Once upon a time in K’un Lun, which is a remarkably green place, by the way…
Davos finds Danny lying in a stream outside of the dragon’s cave. He’s passed the test and become the Iron Fist. Davos helps Danny up and leads him home, promising to stand by his side as he fulfills his duty as the protector of K’un Lun. Danny is already having doubts, as he looks back to the cave and tells Davos that the test wasn’t what he thought it would be.
Back in the future, Danny and Davos have found an empty building to regroup in for a few moments. Danny asks about his mentor/Davos’ father, Lei Kung. Davos tells Danny that Lei Kung is understandably pissed off and confused that Danny wandered off as soon as the way to the rest of the world opened up. Danny asks how Davos found him. Davos holds up his cell phone with Danny’s name and photo on the front page of a newspaper. You can see the wheels turning in Danny’s head as he remembers that he’s famous. The kid needs a full time handler.
Danny grabs the phone from Davos and smashes it, since he noticed that Bakuto can track cell phones. Not sure how Bakuto would know to track Davos’ cell phone out of the other ~20 million in the NYC area, but at least Danny’s thinking. It’s more likely that Danny has a tracker planted on or in him somewhere.
Then we get to the crux of the matter. Davos needs Danny to follow the rules that he agreed to when he became the Iron Fist and return to protect their home in K’un Lun. Danny, with his divided loyalties, wants to fight the Hand where he’s found them, since that also aligns with his desire to avenge the deaths of his parents. But Danny’s plan leaves Davos’ family at risk. Davos is shaking with anger and jealousy, frustrated that Danny took the Iron Fist, which had been Davos’ birthright, and won’t use it to fulfill his duty.
Danny begs Davos for help. Davos has all of the loyalty that Danny is lacking, so he agrees to fight the Hand in NYC, so long as Danny agrees to return to K’un Lun when they’re done. Danny probably even believes that he’s telling the truth to Davos, in the moment.
Bakuto finds Colleen back at her dojo, where she has gone looking for Danny. They argue over his treatment of Danny, until Bakuto finds the right buttons to push to remind Colleen that she owes him everything. He orders her to find Danny and turn him over to the Hand. No more gentle coercion.
Danny and Davos knock on Claire’s door and make their introductions while Claire assesses Danny’s wound. She pulls out the head of the pen-thingy that Bakuto injected Danny with, then uses a giant stapler to close the wound since Danny refuses to even try to summon the Iron Fist.
Davos tells Claire that she seems like a very gifted healer as Danny is screaming and writhing under the stapler. With a completely straight face. Claire is, of course, a resourceful and gifted healer, bordering on miraculous at times. I’m just not sure that using the staples, instead of getting out her sewing kit or dental floss, was her finest moment. Maybe Davos was impressed by NY’s modern healing technology.
Danny sends Davos out to check the perimeter, then informs Claire that her good friend and teacher, Colleen, is with the Hand, the organization that has tried to kill Claire many times. Claire doesn’t want to believe it. Danny nearly goes postal as he tries to convince her. She puts on her patented “I don’t care how many super powers you have, you will still treat me with respect” death glare, and shuts him down.
Next we move on to Danny’s broken heart, then his need for antibiotics. Claire is out of meds, because, “Too many aggro would-be crime fighters keep showing up hurt and cleaning out my supplies.” She tosses him a clean shirt with a bullet hole in it. I can’t remember if it’s Luke’s or Matt’s. She says the friend is probably doing better than Danny is. Luke is safe in prison while Matt is out on the streets getting up to who-knows-what trouble, so I’m going to say Luke.
Harold and Daddy’s Little Girl are having fun with numbers. Joy is going through Gao’s laptop, parsing accounts and watching transactions. She’s figured out that, on top of taking over Gao’s illegal operations within Rand, Bakuto is embezzling huge amounts from Rand itself, and moving the money into off shore accounts. Joy is disturbed by Harold’s enthusiasm at the thought of how harsh his revenge on Bakuto will be. Maybe being Daddy’s favorite isn’t so great after all. And where HAS Ward run off to?
Danny leaves Claire and Davos on their own while he refreshes his chi. Davos promptly dismisses NY pizza as poison for the body and soul, causing his credibility to take a serious hit in my eyes. From here on out, we must question the truth of anything he says.
He and Claire discuss K’un Lun and the mythology of the Iron Fist. The power of the Iron Fist is a force from the heart of Shao-Lao the undying dragon. Danny is the first outsider chosen to be the Iron Fist. Davos thinks Lei Kung and the elders chose wrong.
He becomes upset when he talks about the way Danny stole the Iron Fist, then suddenly takes a breath and calms himself. Claire asks about the way he shoved his feelings aside, just like Danny did when they were talking about Colleen. Davos explains that it’s the way they were trained. “A weapon has no feelings.” You can see the lecture about the dangers of repressed feelings on the tip of Claire’s tongue, but she holds it in.
The pizza arrives. When Claire goes to the door to get it, Colleen has the pizzas. Claire confronts her and Colleen admits that she’s in the Hand, but still argues that she’s in a kinder, gentler faction than the side that Claire has fought before. Claire vents her feelings, but ultimately lets Colleen go up to the roof to see Danny.
Danny tries to do the exercises that will heal him, but he’s unable to clear his mind and focus. When Colleen arrives, he backs away from her. They argue, and Colleen leaves with their issues unresolved.
Claire convinces Davos to try some of the best pizza in NY. He says it’s chewy. He definitely can’t be trusted.
Danny comes back downstairs. Claire asks Davos to step outside, again. Once they’re alone, Claire gives Danny the Repressed Feelings=Very, Very Bad lecture she’s been holding back. Then Danny asks to borrow her car. It’s a beautiful moment between friends.
Colleen goes to a former student who is now an intern at the hospital. She asks the student to steal some antibiotics for Danny. The intern hesitates, but then agrees. When she brings the meds to Colleen, she also turns Colleen over to several other members of the Hand. They all know that Colleen was supposed to bring Danny to Bakuto when she found him.
Danny and Davos meet up with Joy and Harold at the penthouse bunker. They finalize the plan to draw out and kill Bakuto, while cutting off his funds. Joy is not okay with the murder portion of the program. Besides the immoral aspect, she thinks that it will set off a war with the Hand. Harold goes into creepy, scary, guilt-tripping mode just as everything falls into place and the plan is set into motion. Joy starts to realize that she’s in over her head.
Colleen is brought to a basement in the compound and strapped down. Bakuto shows up and tells her that he doesn’t trust her any more. But, hey, her final moments will still be spent giving to the Hand. She’s wheeled off to a makeshift medical lab. One of her ex-students gets in her face and taunts her, while the other gets ready for a major blood draw. That’s all the opening Colleen needs. She head butts the girl and fights her way out of the lab, past the two students.
Danny and Davos sit outside of Bakuto’s compound waiting for Harold’s signal. They bare their souls to each other, revealing how much they’ve each been hurt by their childhood in K’un Lun and each other, and how many doubts they have.
Danny reveals that he’s always felt empty and hoped the Iron Fist would fix him, but it didn’t. (Oh Danny, things outside yourself never do.) He looked for a sign and saw a hawk, which flew away, down through the pass, out of K’un Lun. Danny realized that the way out was open, and he followed it. He was looking for a sign, and he was shown a path.
Davos says that maybe the sign meant that, because the way was open, he was needed more than ever to guard the entrance to K’un Lun. Which he walked away from. Leaving it open and unprotected. Davos asks what’s keeping Danny in NYC, away from his sworn duty.
Right on cue, Colleen appears in the dark, in the rain, on the run. Danny starts to get out of the car. Davos reminds him that their mission is to fight Bakuto. Danny hesitates, then goes after Colleen.
When Danny approaches her, she attacks him, thinking he’s there to fight her, since she’s part of the Hand. He tries to calm her, telling her he’s not there to hurt her. She admits that the Hand isn’t what she thought it was.
Danny tells her, “Look, I know what it’s like, to spend your whole life believing in something and have it pulled away. But we have to stop fighting. We have to stop running. We have to stop destroying everything.”
They end up holding each other in the pouring rain, symbolically reborn as an army of two.
Davos watches them at a distance, out of focus. He is also symbolically reborn in the rain, though it’s not so benign and optimistic as Danny and Colleen’s rebirth.
How many of Bakuto’s students know the truth, like the young minions who were about to drain Colleen, and how many are in the dark, like Colleen?
Claire and Madame Gao could rule the world together. Well, I think Gao probably already does, but we must make sure that our incorruptible Claire is always available as a counterbalance.
[SPOILERS for Daredevil Season 2 and The Defenders Season 1]
Colleen’s planned final gift to the Hand likely has something to do with the end of Daredevil Season 2. Electra is still in the same womb-like device that she was in at the end of that season. The blood of the unfortunates going to sustain the lucky few. They must have needed to replenish her supply periodically until the beginning of The Defenders, when we see her fight her way out of the amniotic fluid/blood, reborn as Black Sky alone. That lab looked pretty established. Was Bakuto kidnapping people off the streets, or periodically draining students who fell into disfavor? Or both?
The privilege enjoyed by the wealthy is emphasized again by the conversation Danny and Davos are having in the next scene. Danny explains to Davos that he couldn’t let Davos drive because it’s a borrowed car and Davos doesn’t have a license. Danny doesn’t have a license either, but he’s rich. He gets to do things other people don’t. He was born rich, and always knew that he ultimately didn’t have to follow the rules if he didn’t want to, even in K’un Lun. He always had somewhere else to go, another life to live, just like the character in Daredevil.
Davos follows up by emphasizing the importance of following the rules and keeping things fair. He can accept not getting what he wants, as long as the rules and process are transparent and applied equally. But the unfairness of the Iron Fist selection process, and Danny’s abandonment of his sworn duty, on top of his doubts and clear unfitness for the job, are eating away at Davos.
In the last scene, Davos has just had everything he grew up believing in pulled out from under him. His father gave the Iron Fist, Davos’ dream, to a pretender who is in the process of betraying everything Davos believes in. A pretender that Davos thought was in his best friend, who’s done nothing but lie to and manipulate Davos from the moment they met up in NYC, possibly for the last 15 years, Davos can now see. He’s filled with anger. It’s a moment of truth that will define the course of his life as surely as following the hawk defines Danny’s.