“Shadow Hawk Takes Flight”
Written by Scott Buck
Directed by John Dahl
Joy’s doubts over dismissing the alleged Danny Rand are growing, but Ward’s aren’t. Danny is still strapped to a bed in a psych ward, where his story about K’un-Lun just makes him sound crazy. Colleen gets jumped by several karate kids, and it turns out this is a training exercise for them, which they pretty much failed because she spotted them. Danny wants to escape but the drugs are making it hard to tap into his chi. He manages to call Colleen to get her help, but she’s still leery of him. Harold is having Ward spy on Danny to find out if he really is Danny, and now this involves seeing who this Colleen person is. Ward visits Colleen and tries to bribe her to help him paint Danny as a dangerous lunatic. Danny snaps when the doctor persists in not believing him, and Harold is watching it all through camera feeds. Based on the details Danny has mentioned, the doctor is starting to wonder if Danny might really be who he says he is. Harold visits Danny while he’s heavily drugged and tries to pry information out of him. Danny reveals he is the Immortal Iron Fist, sworn enemy of the Hand. Harold is very intrigued. When he gets back to the penthouse, there’s a message on the outside of one of the windows, from the Hand. They know he left. Joy comes up with a clever way to test Danny to find out if he’s really Danny, involving sorting M&Ms the way they used to. Aww. Colleen visits Danny after getting a second visit from Ward, and Danny sends her to Joy with the M&Ms. Joy is convinced. Ward refuses to be. The doctor quizzes Danny on his Danny trivia, which he of course passes. The doctor is convinced. However, he’s not sure that means he isn’t crazy, because all this chi/K’un-Lun/Iron Fist stuff is really weird. Ward is super annoyed that Harold now wants to keep Danny safe (he was hoping he wanted to put a hit out on him). Ward makes a call, and Danny gets put into a straight jacket, then tossed in a room with a bunch of the patients he ticked off during his stay, who start beating him with sticks. This turns out to be a mistake, because getting beaten with sticks was part of his training in K’un-Lun, and it enables him to focus through the drugs and summon the Iron Fist. Finally! Using his glowing fist, he busts out of the building by punching the reinforced steel door right out, frame and all. YES.
I kind of wish the whole “nobody believes he’s really Danny” thing had been compressed into a single episode. It feels a bit like stalling to have it take so long. Same with waiting until the end of episode two for him to actually use his cool power. Matt, Luke, and Jessica were all using theirs in the first episodes of their shows, and they only *talked* about their powers after we already got the cool demonstration. Show, don’t tell, guys. That being said, a lot of the other stuff going on is still interesting, and the wait to see what this Iron Fist thing can do does make the payoff pretty good. I like the way Danny gradually wins Colleen and Joy over. I’m very glad there’s a clear connection between the Hand and the corporate shenanigans storyline. It would’ve been nice if Harold wasn’t so transparently a villain. They could have painted him a bit more like a prisoner and a bit less like a selfish, controlling tool. It’s hard to believe Ward has allowed himself to be under Harold’s thumb and the keeper of his secret for so many years when he behaves this way.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Danny is basically still a ten-year-old in a lot of significant ways. He knows how to be an adult in K’un-Lun (except that he did kinda bail on his responsibilities there at the first possible opportunity, so maybe not), but he has the innocence and naïveté of a child, which leaves him very vulnerable in the billionaire corporate shenanigans side of the plot. So far, this is more endearing than it is frustrating. I like his earnestness a lot, and I like that his Buddhist philosophy and meditation doesn’t prevent him from snapping when he gets super frustrated with everyone not believing him.
So, knowing the twist about Colleen already (if you don’t know it, why are you reading this?), I really have to wonder about her attack scenario training exercise. The kids weren’t defending themselves in the mock attack, they were ganging up on a lone fighter, trying to take her by surprise. She says they’re learning how to “perform in the real world,” which presumably means she’s specifically training them to be more assassins for the Hand. How does she believe they’re the good guys? What positive use does she imagine these skills will be put to? In spite of her unsettling training exercise, she clearly has a strong moral code, because she reacts to Ward’s bribe by trusting Danny more. Danny is merely eccentric, but she can tell Ward is a snake.
Is Ward deliberately modeled after Donald Trump Jr., or was that just a creepy accident? (And Joy isn’t a bad Ivanka copy either.) That might be contributing to my dislike, but it’s certainly a good visual shorthand to get us to understand that this is a guy who grew up rich and has always been under a lot of pressure and expectations from his father.
Definitely liking Joy more now. She genuinely missed Danny and is happy he’s alive. Whatever trouble it’ll cause for her company is a secondary concern. I get the impression she doesn’t have many friends, so having Danny back is especially wonderful. Poor girl. (Well, ungodly rich girl, but you get it.)
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.