Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Iron Fist episode, “Snow Gives Way.” If you haven’t watched yet, in the words of Colleen Wing: “That would be a mistake.”
Well, this is it, folks. At last, we’ve made it to the story of the final Defender, the remaining superhero who will team up alongside Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage when their worlds inevitably collide in the upcoming Defenders crossover series. His name is Danny Rand, and after a 15-year period during which he was presumed (and declared) dead, he’s finally made it back to his original stomping grounds of New York City.
We’re first introduced to Danny as he walks down the streets of Manhattan, an early-oughts Outkast song blaring through the earbuds of his old-school iPod. A man selling peanuts doesn’t believe Danny when he points to a tall skyscraper—Rand Industries headquarters—and claims it’s his building. Based on what Danny’s wearing alone, he’s a far cry from the rich kid he used to be. The former golden child of Wendell Rand is met with equal confusion from the receptionist at the front desk, and when security tries to escort him out of the building Danny takes them out with smooth efficiency, batons and all.
By the time Danny makes it up to the executive suites, his time is already limited, but there’s just one person he’s hoping to see: his father’s long-time business partner, Harold Meachum. Harold’s not around anymore; his children, Ward and Joy, have taken over the business, and they inform Danny that Harold died of cancer twelve years ago. “All our parents are gone now,” Danny sadly muses, but neither of the Meachum children are interested in a reunion. Ward’s already calling security. After Danny’s escorted away by more guards (with guns), Joy starts to consider the possibility that he could be telling the truth.
Once he’s kicked out of the Rand building, Danny heads to the one other stronghold of his youth: his family’s former brownstone. No one’s home, but an open window on the second floor provides an easy way in. A few conveniently-placed photographs reveal that Joy owns the brownstone now – something Danny decides to use to his advantage. If Ward isn’t willing to talk to him, maybe Joy will at least hear him out.
When he approaches her later outside the apartment, Joy’s already got her security on speed dial but she hesitates when Danny brings up a childhood memory of the two of them playing for the same soccer team. For a second, Danny’s getting through—until he lets it slip that he may have engaged in a little B&E-ing earlier. While he’s trying to literally back his way out of the conversation, he steps out into the street and in front of a taxi, but NYC cabs are no match for the reflexes of the Immortal Iron Fist. Danny flips over the cab with almost no difficulty and then makes a quick exit.
While practicing tai chi in the park, Danny strikes up a conversation with a woman who understandably mistakes him for a homeless person. Her name is Colleen Wing, and if you’re wondering if you’ve heard that name before I have three words for you: Luke Cage finale. She’s putting up more fliers for her dojo, and Danny asks her if she’s got any job openings. “I’ve already got someone who cleans up,” she replies, walking away before he can get a word in.
Danny’s next great plan to try and connect with the Meachum family is to hijack Ward’s car from valet service—with Ward in it. (Never mind the fact that Danny doesn’t actually have a driver’s license, and, as he reveals to Ward, the last time he drove a car it was sitting on his dad’s lap.) Ward pulls out a gun from the glove compartment and points it at Danny, but Danny disarms him easily and tosses the gun away. He’s not interested in getting any money from the Meachums. He just wants answers about what happened to his parents and the company that bears his name. What Ward wants is proof that Danny is who he says he is, even though DNA tests and fingerprinting are an impossibility. Danny leaves, but not before crashing Ward’s car at the top level of the Rand Industries parking garage and running away on foot.
Colleen’s wrapping up a class at her dojo when Danny shows up. The two make small talk about various martial arts techniques, and Colleen asks Danny where he learned his stuff. “K’un L’un,” he answers, which marks the first of what will likely be many more references to a very significant location in Iron Fist mythology. Before Colleen kicks him out, she gives him a pair of shoes—probably to prevent him from picking up tetanus from walking around barefoot on the streets of New York.
Once Danny is officially shoe-clad, however, he’s confronted by Shannon, chief security guard at Rand Industries, as well as other two others brandishing guns. Apparently Ward is looking to get rid of Danny once and for all. Danny leads the three thugs on a chase through a parade in Chinatown, quietly dispatching them amongst a celebration involving fireworks and loud music. If Ward wants to off Danny, he’s going to have to try a lot harder.
Meanwhile, Ward is summoned to an office building in the dead of night – by none other than his own father, Harold Meachum. Harold (who appears to be very much alive) has been hiding out in a penthouse, quietly manipulating events from behind the scenes. When it comes to Danny Rand, he informs Ward he’ll be calling the shots on how to move forward.
Danny seeks Joy out for another attempt at convincing her of the truth – by waiting for her in her office. (Someone’s got to teach this guy about boundaries.) At first, it seems like Joy’s finally willing to give him a chance – but then Danny realizes he’s been drugged via the tea she’s served him. When Danny wakes up he’s strapped to a hospital bed, but a nurse quickly gives him an injection to put him under again.
- This is the first time we see Danny begin to experience flashbacks to the plane accident that killed both of his parents and left him stranded in the Himalayas 15 years ago. It looks like the show is going to spend some story jumping back and forth between Danny’s present and his past, if the brief shot of the two monks who discover him is any indication.
- Based on another, even earlier flashback that highlights the dynamic between young Danny and the Meachum siblings, Ward has apparently always been a dick. Props for character consistency.
- There are a lot of cuts to birds, which I’m guessing is a reference to Danny’s attempts to focus his chi?
- Harold’s treatment of his intern Kyle makes Miranda Priestly look like a saint.
- This episode is without a doubt the definition of a slow burn, so it remains to be seen how quickly the plot will start ramping up – both by way of action and narrative. (In other words: we haven’t seen Danny’s fist glow… yet.)
That’s it for the Iron Fist premiere! What are your first impressions of the show and its characters? Feel free to discuss in the comments or come and find me on Twitter.
Do some binge-reading! Episode 2’s recap is right here!