We’ve had three passable episodes in a row. Sure, they haven’t been as on fire as the first few episodes of other series, but I still don’t think they are as bad as was reported. They’ve been fun, and I’ve been interested in seeing where the story is going. But, with this episode, I think I see a few cracks. Kind of. Just what for it in the Analysis section.
Iron Fist s01e04: Eight Diagram Dragon Palm
writer: Scott Reynolds
director: Miguel Sapochnik
We get a few more glimpses into the world these characters populate. Danny is shown to be a businessman with different ethics and a fighter against men with hatchets. Colleen fights for reasons unknown and a restaurant scene shows that the Hand are indeed feared. Listen, all the individual parts here were pretty enjoyable, but at the end of the show, it all felt a bit too much like arranging deck chairs. Not really meaning that disaster is about strike, but I also don’t really think enough of import has happened. Not bad, but the show feels way to cautious.
Spoilers Lurk Below
Here is a little bit of insight into how I’ve been doing these reviews. For the past three I’ve finished the show, and within a few hours I’ve been able to sit down at my keyboard and type up my thoughts. This episode was a little different. I watched the episode in the morning, and relatively soon after finishing the family went out on an all day outing. By the time we returned and got the little guy (my toddler son for new readers) in bed, I was tired enough so all I wanted to do was shower, read a little, and fall asleep.
I woke up this morning and went to write. In my head I had prepared some big picture points to discuss, and I’ll get to those, but I had trouble remembering what happened. What set this episode apart from the previous ones? That is a hard question. Kind of.
Episode 1 was homeless Danny. Episode 2 was crazy Danny. Episode 3 and 4 are kind of a blur of rookie businessman Danny. And cage fighting Colleen. And scheming Meachums. And I think there were some student scenes and Kunlun flashbacks in both? Really, the only thing that really sets episode four apart was the attack on Joy and the confrontation in the Chinese restaurant. And I liked both of those scenes, although I think that the next Marvel show really needs to avoid fights in hallways at all costs. But it just doesn’t feel enough is happening.
About that fight scene. It was all right. Sure, there was the automatic Daredevil comparison, which is never going to go in another shows favor, but there was another problem. This is Danny Rand, the Iron fist. The Living Weapon. These early fights shouldn’t even be a challenge for him. He’s a superhero and these are essentially level 2 thugs. Just let him make short work of them and move on. He certainly shouldn’t look surprised that someone threw a hatchet at him.
But the biggest problem I had with this episode is something I remember hearing in a writing class a long while ago, and this has to do with motivations. In real life, money is a very common motivator. Maybe its a main motivator. But in story, the search for money makes for weak motivation. And right now money seems to be the main goal for characters.
The Meachums want more money and want to hold on to what they have. Colleen, well, as much as I think there is more to the story here, her main interest in fighting is professed to be money. I’m sure it will turn out to be some type of addiction to the violence, but all we are given in this cypher of a character is money.
As for Danny, we still don’t really know what he wants other than to be back. Or maybe fight the Hand. It isn’t really clear. And that is the problem. The show is enjoyable enough, but it feels like it is going for the drip and drab reveal thriller aspect, but I don’t really have anything more than a surface connection to these characters. I think I would be more involved int he show if they put aside the slow reveals and just told us wha these charters want and who they are. So far the most direct character has been Harold Meachum, but he is also the character who comes off as the most dishonest.
There are so many places this show could go and there does indeed to be a bit of progress. But I’m also getting tired of waiting for the show to win me over. Quit being cautious and just go for it.
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