I mentioned yesterday in my Marvel news round-up that I’ve been slowly making my way through Iron Fist season 2. Well, update: I finished it. And what an ending! Like, some serious status quo-altering sh*t went down! And you should know about it! But if you don’t want to invest ten or so hours in finding out all those juicy/fisty bits, well — I’m here to help. So let’s talk SPOILERS, shall we?
So, how was it?
Better! This season was an improvement over last season. It shortened the episode count from 13 to 10, which helped with the pacing — though there’s still a whole lot of set up for what feels like a fairly rushed conclusion. The fight choreography was better overall (though it still seemed to be shooting around Finn Jones). And other than about an episode’s worth of “Joy Meachum’s Very Important Divestment Package,” the corporate wrangling was kept to a blessed minimum. Though most of the improvement was down to the show’s concerted effort to acknowledge the faults in Danny Rand’s character, while increasing the focus on Colleen Wing.
Yeah, so what’s up with the happy couple?
Danny starts the season slumming it as a manual laborer to try and understand how us normies live, basically — leaving Ward to manage the Rand company’s day-to-day activities. Meanwhile, Danny is going out at night to use his Fist for good, cleaning up Chinatown because, I dunno, Daredevil’s gone? Though really it’s because he’s addicted to his own power. Colleen has hung up her sword and converted her dojo into a swank-ass pad for her and Danny. She’s working at the local community center, and is trying to find a way to help her neighbors that doesn’t involve teaching them to fight (or die).
The first half of the season is basically Danny and Ward trying to make up with Joy and Davos (Danny’s very angry “brother” from K’un-Lun), who are masquerading as a couple while they work together on REVENGE! Joy is pissed because Danny’s return upended her life and — oh yeah, her brother lied to her for YEARS about her father being alive, only now he’s dead again. Davos is still salty about Danny beating him to the Immortal Iron Fist, then abandoning his duties as guardian and letting K’un-Lun disappear or whatever. We get some flashbacks to their childhood to try and fill in their relationship, and it all basically boils down to: Davos has Mommy issues, Danny really loves him, and K’un-Lun suuuuuuuucks.
Joy helps Davos assemble the necessary elements to perform a mystical tattoo ceremony that takes transfers Danny’s powers to Davos, which means the back half of the season is Danny trying to stop Davos from killing every criminal in Chinatown and take the Fist back. But really, the season is about Danny going off half-cocked at every opportunity, despite Colleen’s advice, and getting himself into trouble — then Colleen (and sometimes Misty) having to come save him. Eventually, he’s injured so badly he needs Colleen to train him, which means she needs to become a teacher again.
What I’m saying is: this season is explicitly about a woman doing the emotional heavy lifting to help her man solve all the problems he did to himself, at the sacrifice of her own goals. But before you roll your eyes — AT LEAST THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES. It’s pretty clear that Colleen isn’t about to be a girlfriend AND a sensei to Danny, so they put their relationship on the back burner to handle the current threat (and in the end, they basically separate to find themselves). But more importantly, Colleen’s lessons to Danny aren’t strictly physical. What she’s really teaching him is, I shit you not, to THINK before reacting, and to MAKE SMART CHOICES. Yes, Danny’s character arc this season is to learn how to be less of an impulsive dink, and seeing Colleen say that to his face was cathartic for me as a viewer. It also bodes well for his character overall, because frankly, I can’t believe I sat through 2 seasons of Danny not thinking as it is.
Even better? This whole new thinking-man’s Danny realizes that he has no goal in life — he’s just been finding excuses to use the Fist because the dragon feels so good (by the way, Ward is in Narcotics Anonymous this season, and the scenes of them bonding over addictions are pretty great actually).
So while Danny still needs to get the power out of Davos, he knows he’s not the right one to take it back — Colleen is. Yup, he asks Colleen, who is trying very hard not to fight anymore, to be the Immortal damn Iron Fist — to literally take up his burden because he’s not strong enough.
And she does. Season 2 of Iron Fist is about taking the power away from Danny and giving it to Colleen, which is the best decision this show could possibly have made. There’s some mystery surrounding her ancestry that reveals she’s maybe descended from the only female Iron Fist of the past, and that maybe Danny’s destiny was always to take the power out of K’un-Lun and give it to her. Though, to be fair, at the very end of the last episode there’s a time jump that reveals that while Colleen is getting her Fist on in NYC, Danny has jetted off to Asia with Ward to try and learn more about the Iron Fist… and somehow he’s gotten his powers back. So I dunno. I’m guessing it’s like the finale of Buffy, where that sweet slayer power just gets shared around.
Right?! But wait, there’s more! Because evidently, the Fist can make weapons also glow, meaning Colleen doesn’t have to give up her katana. And apparently, Danny has decided to do some Captain Mal cosplay with a brown duster and some pistols on his hips. PISTOLS THAT GLOW WHEN HE SHOOTS. And also, both his fists glow. The end.
Wait, what about Typhoid Mary?
Oh, right! She’s great! So, Alice Eve plays Mary Walker, a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder and two “alters” named… Mary, and Walker. Mary is an artist and a real sweetheart, and she takes a shine to Danny when they meet-cute on the street. And by the way, I know Danny was raised in a monastery or whatever but DUDE DON’T FLIRT SO BLATANTLY WITH STRANGE CHICKS WHEN YOU HAVE COLLEEN F*CKING WING BACK HOME. Anyway, turns out Mary keeps encountering Danny because Walker has been hired by Joy to run surveillance on him. Walker is a no-nonsense former soldier who likes long-range weapons, but keeps dual machetes for any melee action. She’s hardcore, so Joy (and eventually Ward) continue to work with her for protection.
Her backstory is that she was a POW in Sokovia (presumably before Ultron and the Avengers destroyed it), where she was tortured horribly for like a year before she was freed. Mary always thought Walker was the one that got them out, while Walker assumed Mary used her winning personality to find a savior to release them. What Walker realizes, thanks to Ward’s Amazing Connections pulling her un-redacted military file for her, is that in reality she must have a third alter hiding in her psyche, and that’s the one that came out to slaughter the whole damn compound on Mary Walker’s behalf.
That third alter is a scary piece of work, and I can’t wait to see what happens with Mary Walker in the future. But more than just the character being interesting — Alice Eve is just incredible in the part. I’d never really thought much about her as an actress, maybe because she’s never been asked to do very much in anything I’d seen her in. But she took this part and ran with it, and she’s absolutely chilling. The Netflix/Marvel series have a great track record of investing in those secondary/tertiary characters and creating meaningful interpretations, and this is a great example of that. The actor plus the writing has taken a comics mainstay, Typhoid Mary, and forged something very grounded, fascinating, and fresh. So when I say that the best reason to watch this season of Iron Fist wasn’t even to see Colleen BECOME Iron Fist, it was to see Alice Eve in this role, please understand what a compliment that is.
So do we hate Joy now?
Naw, she redeems herself. She realizes that Davos is insane and dangerous, and uses her connection to him to get close and try to help Danny from the inside. She also gets chucked off a balcony by Davos, so it’s not like she gets out of this season scot-free. In fact, poor Joy is always the one getting injured, but at least this time she really did do this to herself. It also seems like her relationship with Ward might slowly be on the mend, which is good news because seeing them bickering was gonna get old eventually.
As for Ward? He’s knocked up his NA sponsor, so he’s gonna be working out his Daddy issue in real-time pretty soon. Assuming she lets him have contact with the baby. Because Ward is still finding himself, or finding out how to find himself. And, oddly enough, Danny (in full Zen Master mode), is kind of the best thing for him. And hopefully, when he does figure out how to be the man he doesn’t even yet know he wants to be, it’ll be compatible with Misty because DAMN were they cute together.
Is Davos gone for good?
In the end, Davos loses his dual glowing fists, but not his life. Danny’s compassion ensures that Davos ends up in police custody in one piece. Though now that the Iron Fist powers can be held by multiple people, who knows whether Davos will glow again.
I will say that Davos is an eminently hate-able character, but actor Sacha Dhawan deserves a heap of credit for making him so unlikeable. Davos is a zealot who has lost his way — a man so obsessed with rooting out corruption that he sees everyone as a suspect. He’s viciously brutal with zero compassion, which is a very blunt “dark mirror” of Danny, obviously. But if you can get over the automatic knee-jerk recoil of seeing him onscreen, bloody and smoldering with his crazy eyes… I mean, Dhawan nailed it. It was a thankless part that Dhawan ran with anyway.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON THOUGH?
Ugh, the writers are still dangling that Misty/Colleen carrot in front of us, for sure. By the end of the season, the pair have acknowledged that their relationship with each other is basically the most stable and normal and healthy one in either of their lives — despite the fact that they barely know each other. CHEMISTRY, Y’ALL. Also, Misty decided not to take that desk-job promotion, so maybe her career as a cop is coming to an end? And Colleen is, well, the Iron Fist, so she’s a straight-up vigilante now. Also Misty kept complimenting Colleen’s investigative skills…
So no, they aren’t working together. Yet. But the groundwork has been laid. Then stomped on. Then polished to a f*cking sheen. So.
You know what? I don’t actually want a Daughters of the Dragon series. I want there to be an Iron Fist season 3 that is just Colleen, as the Iron Fist, working with Misty the whole time. Literally just give this series to Colleen, please. And then at the very end of the season, Danny comes back from his very long trip with information about Colleen’s past, and she’s all like “Thanks dude — now use your Rand bucks to rent yourself an apartment because we’re still separated.”
A girl can dream.
So, there you have it. All the stuff you need to know about Iron Fist season 2. For those of you that have watched it — what did I miss? And for those who haven’t watched it — you’re welcome.
Header Image Source: Netflix