Iron Fist: 1.08 The Blessing of Many Fractures
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This review contains spoilers for Iron Fist's eighth episode. A spoiler-free review of the entire first season will be released soon.
The Blessing of Many Fractures finds Iron Fist's major characters facing identity crises as they fight inner and outer demons. For the Meachums, that means deciding whether or not to accept their termination from Rand Enterprises and walk away from the business nonsense. For Danny, it means figuring out if Iron Fist is meant to kill. Unfortunately, stiff acting and poor dialogue ruin what could've been an emotionally charged fallout episode.
Determined to stay in the company where she's respected and experienced, Joy refuses a fat severance package and instead chooses to go up against the board. Her accumulated blackmail materials--pictures showing the directors engaging in prostitution and marital infidelity--are the oldest tricks in the book, but it's pretty cool that they were collected by the world-weary Jessica Jones. Joy's obstinance is confusing, considering that just a few episodes ago, she was trying to convince Ward to get out of the business life so they could mend their broken relationship.
Now, Ward is finally trying to take his sister's advice, happy to part from the company which he was tied to by Harold. His deceased-for-a-second-time father called all the shots while Ward took all the credit, a fact that he is painfully aware of. When Joy tells him that she admires his brilliance above anything else, he considers revealing Harold's resurrection to her, after he's already gone again. However, after going all Lady Macbeth and seeing blood everywhere, he turns the blame on his sister. "It's cliche and it's pathetic," he tells her. Oh, Ward. You have no idea how right you are.
Danny, on the other hand, travels to China in pursuit of Madame Gao, searching for answers about his father's death and ways to finally defeat the Hand. The dialogue never beats around the bush, explaining everything in a painfully upfront manner. The Iron Fist is meant to protect K'un Lun, and yet, Danny uses that role to punish Madame Gao for her role in his parents' deaths. The desire to kill burns within him, and yet, as Danny Rand, he knows that murder is inexcusable. If you think I had to analyze the episode to figure this out, you'd be wrong: the characters say it all out loud, almost verbatim.
One cool element of this episode is Zhou Cheng, defender of the Hand, the drunken antithesis of Iron Fist. His fighting style is fun, even if his appearance is short-lived and defined by the poor conversations present throughout this hour. In terms of combat, Colleen also had a pretty cool sword duel with an unidentified woman, but that battle came to an abrupt halt when Claire came in to save the day.
The Blessing of Many Fractures ends with Danny capturing Madame Gao, now aware that she sabotaged the Rands' flight fifteen years ago. For some reason, she didn't use her power to resist Danny, meaning that she either has a plan for him, or that the show's writers just needed her in captivity for an episode. Whatever the reasoning, Iron Fist continues to make confusing structural decisions. It is most definitely the first Netflix-produced Marvel show that fails on the most basic level: quality writing.