Iron Fist is close to wrapping things up with “Bar The Big Boss,” episode 12 out of 13. Matters are coming to a head, and the various plotlines are starting to close in on themselves. Lines are being drawn, and Danny Rand has to deal with forces pulling him in several directions at once.
They open with us checking in on Ward, still confined to the same hospital he once sent Danny to. Ward isn’t doing well, having hallucinations, withdrawal, and a generally wretched time of it. When a nurse comes in to check on him, he first tries to charm her, then bribe her, and both work equally well. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Later, he gets another visitor. Bakuto gets around, that’s for sure. The Hand Sensei offers Ward a deal, which makes me think of devils and pitchforks, the way that man operates.
Danny and Colleen wander down the street. Colleen is still stunned about the way her world is collapsing around her, especially Bakuto ordering her to be killed. Davos cautions Danny not to believe her, since she’s Hand. That pretty much sets the tone for all the interactions between Davos and Colleen for the rest of the episode. Danny isn’t going to enjoy playing referee. They argue about what to do about the compound, Colleen’s former students, and pretty much everything else.
At the Penthouse, Harold rhapsodizes about working with Joy. She buys all his talk, and is planning on a big family vacation after they finish with their current crisis: her, Ward, Harold, and Danny. It’s almost painful seeing her get hopeful, considering what we know of the way Harold operates. He adeptly dodges her questions about Ward. That ends up not mattering when Ward himself walks in a few moments later. Kind of nice to see Harold surprised.
Tensions rise immediately as Ward wants to talk to Joy away from Harold. He’s really pushing for them to leave, which becomes increasingly desperate. Joy wants to stay and work, and Harold is clearly suspicious, but then, he always is. Ward warns her that Harold isn’t who he thinks, and will use her and just toss her aside. Ward gets a lot more emphatic about how bad Harold is and that they need to leave.
Ward’s insistence on going makes a lot more sense when the elevator opens and Bakuto and his entourage walk out. Harold’s guards make the big mistake of resisting, and the body count in Harold’s penthouse goes up again. Bakuto keeps exuding his fake charm and calm while he drops a few bombshells among the Meechums. Bakuto veers from recommending a family therapist to telling Ward how to kill the annoyingly immortal Harold. Ward isn’t so much worried about something happening to Harold as he is Joy having to see it. Things get calm, sort of, for a moment when Bakuto demands Ward’s phone.
Danny and Colleen return to the Chikara Dojo, because that seems to be the only place they hang out. I wonder what happened to Danny’s apartment/suite/whatever it was. They talk about her situation and the general duality of life. This gets interrupted by Bakuto calling and sending video of him holding the Meechums prisoner. To emphasize his point, Bakuto takes violent action. Danny agrees to go there, and Davos argues that the Iron Fist doesn’t surrender to anyone. Naturally, Danny goes anyway.
The Meechums debate if Danny will come or not and what kind of man he is. Joy seems to be the only one who has a clear picture of both him and them. Bakuto goes on about the history of his sword as he prepares to execute Harold, which I’d actually be ok with. Harold, for last words, flings a stream of abuse at Ward. This about when Danny gets there and gives himself up to save the Meechums. Well, at least one of them is worth the effort. Bakuto cuffs Danny and takes him away.
On the elevator ride down, Bakuto shakes his head, calling the Meechums a pit of vipers and telling Danny he should be glad to be away from those people. I can’t really fault him there. When the elevator gets to the lobby, things get interesting, if inconsistent. Davos and Colleen are there, and a general fight ensues. Danny fires up the Fist for a moment and frees himself from the cuffs before it flickers out again. In the elevator on the way down, I counted carefully, and it was Bakuto plus five men. Now, somehow, it’s three vs. three as Bakuto fights Danny and Colleen and Davos take on a guard each. It’s a very back and forth fight. Everyone involved is quite skilled.
Eventually, it’s down to Bakuto alone, and he flees. The fight moves to a stair and archway location I’ve seen in a lot of New York filmed movies. I think it’s in Central Park. Bakuto taunts Colleen, and she takes him on. Davos tells Danny to stay out of it, that it’s her fight because Bakuto is her sensei. That almost sounds like respect from him, which is a lot different from how he was treating her earlier. It’s an impressive fight that Colleen eventually wins. Then tensions rise to the boiling point and Danny takes on Davos. It’s fight marked by apologies, and, since we know whose show it is, the outcome isn’t that hard to guess. Colleen stupidly watches the fight, and we get the old “I know he was dead, but where’d he go” trick.
Finally, morning arrives, bright and sunny. The Meechums are at the hosptial, and Harold is once again switching sides without batting an eye. Seriously, why does anyone trust this man at this point? He vaguely talks of his future plans, none of which involve anything good for Danny. When Danny calls, Harold stops him from coming to visit, but also finds out where he is. Danny is remarkably naive.
Danny and Colleen go back to the Dojo once more, and have a few cute moments together, talking about the future. Later, which might be the next morning, Danny is doing hip hop kung fu, and then starts teaching Colleen. They get a warning from a very unexpected source, and the dojo gets attacked again. I swear, that door has almost as much bad lack as the one to Jessica Jones’ office. Men in tac armor attack again, and we do get to see who they are. Danny and Colleen get away and the episode ends with them running down the street.
What I liked: As you’d expect from both a martial arts show and a Marvel project, the fight choreography is good. Danny has his share of flaws, and maybe part of someone else’s share, but he is a hero and willing to sacrifice himself for others. I can’t stand Bakuto or Harold, which means they are well written and well acted villains, so points there.
What I didn’t: I’m really over the Meechums as a whole. It’s an ongoing soap opera I don’t really want to watch. All we need is an evil twin or an unexpected pregnancy and we’d be ready for daytime tv. The characters were stupid in their fight in Central Park. If Iron Fist gets a second season, which as far as I know is not confirmed, I wouldn’t mind it being Meechum-free. Maybe Joy if we have to.
This wasn’t a great episode. I’ll give it a low 3 out of 5. I hope the conclusion really ups the game here.