The first episode didn’t end in a good place for Danny Rand. He was betrayed by someone he thought was a friend, drugged, and ended up in a mental hospital. Well, at least that makes some of my bad days look a lot better by comparison. “Shadow Hawk Takes Flight” continues Danny’s story, with a lot more hints at what’s to come, and some more insight into the various Meechums.
Much of the episode shows Danny’s struggles in the hospital. The first one he meets is Simon, who starts off seeming like a voice of reason, but… well, you see pretty quickly what his status is. Another recurring theme is the repeated forced drugging of Danny by the staff. Danny is being held on an involuntary mental health order, which, as we see, is something that is far too easy to abuse.
At the office, Ward is back to business as usual. I suspect he’s not often troubled by pangs of conscience, Ward Meechum. Joy, on the other hand, feels bad about drugging Danny and is starting to entertain doubts about his story being impossible after all. Ward, of course, tries to talk her out of that.
Danny frequently tries to meditate, but the drugs are interfering, and he gets this odd blurring effect before he starts flashing back to earlier events, usually surrounding his family’s plane crash. Danny spends some time talking with Dr. Edmonds, who does actually seem to care about him. The doctor, quite understandably, doesn’t believe Danny’s story. After all, Danny Rand has been dead for years, and he was carrying a passport with another name, which doesn’t help any, nor does Danny’s talk of warrior monks from the Order of the Crane Mother, which no one has ever heard of.
Elsewhere, Colleen Wing wanders through the city. We get to see a sample of her talents, and that she is far from a conventional teacher. I’d wonder how she manages to stroll the streets with a sword on her back and not attract attention, but 1) it’s New York and 2) it’s MARVEL New York. I suspect the citizens are even more jaded in the Marvel version.
Danny gets a tour of the facility from Simon, who we met earlier and seems a really dubious choice. Simon has no illusions about getting released, and the stories he tells make things sound bad for Danny, too. The tour serves two purposes, getting the low down on what kind of place it is and meeting a few violent, bullying inmates. The predictable happens and Danny ends up strapped down again.
Later, Simon frees Danny to help him get to a phone. Since he still has the flier from earlier, and since, as Danny puts it, everyone else in New York wants to kill him or commit him, he calls Colleen Wing. She’s less than impressed and is even more wary when she hears he’s having problems with the wealthy Meechums. After she hangs up, Danny slams the phone down. For a martial arts master, the boy has control issues.
Ward goes to see his allegedly but not really dead father Harold again. Harold has cameras and audio in Danny’s room, and is seriously violating confidentiality laws, not that he cares. He’s very intrigued about the Order of the Crane Mother and Danny’s claim to be Iron Fist. Harold is starting wonder if Danny’s story can be true. Ward makes some ugly suggestions about how to handle Danny, and Harold proves to be more reasonable. Seriously, Ward should be the one in the mental hospital. The man’s sociopathic at best.
After a bit more of Danny in crazy-land, Colleen gets an unexpected visitor: Ward Meechum. Ward asks her about a man calling himself Danny Rand, and proceeds to be his usual jerk of a self. Colleen doesn’t like him and really doesn’t appreciate the bribery attempt when he offers her a lot of money to sign papers that Danny threatened her. That’s Ward, making friends all over.
Danny’s next session doesn’t go at all as the doctor expected. He found an old commercial for Rand International, and Danny, instead of crumbling in the face of detailed information, remembers the day it was filmed. He gives specific details to the doctor, which both impresses him and troubles him. Danny once again loses his temper and gets restrained and medicated. He’s really not helping himself here. Harold looks on via his cameras and becomes even more curious before being really abusive towards his assistant Kyle. Harold then stuns Kyle by telling him to get the car ready. Apparently Harold never leaves the penthouse, but is intrigued enough by Danny to go on a field trip.
Dr. Edmonds is about to pack it in for the night when he sees the Rand video again and gets curious. He calls Joy, and is very surprised when she confirms Danny’s earlier details. He hangs up after citing patient confidentiality, leaving Joy confused and the good doctor wondering a lot about his patient.
Danny gets yet another injection which clearly packs a wallop. As he drifts along the edge of passing out, he gets a surprise visitor. Harold Ward asks the questions he’d been hoping the doctor would. They compare notes on being thought dead after Harold runs another verification question past Danny. Danny mentions being one in a line of Immortal Iron Fists. You have to wonder why you’d need more than one of anything immortal, but that’s me. When Harold gets home, he has Kyle look up everything he can on Iron Fist, and then sees a note on his window, etched or painted or something. It seems Harold’s brief absence has not gone unnoticed, and the signature is very curious.
Joy is growing increasingly uncertain about Danny’s situation. She rummages through a box of old pictures, traveling down Memory Lane. Joy is worried about how they are treating him, especially if he’s the real Danny. Finally, she sends over another test to the mental hospital.
Back at Colleen’s dojo, she does some sword form work. She’s good at what she does, that’s for sure. Ward stops by, dropping off the actual papers he wants her to sign. He gets a lot less subtle about his bribery, which makes Colleen a lot more curious about what’s going on. Why would a very wealthy man be spending so much time and energy on a homeless guy?
Danny does some empty hand forms in his room, but is not at the top of his game. It’s not clear if that’s from the memories, the drugs, or both. He gets interrupted by a brief visit from Colleen, who is at least sharing information with him. Danny asks her to return Joy’s package to her, after he enjoyed Joy’s test. Colleen is clearly a bit bemused, but agrees.
Colleen goes to Joy’s office to deliver Danny’s package and Ward’s papers. Joy has a very emotional reaction to what Danny did. Colleen is not trying to get drawn further into the drama, and simply says she won’t sign Ward’s papers and leaves. Ward sees Colleen leaving, and goes to ask Joy what’s going on. He’s not happy to hear she’s joining the “It’s really Danny” camp. Joy snaps at him, and lights a fuse in her brother, I believe.
Danny and the doctor talk more. The doctor sort of gives him a good news/bad news scenario. Dr. Edmonds believes he’s Danny Rand now, which is great. But he doesn’t buy the bit about Iron Fist, or vanishing cities, and cites the increased number of patients claiming to have powers since “the Incident” which is the term for the Battle of New York in the Avengers movie we’ve heard before in the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I could see that making sense, but it makes me wonder how many legitimate supers are being held in mental wards and kept too drugged to use their powers. Harold watches this, and doesn’t seem surprised when Kyle reports back nothing useful in his search on the term Iron Fist.
Ward gets a very revealing call that pulls him out of a meeting about the warehouses he was discussing with Joy earlier. His dad has an amusing contact listing on Ward’s phone. Ward is a lot less amused when he hears Harold’s new plans for Danny. Interestingly, Harold has seized on the part of Danny’s story about being an enemy of the Hand. The Hand is the organization that was the big bad guy in the second season of Daredevil. Ward takes a pill of some kind and makes a call saying there’s a change of plan for the patient. This bodes ill for Danny.
It does indeed bode ill as Danny is put in a straight jacket and put in the room with the earlier bullies, who proceed to beat the hell out of him. Danny manages to get loose, and then the last questions about whether the Iron Fist is real or not get dealt with. Danny wins the fight and escapes in spectacular fashion, running off into the night to end the episode.
What I liked: Joy’s conversion to Danny’s side is believable. Ward is a slimy bad guy, but a well-acted one. Harold is interesting, and I’m really curious about how he’s tied in with the Hand. I was glad to see the effect for the Iron Fist; it looked great. I’m liking Colleen, too.
What I didn’t: The details at the mental hospital were a bit off. Violent bullies wouldn’t be wandering around loose, and I doubt Simon would be picked as Danny’s tour guide.
I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5 and am looking forward to when I have time to watch the next one.