Iron Fist: 1.03 Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch
In Rolling Thunder Punch Cannon, Iron Fist focuses on advancing the corporate conflict between Danny and the Meachums, while also attempting to shade in some of the side characters. The results aren't perfect, but at least the major dynamics are laid out as the season reaches the quarter-way mark.
Danny Rand is finally working on legally returning from the dead, colliding head-on with Ward and Joy for majority stakes in the company. The bad news is, this creates even more melodrama between the three, including an amateurish restaurant scene. The good news, though, is that Carrie-Anne Moss is back as Jeri Hogarth, the fiery lawyer who made waves in Jessica Jones and adds some wit to the otherwise bland proceedings.
Joy's arc this episode was most confusing of all. Over the course of the episode, she goes from brilliant businesswoman demanding respect and trust from her brother, to witting cohort against Danny even though she never got over his death, to his secret ally, going behind her brother's back to sabotage her own case. Perhaps she's simply wants to escape the business life. Her brother reveals his desire to do so in a rare scene in which Ward shows that he is capable of actually feeling things.
Meanwhile, the chain of evil is firmly established: Ward is an involuntary pawn for Harold, who is indebted to the Hand for resurrecting him. Both characters find themselves trapped and desperate to escape. While that could introduce an intimacy between the two, it doesn't. So far, the Meachum boys have not proven themselves worthy of the title "villains." We'll just have to wait for the Hand to introduce some tangible, physical conflict.
Colleen Wing continues to be one of the most interesting facets of Iron Fist. In this episode, we learn that she's constructed her dojo to be a safe space for kids on the street. Her care for the well-being of her students is humanizing. Finally, a character to really care about!
Also, Colleen introduces herself as the Daughter of the Dragon in what was probably the show's best scene to date. Realizing that money is thin, she breaks her own code of honor and fights in an illegal club, defeating cat calls, crude jokes, male dominance, and other manifestations of misogyny with a furious string of blows. To sour that victory, though, she walks away with a roll of literal blood money. The metaphors are heavy handed, but at least the show is giving us something to work with.
Surprisingly, the show's protagonist seems the most aimless. It's hard to gauge his motivations: does he want a new family? His old friends back? To reclaim the Rand name? Or all of the above? And what makes him think that running a billion-dollar corporation when he has the business acumen of a literal ten-year-old is a smart idea?
A forced cliffhanger doesn't evoke too much suspense, but it does promise that the wheels are finally turning in Iron Fist. It seems like the chess pieces are in place for some fights, betrayals, and twists. It's anybody's guess whether or not it will amount to anything.