Martial Arts are the highlight, while family drama causes the series to spin its wheels.
As we catch up with our hero, Danny Rand, aka The Immortal Iron Fist, aka Defender of K’un Lun, aka Sworn Enemy of the Hand, aka the blond guy with the glowing hand, he is fresh off his triumphant victory over the Hand, the destruction of K’un Lun, and the fulfillment of the remainder of all of his other life’s purposes. With the Hand vanquished and Daredevil out of the picture, Danny is left cleaning up the streets and protecting the neighborhood from rival Triad gangs, the Hatchets and the Golden Tigers. It’s only a part time job, though, leaving plenty of time for Danny to pursue other jobs like mover, delivery guy, and billionaire. In between jobs, Danny spends time with his girlfriend and roommate, Colleen Wing, former Hand ninja and retired martial arts instructor. Overall, Danny is pretty happy.
But not everyone else is. Ward Meachum is recovering from his Season One struggles with his abusive father and drug abuse by reluctantly attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, sleeping with his sponsor, and shirking his business responsibilities. Joy Meachum is working to separate herself from Rand Enterprises and start something new, while Danny’s K’un Lun blood brother, Davos, is plotting to take control of Danny’s Iron Fist powers.
A new character is introduced in Season 2, Mary Walker, “Typhoid Mary” from the comics, played by Alice Eve. Mary Walker starts as a mysterious persona with a bit of a crush on our boy Danny, then is revealed to be something far more dangerous, with the possibility of being a big bad later on. She had the real potential to bring some real peril to the series, but she never really materialized into the villain we wanted.
The highlight of the season is the martial arts action. Finn Jones has really upped his game in the stunt department, bringing the fight level from Last Airbender to The Kickboxer. At some point, every character faces off against every other character. The first 9 episodes play like the round robin phase of an MMA tournament, with the brackets narrowing only in the final episode. The only matchup that we miss is a fully powered up Danny against a fully powered up Davos. It’s the fight we were promised at the beginning of the season, and its absence is greatly felt.
The first half of Season 2 is mostly family drama, as Danny, Colleen, Davos, Joy, and Ward try to work out their issues with one another, the height of which is a dinner party in Episode 3 where the main characters vent their frustrations with each other over Danny’s crappy homemade spaghetti. It turns out Joy is mad that Danny lied to her, Davos is mad that he doesn’t have the Iron Fist, Ward is too scared to show up to dinner, and Colleen wants Danny to stop letting everyone blame him for their problems. The family tension is never better than during this dinner party, which is a shame because there are 7 more episodes to go. The family drama announced in the dinner party does not resolve or change, however. The characters just spin their wheels. Danny alternates between naivety and stupidity, while Colleen can’t decide between her roles as peaceful community volunteer and neighborhood vigilante. Davos switches from sore loser to cold-blooded killer, and Joy and Ward are dysfunctional siblings and delusional businesspeople. And the cast just oscillates between these positions until the series ends.
But the biggest weaknesses about the whole series are Danny Rand and his kung fu bro Davos. Danny, from his first appearance, carries on with this “Aw, shucks” personality, hoping for the best in everyone despite the evidence, to the point of annoying the characters on screen and the viewers at home. Meanwhile, Davos is nothing more than a mama’s boy trying to make up for failing to make mama proud. They are irritating on screen. When bad things happen to these two, they seem deserved.
But the very best part of the show is the very end. Right before the credits roll, we get a glimpse of our heroes, Colleen, Ward and Danny, months in the future powered up like they always should have been. Hopefully, Season 3 brings us this stronger version of our heroes with plenty of high action and less waffling family drama.
3 out of 5 Couch Cushions!!!