Can a cool finale save an entire season? That’s the question I’m left asking myself now that I’ve reached the end of Iron Fist season 2. I didn’t like the show’s lethargic and pointless first season, and if I’m being honest, I found most of this season incredibly boring, despite some great performances (hello, Meachums and Alice Eve) and marginally better fight choreography. But after watching the season 2 finale, it feels as though the show was saving the best for last, because “A Duel of Iron” has some genuinely cool moments. So, let’s dive into what happened.
The finale begins exactly where the last episode left off: Colleen Wing, one of the show’s best characters, summoning the iron fist, which is an awesome sight. Her glowing white fist made me so excited! Alas, she can’t enjoy this newfound power since it’s not all hers, yet. Because Davos interrupted the power transfer ritual before it was completed, she must now share the power with him, which is physically painful for both of them. Davos uses the iron fist to escape before Colleen can get her hands back on him.
From there, Davos makes his way back to his hideout, where he finds Walker in a perch waiting to gun him down. Danny and Colleen arrive on the scene, and Danny tries to talk Walker out of killing Davos because they need to complete the ritual. But, Walker doesn’t care. So, while Colleen goes head-to-head with Davos, Danny hangs back to handle Walker, and is eventually joined by Luke Cage‘s Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick), who manages to punch her way out of the cell Walker locked her in. Danny and Misty subdue Walker by triggering her Mary personality with some running water. Clearly, Danny has finally learned that kicking can’t solve every problem.
Colleen and Davos take their iron fist vs. iron fist match to the streets. Thankfully, Iron Fist gives us all what we want and we do get to see their white and red fists clash together, which is cool in a Power Rangers kind of way and sends both of them flying. Eventually, Colleen and Danny manage to subdue Davos and complete the ritual. A pitiful Davos begs her to end his life there — to do what Danny couldn’t — but she refuses because she’s nothing like him.
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Meanwhile, the Meachums were busy reaching some common ground as Joy, who is hopped up on morphine, admits that she messed up and Ward tells her about Bethany’s pregnancy. Right as their reconciliation is about to become too sentimental, Joy undercuts it by dragging her brother after he admits that he let Bethany down. “You disappointed someone? What else is new,” she says in one of Jessica Stroup’s many great line deliveries of the season.
In fact, the Meachums were actually one of my favorite parts of season 2. Watching the season, I got the sense that Stroup and Tom Pelphrey came into it determined to make things fun for themselves by injecting their performances with a bit of camp. At times, this felt at odds with the very stiff writing, but it made the show’s bad dialogue slightly more palatable because they brought some personality to it.
After making some kind of amends with his sister, Ward heads to a meeting in order to do the same with Bethany. He stands up in front of the room and admits that he’s lonely and doesn’t know himself. While Bethany is impressed by this gesture, it’s not enough to change her mind and she tells Ward that she needs to handle this pregnancy on her own because she has to worry about two people now. And that feels like the right move. Sure, Ward has grown, but he still has a long way to go. Luckily, he’ll get an opportunity to do just that thanks to his brother.
In the wake of the fight, Danny decides to take a trip to Asia in order to learn more about himself and about the legacy of the iron fist. So, he leaves Colleen a goodbye note and hops on a plane. But he won’t be alone, because Ward decides to join him. Clearly, WiFi means you can run a multi-million dollar corporation from anywhere in the world!
From there, the finale jumps ahead several months and concludes on two very cool notes. First, we see Colleen stop a robbery in New York while channeling the power of iron fist through her sword. Meanwhile, in Asia, Ward meets with a man in order to find out where that ancient iron fist corpse Davos had shipped in came from and learns that it belongs to a man named Orson Randall (your comic book sense should be tingling now). This meeting, however, heads south. Luckily Danny, who somehow got the iron fist back, is there and intervenes with some gun-fu. The season ends with Danny firing off some iron fist-powered bullets — which is a sign that season 3 will dig into Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja’s pretty fantastic run on The Immortal Iron Fist.
Overall, season 2 was a marginal improvement on season 1. The fights were somewhat better, there were no more corporate shenanigans, and the show didn’t shy away from taking Danny and his privilege to task. Most importantly, the actors really stepped up their game and made the season watchable. Not only were Pelphrey and Stroup great, but so were Simone Missick and Jessica Henwhick, whose effortless chemistry threw into sharp relief just how bland Colleen and Danny’s relationship is. I could watch many more scenes of just Missick and Henwhick bantering about snacks. Alice Eve was also fantastic as Typhoid Mary, even if her mental illness was used to advance the plot. Watching her switch between the sweet Mary and cold Walker personas was entertaining, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in season 3. As we learned in the finale, Walker discovered that there’s a third personality that may be even more dangerous than her, and she’ll be sticking around Joy for the time being.
But at the same time, these performances couldn’t help the series escape its other flaws. As I said before, I found most of it rather boring, mostly because the dialogue remained overly expository and lacked subtext, and the show still struggles to effectively build tension. Danny losing the iron fist should’ve been a huge moment, but it just sort of happens. While I thoroughly enjoyed the finale because it indulged in the visceral pleasures of watching the iron fist do cool things, it didn’t make up for the nine-episode slog that came before. That being said, I’m looking forward to season 3.
- “Besides…Knight…Wing…it’s got a little ring to it,” Misty, in one of the show’s cheekiest moments.
- Misty decides not to accept the captain position, but she warns Colleen that she might need her because she has the only weapon that can put a dent in Luke Cage.
- Danny realizes that Colleen is a descendant of the first female iron fist after discovering the iron fist symbol on the back of the Wing family medallion.