Season 1 | Episode 103 | “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch” | Aired March 17, 2017
Iron Fist was created in May of 1974 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. By December of 1978, he had joined his most noteworthy team ever, Heroes for Hire. His alliance with Luke Cage would become famous in the Marvel Comics universe. The team had a rotating roster, but Danny Rand and Luke Cage owned and ran the team. The point was to merge the pro bono field of super-heroics with a model that would pay the bills.
This model seems to go against everything that this iteration of Danny Rand stands for. Throughout this episode, the underlying thesis seems to be that money should only be accepted with the proper precautions. Throughout the episode, we see characters offered a cash reward changing their mind when they hear that money is involved. Assuming that we are building towards a Heroes for Hire plotline in the future, Danny is up for a very interesting character arc.
The episode opens ups with Harold demanding that Ward sorts out his affairs. In the first two episodes, Harold has given Ward orders that he has failed to obey. Every time we have seen Ward make a decision on his own, it has ended poorly. So it makes sense that Harold would be at his wits end with his son.
The top priority for Ward, according to his father, is to deal with the pier. Harold has been after Ward to have the Rand Corporation buy a set of warehouses on a pier in Brooklyn since Episode one. Ward enlists Joy in the effort, mostly to get Harold off his back about the project. When Joy asks why the pier is important, Ward gives her a vague answer that makes it obvious Joy does not know Harold is still alive.
Meanwhile, Danny has been hiding out at Coleen’s dojo. He asks her for permission to stay for the rest of the week, and tells her that he will pay her six months rent in exchange. The two swap stories about growing up and we get a quick flashback to Danny’s training. We see Danny, surrounded by three monks, being beaten with wooden poles. After Coleen presses Danny for more information than he’s comfortable giving and shows that she’s uncomfortable with Danny staying on at the dojo, Danny runs off indignantly.
After Danny leaves, Coleen gets some bad news from one of her students. A young man who she’s been teaching has been fighting for money. Coleen tells her students that this is always dishonorable. That taking money for fighting is never the right thing. That a warrior should only fight to protect or defend people, never for personal gain.
Meanwhile, Danny makes a series of stops. First, he goes to visit Joy at her home. She offers him a large sum of money for all his shares in the Rand Corporation and for him to change his name. Danny refuses because no amount of money is worth no longer being Danny Rand. Then, he goes to visit his parents’ graves. Since he was thought to have died in the same plane crash that killed his parents, he has a gravestone next to his mother and father. The graves are decorated with an ornate arrangement of colorful flowers. Danny is curious about who in the city could possibly be taking acre of the graves and goes to investigate.
His investigations lead him to Jeri Hogarth. Hogarth, who we have seen in Daredevil and Jessica Jones. She tells Danny that she has been taking care of the graves because she was the executor of the will and it was her responsibility. Danny remembers her from his childhood and the two quickly become close. When Danny explains the twists and turns he’s been going through in his life, Hogarth agrees to help him try and get his company back.
Joy and Ward continue on their plan to seek to secure the pier. Ward refuses to tell Joy why the dock is important because he has to keep their father’s survival a secret. Joy, trusting her brother’s motives, invites the owner of the dock out for a night he will never forget. Before they get to the party, though, Joy brings Ward and the dock owner – Mr. Patel- to a hospital. There they find a dying man. Joy tells Mr. Patel that this man is an organ donor who would be a perfect match for Patel’s nephew. According to Joy, if Patel signs the pier over the Rand Corporation, the man’s organs will be transferred to Patel’s nephew before the end of the evening.
Hogarth has led Danny to a five-star hotel for the night. He tries sleeping in the bed, but to no avail. Instead, Danny pulls his blanket onto the floor and remembers what it was like growing up in the monastery in K’un-Lun. He doesn’t seem to have fond memories of the place, but he also is obviously more comfortable with his lifestyle there than he is with his life as Danny Rand, billionaire.
The next day, Hogarth tells Danny that they need some kind of a record to prove that he is Danny Rand. Danny has a hunch that the hospital might have a record of the time he broke his arm when he was a boy. He goes to the hospital but is intercepted by one of Ward’s thugs. The man is trying to burn the hospital down. Danny iron fist punches him, once, and then they fight like two ordinary people without any super powers. Eventually, the villain gets the better of Danny (probably because Danny refuses to use his superpowers for some reason) and the records room catches on fire. Without missing a beat, Danny saves a nearby nurse who has lost consciousness and flees the room.
Desperate for money, Colleen enters an underground UFC style tournament as The Daughter of the Dragon. She is fighting a man who is easily twice as big as her. Despite her size disadvantage, Colleen wins handily. She earns a large sum of money and is told that she is welcome back anytime.
After their hunt for records is unsuccessful, Hogarth and Danny still have a meeting with the Rand Corporation. When they show up at the office, Ward tells them that the Rand Corporation has decided to significantly lower their offer to Danny. But Danny and Hogarth have a trump card. They present a piece of art that Danny made for Joy as a child. His fingerprint is on it in paint, proving that Danny is who he says he is. Furious, Ward storms out of the office.
Danny follows him, across town and up a building. What Danny doesn’t know that we do is that the building is where Harold lives. When Danny gets to the top floor, his way is blocked by a cartoonish hand scanner. Using his ninja skills, Danny scampers to the outside of the building and climbs up the side. When he gets to Harold’s floor, though, a shadowy figure kicks him off the building, and he falls towards the city streets below.
This episode is actually a high-water mark for the series so far. Finn Jones, in particular, has played Danny in an interesting way. He offers us a Danny Rand who has stopped aging in some ways, perpetually the 10-year-old boy who went down in the plane crash 15 years ago. He is innocent, naive, and charming in a way most of the show’s adults are not. The episode is certainly not on the level of any of the episodes of Daredevil, Luke Cage, or Jessica Jones were, but it is better than Iron Fist‘s first two outings.
We end chapter three hopeful for the future. Be sure to stick with us and see if those improvements actually do happen. Recaps will post at 8:00 am every day for the next two weeks. We will also have a special edition of the podcast at the end of the run of recaps. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all our ongoing Iron Fist coverage.