When Netflix introduced Iron Fist last year, some were not happy over how the mystic warrior known in the comics was portrayed. They were more interested in his supporting characters, and disappointed by a lackluster story and terrible fight scenes
This ten-part second season is a major improvement with a better-structured story, excellent fight scenes, and great performances all around. While Finn Jones, who plays Danny Rand, said at Comic-Con the main theme will be duality, as the yin-yang symbol that opens the season, it’s also about legacy and living up to it.
Look at the main story, where Davos (Sacha Dhawan) decides he wants to take the Iron Fist power from Danny. On the surface, he says he was cheated out of a chance to get the power when he lost to Danny. It’s revealed in a flashback it was a judge’s decision… from his own father. His own mother all but disowned him. To him, it’s getting back his honor and respect as well as the thought he could have won if he had five more minutes.
It’s not easy for Danny either. He’s taken up the job defending New York City now that Daredevil is (seemingly ) gone, he’s trying to prevent two rival gangs, the Hatchets and Golden Tigers, from sparking an all-out war. Davos wants one to happen just long enough to get some valuable items, including a Tibetan bowl and a corpse with an Iron Fist tattoo, for a ceremony where he gets Danny’s powers.
Thing is, Davos doesn’t use his new power as well as he should. He does start by eliminating some key members of the Tigers and Hatchets, and claims he will eventually create a new and better city. However, he then uses it to eliminate people who he considers as “cancers” like minions who aren’t committed to his cause and even someone (Chil Kong) accused of supporting one of the gangs. It’s one thing to get power that you think you deserved, but it’s another to show you could use it right. He doesn’t.
As the story unfolds, viewers expect Danny to find some way to take back the Iron Fist after he loses it at the end of episode four. However, losing the power gets him to thinking. He realizes he’s wanted the power to defend K’un Lun and battle the Hand. Now that both are gone, he’s not sure what his destiny is…or if he should keep his power.
This is unheard of, although some wonder if Jessica Jones wishes she never had super-strength. Anyway, the Iron Fist power made him a very dangerous person to know, since Colleen and Misty (Simone Messick) get hurt when they get involved with him.
That’s why he thinks maybe Colleen (Jessica Henwick) should be the Iron Fist. She, however, disagrees.
Yet, the rise of Colleen Wing is the real story of season two. She starts the season as a volunteer at a community center, leaving behind her martial arts roots. Once the threat of a triad war starts, though, it’s not long before the warrior inside her emerges. She and Misty Knight also show they could have a future together as a fighting duo.
When Danny asks her to train him to battle Davos, even without his powers, she does so with no mercy or pity. That turns out to work very well, as Danny is able to keep up with Davos even without the Fist.
Colleen is convinced to take the Fist from Davos, but it takes a few tries. At one point, both she and Davos have the power in an excellent fight in the final episode, leading to this image.
The result is familiar to those who have seen Cloak and Dagger.
In the end, it turns out Colleen is a natural as the Iron Fist, mainly because there’s proof from a box she found at the community center she may have been a descendant of the first female who had the fist. That’s not revealed until the very end, but it’s quite a revelation.
What about Danny? We’ll get to that later.
Getting back to Davos, it’s interesting Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) helped him. She spent much of the first series clueless about Ward and their not-so-dead dad. Now, she’s taking charge, ready to leave Rand Industries and make her mark by selling solar cells. If she stuck with that, she’d be fine. Too bad she’s obsessed with misplaced revenge, thinking Ward and Danny ruined her life somehow. That’s why she helps Davos get the bowl for the ceremony, and arranges Danny’s kidnapping with the help of a very crazy girl named Mary, played by Alice Eve.
Mary turned out to be a serious breakout character. She is introduced as a wide-eyed girl who makes friends with Danny. However, at her apartment, she leaves the faucet running while seeing post-it notes everywhere, including one that tells her to stay away from Danny. It’s later revealed she was severely traumatized when she was captured and tortured after a battle in Sokovia. She developed multiple personalities, and the real Mary (aka Typhoid Mary) is a stone cold killer. It’s also interesting she she can switch sides on a dime by saying “this is a new job”. There’s also a hint that Mary could have a third personality that doesn’t like guns aimed at her, and could be even more dangerous. Despite Joy’s best efforts to get rid of Mary, Mary is sticking close to Joy to use her money for some future plan.
It’s too bad Joy wanted revenge but came off like a selfish brat, blaming Danny more than her own father and brother. This was expressed when she had a disastrous dinner with Danny and Colleen. Still, she was able to survive a lot, even being shoved off a railing from 20 feet by Davos and a lot more. It’s also fitting though, that she’s stuck with Mary for a while because Joy’s not good at washing away her crimes.
At least Ward (Tom Pelphrey) tried to be a better person, and had slightly better luck. He went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and tried to reconnect with Danny over what happened in the previous series. However, he stumbled several times, including sleeping with his sponsor Bethany, insulting the other people in the N/A chapter or just not going. His relationship with Joy is also pretty shaky, only because she wants to break away from Rand and the family to prove a point. He learned Bethany (Natalie Smith) was pregnant with his child, but she prefers to deal with it by herself because she’s not sure about him and whether he can be a better person. It seems the series is not quite ready to have Ward Meachum be completely redeemed but almost get there.
This leads to the end. Danny decides to head for Asia to figure out how Davos got the corpse, and where he belongs in the Iron Fist legacy. Ward tries to talk him out of it, but winds up going along because his redemption is still going. They wind up in Japan, and learn some guy named Orson Randall provided the corpse to Davos. Danny is also there….with Iron Fist powers directed through two guns!
Although the second season was much better than the first, with very good performances from the cast (especially Henwick and Eve), someone at TV Line thought it was a little too similar to season two of Luke Cage. For example, is Davos trying to be the Iron Fist that different than Bushmiller trying to get revenge against Mariah Stokes’ family, or a powerful hero being knocked down several pegs? Actually, it wasn’t as similar as it looked because Iron Fist took different angles to similar story lines.
By the way, although Misty didn’t join the show until episode four, she showed a significant amount of influence thanks to the police having her back. She’s being considered for being a Captain, but isn’t sure if she should take it. Can a Captain with a high-tech arm fight with an Iron Fist? A third season could answer that question.
That hasn’t been confirmed yet, but two people with Iron Fists sets up an interesting situation (not unlike having an extra Slayer) and whether it can be maintained. Mary’s story isn’t over, and a Misty-Colleen team could be possible.
For now, Marvel fans will have to deal with whatever happened to Daredevil, and how his quest for justice is about to take a dark turn very soon.