I’m relieved to write that overall I enjoyed Marvel’s Iron Fist season two more than I did the first. It’s by no means in my top 5 of the Marvel Netflix shows so far. (I think I’ll explore those in a future post). I’m going to dive straight in with what I did and didn’t like, It will be spoiler heavy from the off, you have be warned.
Finn Jones’ Danny Rand is less whiny this time around. He’s still troubled, which isn’t a problem, in fact that’s a common and possibly necessary trait of all heroes, it’s just less annoying this season and doesn’t cause the plot to drag as it did before. What is strange is that when Danny made a cameo in Luke Cage season two, he seemed (and even claimed) to be at peace with himself. He feels like that same Danny as Iron Fist as season two opens, then by episode one’s close we see that he’s becoming consumed by the power of fist (I’m referring to the scene where he repeatedly punches a door in a storage room somewhere in the subway).
A decision was made to reduce the number of episodes from the traditional thirteen to just ten for this season. Whether this is in response to the poor reception the first season received or a genuine attempt to tell a more concise story (or a mixture of both) is unknown. In hindsight, I actually think the season could have done with a few extra episodes around the beginning of the season to give a bit more time to buy into the overall plot. Without them I was left at the conclusion of certain threads feeling a bit blasé about the outcome.
Three earlier episodes could have given more time to explore the corruption of Danny at the hand (no pun intended) of his abilities. There was more to dig into with the conflict between the Hatchets and the Golden Tigers in Chinatown. This would have been the ideal backdrop for the development of Danny’s own story arc, building to more of a reveal and grand entrance for Sacha Dhawan’s Davos.
I was not onboard with the partnership between Davos and Joy (Jessica Stroup) and I think this where all the cracks in the overall plot of the season stem from. I get that Joy was traumatised by what she saw as a betrayal from Danny and Ward (hiding the truth about her father, Harold Meachum) in the events of season one, but I don’t believe that she would be so determined to take Danny down that she would conspire at length with, let alone entertain, Davos and his bizarre intentions. This is confirmed by how quickly Joy see’s the error of her ways and seeks to rectify it. It made the Joy we see in the first few episodes even less believable.
What might have made more sense is if Davos had used Joy as a way of luring out Danny. That said, had it played out differently perhaps we wouldn’t have got the dinner party episode which was the most enjoyably awkward twenty minutes of television I have ever seen. The Office doesn’t come close.
The stars of the season for me were;
- Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum, who had a compelling addiction recovery (and relapse) story that furthered the development of his character and made him far more likeable than in season one. More episodes early on could have given time to set up his relationship with Bethany.
- Alice Eve as Mary Walker, an incredible performance of a character with dissociative identity disorder. Again, I think we were short changed by three less episodes to get to know Mary and give the introduction of ‘Walker’ even greater impact later in the season. Give Mary Walker her own series. Better still team her up with The Punisher.
- Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, one of the stronger characters of season one really comes into her own and paves a way throughout the season that make her a convincing recipient of the Iron Fist powers by episode 9. I’d even go so far to say she’s a better lead for the show than Danny Rand.
- Simone Missick, an honourable mention for Detective Misty Knight who manages to transcend the confines of Luke Cage to exist believably in the tone of Iron Fist and bring some of the flavour of the former show with her to lighten the latter.
The conclusion of the season and the epilogue establish the potential for a third season which to me, seem a lot more appealing than a second season of Iron Fist did at the end of season one and the subsequent Defenders crossover season.
On to Daredevil season three next, which arrives on Netflix on Friday 19th October.