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Why Doesn't Anyone On Iron Fist Talk To The Hand?
And a fistful of more burning questions sparked by S01.E06, the episode that sets up the second half of the season.
"Immortal Emerges From Cave," Iron Fist's sixth episode, is an unapologetic attempt at cribbing from your favorite kung fu movies -- directed by RZA (The Man With the Iron Fists writer/director, who you may also know from other endeavors), and peppered with aphorisms that wouldn't be out of place as lyrics in the song you play when you need that final adrenaline rush. The plot? Right: Danny is invited to not one, not two, but a series of three fights to the death to save the life of the synthetic heroin producer's daughter.
Of course, it's no Enter The Dragon. With every motivational poster line like "I have a vision of total victory and nothing else. It's the reason I've got this far. Defeat has no place in my mind," Danny makes a motion all too similar to the movements on The OA. It's still a karate chop or two in the right direction, but it raises several questions.
Is Danny supposed to be Steve Jobs with better hair?
Because he is reminding me of the late Apple co-founder. Jobs was a practicing buddhist and a bajillionaire, i.e. a "smug phony," a "smug hypocrite," or a "complex individual," depending on who you ask. I believe this is a parallel the show welcomes; Ward's line about Monastery Boy driving an Aston Martin is the only evidence I need.
If we're going to be totally unfair, let's say Danny is supposed to be Dick Whitman/Don Draper instead. Draper was never more of a successful human being on Mad Men then when the best of his cowardly but innocent original self and the best of his confident advertising executive self merged. Can Rand achieve his goals by reconciling the Iron Fist inside of him -- a merciless kung fu master with a special killing power -- with being a human who blows off business meetings to check out six warehouses for one innocent woman? The negotiation of man's duality was mostly entertaining to watch on Mad Men; if Danny leads Colleen to harm and/or death -- as, I wrote yesterday, he most certainly will -- I don't think it'll be as entertaining as it will be annoying, and the end of anybody caring about the character's fate.
What is Madame Gao's deal?
The short answer is that she has superpowers, and she really hates it when people aren't one-dimensional.
To Danny's shock, Gao had been, or at least read a very thorough book to K'Un-Lun. It still doesn't explain how she gets the power to throw Danny against a wall from twenty feet away. After she makes Danny withdraw at the last second, claiming she'll kill Radovan's daughter Sabina anyway if he wins, Madame Gao seems to lose respect for the guy. "I am entertained by how your mind works," she hisses. "Has life inside the monastery changed so much? Because you seem so different from those I remember." Danny going all Steve Jobs is too much cognitive dissonance to her.
Gao had similar issues with Wilson Fisk in Daredevil, warning him of becoming both a "savior and an oppressor." We're all a little bit of both, lady, damn.
Why can't The Hand be progressive, Danny?
Danny poses this question to one of his opponents in the Da Jue Zhan.
Danny's father is alive, right?
If Harold Meachum can come back to life thanks to The Hand's incredible healthcare system, why not Wendell Rand, his former best business buddy? Seems like it could be the ace up Gao's apparently jacked sleeve to make sure Iron Fist doesn't destroy her entire heroin business. Gao alluded to Wendell just to rub it in Danny's face after he withdrew to save Sabina. She could have been in contact with Wendell at K'Un-Lun without Danny's knowledge. It sounds like Danny had lived mostly in isolation there while training to become a killing machine and live in the moment or whatever.
Why don't they just talk to The Hand?
...You're still reading? Oh good.
Seriously: why didn't Ward talk to The Hand for a fix?
Ward is going through massive drug withdrawal, an ever-increasing jealousy of Danny's popularity, and visions of the beheaded Hand lackey. He deals with all three by slamming his arm against his car door to try to score some painkillers. Did he forget his office building is populated with Hand operatives that peddle the dragon he's mostly jonesing for in the first place? I'm pretty sure they would give him an employee discount to get Ward even further under their thumb.
Who has it worse: Sabina or Joy?
Joy is now dealing with a drug addicted brother, when before she was simply dealing with a humorless asshole. As soon as Sabina's life is spared, her captor and savior ignore her to have a conversation she didn't understand. Her father also makes heroin.
Does somebody at Marvel hate hospitals?
After bringing up the option of taking the dying man to a hospital (I believe) five times, Radovan gets taken into the ER. Claire is rightfully suspicious when her former boss Shirley doesn't make much of a fuss when Claire brings the man in. The Hand got to her. Rarely, if at all, does anything go right at a hospital in a Marvel series.
Is it so bad that The Hand got away with kidnapping Radovan?
Walter White is dead AND fictitious. Where are they going to get another brilliant drug chemist who can make technically legal synthetic heroin if Radovan croaks?
Is Claire going to keep quoting Luke Cage?
When Claire spots what she thinks is the ambulance holding Radovan, she exclaims, "Sweet Christmas." It gave me more joy than I could have imagined, as if it actually were some holiday that isn't disappointing. Claire has another great line earlier when she gives the perfect response to Danny's admission that he's the Iron Fist: "The hell does that mean?"
Will the final boss get to try to hit that impossible note at karaoke?
The man credited as "Scythe" is introduced impressively nailing a-Ha's "Take On Me" to an audience of the men he recently murdered. The man cheats at the final, most impossible note of the song ("in a day or twooooo") when he conveniently strangles the remaining survivor of his bloodbath with the cord of his microphone. Scythe must attempt to perform it again and get his inner Kevin Garvey on. Why else was his life spared?
Why aren't we in K'Un-Lun yet?
"Do you remember the Katsura tree in the middle of K'Un-Lun Square?" Gao reminisces. "Its shade stretches on for miles. And when it blooms, it smells like brown sugar. I dream about it every night." Me too! It sounds like a real fireworks factory of a location. Or "heaven," as Gao puts it. You can't just tease us like that, show. Bottle episode in heaven or we riot.