“Under Leaf Pluck Lotus”
Written by Christine Chambers
Directed by Uta Briesewitz
Several deliberately seductive young pharmaceutical representatives go pitching their product to various clients. Oh, sorry, did I say pharmaceutical representatives? I meant drug dealers. A new type of heroin that is fully synthetic, keeps users from building tolerance, and spares them the necessity of a needle. Danny has learned about this drug and he’s going to put a stop to it. A group of people who got cancer after living near a Rand chemical plant are trying to sue them over it. Rand followed all regulations, so they aren’t legally accountable, but Joy shows a flicker of sympathy during the meeting. Danny tries to get Ward’s help stopping the Hand smuggling heroin into the city through their new pier. Ward thinks this is very weird and doesn’t care. The heroin saleswomen stroll right back into Rand, past Danny. One of the victims from the cancer meeting confronts Danny and tries to get him on board with her about her young son who has cancer. She wants his help. Rand unwittingly enters into legal culpability territory with his compassion. *facepalm* HI CLAIRE! She is at Colleen’s dojo for that martial arts training she took an ad for in the finale of Luke Cage. Danny is adorably smiley at Colleen when he comes by. Ward still wants to not settle with the cancer people, but Joy wants to focus on how it will look. Howard, who is spying from afar, texts Ward to do what she says, so he flips Howard off through his cameras. Danny tells Colleen and Claire about his training and experiences. He’s actually here to tell Colleen about all this Hand stuff, but he waits until Claire leaves. He wants Colleen’s help exposing the heroin transportation without getting the company as a whole in trouble. Also he bought her building because she wouldn’t let him pay her rent. Now she doesn’t owe any! Ward still doesn’t want to settle, because it makes them look guilty. Joy backs Ward. Colleen and Danny show off some moves for each other. The bad press rolls in, and Ward ups his self-medication to include that packet of heroin. Danny and Colleen infiltrate the pier. Seems like ordinary shipping stuff until the final container is opened. Danny jumps into it to get a closer look, and there’s a partition and a whole room in there. He gets shut inside and the truck drives off. Colleen knocks a guard out and steals his car to follow the truck. The chemist who made the synthetic heroin is inside the container, along with his guard. The chemist is a prisoner. He gets stabbed in the course of Danny trying to rescue him and get him out of the container and into Colleen’s new vehicle. They take the chemist to Claire. Joy finds Ward in a drug haze. Clearly not for the first time. Claire helps the chemist, but he’s panicking now because the Hand has his daughter. Claire freaks out. She does not want more Hand crap. The men in the truck report to Gao, who realizes that they’ve got an Iron Fist on their Hand. (I am so sorry.) She executes one of them for their failures.
*slow clap* Maybe this would’ve been awesome from the start if Claire had shown up in the first episode. I’m mostly serious. It’s not just that I always love to see Claire, though; in addition to spreading wonderful characterization with everyone sharing scenes with her, she actually brings what I’ve wanted since S1 of Daredevil: actual gravitas for the Hand. Why couldn’t Stick have said that “They’re like the Illuminati, except real” line way back then? He could’ve been cryptic about the details but rattled off enough of the crap they’ve pulled to convince Matt it was important. Well, now we’re seeing some of the Hand’s reach and power, and they are definitely a present, immediate threat—not just another organized crime group. And unlike in Daredevil S2, the Hand isn't tanking all of the main character's friendships and taking time away from a more interesting plotline. Now it's taking time away from the still annoying corporate shenanigans plotline and giving the main character legitimate purpose. FINALLY. Also, Gao got to do some of her own dirty work for the first time, which is very scary (in a good way). So yeah, easily the best episode so far.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Danny is stepping up to the plate now that the Hand are actually on the scene, and I’ll give him credit for that. If the duty he thought was a myth presents itself, he won’t even hesitate.
Okay, I take back what I said about how Colleen’s fight club stuff went nowhere. It really was about her restlessness from endless training and no actual payoff. And her reaction to the Hand reveal is fascinating. I think she wants to stay close enough to Danny’s investigation to find out what’s really going on before she makes any decisions about the nature of the organization that raised her.
Ward is now slipping into a complete tailspin. One that seems not entirely unprecedented, judging by Joy’s reaction.
I’m fascinated by Joy’s attitude that she wishes something was her fault so she’d be able to do something about it. As the episode progresses, she’s torn between her desire to be a better person and her existing nature as a good, loyal sister. If Danny actually showed up to company stuff, maybe she’d stay on his side, but Ward’s going to pieces and still trying, so she backs him.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.