Iron Fist: Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch


Even Martial Arts masters need a lawyer sometimes


Netflix’s Iron Fist continues the story of Danny’s return to New York. The episode titles all sound like various martial arts techniques you’d hear shouted out during some types of kung fu movies. This time around, it’s “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch,” which doesn’t seem to relate to anything that happens this episode, or not as far as I can tell, anyway.

It starts off at Colleen’s dojo. Apparently, she lives there, much like Jessica Jones at her Alias Investigations home/office, or Cage at the barber shop. Her sleep is interrupted when three of the security thugs that work for Ward show up. They kick the door in, which shows they have some dubious intent at best. They find out that, while Danny is the star of the show, Colleen is no damsel in distress. She wades through them all fairly easily, almost without getting touched. After they give up, they tell her they’re looking for Danny, who they are careful to call an impostor. She tells them he’s not there and shoos them out. Just after they leave is when Danny drops down from between two beams in the ceiling. Points to the writers for that one: the hero saw the woman in danger and let her quite literally fight her own battle, and she did it damn well. The upshot of all this is that she wants Danny to leave, but doesn’t look happy with herself saying it.

Ward goes back to his father’s hideaway, eventually finding him inside some odd tube. I don’t know what I would have expected him to be up to, but that wasn’t it. They talk about the issues around Danny’s return. Harold instructs him to repair the door at the hospital to try and cut down on people talking. Their talk doesn’t go well, and Harold is not above using physical persuasion to make his points. Harold isn’t pleased with how Ward handled things with Danny at the mental hospital. I kind of wonder what the doctor makes of the big hole, in light of Danny’s claims of being the Iron Fist.

Back at the dojo, Colleen gets drawn to the main room by some very loud music. Danny is doing slow forms that don’t really match the music at all. One of her students wanders in, shakes his head, and starts sweeping the place out. When Colleen asks why Danny is still there, he says he’s worried for her safety. They quickly escalate to the physical, and, good as Colleen is, Danny is much better, evading her every strike and lecturing her between them. They argue about him staying, and he offers a pretty hefty payment for rent. Since Colleen is having money problems, she considers it after laying down some rules.

Joy and Ward have a very revealing conversation about their attitudes. Joy is worried about Danny and how they’re treating him. Ward is telling her they can’t say he even possibly might be the real deal. They then move on to discussing Raj Patel, the owner of the piers that keep coming up in the background. Joy keeps wondering why they need his property, which Ward isn’t telling her, because he doesn’t know either.

Joy’s next surprise is coming home to find Danny sitting on her front step. He has brought her blossoms and oranges, which he tells her is traditional Buddhist ritual. They talk about her past and some odd dreams she’s had, which leads to him mentioning that Harold came to visit him at the hospital. The friendly chat deteriorates when she brings out papers for him to sign. The money is generous but the deal requires that he change his name. This doesn’t go very well.

Colleen and her student Daryl have a brief scene about an illegal fight club, and her reservations about it. Danny goes to visit his family’s grave, including his own, which leads him eventually to a woman who used to work for his father: Jerri Hogarth, who we’ve seen on both Jessica Jones and Daredevil. They strike a deal after he finally convinces her who he is. There’s another round of Danny getting his wardrobe picked on.

Ward and Joy talk before going out for the evening. She has plans to get Patel to accept their offer. She also picks on Ward for not being the party type. Her plan is clever and multi-level, and she is just as slick a manipulator as Ward, just a lot more refined about it. Then again, we got a hint about that when she drugged Danny.

While that goes on, Harold gets his leash jerked short by his masters, or mistress in this case. We don’t see who is chastising him, but we do hear her and see how obedient he is to them. I suspect, and hope, this is Madame Gao from Daredevil. Danny goes to Colleen’s dojo, and has what you could call a culture clash with her students, as far as training methods go. It ends with him leaving, after bowing respectfully to Colleen. We see a flashback of some of how Danny was trained while he goes to the suite Jerri arranged for him.

Joy and Ward are very happy about how last night went with Patel. Ward shows some surprising depth when he’s talking to her. He’s considering some surprising things, that actually aren’t slimy and criminal. Ward was as close to a moustache-twirling evil villain as they’ve gotten so far in the various Marvel projects, and now we’re getting to see there’s a bit more to him as well.

Danny and Jerri have a meeting on the street. Jerri’s having a problem backing up Danny’s story. It seems like every bit of evidence about his life is missing. I suspect this is Ward’s hand at work, and they both do, too. Danny gets an idea and goes off to run an errand, running across a thug in the records room at a hospital. Presumably he’s from Ward, too. They fight, and Danny doesn’t do as well as usual, but he did get ambushed from behind pretty nastily to start the fight off. Danny follows this up with an ill-conceived confrontation with Ward and Joy in a restaurant. I’m not quite sure how he found them. I will say that they are being consistent with Danny’s temper issues, but I’m still having trouble reconciling that with a martial arts master.

Joy and Ward talk back at their offices. She is having a lot of mixed emotions about everything going on. She’s not stupid, and she’s seen what Ward can be like when they were growing up together. Joy’s also, understandably, worried about facing Jerri in the morning. It’s nice to know Ms. Hogarth has a formidable rep. Joy ends up going home and reflecting on a few things.

Later that night, we see Colleen in action again. She’s a bit hypocritical here. After lecturing Daryl about fighting for money being bad, she goes and does the same thing. She fights really well, almost loses, and then manages a win, showing some similar temper issues to Danny. Does everyone who studies martial arts around here have PTSD or something? Colleen does pick an interesting name for the fight: Daughter of the Dragon, which is what her and Misty Knight’s partnership is called in the comics. She also wins by incorporating something she picked up in her brief sparring match with Danny.

The next morning, Danny and Jerri go to meet with Joy, Ward, and a lot of lawyers. It’s a very contentious meeting, and Ward is back to his usual slimy self. Jerri is more than capable of handling him, though. They end up pulling a big surprise which gives Danny a huge victory. He overhears some interesting things, and follows Ward when he leaves. Danny follows Ward back to Harold’s place, but gets a nasty surprise when he tries to sneak in, and that leaves us on a cliffhanger for next episode.

What I liked: We already know Danny is supposed to be hell on wheels, but it was really nice seeing Colleen handle herself so well. They worked in Jerri Hogarth in and made it fit. I liked what happened around the evidence they used to confront Ward and company. They managed to make Ward seem a bit more like a person. I’m really hoping that was Gao talking to Harold.

What I didn’t: Danny and Colleen both are displaying wicked tempers which is at odds with their training. Martial arts, especially at higher levels, is about control. I could see Danny maybe having some issues from his past, but they haven’t shown why Colleen is acting this way. The burning of the records in the hospital was a bit odd. Either the thug came there prepared for arson, in which case why did he wait so long, or it was spur of the moment, in which case why are they storing flammable liquids in a room full of paper files?

I thought this was pretty good. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.