This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day.
Iron Fist Gets Stabby In S01.E07
'Felling Tree With Roots' has a few surprises, ending with a killer moment.
As both my esteemed colleagues and the voices of the internet have already noted, Iron Fist is a show with considerable problems. It's slow. It lacks logic. It whitewashes Asian culture. It's not Jessica Jones. And so on and so forth; you get the picture. Or maybe you don't, because you've stopped watching, but are reading along in the hopes of being caught up for The Defenders. If so: I wouldn't blame you!
So in case you've zoned out, here's what is going on: Episode 7, "Felling Tree With Roots," crawls toward plot progression through exactly three moments of probable importance, providing that we understand "importance" is a relative term. The first involves Danny's V-card. The second is a power play. And the third...well, the third is enough to make we wonder why the writers spent time coming up with Frank N. Stein in the first place. Let's start from the top.
Alone in life and in his lair, Harold gets a surprise visit from two of Madame Gao's goons. They're there to punish him (read: chop off his fingers) for helping Danny, but just as Harold tries to lie his way out of having his index finger severed, Danny walks in. Literally: Harold says he has "nothing to do with Danny Rand," and not even a full beat goes by before Danny enters, mid-sentence, as though the writers have just now decided to spice up the dialogue with some tongue-in-cheek action. But I digress.
A fight breaks out, Harold kills the two goons, and Danny gets rattled. But since Harold volunteers to be on body cleanup duty (he even helpfully slices off his own finger, with the hope of tricking Madame Gao into thinking the goons went missing after visiting hours), Danny retreats to the dojo. He reunites with Colleen, before pausing to field a quick text from Claire about the safety of the girl he just rescued. (There's little regard for encryption, as though this show doesn't supposedly take place in the same universe as Ultron, but I digress again.)
Once Danny finishes texting with Claire, he disregards her in a manner befitting the show's Marvel-ness, and he and Colleen return to business, which is my very mature way of saying they have sex. It's monumental -- or, at least, it should be, considering that Danny committed to chastity as part of his training, but really it's just rushed and boring. Plus, the morning after is archetypically awkward.
Colleen accuses Danny of having a "cloak of bravado"; he leaves; and she gets a mysterious visit from some other dude, promising him he will come first for her. In other words: it's some real side-dude stuff. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.
Over at Rand, Danny's impromptu meeting with Joy -- she's giving him a lecture, again -- gets cut short when he peeps Madame Gao herself arriving. It's a total power move on Gao's part, as she waltzes around Danny's office, commenting on the feng shui and gifting him a plant; in fact, it's the ballsiest thing she's done since she intimidated Wilson Fisk into flipping over a table. She offers friendship to Danny, and, honestly, it doesn't sound like that bad a deal: Danny would get to live the life of a uber-rich hipster with his first-gen iPod in exchange for his turning a blind eye to the fact that Gao is using his company to traffic heroin. She probably doesn't even care about his newfound quest to get the assistants back their dental insurance, either!
Surprise, surprise, Danny declines -- for "honor," as though he didn't disregard a major life promise mere hours before. Gao's vaguely disappointed, but she stops on the super-exclusive 13th floor anyway, to check in with one of her heroin pushers. Danny tails her down the elevator shaft, growing increasingly irritating and irritated with how educational the past twenty-four hours of his life have been.
Back upstairs, Joy is informed that the Board has voted her, Ward, and Danny all out of the company, which is confusing, because Danny supposedly owns 51% of it, but also, I don't really understand how corporate boards work, so sure: this is fine. In fact, it's especially fine for Danny, who's busy attacking The Hand and freeing that chemist everyone cares about; and for Ward, who's busy high-tailing it out of the country after convincing Joy earlier that he needed a "break" to work through his addictions. He think he's safe in the back of his limo, being carried far, far away from dear ol' Harold and tasks that involve disposing of body parts in swamps. (How else were those goons going to disappear?) But when he goes to check his bank account, expecting millions to plan for and play with, he gets a surprise: the account is completely drained.
Naturally, Ward heads back to Harold's. And that's where it happens: after some back and forth about the laziness of Ward's embezzlement, things get a little too personal, and Ward delivers a line he probably spent years rehearsing in his own head: "You know what the last happy day of my life was, dad? The day you died."
And then the stabbing starts.
And keeps going.
Ward reeeaallly, reallllllly, kills Harold. A lot. It's great! Fantastic, even; I cheered in my head, which is remarkable given that this is already Episode 7 and until now the thing I cared most about was learning what diseases Danny picked up from wandering around the city barefoot. I cheered in a way heretofore unknown in all my cheerings of Marvel properties, in that I cheered for a murder because it was gross and messy and vengefully delightful. Harold
is was the worst! Not only as a parent, but as a character; his presence brings brought the whole show down.
Without Harold being all shady in the shadows, maybe the whole show can focus instead on fleshing out Ward and Joy as characters and not just mild inconveniences; Ward can be a full-fledged villain without the pesky morality issues that Harold otherwise forces him to consider. Sure, it's infuriating that we've spent so much damn time with the guy, and that we've grown accustomed to a certain level of nuance, and because Frank N. Stein is literally the most clever joke in the series thus far, but there's still time for things to get on a more compelling track.