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TV Review: Marvel's Iron Fist - S1 Episode 5 "Under Leaf Pluck Lotus"

03.22.2017
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EPISODE 5: "Under Leaf Pluck Lotus"

SYNOPSIS: An insidious new drug hits New York, Danny recruits Colleen for the fight, and Claire discovers that credit cards can have many users.

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REVIEW: Danny Rand is an idiot. I mean that in the best possible sense since he could kick the shit out of me if he were a real person. But, from a purely intelligence standpoint, Rand is not a very smart guy. There is a distinction between street smarts and book smarts but I am not convinced Rand has much of either. Case in point, tonight's corporate snafu involving a Rand Industries branch accused of polluting a residential area and causing childhood cancer amongst the locals. Joy and Ward do their thing as there is no proof against Rand but then Danny gets caught on camera taking the blame as any decent hero would. We all want our heroes to be noble and just, but Danny Rand just seems completely oblivious to the reality around him. As a person, I like Danny, but as a character he seems very heavy-handed in his creation and execution. That is in contrast to what Danny does as a hoodie-clad ninja later in the episode, but in a nutshell, this hour is frustrating as it is both another improvement over the prior hours and stalled in the logic department.

Opening with a trio of sexy women clad in power suits, this fifth episode finally begins to get our main plot on track. The women work for The Hand and they are selling to both medical facilities and criminal syndicates. Their product is a new form of heroin emblazoned with the Iron Fist dragon logo. More powerful than standard drugs, this heroin will be The Hand's gateway to taking control of New York City. Of course, this becomes Danny's primary mission and he needs to bring Colleen along with him. Ward is not quite ready for the reality of what his father has gotten them into which is pretty significant for the character. Up until now, Ward has seemed like a smooth talking villain, but in reality he is as weak in constitution as expected. That is why when the pills he has been popping all season run out, he opts to try the packet of drugs Danny left behind as proof. In keeping with the heavy-handedness of the rest of this season, we can expect this to be the turning point for Ward from douche to full on bad guy.

But despite any complaints I may have about aspects of this episode, it is immediately worth the time thanks to the return of Rosario Dawson. Claire Temple has long been called the Nick Fury of the Netflix branch of the MCU but she is so much more than that. Claire has been a vital character in each series she has appeared in, mainly so in Luke Cage, but here she serves a different purpose. We first see Claire as she trains with Colleen Wing and then tags along for an impromptu lunch date set up by Danny to convince Colleen to help him find proof that The Hand is using Rand trucks to transport their drugs. The awkward lunch with Claire looking on as Colleen's burgeoning feelings for Danny begin to come to the surface is priceless. But by episode's end, Claire has her hands dirty and bloody after things go south for Danny and Colleen. Dawson fully inhabits her role and is possibly the most developed character from any of these series. She has grown from being just a nurse who helps Matt Murdock to someone who has witnessed puzzle pieces surrounding The Hand's infection of New York City. All of these pieces are bound to finally come together to set up The Defenders.

The scene that really earns this episode my best score of the season so far is the setpiece started when Danny and Colleen investigate the pier. Clad in dark clothes and using their skills to remain in the shadows reminded me quite a bit of the first season of Daredevil. What is great about the pairing of Danny and Colleen is the fact that they are on somewhat equal footing as fighters which makes them more believable as a duo. As they sneak onto the trucks supposedly carrying the drugs, Danny gets himself locked in and locates a false room. Inside is the scientist who developed the designer drug and Danny realizes they smuggled in the cook and not the recipe. Fighting a guard, the scientist gets shot which forces Danny to use his iron fist to bust out of the runaway truck where Colleen is waiting in a pursuant truck. While not the most impressive fight, the action is pretty thrilling and definitely ups the ante compared to what we have seen in the prior hours of the show.

Iron Fist, TV Review, Netflix, Marvel Studios, Superhero, Comic Book, Fantasy, Drama, The Defenders, Finn Jones, David Wenham, Rosario Dawson, Iron Fist TV Review

Claire also gets to shine as she MacGyvers one of Danny's credit cards to serve as a makeshift diaphram for the injured scientist. Now that they barely have kept him alive, the trio need to figure out what comes next. The guard who shot the scientist gets his own as Madame Gao kills him with a blade hidden in her walking stick, another reminder that the old woman is far from a frail figure. Joy also comes across Ward who is as high as a kite, his father's domineering requests and the stress of dealing with Danny Rand finally taking their toll on him. The question that remains is how will these characters move forward with their new situations. Will Joy discover the truth about Ward and her father? Will Danny face off against The Hand sooner or later? Will the scientist survive? Believe me when I say we don't have to wait very long for some of those answers.

While I don't need every episode of a Marvel/Netflix series to be full of action scenes, the appeal of Iron Fist is seeing Danny Rand flex his muscles. The showrunners definitely are trying a slow burn with showing us who exactly The Hand are but the mistake is that viewers have already learned that on two seasons of Daredevil. Overall, this episode is the best of the first half of the season and finally kicks up the intensity and delivers some stakes for all of the characters, not just Danny. If the prior episodes had been condensed and we had gotten to this outing sooner, I guarantee this season would be getting a lot more critical acclaim.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S IRON FIST: "Immortal Emerges From Cave" - Danny receives an invitation likes no other. Colleen and Claire face a difficult choice. Joy confronts her brother.

Source: JoBlo.com

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2:10PM on 03/23/2017

I found Danny to be endearing in this one

So, I watched these episodes with full on skepticism, but I have found myself enjoying Danny's behavior. It is obvious he still has the mindset of a kid with no real-world experience beyond his teachings. I agree that they spent too much time in the psychiatric ward, but Danny's optimism and playfulness actually got to me. As stupid as it sounds, my favorite part of the series is watching him get all giddy about the stickers on his dad's desk and how he asks his lawyer what he's supposed to do.
So, I watched these episodes with full on skepticism, but I have found myself enjoying Danny's behavior. It is obvious he still has the mindset of a kid with no real-world experience beyond his teachings. I agree that they spent too much time in the psychiatric ward, but Danny's optimism and playfulness actually got to me. As stupid as it sounds, my favorite part of the series is watching him get all giddy about the stickers on his dad's desk and how he asks his lawyer what he's supposed to do. I believe he is supposed to be portrayed as wide-eyed and naive; and he does an excellent job of it.
I don't like his partner. I find her martial arts expertise to be average at best and for a Karate specialist, she has no power behind her art. She is not at all convincing to me. Iron Fist, however, employs a more fluid kung-fu mixed with Aikido that makes for less powerful impact but shows the difference between Iron Fist and Dare Devil fighting styles; one is brutal and one is more defensive in nature.
I'm looking forward to the next episode and, from what I've seen, this show is much better than the critics are giving it credit for.
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7:43PM on 03/22/2017
Really good episode in a really awesome season!
Really good episode in a really awesome season!
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1:56PM on 03/22/2017
Your explanation of why Danny Rand is an "idiot" is really flawed and seems to draw more from what you would do in that situation (knowing all angles of said situation) and not really considering who Danny is.
Danny was a kid when the plane crashed and he went to K'un Lun. He didn't grow up in NYC or America. And he certainly didn't spend his life being groomed to be the CEO and Chairperson of Rand Enterprises. He was raised in a monastery and taught very specific lessons regarding honor
Your explanation of why Danny Rand is an "idiot" is really flawed and seems to draw more from what you would do in that situation (knowing all angles of said situation) and not really considering who Danny is.
Danny was a kid when the plane crashed and he went to K'un Lun. He didn't grow up in NYC or America. And he certainly didn't spend his life being groomed to be the CEO and Chairperson of Rand Enterprises. He was raised in a monastery and taught very specific lessons regarding honor and honesty.

If anything, the interaction between Danny and the claimant on the street should be seen as very appropriate given the situation. Why would you expect a kid raised by monks in a monastery who believes in honor and honesty above all else to be a ruthless CEO when he's never been groomed to be that?

Seems like an unfair expectation to have of the character.
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2:31PM on 03/22/2017
Maybe the reviewer's explanation isn't in line but Danny's character is all over the place. His intelligence and social awareness shift based on what's needed to either push the scene forward or create tension, rather than having consistency.

It's annoying.

I'm still liking the show though. Despite really uninspiring cinematography when it comes to the fight choreo.
Maybe the reviewer's explanation isn't in line but Danny's character is all over the place. His intelligence and social awareness shift based on what's needed to either push the scene forward or create tension, rather than having consistency.

It's annoying.

I'm still liking the show though. Despite really uninspiring cinematography when it comes to the fight choreo.
4:27PM on 03/22/2017
I don't think JoBlo is being unfair in the least, nor projecting his own ideals onto the character. Daddy Rand is indeed an idiot. Nothing he has done in the series makes any sense. I watched the entire thing and the last
scene is absolute proof of his idiocy. I can site several examples of huge plot driving points that have no basis in anything other than to keep the plot going by causing unnecessary problems. Here are just three.

1. Why did Danny leave the gates of Kun-Lun in the first
I don't think JoBlo is being unfair in the least, nor projecting his own ideals onto the character. Daddy Rand is indeed an idiot. Nothing he has done in the series makes any sense. I watched the entire thing and the last
scene is absolute proof of his idiocy. I can site several examples of huge plot driving points that have no basis in anything other than to keep the plot going by causing unnecessary problems. Here are just three.

1. Why did Danny leave the gates of Kun-Lun in the first place? This is THE question. He knows there is an imminent threat to Kun-Lun, otherwise why would they go to all the trouble of having a magic wielding Iron Fist to protect it? He abandoned his sacred post, a major no-no for any soldier. A post he fought hard to gain, only to abandon his post the first chance he got. Where is the Honor in that? And with him gone; what does he think is going to happen at the gates of Kun-Lun in the meantime? What was so compelling about the life in NYC that he took such a huge risk with not only his own life, but the lives of those who rescued and trained him. Such behavior, is not the least bit heroic or intelligent. Yet this is the decision that kicks off the entire series. From the outset I was wary of the guy for being a deserter, and I never fully forgave him for it.

And what of the Monks themselves? Before Danny became the Iron Fist he was tested under many forms of stress, from physical to psychological for the purpose of filtering out those individuals who were un-dedicated, undisciplined or otherwise unfit. Yet somehow they overlooked all the other candidates and chose this guy, a person who's heart wasn't fully into what he was doing. How could they make such a huge mistake? I think it impossible for them to make such a mistake.

2. People keep defending Danny for being clueless about pretty much everything in his adult life because he grew up with Monks. Just because he left a 10 year old doesn't mean he should have come back as one. He's still had 15 years of life lessons to draw from. This is one of those areas where the source material and many viewers are displaying extreme ignorance. Seriously, have you ever met a Monk? Monks are not people who are clueless about society, on the contrary, they are masters at dealing with people on all levels. They are masters at self discovery, self awareness, and self control. All of these things Danny lacked in huge sums. If anything, his upbringing with the Monks beating the ego and the fear and the doubt out of him should have made him much more clever, shrewd, and in control when negotiating with people. Remember everything about his life up to then had been a test of some sort, many of the psychological. Do people think that Monks never have to foster alliances or treaties or pick sides in wars? They live in a chosen vacuum, not as assigned one. Everything about the lives of these people is a chess game. They willfully choose not to use their wisdom to overtake others, in physical challenges and emotional ones, and even financial ones. Even dislocated Monks understand the basics of business, as business is a universal concept even if Monks find it unsavory, they do not deny its existence. Being raised by Monks should have been an asset to his decision making abilities, not a detriment. Danny wasn't just any 10 year old, he was the only son of a business tycoon. People like that start grooming their children VERY early, teaching them the basics of money handling and business deals as soon as they are able to speak. By age 10 he wouldn't be completely clueless about business related things. No excuse for Danny's stupidity.

3. Monks take an oath of celibacy. This guy breaks this sacred oath without any sense of regret or remorse. He even seems to conspire to continue the relationship and build on it far into the future even when considering returning to Kun-Lun. Wouldn't they reject her at the gates? I'm sure from a Hollywood standpoint our lead character needs to be getting some...but that just goes further to deplete his already lacking badge of honor.
Can't keep watch at his post. Can't keep his thing in his pants. Can't let go of his childhood as a mere mortal. Can't imagine that his choices have consequences, and that he cannot have everything. Cannot face reality, that in every game there are winners and losers; don't hate the players, hate the game.

Revenge alone is NOT a good enough reason for what Danny does. His family died; I get it. It's tragic, sure. But it was also a long time ago and bad as it is worse things happen every day to kids even more innocent than he was. Monks know better than to take themselves or anyone else too seriously. The first lesson he should have learned as a Monk is not to seek petty exchanges like revenge for personal gain, as it leads to nothing, just as it leads to nothing in this series. Danny is prideful, consumed by ego, going about his life with no plan. Arriving in NYC with no plan. Getting himself a seat on the company, again with no plan. Deciding to leave NYC again with no plan. Seriously, I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me what he thought would happen when he walked into Rand Enterprises in the first place.

Notice how much screen time the character spends with that "confused" face on? This guy never has a strategy, he's always playing catch-up. Danny Rand is the least intelligent super hero I have EVER seen. The Incredible Hulk demonstrates more forethought than the Iron Fist. Rand is so clueless, I cannot even be certain his goals are legitimate or worthy. I'm not even certain he;s a good guy at all, because he never does the things a real hero would do.
7:35PM on 03/22/2017
Buddy who wrote thong long post above me about how Danny is an idiot.... Alex Maidy wrote this review not Joblo, someone correct me if I am wrong but it has been years since we were blessed by a review from Berge?

I MISS YOU JOBLO.
Buddy who wrote thong long post above me about how Danny is an idiot.... Alex Maidy wrote this review not Joblo, someone correct me if I am wrong but it has been years since we were blessed by a review from Berge?

I MISS YOU JOBLO.
2:16PM on 03/23/2017
I completely agree with you. The author of this article may have missed the irony of the point of Danny. "What would happen if a Buddhist became a majority shareholder in major conglomerate?" I like this contrast between him and the executives. Its even starting to rub off on Joy.
Considering Danny is supposed to be a 25-year-old kid who has no problem telling anyone where he was and what he's done, shows just how naive he is. As an audience, we will get to watch him mature.
I completely agree with you. The author of this article may have missed the irony of the point of Danny. "What would happen if a Buddhist became a majority shareholder in major conglomerate?" I like this contrast between him and the executives. Its even starting to rub off on Joy.
Considering Danny is supposed to be a 25-year-old kid who has no problem telling anyone where he was and what he's done, shows just how naive he is. As an audience, we will get to watch him mature.
12:59PM on 03/22/2017
Well, he was 10 years old when he left this life behind. Doubt he could be as street smart or book smart as the rest of the characters given that he just returned from a monastery in a parallel dimension and knows nothing about the ways of the corporate world. He's supposed to be naive, hence his reaction to the pain of the woman whose child is dying.
Well, he was 10 years old when he left this life behind. Doubt he could be as street smart or book smart as the rest of the characters given that he just returned from a monastery in a parallel dimension and knows nothing about the ways of the corporate world. He's supposed to be naive, hence his reaction to the pain of the woman whose child is dying.
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