Harold is in Ultron’s glass chamber again when a couple of Madame Gao’s goons show up to punish him for leaving the penthouse bunker without permission and keeping Danny/ the Iron Fist a secret. They intend to cut off a small body part so that he has a constant reminder to behave. Goon #1 sets a long knife on the coffee table in front of Harold in preparation while he monologues.
Harold swears on the lives of his children that he has nothing to do with Danny Rand, and has never heard of the Iron Fist. (But, he says, the iron fist sounds like a sex toy- agreed). With his usual sense of subtlety and timing, Danny walks in and calls out to Harold that they have a problem. Oops. Harold thinks quick, grabs the knife from Hand Goon #1, and stabs him in the stomach. Fighting ensues.
Danny is shocked when Harold kills both goons. Harold is shocked when Danny doesn’t summon the Iron Fist. Both blame it on The Hand and Madame Gao. Danny can’t call on the Iron Fist too often because it drains his chi. Right now, he’s drained from the tournament. Gao talked about his father as if she knew him, leaving Danny confused.
Harold says he had to kill the goons to protect Danny from Gao. He will see to getting rid of the bodies, but he needs to make it look like they disappeared after their visit to him. He steels himself and cuts off his own finger. Harold is scarily hardcore. That glass chamber may be turning him into Ultron.
Meanwhile, Joy has brought Ward back to the office to give him another lecture about his secrets and addictions. Ward uses the ice from his office minibar to treat his swollen hand. He and his father have matching self-inflicted hand wounds. That doesn’t bode well for Ward. Joy begs Ward to tell her the truth, but Ward is bound by Harold’s promises to the Hand. Ward just can’t win.
Harold interrupts their discussion, calling to tell Ward that there are bodies at the penthouse bunker that won’t be burying themselves.
Colleen stitches up Danny’s wounds from the tournament. Claire lets them know that she’s gotten Sabina to a safehouse. Then Colleen and Danny have a drink together while Danny tells her stories about his time in K’un Lun. He talks about K’un Lun, his friend Davos, and the Iron Fist.
Colleen asks Danny to spend the night. He is definitely ready to give up his vow of chastity. It seems to go well. The next morning, they both agree that they can be themselves with each other.
When Ward arrives at the penthouse bunker, he and his father notice the matching bandages on their hands. They of course lie to each other about their injuries. Oh, and Harold is wrist-deep inside the skull of one the Hand goons, using a hammer to knock out all of its teeth so that the body will be more difficult to identify. Harold seems to think that this is a perfectly normal weeknight activity. Ward isn’t that far gone yet, and almost loses whatever combination of drugs and alcohol is in his stomach.
Harold wants Ward to help with “cleaning the kill”, just like when they used to go hunting together (except they didn’t), then dump the bodies. Ward feels that there are better uses for his time, being the CEO of a major corporation and all, plus being in charge of babysitting his mischievous new little brother, Danny. He dutifully loads the bodies up anyway.
By the time Ward gets to the swampy park where Harold told him to dump the bodies, he’s looking and acting like someone out of a Hitchcock movie, all wild-eyed, wild hair, and having conversations with the corpses.
At the office, Joy shows Danny the crisis management statement he’s supposed to read. Danny doesn’t like its tone, but gets distracted when he sees Madame Gao get off the elevator and go to his office. She gives him a bonsai tree and a cryptic lecture, ending with offers for both threats and bribes. When she leaves, Danny follows her to the 13th floor, which is a restricted access floor.
He eavesdrops on Gao listening to a business report that shows how deeply enmeshed the Hand’s synthetic heroin business is within Rand. As Gao is leaving, she seems to sense a disturbance in the Force, but doesn’t investigate. Danny approaches Gao’s assistant from behind and they scuffle for a moment. The assistant gives in, and Danny convinces her to give up, leave the city, and leave him her laptop and password.
Ward is dreaming about a tropical retirement resort, when Joy comes in to try to convince him to go to rehab. He agrees. Pretty sure he doesn’t mean it, unless that was the Betty Ford Caribbean clinic that he was looking at.
Danny’s next stop is the board meeting, where he tosses out Joy’s statement and let’s them know that he’s closing down the Staten Island plant but keeping its employees on the payroll until they can determine whether or not its causing the spike in illnesses. He’s already informed the press. The board is livid.
Then he’s off again to meet with Harold to discuss the Hand and the drug trade. Harold is able to understand the information from the laptop. He counsels Danny to save his own people and leave Radovan. Danny is uncomfortable with the selfish choice.
Colleen is visited by her old mentor, Bakuto. They talk about Danny. Colleen tells Bakuto that he’ll always have her first loyalty. Bakuto is slightly creepy and intense.
Colleen’s top student Darryl graduates from the dojo and has qualified for an elite training program with a scholarship to a university. Danny arrives as Colleen is holding Darryl’s graduation ceremony. He warns her that the Hand knows about her. They make plans to go get Radovan. But first, they convince the Triad to join them.
The board votes to oust Ward, Danny and Joy from the board of Rand permanently, and to take steps to stop them from working for the company ever again. Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but doesn’t Danny own 51% of the company, and the Meachums own the rest? I think that means that ultimately the board works for them, and can’t touch them. It’s a symbolic gesture, at best. Or the writers don’t understand what private ownership of a business means.
Danny, Colleen and the Triad find Radovan and try to rescue him, but he’s dying. He tells them that he gave Madame Gao the formula for the synthetic heroin, and Madame Gao is on her way to Anzhou, China, the place that Wendell Rand was taking his family before their plane crashed 15 years ago.
Ward is on his way to the airport when he gets a phone call letting him know that his bank accounts are empty. He goes straight to confront Harold. Harold tells Ward that he’s always known about the embezzling that Ward’s been doing to raise the funds in those secret accounts. He’s been covering Ward’s tracks so that Ward didn’t get caught, figuring that everyone deserved their vices. Harold knew that Ward was running away, and took steps to stop him.
Ward argues with his father, who won’t tolerate insubordination. He sucker punches Ward in the gut, then gives Ward the typical father-son villain monologue: Ward is his creation, who owes him everything, etc.
Harold goes back to acting as if nothing has happened, but something inWard has snapped. He takes the finger-chopping knife, which is still on the coffee table, and stabs Harold over and over in the gut.
He’d just told Harold that the happiest day of his life was the day Harold died, and Harold ignored him. Some people can’t take a hint.
Ward packs up the body and dumps it in the same swamp where he dumped the Hand goons’ bodies. He looks totally deranged as he drives away, but he smiles. Ward Meachum, free at last.
Ward has been collapsing in on himself. Joy was the only one still trying to keep the company going, while Ward is busy becoming a drug addict stereotype straight out of Reefer Madness.
Harold was hardcore with the finger chopping and face/teeth smashing. Makes you wonder what other violence he’s committed in his past. And why he already knew just where to dump bodies.
Ward embezzled $25 million, close to the smallest amount that they offered Danny as a pay off. He probably wanted to wait until he had more, but couldn’t take it any more.
Now that Madame Gao is in the city the Rands were headed to when the plane crashed, will Wendell turn out to be alive and being held hostage in Anzhou?
Harold has spent a lot of time in the healing chamber. Will he rise from the dead again? Will he be the Swamp Thing? (Sorry, too much Stranger Things, lately.)
Nearly every character is affected by the episode title’s imagery, Felling Tree with Roots, and has their past come back to haunt them in some way, but Danny most of all. Gao has seen how attached he is to saving his father’s company, and is playing him. She probably owns several, if not all, of the board members as well. She baited him into following her down to the 13th floor, then made sure he heard her conversation. She allowed him to take a preloaded laptop and recapture Radovan in order to lure him to China.
Gao wants Danny preoccupied with his father’s legacy so that he won’t cause her businesses any real trouble, and so that she can lure him into unfamiliar territory to make her final move on him.
In reality, Danny seems to be holding onto the business as a symbol of his father and the life that Danny lost in the plane crash. He hasn’t come to terms with that loss, since his training kept him in survival mode most of the time that he was in K’un Lun. He’ll be vulnerable to manipulation until he makes peace with his past and figures out who Danny Rand is in the present.