Ward sinks further into his drug and alcohol fueled delusions and depression this episode, despite being rid of Harold, while Joy starts to come into her own, even though she didn’t know that Harold has been pulling the strings all along. Danny becomes more obsessed with Madame Gao and revenge, though he pretends his investigation is about the current synthetic heroin trade.
Danny starts the episode by warning his friends about the Hand. He stops by Harold’s apartment, but, of course Harold is gone. All that’s left is a giant smear of blood across the floor, left from Ward dragging the body out. Before Danny can react much, Ward comes in with a bag of cleaning supplies. Because he’s Danny, and he’s the Iron Fist, not the Iron Brain, he doesn’t put the cleaning supplies and the giant freakin’ blood stain together as clues. Instead, he blames himself for getting Harold killed by the Hand and tells that to Ward. Thanks to Harold, Ward is becoming a pro at looking sick and shocked. He pulls that look up again on cue. With a straight face, he blames Danny for making him grieve his father’s death twice. (Pretty sure Harold’s second death was the second best day of Ward’s life.) Since Danny is the most trusting and naive person on the earth, of course he believes Ward, even when Ward drives him out of the apartment with insults. Ward then gets down to his cleaning. I can almost hear him whistling while he works.
Danny’s at least smart enough to take Gao’s laptop with him.
Colleen has gone to Claire’s house to keep her safe from the Hand, should they attack. The three meet up at Colleen’s dojo. They examine the laptop, and discover Gao’s synthetic heroin factory in Anzhou, China, the place where Danny’s family was flying the day of the plane crash. Luckily, Danny has access to a private plane. Road trip!
But wait! Claire insists on being the voice of reason, because that’s her job on the MCU Marvel shows, and she’s going to do it, D*mn it! Danny refuses to believe that they could be walking into a trap, and tells Claire that she can’t even pronounce Anzhou right anyway. He needs to know the truth, so he’s going to follow this lead, even if it is a trap, because that’s just how the Iron Fist operates. Walk in without thinking first, then punch your way out. He and Barry Allen should really meet sometime.
Colleen announces that she’s going along, because Danny hasn’t been able to handle the Hand alone so far. Claire decides to go, too, since it’s a personal fight for her, based on events from other Netflix series. What happened to the misgivings she had 30 seconds ago? 🤷🏻♀️ She’s drawn in by Danny’s charisma and compelling arguments, like everyone else. 😘
So what’s Danny’s plan for capturing Gao, questioning her, and bringing her to justice? He going to bust into the factory and grab her. 🤦🏻♀️ Claire and Colleen’s eyes bug out of their heads at the stupidity of this plan. Danny gets defensive again. This on-the-job training to be a superhero thing isn’t easy. They all agree that they have several hours to work out a more detailed plan.
Joy and Ward meet with Wilkins to go over the board’s severance offer for firing them from the company that they own. 🤦🏻♀️ 🤦🏻♀️ Ward is ready for his golden parachute, but Joy wants to fight for the company. They agree to think about each other’s positions and make a decision together.
Ward is hallucinating blood stains on the cuffs of his shirt, which grow larger each time he sees them. He needs to lay off the reefer.
Either this is a very badly written storyline or Harold wrote his will in a very bizarre way. He made their inheritance conditional on their continuing to work at Rand, but would he really write it in such a way that they could be fired and have the entire thing taken away? That really, really doesn’t sound like a mistake Harold would make. He’s a sociopath, but he’s not stupid, and that would be a very obvious loophole.
Claire gets gossipy on the flight to China, but Danny refuses to kiss and tell. She can see that he’s into Colleen anyway. Danny asks if the letter she’s read over and over is from her boyfriend, but she denies it, saying the author is “presently unavailable”.
Claire takes a moment to fulfill her other role in the Netflix MCU, the uncompromising moral center, and harasses Danny for murders he hasn’t even committed yet. Colleen comes to Danny’s defense.
Then the plane runs into severe turbulence while crossing the Himalayas, the exact scenario that led to the plane crash 15 years ago. Danny starts to have a panic attack. Claire talks him through it.
Ward meets with Wilkins to ask the board to give him his severance separately from Joy. Wilkins toys with Ward, encouraging him to go through his whole pitch, then telling him that Joy already turned the offer down, and lecturing him on what a disappointment he is. The amount of gloating Wilkins is doing has to lead to something terrible happening to him, right? The man has no redeeming qualities.
Ward confronts Joy over her betrayal. She shows him photographs of every member of the board in compromising positions. She hired a private detective months ago to gather information as insurance. (Jessica Jones shout out!) Ward is stunned. They have a real heart to heart talk, and Ward actually listens. She’s felt the distance between them since he started keeping things from her after Harold died. She doesn’t know it’s because he has to keep Harold’s secrets, of course.
Joy goes on to tell Ward how much she looks up to him, but the things she admires come from Harold. He tells her those things are all lies, but he’s ready to tell her the truth. He tries to take her to Harold’s apartment, but is driven away by his vivid hallucinations. He’s gets all mean with Joy to cover it up and tells her to stop transferring her Daddy issues to him.
Once they arrive safely in China, Danny, Colleen and Claire find a good spot to stake out the factory. Colleen tells Danny that she watched her mom die, too. After that, her father sent her to live in Japan with her grandfather. They bond over being lonely children.
There is a homeless man begging near the factory, so Colleen goes to talk to him. She pays him for information. He tells her that Madame Gao keeps the factory workers enslaved. Danny plans to set the factory on fire when the workers go to dinner. Claire will keep watch while Colleen goes with Danny.
They easily overcome the guard and find the lab. But then they get all chatty. Colleen lets Danny know that, unlike Claire, she has no problem with Danny killing Gao. She used to always be in complete control, but then she met Danny. Their chat is interrupted by Gao and her henchman returning to the lab.
Claire loses her cellphone, so she honks the car horn as a warning. Danny and Colleen run for it. The horn makes Gao suspicious. Colleen and Danny split up to look for people to have epic fights with.
Colleen finds a female guard to have a sword fight with. Colleen wins, with an assist from Claire, but gets a scratch on her arm from her opponent’s weapon.
Danny finds a drunk who prefers to fight when he’s drunk, and who also talks incessantly. He’s also very tall and a lot of innocent pottery ends up broken. Danny ends up beating the guys face until Claire and Colleen stop him.
Danny panics over how out of control he became. Gao walks in and tells him that anger is a gift. She’d be happy to teach Danny how to control it. Danny just wants to know what she did to his father. Gao will neither confirm nor deny that she had anything to do with Danny’s father, ever. She’s enjoying toying with him like she’s a cat and he’s a mouse.
But then she’s done. She orders her goons to kill Claire and Colleen. Claire says she wishes that she hadn’t come to China. Danny says that’s fair. Fighting ensues.
The fight is surprisingly brief. The goons are cut by their own weapons, and die from the poison the weapons are laced with. Danny looks at the way the poison affects the victims’ skin and recognizes the pattern from the plane’s pilots 15 years ago. Gao did help sabotage his parents plane. Nobody seems to remember that Colleen got cut by one of those weapons a few minutes ago.
Gao is alone now, without protection, and Danny is very, very angry. She backs slowly away as he summons the iron fist. He punches through the wall next to Gao’s head, but doesn’t harm her. They gather themselves together and leave for home with Gao as their prisoner.
This is why the superhero shouldn’t necessarily be the leader of the team. Danny desperately needs a handler to organize missions. He’s the muscle and heart, not the brains. Too much barreling into situations with half-formed plans and no recon. He needs Oliver Queen to do a basic skills boot camp with him.
I didn’t microanalyze Claire’s letter. I’m assuming it’s from Luke Cage.
Joy and Ward didn’t give Danny the company- 51% is legally his. He would have proven it one way or another before long, even without Joy’s help. Harold and Ward couldn’t know about every form of documentation, person who knew him, and potential DNA match out there. Wilkins must be on synthetic heroin himself if he doesn’t know that.
Still pretty sure the board can’t fire the owners of the company. That part is extra silly, even for a comic book show. If the board fires them, then they can turn around and fire the board, then rehire themselves, and a new board. Is this one of those times where the writers can’t decide if the corporation is publicly or privately held? What about the terms of Harold’s will? If they leave Rand, they get nothing. That sounds like they own the company, but have to continue to work there. Or is this somehow coming from Madame Gao, and Ward and Joy aren’t smart enough to figure it out?
For sure some (or maybe all or most) of those board members are fully owned and operated by Gao/the Hand, and know that Harold isn’t running Rand from behind the scenes any more, leaving the company weak. They figure that Danny, Ward and Joy are all such messes that they won’t even realize that the board can’t throw them out. Danny, in particular, is too distracted with other things to do anything but stop by and ruin the company’s business plan every once in a while. Ward has been crushed by Harold and lost whatever ambition he might once have had. Joy is the only one who’s competent and cares about the business, but she’s not a brilliant, charismatic front man. She’s an intelligent behind the scenes type who keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently. She’ll have a harder time winning over the press without Danny’s help, but she’ll run a fantastic stealth war, starting with her blackmail threats.
Joy is definitely Harold’s true heir. She has his intensity, drive, ambition, lack of guilt and possessiveness.