“Eight Diagram Dragon Palm”
Written by Scott Reynolds
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Danny manages to catch onto a beam and then land on an outcropping instead of falling all the way to the ground, and he wakes up inside. Well that was a waste of a twist, but at least now Danny knows Harold’s alive. He tells Danny the story of dying and coming back to life, then tells Ward to drop the legal stuff against Danny, and reveals that he’s basically the Hand’s prisoner. Anyone who finds out he’s alive, they murder. At the dojo, everyone loves the video of Colleen’s fight, but she’s furious with herself for breaking the code of Bushido. Danny does a press conference to announce he’s now on the board of Rand and manages to not screw it up. (But that’s about as good as it’s ever going to get for him at Rand.) Even Hogarth is impressed. Danny has his dad’s old office now, where there are still the stickers he stuck to the underside of the desk. Hogarth explains what it means to be a majority shareholding board member. This should be interesting. He pretty much bowls over a board meeting about a antiparasitic drug, insisting that they sell the drug at cost. *facepalm* Colleen practices alone at the dojo and accidentally breaks some of her equipment. Oops. Danny and Joy go for a walk, and it’s a really nice conversation. She doesn’t like who she is now, and she wants to do better. Colleen does more fighting. Two against one. She wins again. Danny’s still trying to figure out what the pier deal is about. He tells Joy about his training, which was extremely difficult, but he doesn’t regret it. Some weird fighter guys with hatchets try to kidnap Joy, and he demolishes them. Ward does an interview with the skeptical reporter from the press conference, and despite his anger/despair drinking over Danny’s “at cost” move, the reporter thinks this is front page news, in a good way for Rand. Danny and Joy go to Colleen, and she thinks the attack guys were Triad guys. He heads right off to confront them. They were in line to buy that pier and they wanted to use Joy as leverage to get it. As soon as Danny tells them the Hand forced Rand to buy the pier, they back off, terrified, and Danny gets no info out of them. Colleen gives Joy some brief fighting training and Colleen shows signs of being sad if Danny/Joy is a thing. Danny fixes her dislocated finger and tries to pay her for her help before, but she refuses. Gao visits Harold again and drags him off...so that he can have a glimpse of Joy walking around in her house as a reward! He is pissed that she has a bruise on her face. He would now like to do something about the men who harmed her, so Gao sends assassins to murder the one who hit Joy, except it was Harold in a ninja suit who did that. The Bulletin prints a glowing article about Danny, to Ward’s annoyance. Danny gets a mystery note outside his door, and a packet of Gao’s heroin. We see that he has a huge tattoo of a dragon on his chest.
Okay, they just retroactively made it more annoying that the first three episodes were a legal identity struggle now that Harold has handwaved the whole thing away with one order. If it was that easy to solve, then it shouldn’t have taken so long to deal with it. And if it was meant to be a parallel to the hard work Danny had to do to become the Iron Fist against all odds, then there shouldn’t have been an easy solution. But whatever. The first time I watched this, I definitely wasn’t spotting parallels between the arcs, and now I am, even if I’m still not sure what the point is of having the billionaire corporate shenanigans arc instead of something more relatable, so once again, reviewing a show is teaching me new things about it, which makes the rewatch totally worth it.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Holy crap, Danny goes around calling himself the sworn enemy of the Hand, and yet he thought they were pretty much a scary bedtime story. So is that why he thought it’d be no big deal if he left K’un-Lun? Because he believed the threat was a fantasy? I mean, staggering ignorance is probably a better reason for ditching his post than cowardice or knowingly dooming K’un-Lun to destruction.
But it’s only better because neither of the other options get explored at all, and it’s just kind of not dealt with, so it's either this dumb explanation or nothing. What did he even think the point of being the Immortal Iron Fist was if his sworn enemies were just a myth? Why did he work so hard to gain that ability? Ugh. But back to the positive-yet-frustrating side, now that he knows the Hand is real and they seem to be in New York rather than at the gates of K’un-Lun, it would appear that he has a good reason to stay there—not just as Danny Rand, heir of the company, but as the Sworn Enemy of the Hand too. Regarding the corporate shenanigans plot, it feels weird to be angry with someone for being so immovable about not profiting over the suffering of others. To an extent, I agree with him. A basic necessity like getting treatment for a deadly disease should not be priced like luxury goods. People can’t control whether or not they get a disease, and it’s not their fault they need treatment. But there’s a difference, Danny, between being Martin Shkreli and selling a drug with just enough of a price hike to fund production materials, research into future products, and reasonable salaries for employees. I’m starting to see a really weird parallel between Danny Rand, majority shareholder and Danny Rand, Iron Fist. And the way he handles both. He fought very hard to gain the honor of being the Iron Fist and then didn’t really know what to do once he had it. Same with getting what was owed him at the company. That kinda makes it thematically okay for his path to being majority shareholder to have taken three and a half episodes, but he’d better get his crap together, because he has two extremely important jobs now, and screwing up either or both will cause massive consequences. (This almost sounds like he has the ambition of a Slytherin, but Slytherins are much better planners than this. No, he’s a Gryffindor trying to prove himself and not understanding how the long haul is supposed to work.)
Colleen acknowledges her hypocrisy, and yet she goes back to fight for money again? Is it about the money or is it about the challenge? I guess we’ll never know, since that’s the last we see of that plotline. (I’m still going to try to make sense of it as the season progresses, though.) I think it was at least enough about the money for her to justify the necessity of it to herself. And hey, she doesn’t do it again after Danny pays her bills. But she definitely also had fun. She does all this training, but she doesn’t have many real fights where she’s in genuine danger. She’s ready for action and this might be the only way she can get it for now. Anyway, I like how subtle the earliest signs of her interest in Danny are.
Ward does not enjoy watching Harold be fatherly and affectionate with Danny when he’s just a bossy, overbearing tool to him. I feel pretty sorry for him about that. Less so for the rest of the episode, in which he is fairly spineless and turning to pills and alcohol to deal with his stress instead of actually confronting the people causing it.
Joy is quite endearing in this one. She doesn’t want to be a corporate drone, so she’s willing to talk to Danny about the weirder stuff from his years away, and I particularly like the training she does with Colleen, even if it’s super brief.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.