Saturday, 18 March 2017

Review - 'Iron Fist', S01E03 - 'Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch'

With the third episode of Iron Fist, things seem to continue much as they had in the previous episode – with a gradual improvement in the show's overall quality, as all of the pieces begin to fall into place. The show still has a fair way to go before it becomes a truly worthy addition to Netflix's corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course. But, there does seem to be cause for genuine hope that, before the season reaches its finale, it will have become the entertaining martial arts action series that I had hoped it would be. Even the quality of the writing seems to have improved, somewhat, with this episode – as, despite it still being an episode filled with long scenes of dialogue, they did not feel quite as tedious or drawn out as previously.

It is also with this third episode that the season's first plot-arc finally seems to come together – as Danny becomes determined to prove his identity through legal channels, while the Meachums continue to do everything that they can to stop him. Even Joy, who had previously been the most sympathetic (and, who has come to believe that he is truly who he claims to be), is adamant that Danny has no place within Rand Enterprises – offering him a very generous sum of money on the condition that he agree to start a new life, under a new name, somewhere very far aware.

Of course, when Danny claims that it isn't actually about the money, it is difficult to truly doubt him – instead, it does genuinely seem as though all we really wants is to salvage whatever he can of his former life. In the first episode, I had been somewhat bothered by the way that Danny had simply blundered into every interaction, and had seemed to do little more than create problems for himself. But, after a couple of episodes of seeing his very earnest desire to simply be accepted, and believed, I think that my opinion of this character has started to change. It may have been naive of him to think that he could return, after fifteen years, and be instantly accepted – but, given everything that he has gone through, it is a level of naivety that seems almost understandable. Also, the fact that this lack of acceptence from his childhood friends has clearly genuinely hurt him does add a genuinely personal element to the whole conflict.

With a new ally in the form of Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anni Moss), though, Danny has reason to believe that he might finally be able to make some progress – although, things are complicated, somewhat, by the fact that any piece of information that could be used as evidence of his identity seems to be vanishing.

One thing that does still strike me as a bit strange about all of this is the fact that the stakes just still don't feel all that high. Sure, there is a lot of money at stake – but, there still isn't anything in the form of a compelling villain, or a conflict to carry the season. Instead, what we are watching feels more like the drama of a wealthy family – and, not the sort of action worthy of this new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, the episode does also hint at possible future developments in this regard, as we learn that Harold Meachum definitely has some connection to some very sinister forces (anyone who has been paying attention would have to know that the woman who pays him a visit, during the episode, will eventually be revealed as Madame Gao). Although the nature of this connection is still being kept secret, of course, it does definitely hint at interesting developments to come.

On the subject of interesting developments, too, this episode also gives as a much closer look at Colleen Wing, by showing her taking part in an underground fight club. With her issues covering the cost of her dojo already being established, it is clear that her primary motivation for involving herself in this sort of mess is an effort to make some money – yet, at the same time, there is a clear indication that she actually enjoys it. Colleen's action sequence, within that caged ring, was brief, though extremely brutal, as she found herself confronted by a man twice her size – and, it would also have to be the show's most effective use of action, so far. Beyond being a simple victim of circumstance, as she has found herself drawn into Danny Rand's drama, it has been difficult to get a proper idea of what Colleen's role in the series was going to be – so, the fact that she has set off on her own, very interesting, sub-plot is definitely appreciated.

So, after three episodes, it feels as though Iron Fist might finally be starting to settles, after its very shaky start. I just have to hope that it can continue to develop in this way.

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