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Iron Fist's Season Finale Delivers A Few Big Punches
...none of which is all that surprising.
Well, we made it to the end of Iron Fist. We did it. We survived. Man, that was exhausting. It's almost like I just slow-mo punched out twenty guys while methodically parkouring around an expensive high-rise. Or like I got bashed in the teeth with a claw hammer. Phew. Excuse me while pause to I recharge my chi or passive-aggressively buy my girlfriend's building or something.
So how about that finale? Danny is framed for drug trafficking and goes on the run. While planning his next move, he gets a tough education about his own past. So many surprises! I can't believe it! Everything I knew was a lie!
Except, the opposite. Frankly, it's hard to see any of these big reveals as the least bit surprising. Let's count down the un-surprises in order from "saw that coming all the way from the K'un-Lun dimension" to "well, I guess that's not exactly what I expected."
- K'un-Lun is gone!
What is meant to be the finale's most twisty twist (I only assume this because it was at the end) is, in fact, its most dull. Of course Danny missed the arrival of The Hand to K'un-Lun. Didn't Davos make that painfully obvious when, after their fight, he reminded Danny that "the way to K'un-Lun is open and there's no one guarding the pass"? Danny has spent so much time looking for his purpose in his own chiseled navel that he missed his one chance to actually fulfill his mission of defending K'un-Lun against The Hand. Silly Danny.
Do we even care that K'un-Lun is gone? We didn't spend any time there. It's not anyone's happy place -- not anyone we care about, anyway. Sure, Danny loves K'un-Lun and is going back out of a sense of... duty? Nostalgia? I don't fucking know. He suffered immense trauma and abuse there. Why would he want to go back? Either way, I don't care what Danny wants. He's a wet noodle of a character who -- in the rare moments that he summons a backbone -- has a serious mansplaining problem and a tendency toward abusive control of others. The cycle of abuse is real. As always, Claire is right: Danny needs psychological help, not enablers. The latest developments in K'un-Lun will do nothing to help him leave the path to total psychological collapse. Great.
Plus, if this is supposed to be the cliffhanger, where is the mystery? The Hand came to K'un-Lun, just like we knew they would. Some of them died at the entrance, but they appear to have won and poof -- bye, K'un-Lun. What will Danny do now? Bring back a city from the mist? Wait: is K'un-Lun actually Brigadoon? Can The Hand bring Gene Kelly back from the dead like Harold? If that's the case, sign me up for Season 2.
- Harold killed Danny's parents
When Danny is first on the run from the DEA, he tells Colleen that he just wants to know why Harold would stab him in the back. Yikes, this guy is even more dense than I thought.
It was painfully obvious from the beginning that Harold was an evil dragon person. Have you seen him talk to Ward? (Poor Ward.) Harold feigned fear of the Hand, but he was a single-minded slave to power. It's baffling that the writers felt the need to devote such real estate to the how and why of Harold's fifteen-year-old scheme. From Harold and Ward's conversation in Ward's office to the big reveal in Gao's prison cell takes fifteen minutes -- a quarter of the episode! And then Danny and Harold hash out the reasons again on the roof of Rand.
But of course Harold was using Danny for his own benefit. Of course he wanted full control of the company. Of course he was the one who let The Hand into Rand. Who else would it have been? Danny's father? Now, that might have been an interesting come-to-Jesus for Danny, who has spent his life lionizing his father. But no, it was Harold, because Harold's a conniving jerk.
What did Danny actually expect? He doesn't even really know the guy! This realization is played as a shock big enough to throw Danny into an existential fit, from which Claire and Colleen -- ever the rational ones -- have to talk him down. Are they really concerned about this narcissistic noodle, or are they just trying to keep shit real? I'm so ready for the Claire and Colleen show.
Jessica Jones, Karen Page, and Misty Knight can join, too.
- Davos might be working with Gao, and Joy might be a Judas
At a small French cafe, Joy sips an espresso with Davos, Danny's best friend from K'un-Lun. He reminds her that Danny is destructive, and that if she has any hope of returning home, he must be "removed." She is open to the idea. The camera pans past her and comes to rest on the woman sitting at the next table: Madame Gao.
I'll admit, this one gave me a start. Is Davos a member of The Hand? Is that what he was hinting at when he reminded Danny that the path was open? Joy has been so devoted to Danny and her brother from the start. Why turn on them now? Why does she see Danny as the enemy, and not her father? Does she even know Harold is dead?
Still, it doesn't come as a total shock. Joy always had a glint of evil in her eye. She's frustratingly gullible, but clearly has more than a few of Harold's genes. Remember when she drugged Danny? And when she stole an organ for a client? It certainly does not bode well for Danny if his two jilted pseudo-siblings are in cahoots with Gao to take down the Iron Fist.
Perhaps the most surprising twist of the whole season was just how god-awfully amateurish and boring it was. After the fabulous trio of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, Iron Fist is beyond disappointing. Thankfully, we won't have to worry about another season featuring just Danny Rand The Mansplaining White Savior until at least 2018 -- or maybe ever, if critics have any say.
For better or worse, if you made it through the season, congratulations. You are now prepared for The Defenders, the eight-episode crossover miniseries due out on Netflix later this year. Here's hoping the other three Defenders lock Danny in the dojo and go about their business without him.