Iron Fist: 1.09 The Mistress of All Agonies
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This review contains spoilers for Iron Fist's ninth episode. A spoiler-free review of the entire first season will be available soon.
Amidst all the conflicts in The Mistress of All Agonies, one of the most intriguing ones is between Harold and Ward Meachum. The competition: which character can reach the most potent level of unbearable as Iron Fist limps towards its finale? Even though Ward remains a walking, talking turd, the newest incarnation of his father works very hard to take first prize, thanks in no small part to a poor performance by respectable actor David Wenham.
After rising from the dead a second time, Harold spends the first quarter of the episode walking around New York, not unlike Frankenstein's monster. Apparently, he can remember that the code on Rand Enterprise's side entrance is Ward's birthday, but he hasn't the faintest clue what a pretzel is. Once his memory comes back, he overplays his newfound devotion to being a better man to such an extent that he never fools the viewer into believing it.
Ward visits the triads for more information about his dad's inability to stay dead, only to learn that with each resurrection, the undead party grows more and more dangerous. Two minutes later, Ward realizes that Harold placed heroin in his car, setting him up to be arrested and institutionalized in the same loony bin seen in Episode Two. Ward insists that he's not an addict, even though he was jacking up on that synthetic heroin literally right before he walked outside. But whatever.
Meanwhile, Harold beats his obnoxious assistant's head in with an ice cream scooper, complete with a snippet of the show's trademark dialogue: "Shut up and die already!" Then, Harold directs Joy right into his arms, looking glad to be back with his daughter after thirteen years of lies and secrets. If the scene was supposed to be sweet or touching, it was not at all.
Moving on to Danny, who's holed up with Claire, Colleen, and Madame Gao in the dojo. He attempts to get answers from Gao, who instead plays fun little mind games with each of her kidnappers, buying time until the Hand comes to rescue her. The trio manages to fight off the attack, but it turns out that Colleen's arm wound from China is festering with an unidentifiable poison. As her condition worsens, she implores Danny to contact her sensei for help.
Enter Bakuto, who strolls in with surprising nonchalance and casually teaches the Iron Fist a new power: by opening that patented fist, Danny can actually locate and destroy certain forces, such as the poison spreading in Colleen's arm. With the Daughter of the Dragon healed and Danny exhausted from channeling his chi twice in such a short period, Bakuto promptly has men escort the two of them--and Gao--to an undisclosed location. Claire is right to be skeptical about this strange man carrying away the most important characters in the show, and the theory that Bakuto isn't all that he seems still has merit.
One last thing: snippets of a strange and dangerous man hunting Danny suggest yet another player in Iron Fist's endgame. It's very easy to identify this man as Davos, Danny's old pal from K'un Lun that was referenced a few episodes ago. Of course, you can expect our hero to explain that to us in great detail. Here's my prediction: "Wow! It's Davos! He's my old friend of K'un Lun! Remember, Colleen? The one I drank wine with? I haven't seen you since I left K'un Lun after fifteen years to reclaim my family's name and try to build a new life for myself!"
Sadly, that joking dialogue probably isn't far off to the actual thing. People are coming out in spades to express their love for Iron Fist but this close to the end, it's hard to find anything worth rooting for.