The Immortal Iron Fist is back!
It’s been over a year since Finn Jones made his debut as Danny Rand on Marvel’s Iron Fist, which returns for season 2 on Friday. In that time, a lot has happened to him and Colleen (Jessica Henwick): they’ve made some cool new super-friends, defeated the evil Hand, and traveled up to Harlem. Honestly, we wouldn’t blame you if you somehow forgot other particulars from season 1, like who the Meachums are and why Davos is pissed off with Danny.
But no worries, because we’re here to help. EW has put together this study-guide to prepare you for Iron Fist‘s sophomore outing.
What happened in Iron Fist season 1:
When we first met Danny Rand (Finn Jones) last season, he was not exactly an imposing force. Fifteen years after he was assumed to have died in a plane crash, Danny suddenly reappeared in New York City with no shoes. He intended to take his rightful place at the head of his family’s company, but quickly learned that Rand Enterprises had been taken over by old family friends the Meachums during his absence. Somewhat taken aback by a homeless guy appearing in their corporate lobby saying he was their long-gone friend who spent the last decade-plus training with mystical martial-arts monks in the heavenly city of K’un-Lun, Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) and sister Joy (Jessica Stroup) had Danny consigned to a mental asylum. He was indeed different from the Danny they remember, but only in so far as he now has martial-arts superpowers (the titular “iron fist”) that allowed him to break out of the asylum.
As it turned out, Ward was really doing the bidding of his father, Harold (David Wenham), who the public assumed to be just as dead as Danny. In fact, Harold had made a deal with the Hand, that great ninja death cult at the heart of the Marvel-Netflix universe. The Hand saved Harold from death (and made him functionally immortal, barring only decapitation) in return for his continued obedience and absence from public view. By the beginning of the show, however, Harold started to chafe at the terms of this deal. When he learned that Danny, as the Iron Fist, is the sworn enemy of the Hand, Harold tried to use that to get out of his Faustian bargain.
The Meachums may be manipulative villains, but Danny did find some real friends eventually. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) showed up a couple times to talk sense into him, as she does with pretty much every member of the Defenders. Even more importantly, Claire’s newfound martial-arts master Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) became Danny’s mentor, comrade, and lover. Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss), erstwhile employer of Jessica Jones, was also there to help Danny navigate complicated legal maneuvers and corporate politics.
Season 1’s big plot twist was the revelation that Colleen was secretly a member of the Hand. She worked for the faction led by Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), training impressionable young students for what she thought was a better life when they were really just becoming flesh donors for the eventual resurrection of Elektra in The Defenders. Danny freed Colleen from Bakuto’s influence, and together they ruined fellow Hand leader Madame Gao’s (Wai Ching Ho) plan of using Rand as a basis for her heroin operation. But the final showdown with the Hand was reserved for The Defenders. Iron Fist viewers had to settle for Ward finally killing his father. The end of season 1 also planted possible story seeds for season 2, showing us Joy making a villainous cause with Danny’s disillusioned old K’un-Lun comrade Davos (Sacha Dawan). On top of that, the gate to K’un-Lun has been mysteriously shut.
What happened in The Defenders
After discovering the way to K’un-Lun was gone, Danny and Colleen continued their war on the Hand, which took them back to New York City. Once there, Danny came to blows with Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who gave Danny a lecture about privilege once the punching ended. Eventually, Danny and Luke ended up joining forces with Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Daredevil, a.k.a. Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), at Midland Circle for a classic Marvel hallway fight scene.
It didn’t take long for us to learn that the Hand was actually hunting Danny because they needed his glowing fist of justice to unlock a door at the bottom of the hole underneath Midland Circle that leads to the “true power of the Hand” — a.k.a. the skeleton of a dragon (man, comics are crazy!), which contains the mystical substance that keeps the Hand alive. The Defenders tried and failed to keep Danny from the Hand. In the climactic finale, the Defenders managed to defeat evil criminal organization, but it came at a cost: Colleen was forced to cut off Misty Knight’s (Simone Missick) arm during their fight against Bakuto, and Matt appeared to perish in the destruction of Midland Circle — but not before whispering something in Danny’s ear.
What happened in Luke Cage season 2
Both Danny and Colleen appeared in the second season of Luke Cage. Colleen popped up in episode 3 and assisted Misty in a bar fight. Midway through the season, the Rand Corporation supplied Misty with a cool new bionic arm, and then Danny traveled uptown in episode 10 to help Luke out in his battle against Bushmaster.