I took a look at the title of this episode and after the more pastoral titles of episodes one and two, i was thinking that this would be were things jump off and turn insane. Well, that wasn’t the case. It was more interesting that episode 2, maybe not as much as episode 1.
Iron Fist s01e03: Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch
writer: Quinton Peeples
director: Tom Shankland
The plot thickens! Another slow boil reference for those playing at home. I feel we are left with another solid, although not very thrilling episode. We kind of get more of a sense of Colleen, a few more looks at Danny’s time in Kunlun, and full, if unnecessary, proof that Daddy Meachum and Likely Brother MEachum of evil. We also get some fights that are passable. And Trinity shows up. While I’m happy that its more interesting than last episode, I need this show to unlock.
Spoilers Lurk Below
I feel the main thing this episode really accomplished is that now everyone is on board with Danny Rand being who he says he is. Still, now they are just going through the legal operations of what that means. As a fan of the older John Byrne comics that returned Danny Rand to comics, found in Namor, naturally, I am used to a little bit of business with my Iron Fist. But I have to be honest, if you are going to include business in my kung fu Marvel show, I need it to be sharper than this. We are getting serviceable when what we want is inspired. Oh, and Colleen does stuff but her reasons are muddy.
Let’s start with Colleen, as that has the most to do with martial arts. During this show I keep wondering if the dojo students are intentionally bad, or is that just a lack of trying on the part of the show? I get that they were joking around, so maybe it is intentional? It just isn’t very clear. I need Colleen to lampshade what her students are in terms of level. Instead we get her trying to be a social worker. Muddy waters.
I get that one of the complaints is that Iron Fist doesn’t have an at risk group to represent. Daredevil had people with disabilities. Jessica Jones had women and trauma survivors. Luke Cage stand for black and other oppressed minorities. Danny Rand has… well, that seems to make people angry. He is a rich white guy that knows a high level of martial arts. So, it is easy for folk to just say he is a frat boy white savior. Personally, I think he is more than that, but I get the argument.
So far, this show seems to be struggling with what issue will define Iron Fist. And it seems every episode is trying on a new set of shoes. Episode 1 asked about homeless. 2 suggested mentally ill. 3 is the biggest shrug and says at risk kids? But none of these are really connecting and just slide off. There is something about these inclusions that feel forced and not really connected to the reality of the show.
Colleen could be standing in for at risk kids. After all, she lectured that one guy about the perils of fighting for money. And then she shows up at the fight night. But not to save the kid. But to fight. For money, I think? It wasn’t that clear. I mean, we know her financials aren’t stable, but we don’t really know about her motivations. And I’m interested in Wing, I guess, but not really in the fight night story.
It feels like this show should be a modern take on kung fu films, like Luke Cage was a take on blacksploitation. But, it also feels that the show doesn’t want to risk offending anyone and so they are trying to avoid those connections instead of just diving into them.
Maybe it is too early, but unapologetically embracing all the goofiness around Captain America and Iron Man has been what has made those movies work. Same with the first half of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. But when they pull back and play safe, like with Thor being an alien instead of a God, or with Jessica Jones no longer being in danger from the Purple Man, the shows suffer.
I’m worried that Iron Fist is going to keep playing it safe instead of just going crazy with kung fu. We’ll see.
Hmmm… Maybe I didn’t spend as much time talking about this specific episode as I did talking about issues surrounding the episode. Maybe they are one in the same? Either way, ten episodes left to go.
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