Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Iron Fist episode, “Shadow Hawk Takes Flight.” If you haven’t watched yet, in the words of Colleen Wing: “That would be a mistake.”
When we last left our wayward Iron Fist, he’d found himself on the receiving end of some very rude drugging courtesy of Joy Meachum – and woken up in what appeared to be a hospital of some kind. Turns out it’s Birch Psychiatric Hospital, a fact Danny learns from a doctor sitting at his bedside… shortly before the doctor, who really isn’t a doctor at all but another patient named Simon, jabs a fork into Danny’s neck to try and offer him an easy way out. Some orderlies show up to haul Simon away just in time, but this isn’t the first rough encounter Danny’s going to be involved in during his time at Birch.
That time, as we eventually discover, is 72 hours; as the real doctor, Dr. Edmonds, informs Danny, it was either a psychiatric facility or prison time after the Meachums handed him over to the law. Normally, Danny wouldn’t even break a sweat facilitating an escape, but the drugs the doctors are forcing him to take every eight hours have numbed him to the point where he’s unable to focus his chi – which is what enables him to call upon the power of the Iron Fist.
Back at Rand Industries, Joy’s having mixed emotions about drugging Danny in the first place; in spite of Ward’s attempts to convince her they did the right thing in sending him to a facility where he’ll get help, she still has her doubts. Those doubts begin to weigh on her even more when she receives a call from Dr. Edmonds; she doesn’t realize it at the time, but Edmonds wants her to corroborate a memory from a story Danny had told in one of their sessions. Between Danny’s version and Joy’s, enough of the details overlap that Edmonds is firmly convinced: Danny isn’t lying about his identity.
However, there are other parts of Danny’s story that seem too unbelievable to be real; ever since “the Incident” (a.k.a. the Battle of New York in The Avengers), there are all sorts of people popping out of the woodwork and claiming to have superpowers. The more Danny shares about his time on K’un L’un, the crazier he appears – and without the ability to back it up, one can’t blame Edmonds for being skeptical. During a later session, he asks Danny to show him the power of the Iron Fist in action, but thanks to the cocktail of drugs coursing through his bloodstream, Danny can’t tap in to what he needs to make that happen – and Edmonds won’t let Danny leave if he thinks he’s less than sane.
All the while, someone has been watching over Danny: Harold Meachum has tapped into the video feed at Birch, studying Danny on a series of monitors from his secret penthouse location. Harold decides that Dr. Edmonds isn’t asking Danny the right questions and he tells his assistant Kyle to pull the car around: he’s going to Birch himself. He wakes up Danny in the middle of the night, giving him an injection to keep him just on the side of lucid, and proceeds to interrogate him. It’s unclear whether Danny believes he’s in a dream of some kind (since he believes Harold to be dead) or if the drugs contain a truth serum, but either way Danny tells Harold everything: the location of the monastery in K’un L’un, his position as the latest in a long line of Immortal Iron Fists, and his role as the sworn enemy of the Hand (which is a name you should recognize from a show called Daredevil). It is Danny’s duty to destroy the Hand, the reason why he has returned to this dimension after a 15-year absence. When Harold returns to his penthouse, there’s a cryptic message written on a window that says WHERE DID YOU GO, along with a handprint. Turns out it was written from the outside, and the penthouse is on the top floor of the building. Creeeeeeepy.
Danny may have his destiny ahead of him, but Ward appears to be on a mission of his own: getting rid of Danny in whatever way he can. If he can’t finish Danny off with hired thugs, the next obvious step is fabricating evidence that will put Danny behind bars permanently. He seeks out Colleen at her dojo, presenting her with what he hopes will be an irresistible offer: a check for $50,000 if Colleen will sign something attesting to the fact that Danny had threatened her – or, at the very least, made her feel uncomfortable. Colleen isn’t going to be easily bought – by Ward, or by his attempts to convince her that he’s doing this to keep everyone safe.
At Rand, Joy goes on a trip down memory lane looking through old childhood photos. One of them in particular sparks an idea, a test she can issue to find out if Danny really is who he says he is – and it involves M&Ms. As children, they would eat the candy together, every single color: except the brown ones. Joy messengers a bag to the hospital, and when she gets it back, hand-delivered by Colleen Wing (who also returns the unsigned papers and bribery check), it’s missing all the brown M&Ms. As far as Joy is concerned, only the real Danny Rand would know that – but according to Ward, “a bunch of M&Ms doesn’t prove anything.” Joy insists they need to get Danny out of Birch, but Ward stands his ground, leading Joy to wonder aloud, “What are you so afraid of?”
Harold’s got his intern Kyle looking up everything he can on the Iron Fist – which amounts to a beer line and a clothing line, but nothing helpful. All that considered, he remains convinced that Danny could still be valuable to him, especially given his relationship to the Hand, and tells Ward to have him moved to a more secure facility. Ward goes an entirely different route, however, one that involves Danny being beaten to death by a group of Birch’s more violent patients. Even as Danny staggers under the force of several blows, he begins to smile as he realizes: the drugs are wearing off. He channels the power of the Iron Fist to rip himself free of his straitjacket’s bindings and quickly takes down the other patients as well as the orderly in the hallway outside. With a running start, Danny punches his way through a metal door and escapes out into the night.
- In terms of flashbacks, we haven’t moved much beyond the first episode; part of Danny’s story seems to be about constantly reliving the moment of the plane crash and his parents’ resulting deaths. Hopefully future eps will delve further into what happened after the warrior monks from the Order of the Crane Mother discovered Danny on that snowy mountainside. We do finally get the names of those monks, though: Chodak and Tashi.
- One of Colleen Wing’s methods for training her students is to take them out into the field – namely, the streets of New York – and give them a beatdown. I couldn’t help but chuckle when she added insult to injury by verbally trashing their performance: “You move about as fast as a pig… swimming in gravy.”
- Remember the birds from the last episode? Apparently they represent Danny’s chi. The more you know.
- Ward’s caller ID name for Harold on his phone is literally “Frank N. Stein.”
- We finally get to see our first glimpse of the Iron Fist! The shot of Danny’s hand glowing from inside the straitjacket was a pretty cool effect.
Things are starting to pick up in this episode! What are your thoughts on the show so far? Sound off in the comments or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter to discuss.
Keep on reading! Click here for our recap of episode 3!