Iron Fist: 1.07 Felling Tree with Roots
This review contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Iron Fist. A spoiler-free review of the entire first season will be released soon.
Oh, Ward. Why are you the way that you are?
Felling Tree with Roots finds this insufferable villain fully committing to the crazy train, the mental and emotional strain of his relationship with Rand Enterprises and Harold coming to a head. For most of the season, his daddy issues have taken a back seat. However, in a mid-season move that is quite reminiscent of Luke Cage, Ward makes a huge impact on the main story, as Harold goes a step too far and finds himself the victim of his son's festering hatred and desire for freedom.
Harold officially marks the first major casualty in Iron Fist, bringing his efforts to take down the Hand to a screeching halt. Sure, the Meachum patriarch wasn't a perfect character--in fact, he was oftentimes relegated to the role of "stock villain"--but he sure as hell beat his whiny son. Would I have been happier if the murder had been the other way around? Absolutely. Was Harold a more interesting contender in the overarching plot? You betcha. Will this string of negative-sounding questions end with an optimistic "but" statement? Not at all.
Danny had a much more positively productive episode, beginning with some emotional bonding with Colleen that turned into a night of love-making. The Iron Fist broke his vow of chastity in romancing Colleen, but he also abandoned his post in K'un Lun to return to New York, so we already know he's not one for rules. Their relationship actually plays out well (I say "actually" because this show tends to mess up character chemistry with sloppy dialogue), and their connection feels genuine. Here's hoping that the Hand doesn't use Colleen as a damsel-in-distress now that they know of her intimacy with Danny.
This episode also found a mysterious face from Colleen's past walking into the dojo. Bakuto appears for a mere couple of minutes, but he's established as a person that Colleen cares for, trusts, and has great loyalty to. Pair these near-familial ties with Bakuto's shadowy entrance, and you have the perfect recipe for a late-game betrayal.
Madame Wao shows up again, this time in Danny's office at Rand. Her latest offer? If Danny stays out of her way and gives up being Iron Fist, he can live a happy life with his friends. If not... well, just ask Wendell Rand what happens when you refuse the Hand. Felling Tree with Roots continues to nod at Wao's involvement in the fateful plane crash, a possibility that understandably enrages Danny. He's also not thrilled with Wao's use of Rand Enterprises to manufacture and export the synthetic heroin. Harold was assigned the task of analyzing the heroin shipping data accumulated by Danny, but certain circumstances (i.e. his death) prevented that.
Iron Fist's plot was moving rather smoothly heading into Felling Tree with Roots. Ward's crime of passion throws a wrench in that plot, complicating it in as-yet-unforeseen ways. He remains a nuisance to the overall quality of Netflix's most disappointing Marvel show. But block out the Meachums, and you'll see a not-half-bad superhero story moving full steam ahead.