kinds of favors available to someone who is in the Meachums’ good graces. Tonally, it’s a very jarring swerve in the episode that doesn’t gel with anything else.
Although Ward is painted as the colder sibling, Joy is the one who seems to love their money. After that meeting with Patel, Ward asks Joy if she has ever considered walking away from it all. She says no, because they would lose everything if they did. But alas, Ward probably wouldn’t be able to escape this life even if he wanted to because he’s stuck there following his father’s orders.
Danny goes to St. Luke’s Hospital (shout out to Morningside Heights!) to find an X-ray that would prove he’s really Danny Rand, but unfortunately, some goon beats him there first and burns the entire file room down. Pissed of as hell, Danny storms into a restaurant to confront the Meachums, who cruelly remind him that they aren’t his siblings. “We’re coming for you. You can’t deny what’s mine, what my father meant for me to have,” says Danny. For the umpteenth time, Joy has some qualms about how they’re treating Danny, but Ward doesn’t really care. In the end, Joy, probably realizing there’s more to life than protecting the Meachums’ money, helps Danny prove his case by giving him and Jeri a piece of pottery he made as a child that has his fingerprint on it. And with that, I hope this means we’re finally done with this whole thing and can get back to the kicking and punching.
Like Danny, Colleen Wing also finds herself forced to think about money in this episode, too. She’s in a bit of a tougher situation than Danny because while she’s just as broke as he is, she doesn’t have some fortune waiting for her after a lengthy legal battle. She knows she needs money to turn her dojo into the safe place she wants it to be, but she doesn’t want her life to be driven by money. “You dishonor yourself when you fight for money,” she tells her star pupil Darryl, who has been participating in an underground fight club to bring home money for his family. “There’s more at stake here than just your bills.” Colleen definitely believes that, but she’s human, too, and she can’t resist the allure of making this kind of money.
So Colleen enters the private fight under the name “Daughter of the Dragon” (a nice nod to the comics) and faces off against one of the club’s fiercest fighters. This is probably the show’s best fighting scene to date, mostly because it features the show’s most interesting character. Colleen ends up winning the match by using the “leopard punch” move Danny taught her at the beginning of the episode, which frustratingly validates Danny’s mansplaining.
After dropping the new evidence on the Meachums, Danny grows suspicious of Ward and tails him after the meeting. And it just so happens that Ward is going to visit his father Harold. Unable to follow Ward past a certain point, Danny decides to scale the building. He reaches the penthouse window, but someone pushes him off the ledge à la Game of Thrones before he can climb inside.
- Earlier in the episode, Harold receives a visit from Madame Gao, who scolds him from breaking their agreement and leaving the apartment. I really hope we see more of Madame Gao.
- The show reveals a bit more about Danny’s time in K’un Lun. Some part of his training involved the monks repeatedly beating him with sticks.
- “This homeless hipster thing isn’t working for you.” — Jeri, to Danny
- Danny hates sleeping in beds and prefers the floor.
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