Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 4: Eight Diagram Dragon Palm Recap

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Danny hasn’t fallen to the sidewalk in an Iron Fisted splat, so the series can go on. He catches onto a light pole as he’s falling from the window of the penthouse bunker, then falls again, after declaring that he needs to get himself to the surface of all things in K’un Lun. He lands on a ledge and is knocked out.

No clue how he survives the fall. Let’s go with mysticism and a tie in with Dr Strange, because that’s where this show fits in the MCU. Danny is clearly Stephen Strange’s younger, naive cousin, ready to hang out with Tom Holland’s Spiderman, the Guardians of the Galaxy, or the Agents of SHIELD. If ABC cancels AoS after season 4, new episodes could move to Netflix and fit right in with this show.

Back to the show we’re supposed to be recapping.

Danny wakes up in the penthouse bunker, the opening credits having conveniently disguised how he got there. He’s on Harold’s couch, and looks at the view of Harold’s arched window that Harold looked at in episode 2 with Kyle to the side. Danny is alone in the frame, and in the light, whereas Harold was in the dark. Ward walks in behind Danny and stands just to his side. Danny is already protected, has already received sacred instructions and is a believer. Finding Harold again brings him back to the family he was missing, but Ward crossing behind him is a reminder that everything is not as it seems.

Danny and Ward sort out the fairness of Ward pushing Danny off the building but then bringing him upstairs, because they will never stop bickering like brothers. Harold makes his grand entrance, telling them to get over it, like he probably did a thousand times when they were kids. Danny freaks and jumps to stand next to Ward, because even a crappy big brother might still protect you from a ghost.

Ward watches Danny closely, surprisingly protective of his abusive father. Danny and Harold bond over coming back from the dead, with Danny taking a moment to remember how ridiculous it is for him to argue with someone else about this. But then he succumbs to his emotions, and accepts Harold as his new father. Harold tells Danny that he’s home now and they hug.

Harold gives Danny the explanation we’ve been waiting for as to why everyone thinks he’s dead, and why he can’t leave the penthouse bunker. Harold was diagnosed with cancer throughout his body. He fought it for three years, trying everything. He had two kids to take care of, who had no mother, and hadn’t even gotten over losing the Rands. He was reaching the end, barely 100 lbs, when some people approached him with a cure. But he would be in their debt. He had to die first, and then three days later, he came back to life. It had to be three days, right?

The people who cured him are known as The Hand. They’ve infested Rand. He describes them as like the Illuminati, only real. Danny is shocked. He’s trained for years to fight The Hand, just in case they turned up, but they seemed to be a myth. He never thought he’d actually have to fight them.

Harold clarifies that Danny is meant to fight The Hand. He asks if the Iron Fist is how Danny punched through the steel door at the hospital. Danny nods yes. Harold begs Danny to help free him from The Hand. They won’t let him show himself to the world, or even to Joy. She doesn’t know that her father is alive. Only Ward and Kyle have been allowed to know. The Hand has eliminated anyone else who found out. Danny agrees to keep the secret and protect Joy. But he doesn’t have time to take on The Hand. He’s busy fighting for his inheritance. He’s not quite as naive as he seems.

Harold tells Ward to give Danny everything he’s owed, including his dad’s old office. They were going to lose in the end anyway, so it’s in Harold’s best interest to appear benevolent and keep Danny on his side.

With that settled, it’s straight to Iron Fist business. Harold has only ever met a couple of representatives of The Hand, who show up unannounced whenever they please. Their overall plan is unclear. Most recently they made Rand purchase the pier out in Red Hook. Danny should talk to Joy about it.

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As Danny and Ward are leaving, Ward warns him to be careful in his dealings with Harold. Harold only cares about himself.

Colleen’s students watch a recording of her fight at the fight club. Daryl admits to filming and posting it. He hopes that it will bring in more students. Colleen feels it makes her a hypocrite.

Danny and the Meachums hold a brief press conference announcing his return to the company. A reporter asks if it’s true that he was committed to a psych ward. He handles it gracefully, and Ward ends the press conference.

After the press conference, it’s straight to work. Except Danny doesn’t have an actual job, just 51% of the company and a place on the board. He has no idea what to do. He tries to make an appointment with Joy, but she can’t see him for three days.

At a meeting to establish pricing for a new drug that treats a parasitic illness, the board wants to charge $50 each for a pill that costs less than $5 to produce. Danny feels this is wrong, and, as majority shareholder, demands that the medication be sold at cost so that everyone who needs it will be able to get it. Ward takes Danny’s idea seriously, and doesn’t try to discuss it or talk him out of it. Joy’s schedule suddenly clears.

Danny’s move was impulsive, but it also established his agenda, and showed that he would demand to be listened to, that he wasn’t afraid of them, and that he wouldn’t allow them to leave him out of the loop. It was a good idea to do that quickly, before people got used to ignoring him. Joy putting off the company’s majority shareholder for three days was a major insult, and they all needed him to show them that he knows he’s in charge now, if he wants to be the one who sets the agenda for the company. It may have looked on the surface like a clumsy idiot who didn’t understand how things work, but he grew up watching his father work. They just established that he sat under his father’s desk, listening in. He knew what he was doing. Ward knew it, too. That’s why he didn’t argue. Ward wants a change in his life, and if Danny can replace him or share the burden, Ward can leave the company and his father, or at least get a break.

Colleen sets up a wooden practice dummy and lets loose. She ends up breaking one of the dummy’s wooden arm’s off.

Harold calls Ward and lets him know that, while he did okay overall, the reporter’s psych hospital question was a screw up, and so was the change in drug pricing. Harold considers both to be Ward’s fault. He orders Ward to deal with the reporter. Ward tells Harold that Joy is keeping Danny busy.

Joy and Danny take a walk and discuss why Joy gave Hogarth the bowl with the fingerprint. Joy says Danny’s return made her think about all of the people she’s lost, and the kind of person she’d become. She didn’t like what she saw. She wanted to do the right thing by him.

Colleen goes to the fight club again, this time all in white. She fights two huge guys at once and wins. Her flexibility alone is enviable, never mind her strength and speed.

Joy and Danny have ended up at his place, an open plan with two or three story glass walls. Would a million dollars a year cover that in NY? He asks her about the pier, but she can’t tell him anything, because she only came in at the end of the deal.

Danny tells Joy that when he got to the monastery, he set his sights on a particular job. Everyone said an outsider like him could never get it, which just made him work harder. But he never thought through why he wanted the job. He mistook stubbornness for destiny, without accounting for the cost to his life. He fought the whole way, and earned the job. He’s not sure yet if it was worth it. Gonna bet that he’s wrong about it not being his destiny.

Danny’s life was difficult in the monastery. He lived in a small room with nothing but a mat on the floor and no running water. All he did each day was train and fight. If he failed, he was beaten. When he succeeded, he moved on to the next fighting style.

The doorbell rings. Joy answers it, since Danny is getting her a drink. It’s a gang of 8 or so Chinese guys, who try to kidnap her. She’s passed down the hall to the elevator. Danny comes out into the hall, and the gang members pull out little hatchets. Danny gets to show off his spins and kicks, and even break a few hatchets on the Iron Fist. The elevator finally arrives and the guys with Joy hustle her onto it. Danny manages to get on as well. Unlike Steve Rogers, he doesn’t give anyone the option of getting out before they get started.

Joy gets in a couple of hits of her own, and Danny has everyone subdued by the time they reach the ground floor. The gang members say they have to get back to the Golden Sands. Danny tells them to go.

Ward meets with the reporter. He refers to Danny as Tarzan, then tells her the story about Danny forcing the company to sell the parasite drug at cost. She practically runs out of the office, while phoning her boss to ask for the front page for the story.

Colleen is stretching at her dojo after her big win. She looks pretty happy with herself. Her only injury is a broken or dislocated pinky. Danny and Joy come to the door. The lock’s been fixed, so she has to let them in. Danny asks Colleen to keep an eye on Joy. He needs to know which Golden Sands is the one he’s looking for. She shows him, and says that the Triad is involved. She also asks Joy why she’s with her stalker, but gives up, figuring millionaires are different. Danny corrects her- he has billions now. He just wants to keep the facts straight, okay? Then he’s off to hunt down the attackers.

At the Golden Sands, the Triad leader is shocked when his henchmen say that Danny is the one who beat all of them. Danny asks why they attacked Joy. The Triad is angry because Rand stole the Pier out from under them. Danny explains that The Hand forced Rand to buy it. Upon hearing this, the Triad members apologize for any inconvenience they’ve caused The Hand and back off as quickly as possible. Danny is left talking to thin air, trying to convince them to give him more information.

Harold is working out with his punching bag when Madame Gao and her goon appear in his penthouse. They tell him to put on a hood so that he won’t be able to see where he’s being taken.

Colleen and Joy talk about Danny as Colleen shows Joy some fighting tips. Joys tells Colleen that the families used to joke that Danny and Joy would get married some day. Danny walks in and says that he’s taken care of the Triad. He offers to pop Colleen’s dislocated pinky back into place. He tells her to count to three, then pops it in after “one.” They are framed with Joy between them in the distance. Colleen is the future, Joy is the past. Danny offers to pay Joy’s rent, now that he’s rich. She refuses. Danny also used to earn money by fighting in illegal fight clubs.

Danny and Joy agree not to tell Ward about the attack. Joy still wants to know what Danny found out at the Golden Sands.

Madame Gao takes Harold to watch Joy from a window across the street from her home. He hasn’t seen her in person since she was a child. It’s a reward for facilitating the pier deal. Harold notices Joy icing an injury to her face and asks how it happened. He asks for one more favor. He’s allowed to go to the Golden Sands disguised as an assassin and kill the man who injured his daughter.

Ward finds Danny’s story on the front page of the business section of the newspaper. It reads Daniel Rand, Corporate Hero: Majority Stakeholder Mandates ‘Purpose Over Profit.’ He smiles.

Danny goes through his morning practices. Someone leaves a small ceramic bowl at his door with a note inside that says: This is the answer for which you seek. Yang Hai-Qing. Under the note is a paper with the symbol of the Steel Serpent. Danny turns, bare-chested, and we see the Iron Fist dragon tattoo that takes up most of his chest for the first time.


 

This feels like the end of the initial arc of the season. We’ve gotten the basic introductions and origin stories out of the way, and all of the players are in place. The ceramic bowl was the set up for the next arc.

Ward is becoming an enigma. Just what does he want? Is he caught up in going through the motions of the life he’s always led, while wishing he could escape? Is he continuing to sabotage his father’s plans where he can, as he did with Danny? Is he embezzling and looking for an escape hatch? But would he ever leave Joy, or will he be ready to, now that Danny can protect her?

There was some interesting chemistry between Colleen and Joy while Joy was sparring. Maybe Danny can stay single or find someone else and Colleen can redeem Joy.

I want to live in the Penthouse bunker. It seems to symbolize heaven, but Harold is trapped there. The sets are interesting, especially the ones associated with particular characters. The set designer went out of their way to say something about the people who use those spaces with the production design. And they generally said it while making the sets gorgeous to look at. The Rand/Meachum residence is beautiful, including the furnishings. I have a feeling that most of the furnishings are left over from when it belonged to the Rands. They are expensive and high quality, but Joy doesn’t seem to take the time to make much her own. Not her office decor, not her home, not her personal look. Just the dish that Danny made, and her case of M&Ms. 😘

The costumes and make up aren’t as fabulous, but I don’t think they are supposed to be at this point. There are things holding Joy back from being her full self, and that’s reflected in her clothing and make up, which are usually dull, a little messy, and somehow off. Colleen has glowing skin and hair, but dresses practically and modestly. She’s not trying to be fancy or sexy. Danny is evolving from homeless drifter to young executive, but he’s at an in between point, where neither look is completely comfortable. Both Meachum men have the standard NY business look and are comfortable with it. It works as camouflage just as well as it works to show their status.

We’ve now seen Colleen in all white, and Harold in an all black Ninja outfit, which isn’t exactly subtle, but this is the MCU.  They aren’t known for their subtlety.

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