Iron Fist Season 2 Corrected Course for the Initially Mishandled Character
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS – Netflix dropped the second season of Iron Fist on September 7, 2018….and it was awesome. That’s a refreshing revelation as I found the first season underwhelming. I thought it was an outright mishandling of the Danny Rand character (I’m one of those mouth-breathing fan boy purists who doesn’t want my favorite superheroes touched, I guess…). When the second season dropped, I wasn’t invested in it at all. I thought, “meh – I’ll get to it when I can, but if it’s anything like the first season, bleh.” But, I was wrong. Dead fucking wrong. One episode in, and I was hooked – I binged the entire 10 episodes in about two sittings. So, let’s get to my full highlights and review.
*WARNING* SPOILER ALERT
The Character Development
I still think there’s too much inner conflict and dark brooding in this Marvel Netflix Universe. Do each of The Defenders really need to be tormented souls? But, that aside, this was the biggest success of the second season…just completely diving into the characters. Yes, all of them are battling their inner demons. They all have their own dilemmas, but each is unique and interesting.
If I’m naming an Iron Fist Season Two MVP, it has to be Tom Pelphrey and his reprisal of Ward Meachum. In Ward, we see a dude who has hit his veritable rock bottom and is struggling to cope with who he is. But, the progress he makes over the course of the season is something else. He’s an arrogant asshole, but you can’t help but root for the guy as he tries his best to do good. His relationship with Danny is something explored deeply in this series, and you feel every bit of how it affects the other characters. Ward is a walking roller coaster, and Pelphrey steals a lot of scenes he’s in. By the time we get to that doozie of a final scene in Japan, you’re outright enjoying Ward.
Because of his prick-ness, Ward would actually make for the perfect Iron Fist in this universe. He’s brash and cocky – something that would make for a nice change of pace on a team including Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones. I know – I’m talking crazy now. Don’t want the Finn Jones fan club coming after me.
A close runner up to Pelphrey is Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing. You can see her struggling with the idea of leading a normal life. Her and Danny are having a hard time acclimating to it, but she firmly commits to the idea. That will is tested early and often, and it puts an uncomfortable strain on her relationship with Danny. Not to mention, she just plain kicks ass. Then, there’s the added bonus of seeing her *FUCKIN’ SPOILER ALERT* become the Iron Fist (kind of – do we really know what happened there?) and the added mystery of her ancestry by season’s end that really makes this a banner season for Colleen.
Season two introduced us to Typhoid Mary played by Alice Eve, who nails it. There’s definitely an opportunity to explore this character in more depth. Are we actually calling her a villain, though? I mean, she’s kind of a ‘tweener, but one that has you teetering back and forth between “she is so adorable” and “I am going to die.” Regardless, is it too much to ask for a Punisher-Elektra-Typhoid Mary Thunderbolts spinoff?
Then, we have the real villains of the season. Davos (Sacha Dhawan) with his pure rage and insanity veiled by a misguided sense of righteousness. Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) with her cunning and callous, slowly coming back to reality as the season wears on. Just all around great performances. They even added a little nuance to Danny, but oddly enough, he becomes kind of a secondary character in this season.
Overall, season two stuck to a solid core of characters and dug a canyon’s worth of depth into each one.
Big Picture Stuff
The story was deep and intertwining, but it wasn’t overly complicated, as I felt last season’s was. We had a clear path for each character, and the real fun came when those paths intersected. Everything built to a nice crescendo.
The action felt a little more grounded and real this season. Not so much on the cartoonish side, and much more gritty.
My God – that ending. The visual of seeing Colleen with the fist and the sword – learning that she might have a greater, more fabled, heritage than she thought. That scene in the bar in Japan…seeing Danny whip out TWO FISTS and shoot TWO GUNS. It all just left me with a sense of wonderment and curiosity. “Now what am I supposed to do with my life?”
There was never a dull moment in this series. I’ve chewed on it for about a week, and I think I would put this one ahead of The Punisher, Daredevil Season 1, and Luke Cage Season 2 as the best Marvel Netflix has done yet.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley