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TV Review: Marvel's Iron Fist - S1 Episode 6 "Immortal Emerges From Cave"

03.23.2017

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EPISODE 6: "Immortal Emerges From Cave"

SYNOPSIS: Danny receives an invitation likes no other. Colleen and Claire face a difficult choice. Joy confronts her brother.

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REVIEW: Now that is what I am talking about! Finally, six episodes into the season, and we have ourselves a kick ass episode of Iron Fist. I knew from the moment the opening credits concluded that this was going to be a highly enjoyable hour of the show. You see, if you didn't already know, this episode was helmed by THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS director and iconic rapper, RZA. A member of Wu-Tang Clan, RZA is well versed in martial arts films and himself directed an underrated grindhouse homage to the genre. Who better to imbue Iron Fist with the badassery it so desperately needed than him? This episode, almost wholly focused on Danny in a traditional battle with The Hand, is almost an hour long fight scene and absolutely the best of the season so far. There is a lot to unpack in this hour, especially the ending which serves as a pivot point for the narrative of Danny Rand so far.

Opening with three sets of warriors being invited to do battle with the Iron Fist on behalf of The Hand, this episode is mostly about Danny accepting a fight in order to help rescue the daughter, Sabina, of the injured scientist. At first, Danny tries to find the truck he rescued the scientist from and is forced to have Ward accompany him. Ward, still feeling the withdrawal of taking the drug, cannot deal with finding the bodies of The Hand thugs and returns to work and tries to find a fix. Ward is not looking so good here and even goes as far as to smash his hand in his car door to try and get painkillers from a local clinic. Joy comes to his rescue but you get the clear sense that things are not going to go well for Ward later this season. We also see Danny explain to Colleen why she must stay back with Claire Temple and the injured scientist but Colleen reluctantly does so. Danny is emphatic that he must face this fight alone.

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Before we get into the spectacular series of fights, we need to acknowledge Claire's role here. Once again, Claire is intrinsic to the plot as her prior experience with The Hand from Daredevil puts her in a unique position. She tries to take care of the scientist but she and Colleen have to eventually take him to Claire's former hospital where he is taken by The Hand. While they get away with him before Colleen and Claire can stop them, she does get to utter a pretty perfect take on Luke Cage's "sweet Christmas" line. I love Rosario Dawson on this series and she does hold her own pretty well with Colleen. Am I the only one who wants to see these two and Misty Knight get their own spin-off? With the scientist back in the hands of, well, The Hand, it all falls to Danny to win his fights and set things right on behalf of K'un Lun. But, seeing as this is only the halfway point of the season, that couldn't possibly happen, right?

Arriving at the designated meeting place, Danny partakes in a very formal ceremony that begins his battle. Gao represents The Hand while Danny represents K'un Lun. His first opponents: The Veznikov brothers. This pair of Russian martial artists give Danny a pretty standard beating which also triggers visions of Danny's master, Lei Kung The Thunderer, who urges Danny to use his central powers to overcome his opponents. Handled almost like an Obi-wan vision, RZA frames these battles straight out of a classic Shaw Brothers shaolin movie from the 1970s. Danny gets hit hard but is victorious. His next foe is the sexy entomologist Alessa who is inspired by the comic book character the Bride of Nine Spiders. Using poison, she drugs Danny and brings him close to death before the Iron Fist powers allow Danny to somehow channel through the heart failure and defeat his second opponent. Scaling the grand duel here feels very similar to Bruce Lee in GAME OF DEATH which seems to be a direct inspiration for this episode.

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The final battle Danny must face is against Scythe, a cold-blooded master of blades and another classic villain from the pages of Iron Fist comics. Danny seems to have met a balanced foe here and is barely able to beat his enemy. He eventually uses his Iron Fist technique which shows Madame Gao that this is the man she has been waiting for. Before Danny can finish Scythe, Gao brings Sabina and threatens to kill her unless Danny concedes defeat to The Hand. Danny envisions Lei Kung urging him to defeat The Hand as that is his prophesized destiny, but Danny cannot let this innocent girl die. Accepting defeat, Danny leaves with Sabina and seemingly shames his title and K'un Lun. As he leaves the building, Lei Kung turns his back on Danny which can only mean bad news for Iron Fist in episodes to come.

This was a great hour of television. RZA is by no means the type of director you go to for critical laurels, but if you want your episode to feel straight out of the best martial arts films of a bygone era, he is your man. Much like THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, this episode is heavy with the pulp dialogue and gritty action while also managing to push forward the story of our supporting characters. But for the last five episodes we have had a lot of narrative and not a lot of fighting so it is a welcome change to get an hour that flips the dynamic in the other direction and yet still gives us a balanced hour the progresses everything we have had set up thus far. I was disappointed to see that RZA did not direct any other episodes this season but he sure as hell better be back next round. This episode is the benchmark for the season and one of the best outings for the MCU on the small screen,

NEXT ON MARVEL'S IRON FIST: "Felling Tree With Roots" - Ward's loyalty is tested. Danny discovers a rogue division, and the mysterious Bakuto visits Colleen's dojo unannounced.

Source: JoBlo.com

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