Iron Fist recap: 'Felling Tree With Roots'
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PREVIOUSLY: Iron Fist episode 6 recap
After a relatively exciting sixth episode, “Felling Tree With Roots” feels a bit like a letdown. At times, it feels very much like a table-setting episode. It’s mainly concerned with moving the pieces around and setting up the rest of Iron Fist‘s first season. Sadly, part of that involves borrowing from Luke Cage‘s seventh episode but failing to capture that hour’s intensity.
Following Danny’s meeting with Madame Gao, the Hand shows up at Harold’s apartment and demands to know why he didn’t tell them that Danny was the Iron Fist. He swears on his children’s life that he didn’t know he was, and right after that, Danny barges into the apartment to tell Harold they have a problem. A shoddily edited and incoherent action scene ensues, and it ends with Harold killing everyone, much to Danny’s horror. Harold is a master manipulator, so he convinces Danny not to worry about it and to just let him get rid of the bodies.
More so than any episode that has come before, “Felling Tree With Roots” really swerves into the idea that Harold might be a raging sociopath. He’s very methodical and clear headed about the way to handle the henchmen’s bodies. He summons Ward to help him, and when Ward shows up, he finds his father bashing the henchmen’s faces in with a hammer to make them unidentifiable. Ward, who is still pretty messed up from what happened in the last episode, nearly barfs at the site of it but reluctantly agree to dump the bodies in Pelham Bay Park for his father.
Danny returns to the dojo, where Colleen stitches up his wounds. It’s a very lengthy scene that feels somewhat out of character for Colleen but is also a great showcase for Jessica Henwick. Colleen is being mildly flirty and makes a humorous but out-of-nowhere joke about Gao’s name: “Not Mrs. Gao or Linda Gao. What, does she run the best little whorehouse in the Hand or something?” It’s very weird. Colleen asks Danny to stay and have a drink with her because she doesn’t like drinking alone, and the very palpable yearning in Henwick’s performance in this scene comes to a head when Colleen finally asks Danny to stay the night. (For the record, Henwick is doing all the work in this scene and Finn Jones gives her absolutely nothing). So they have sex, and it’s quite possibly the most boring sex scene Marvel has done, which is quite disappointing when you think about how hot Jessica Jones’ and Luke Cage‘s scenes were. I feel like this what a 7th Heaven sex scene would’ve looked like if the show ever did one. (To be fair, I can’t remember if the show ever actually had one).
I’ll admit that I was pretty confused by how quickly things heated up between Danny and Colleen, but I think the show explains why a few scenes later, when Colleen receives a surprise visit from her friend Bakuto. Colleen tells Bakuto about Danny being the Iron Fist, and it’s clear that Bakuto already knew that the Iron Fist was a thing. Which leads us to believe that Colleen did, too, because Bakuto tells her to just keep doing what she’s doing. Has Colleen been hiding something this entire time? Is that what we’re supposed to get from that scene? Honestly, I don’t know because this show has this tonal problem where it struggles to add any kind of tension or excitement to scenes with important revelations. It’s very hard to know when a bit of dialogue is important or not.
The other hint that there may be more to Colleen than meets the eye comes a bit later in the episode, when she announces to her students that Darryl has been chosen for an elite training program that comes with a scholarship. “You’re part of something bigger than yourself now, Darryl,” she tells him before sending him on his way. Here, the music suggests that what she just says was pretty loaded, but again, the show doesn’t do a good of making this clear.
NEXT: A death in the family
Joy tries to prepare Danny to give a statement to the board apologizing for that viral video that we’re still dealing with two episodes later, for some reason. But, Danny has to cut their conversation short because Gao brazenly shows up at his office for a little chat. During their last encounter, Gao realized that Danny chose to leave to K’un-Lun because he wanted to be Danny Rand again and wasn’t actually there to fight the Hand, so she makes him an offer that’s basically, “Get off my back, let me exploit your company, and you’ll enjoy the rewards.” Danny is more concerned about finding out whether or not she actually knew his father, but she doesn’t answer him.
So Danny follows her out of the office and discovers that the Hand has been using floor 13 in the Rand building. He overhears Gao and Unnamed Hot British Drug Dealer discussing their synthetic drug operation. Once Gao departs, Danny coerces said drug dealer into giving him her tablet with all of the Hand’s information, which Danny immediately gives to Harold, who is in awe at how the Hand is basically using Rand for its entire operation.
At Harold’s urging, Danny decides to launch a surprise attack on Gao. Danny and Colleen ask the Hatchet Men, whom Gao plans on killing since they aren’t being cooperative, to help them assault the warehouse where Gao is making the synthetic heroin. The Hatchet Men agree, and so they all storm the building. Danny and Colleen make a beeline to Radovan, who is on the verge of death and says that he told Gao how to make the heroin. He also reveals that Gao has fled to Anzhou, which is where Danny and his parents were heading 15 years ago when their plane went down. WHAT COULD THAT MEAN?!
Speaking of family, there’s some drama going on at Rand Enterprises. Instead of reading the statement Joy wrote to the board, Danny coerces the company into closing the Staten Island plant until they can determine if it’s actually causing cancer by leaking the story to Karen Page and the board. Everyone, including Joy, is pissed. But I don’t think Danny thought about all of the consequences because while he’s off being a superhero, angry board member Lawrence informs Joy that the board held an emergency meeting to vote Joy, Ward, and Danny out of the company. Oops…
Honestly, Ward has far more important things on his mind. His attempts to flee the country fail because Harold knew about his secret account, which was filled with money Ward was embezzling from the company. Ward confronts his father about taking his money and finally reaches his breaking point when his father asserts his power and control over Ward. Ward grabs a knife and stabs his father repeatedly; it’s basically what happened in episode 7 of Luke Cage, except not nearly as surprising or emotionally interesting. Having disposed of bodies earlier in the episode, Ward has no problem getting rid of his father’s. As he drives away from the spot, a sinister smile creeps across his face. I don’t think Christian or I have said this yet, but Tom Pelphrey has been giving a strong performance, too, even when the script fails him.
Despite my frustrations with the episode, it does raise some interesting questions. Did Gao have a hand in the death of Danny’s parents? Is Ward going to turn into our new big bad for the season? How will Danny and Joy get their company back? Is Colleen up to something? (My first guess is that she might be working with Stick and the Chaste, but I could be wrong)