IRON FIST Episode Three Recap: Knock Out or Tap Out

Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Iron Fist episode, “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch.” If you haven’t watched yet, in the words of Colleen Wing: “That would be a mistake.”

The setting: Chikara Dojo. The time: super late at night. In fact, it’s so late that Colleen Wing is sleeping peacefully in her bed right up until the moment she hears someone trying to break in. The culprits are that same group of hired men from Rand Industries led by lead body-man Shannon, and they need to be taught a lesson about what happens when you catch a Colleen Wing sleeping. She deftly wields a practice sword against each of them in turn before Shannon informs her they’re not here for her. They’re looking for Danny – who, if you’ll recall, punched his way out of that psychiatric facility at the end of the last episode.

Even as Colleen holds Shannon at practice swordpoint and backs him out of her home, a drop of blood falls from the ceiling and onto his shoulder. Its source? None other than Danny Rand, of course, hiding in the rafters. Fortunately, Shannon doesn’t pick up on anything wonky and once the coast is clear, Danny drops down to the floor. He promises Colleen there won’t be any more trouble, but she points out that even mercy has its limits and that he’ll need to be out before she wakes up.It’s safe to say Ward isn’t really looking forward to having a talk with Harold about what happened with Danny, since what lead up to that revolves around Ward directly disobeying his father’s orders. He finds dear old dad sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber and attempts to assure Harold that Danny will be found in short order, especially since he’s not a very “sophisticated” person. Whatever that means. Harold brings up the subject of an ongoing deal Rand Industries is conducting – trying to buy a pier from a man named Patel – and suggests that Joy be brought on as a closer, since Ward is having some difficulty in negotiations. Ward insists he can handle it on his own, but Harold’s not convinced – and delivers a hard jab to Ward’s side that leaves him stunned in more ways than one. “If you just do things my way, it’ll all work out for you,” Harold says.

Back at the dojo, Colleen is snapped out of her morning meditation by some blaring hip-hop music – apparently, this is Danny’s jam for practicing his morning tai chi. Colleen asks why he hasn’t left yet and Danny says he’s worried for her safety; even though Colleen handled herself very capably with her middle-of-the-night attackers, one of them still managed to land a blow. As far as Danny’s concerned, however, he never should’ve gotten close enough to begin with. Their conversation eventually leads to an impromptu sparring session, with Danny touting the benefits of internal strength over external force and concluding with the demonstration of a move called the Leopard Punch. All you really need to know here is that their fighting styles are worlds apart – oh, and they also have a little bit of tension, if you know what I mean. Danny promises he’ll make up for the break-in and the dojo’s locked door by paying Colleen’s rent for the next six months if she lets him crash for a week. Colleen agrees, but on three conditions: he sleeps in a designated corner, he doesn’t go anywhere near her martial arts students, and he uses the bathroom at Starbucks. To Danny, this seems like a fair deal.

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Danny continues the theme of making amends with those he’s inadvertently wronged. His next stop? Joy’s apartment. He waits for her on her front step this time, surrounded by flowers and citrus fruit, and the two of them swap stories. Joy shares how she struggled with her grief after Harold’s death, and Danny confesses he’d had his own dream about her father at the hospital. (Of course we, the audience, know that it wasn’t actually a dream, but Joy does seem a little rattled by Danny’s admission.) Once inside, she presents him with an offer – $100 million for his shares of Rand Industries, but there’s a caveat: he has to change his name. Danny bristles at the suggestion, but Joy points out that the world already believes Danny Rand is long dead. For Danny, however, the deal is insulting. “It’s not about money,” he tells her. “I thought you understood.”

Eventually, he makes his way to the Rand graves, studying his own name alongside the names of his parents. There are fresh flowers atop each gravestone, which means someone has to be paying for them to be there. A quick search leads him to a former intern from Rand’s legal department who is now one of the most prominent lawyers in this universe: Jeri Hogarth. (We last saw her at the end of Daredevil‘s second season, offering Foggy Nelson a job at her firm.) She’s not too keen about being ambushed on the street by a “homeless hipster,” but after Danny lists off several factoids that only he would remember Hogarth puts down the pepper spray and they talk. She’s been handling the Rand estate since the family was declared dead and tells Danny she can help him get his business back – more than that, she’ll get him the money he’s worth. Once again, Danny protests that money isn’t the issue but as far as Hogarth is concerned, money is the only language the Meachums understand.

Remember that creepy message that was left on Harold’s window last episode? It was from none other than the Hand, who show up in person to make sure their message has been heard. Up until now, Harold Meachum has always seemed like a man in control but he’s literally brought to his knees in fear by a message from Madame Gao. It’s unclear why the Hand has such a hold over Harold, but what is clear is that the real forces at work are darker and more powerful than we originally thought.

We all know how much Hogarth hates to lose, and she’s realizing Danny’s case against the Meachums may be harder to prove than they both originally thought. All records of Danny Rand’s former existence – right down to his library card – have been erased. Danny remembers he has an old X-ray on file from when he broke his arm skateboarding, but one of Ward’s hired men has already beaten him to the punch – and in the scuffle, the X-rays go up in flames. Danny puts two and two together and angrily confronts Ward and Joy at lunch, making one last attempt at reconciliation. “I’m not your sister; he’s not your brother,” Joy says, finally setting Danny off. “You can’t deny me what’s mine, what my father meant for me to have.” And with that out in the air between all of them, Danny storms out.

When Hogarth and Danny finally face off against the Meachums and their lawyers, all seems hopeless until Hogarth presents a piece of undeniable evidence: a homemade clay pot made by Danny for Joy on her birthday. On the bottom is young Danny’s thumbprint, preserved after all these years. Ward questions how Hogarth was able to acquire it, but the answer isn’t important: it’s enough to establish identity and it will most definitely hold up in court.

While Danny and Hogarth are heading out, something about Ward piques Danny’s interest; he eavesdrops on a call Ward makes to an unknown person and then tails him to a fancy office building. Security is too tight on the upper floors so Danny proceeds to scale the building from the outside until he can jimmy open a window on the penthouse level. That’s when someone steps out from the shadows and pushes him off the ledge! Cut to black.


  • Colleen confronts one of her students about participating in illegal cage match fights for money; in a later scene, she shows up at the underground event and ends up competing under the name “Daughter of the Dragon” (where, coincidentally, she practices the Leopard Punch Danny taught her). Now we know how she’s going to wind up in this scene from an earlier trailer.
  • Danny Rand’s nickname for Jeri Hogarth used to be “J-Money.” YES.
  • The flashbacks continue: in a brief scene, we see a young Danny with a shaved head and wearing a robe, taking blows from monks wielding short staffs. Perhaps a training exercise designed to teach him how to handle pain?
  • Joy continues to wrestle with whether or not she’s on Danny’s side; she clearly gave Hogarth & co. the evidence they need to win Danny’s case, but treats Danny very differently when Ward is around. Between that and her manipulation of the Patel pier deal, I’m thinking she’s one to keep an eye on.

Let’s talk episode three! What did you like? What did you not like? Chat away in the comments or feel free to hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts.

Keep the Fist Train rolling by reading episode 4’s recap right here!

Images: Netflix.