Episode Title: Snow Gives Way
Originally Aired: March 17 2017
Like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Iron Fist/Danny Rand is a lesser-known character that is about to reach a new height in popularity. There has been a lot controversy surrounding the release of the fifth collaboration of Marvel and Netflix. Many people have chided the two companies for not casting an Asian in the lead role, despite the fact that Danny Rand has always been a white man in the comics. Part of it is misguided whitewashing anger and the rest is anger over a perceived missed opportunity. It is true that the Iron Fist could be any age, race or gender but that same thing cannot be said for Danny Rand. For Danny to have a comic book accurate relationship with Luke Cage when all of the Defenders eventually meet up, he has to be a white person. I think it would be great if after a few seasons Danny lost the title of Iron Fist and it transferred to an Asian actor. That way, the next iteration of this show could be for Asian-Americans what Luke Cage was for black people.
In the first episode, we are introduced to our four main characters who will be a major presence in the majority of the 13 episodes. First up, we have the new heads of the Rand Corporation, Joy and Ward Meachum. Brother and sister to Howard Meachum the companies co-founder with Danny’s father. As Danny says in tonight’s episode Ward is a dick and always has been. Tom Pelphrey, who is doing a great job so far because I want Danny to dragon punch him off a roof, plays Ward. He is a self-absorbed, power hungry jerk with daddy issues. He has always hated Danny because his parents nurtured him while a father who only respects power hardened Ward. Jessica Stroup plays who is the most seasoned actor of the main group plays Joy. Ward’s younger sister who may have had a childhood crush on Danny or they could have just been best friends. She defines herself as living in the grey while Ward is more black and white, her open mindedness will make her an ally to Danny going forward and the first to believe he is not just a crazy bum.
Jessica Henwick is Colleen Wing, the second “friend” Danny makes after his return to New York and the only one to survive the episode. Jessica is a newer addition to Game of Thrones and was in Star Was the Force Awakens before joining the cast of Iron Fist, her career is on a hot streak and it won’t stop after the performance she is giving in this show. Colleen is a no nonsense martial arts instructor willing to do almost anything to keep her small dojo open. She trains her students for elaborate katas and real world applications of tracking and fending off attackers. She wants to distance herself from the craziness Danny brings to her but I think she will be his greatest ally in the fight against to prove his identity and against the Hand.
Finn Jones who is mostly known for his role on Game of Thrones plays the titular Iron Fist. In this first episode, he does a great job portraying the excitement and innocence of someone who hasn’t been home in 15 years. The monks who saved him taught him all anyone could want to know about martial arts but not how to cope with the loss of his parents. Whenever he thinks about them, it is an internal battle to fight them off, the memories bubble and scratch themselves to the surface. Giving Danny headaches making him focus his chi to calm himself down. I do think it is a little silly that the sworn enemy of the Hand is a fist. I will be fair and say that he is always wearing very baggy clothes but Finn does not seem to have the typical Marvel physique. He is fast and fluid in his movements but it doesn’t look like he would have much power behind his punches.
One episode in and I am hooked, I had to force myself to stop Netflix from rolling right into episode two so I could write this and I hope this is a trend that continues. It is another 13-episode season just like Luke Cage so I am hopeful that this does not suffer from the pacing issues that show did.