When we left Danny last episode, he had passed out and was being whisked away to an unknown destination by Bakuto and Colleen. This episode begins with Danny waking up naked, in bed with Colleen, also naked, in an all-white room. He doesn’t remember how or why he’s there, so Colleen explains that it’s her home, and the safest place she knows. It all seems innocent, but there’s something off in the way she doesn’t quite answer his question.
Joy and Harold are having a long talk about their history. She understands why Ward is the way he is, now that she knows the enormous secret he’s been burdened with for years. Harold is already being wheedling and manipulative with her. The room is more brightly lit than usual, but all of the stark light is coming from the windows, leaving everything half in shadow. There is no true honesty here.
Harold warns Joy off of her blackmail scheme. He’ll oversee the operation to get Rand back under the Meachams’ control. Joy wants to rekindle her relationship with Harold slowly. It’s a lot to take in at once.
Colleen shows Danny around the compound and officially introduces him to Bakuto. Bakuto asks Danny if he’s ready to recharge. Danny doesn’t know how to recharge, so Bakuto teaches him how to Harness the Five Elemental Energies.
Bakuto sends Colleen to the kitchen to order breakfast while he explains his organization to Danny. He takes in troubled youth with complicated lives and gives them a home, education, training, and discipline, similar to what the monks of K’un-Lun gave Danny. He says his work is kept quiet for the protection of his students. Danny says it sounds like a cult, which Bakuto denies.
Bakuto assures Danny that he has Gao confined in a secure location, while he determines whether or not turning her in to the police is the best course of action. He sounds completely on the level and
as creepy as usual not sketchy at all, so of course Danny buys his story. 🤦🏻♀️
Then Bakuto takes Danny into his office to talk politics and his larger strategy. He feels society is going in the wrong direction, and is being run by oligarchs full of greed. He shows Danny a video of an Iron Fist in action in 1948, with two fists glowing, singlehandedly taking down a group of heavily armed soldiers.
He explains that he’s fascinated by the Iron Fist and has studied everything he could find about it. He wants Danny to work with him as his partner in trying to stop Gao and her kind. In return, Bakuto will help Danny with Rand.
Harold calls Danny to summon him to a strategy meeting. Danny tells him that Bakuto has taken Gao out of commission.
Harold is thrilled to hear that Gao has been taken care of and gets out a bottle of Scotch to celebrate. When Joy protests that she doesn’t want to start drinking so early, he smashes the bottle. Joy isn’t the fun sibling, after all, which is part of why Harold chose Ward to begin with. Harold realizes that his behavior looks bad, as Joy stands there horrified, and says he’ll clean up the mess.
After Bakuto gets a full run down of Danny’s phone call and orders a transcript, Colleen bounces into his office to ask him if Danny passed the audition. Bakuto gives her a cautionary yes, with more tests still to come. Colleen wants to be honest about their operation, but Bakuto doesn’t feel the time is right yet. Colleen is worried that Danny will reject her when he learns the truth. Bakuto argues that if Danny really loves her the way that she loves Danny, he’ll “make the right choice.” Not creepy at all.
Meanwhile, Danny runs into Darryl and his two new BFFs, who are all just super, super happy to be there, and don’t even mind that they’re locked in, because this is their new family and who would ever want to leave anyway? At this point, Danny has to admit that Bakuto’s running a cult, no matter how much it feels like home to Colleen. Given the way Colleen starts acting like a 14 year old around Bakuto, and especially in the last scene, right after she’s visited the kitchen, I’m thinking they drug the food with happy juice to encourage submission.
Danny questions Darryl a bit more about the compound and discovers that some places are off limits. Three guesses as to where we’ll find him next.
Sure enough, Danny stealthily walks across the middle of a lawn in front of two guards to the side of the off-limits house. He runs the last few feet, because he remembers that he’s a ninja, and climbs a ladder to the 2nd floor, then inside.
This is where Gao is being held. They speak to each other through her security feed. She has the same sphynx-like confidence as ever, and is disdainful of his choice to side with Bakuto over her. She is more honest with him than anyone in his life except Claire, and tells him that he’s an idiot who’s staying in the lair of the Hand. If he was going to join the Hand, she feels she offered him a way better deal, since Bakuto will use him like a slave. Gao is my one true love in the Netflix MCU.
Bakuto is lurking creepily behind Danny, because of course he is. He doesn’t deny that they are part of the Hand, but dismisses the rest of Gao’s words, saying she won’t work with them, but won’t work against them either. Bakuto and Gao exchange a look before he escorts Danny back to Colleen.
Danny confronts Colleen about the Hand. She admits that Bakuto’s organization is a version of the Hand, but is convinced that Gao is from a separate faction. Bakuto runs the new and improved, benign Hand, while Gao runs the antiquated, evil Hand. In her mind, it was Danny who was raised in a cult and brainwashed to hate her family. He points out that his family is dead because of hers, but she can’t see it that way. Danny storms out of the room.
Bakuto takes Gao’s place in the shadows at Harold’s. Bakuto informs Harold that he’s running the show now, and his methods are different from Gao’s. He tells Harold that he will allow Harold to work toward a return to public life.
Danny searches the compound further. He finds a surveillance room, with surveillance on worldwide targets, including the penthouse bunker. Bakuto arrives to tell Danny that he’s failed the test, just as Danny starts to destroy the room. Hard to say who’s slower on the uptake here, Bakuto or Danny.
Danny knocks Bakuto unconscious, then makes a run for it. When he encounters two guards in the hall, they are taken out by the young Asian man that we saw last episode. He remarks that Danny is the worst Iron Fist ever. He’s clearly the smartest person in that room. Danny is surprised to see him and calls him Davos, the name of his BFF from K’un-Lun.
Davos doesn’t realize at first that they are in Hand territory. They fight their way out of the building as an alarm sounds, waking up the entire compound. As they run for the compound gate, Darryl finds them first. Danny tries to avoid fighting him, leaving himself open for Bakuto to sneak up and inject him with something that makes him unable to summon the Iron Fist.
Bakuto blames Danny’s failure on his anger and lack of focus, in order to weaken Danny even further by preying on his insecurities, then sends in the rest of his students to attack. Danny and Davos end up back-to-back, fighting them off.
Colleen has stayed out of the fight so far. She makes it into the guard tower and electronically opens the gate for Danny and Davos, closing it right after them and smashing the controls, so that no one can follow. Danny sees her and realizes what happened, but she stays behind. Bakuto also knows the truth.
Harold, who has acquired a giant goon/bodyguard, pays a visit to Wilkins at the Rand offices. After a heart-to-heart about fathers and sons and the emotional fragility of men, he shoots Wilkins in the head and leaves his goon to make it look like a suicide.
The next morning, Joy presents the news to the board, and recommends that they reinstate the visionaries who’ve lead the company for so long: the Meachums and Danny Rand. The board immediately agrees.
Joy and Harold celebrate later in the penthouse bunker. Joy realizes that she’s always felt her father’s comforting hand steering the business. She asks him now if he had Wilkins killed. Thanks to the way Joy asks the question, Harold can honestly answer that no, he did not have Wilkins killed. Joy smiles with relief. Harold tells her that they do need to destroy Bakuto.
Colleen wanders the streets in shock.
Davos tells Danny that they need to get him stitched up, then to the airport so that they can return to K’un-Lun. Danny refuses to leave NYC. Davos points out that the fist won’t ignite and Danny’s failed everyone, both the people of NYC and K’un-Lun, after wandering away from K’un-Lun without warning. K’un-Lun has been left open and unprotected, and it’s uncertain whether or not Danny’s ability to manifest the Iron Fist can be fixed. Things are dire.
Finn Jones is a good actor, and has a great look, but he doesn’t do the Iron Fist/martial arts movements with any sort of confidence or authority. Some of it may be an acting choice, since Danny is supposed to be strong but uncentered, but it comes off as lacking in technique. He was supposed to have beat out fighters who had several more years of training and discipline than him to become the Iron Fist. So far the only explanation they’ve given us is that the Hand is in NYC, and Danny is from NYC, so he was the right choice for Iron Fist, even if he isn’t the smartest or strongest. They could at least have made Danny a fierce but out of control fighter. This ignorance, distractibility and weakness make it hard to understand how he beat everyone else out for the title.
Ramon Rodriguez kills it as Bakuto. Playing smarmy, creepy, and slightly sinister without going over the top too soon is a difficult line to walk. He’s escalated Bakuto’s creepiness from overbearing but well-intentioned mentor in an almost indefinable way from his first scene with Colleen in her dojo until his reveal as evil Hand cult leader was inevitable.
Why do people hate this show so much? The social commentary is the best. It’s pure parody at times. Take that, Berlantiverse. Danny is so far from being a White Savior that it’s laughable. The black men are screwed by society, no matter what they do, no matter how good the opportunity looks or how right they seem: see both Wilkins and Darryl. The less capable white men are chosen over more capable women and minorities: see Ward over Joy and Danny over Davos. Multinational businesses and organizations feel they can get away with anything, up to and including murder, but they themselves will live on forever in the form of corporate personhood, never suffering any serious punishment. See: Harold as the immortal embodiment of a corrupt business. (Also…SPOILERS…Gao and Bakuto.) The father-son relationship that is practically worshipped in most comic book iterations is warped and twisted. We are meant to notice all of this, not think it’s okay and normal. The narrative isn’t trying to manipulate us into thinking that any of this is a good thing. As Gao pointed out, Bakuto is what we usually get, media with slippery words, that’s telling one thing while showing us another. Iron Fist is showing us injustice, and it isn’t sugarcoating it. It is, however, putting a sarcastic, comic book-style, humorous edge on it.