Monday, March 20, 2017

Viewer Log: Iron Fist ep 1

Hey all, it’s Michael T. Johnson, your Basic Superhero back again after a bit of an absence. Don’t think I’ve been resting on my haunches, I’ve been prepping my next viewer log series. But, somehow, I think Iron Fist needs a little more love then my next viewer log series. Before I start on the meat of this show, I will say that I am NOT going into the controversy around the casting choices of Iron Fist. That’s for people that are better educated, or more accurately more interested, in the subject of racial inequality. I’m here to talk about Superheroes. Let’s get to it.

Shabby Rand.
We open to a shabby looking young man walking around barefoot in Manhattan. This is Danny Rand, he’s back in town after being believed dead for fifteen years. He heads for the Rand Enterprises building, somehow expecting a warm welcome. He asks the front desk lady to get him in contact with Harold Meachum, his father’s former partner. She nods, and Danny believes the obvious lie that she’ get in contact with him. A moment later, the security staff of RE forcefully toss Danny from the building. Not one to be deterred, Danny tries to sneak in. They catch him, but are taken out by Danny’s superior martial arts skills. He knocks the guys around, and makes it to the elevator. Unfortunately, he can’t get it to work. Thankfully, a business woman arrives a moment later and show that you need a special pass to get the elevator to run. Because she apparently has no peripheral vision, Danny is able to use her pass and goes for the top floor.

He makes it to the top floor, but doesn’t meet Harold in the executive office. Instead, he meets Ward and Joy Meachum, his former childhood friends and current directors of RE. Neither believe that Danny is who he says he is. Not surprising, really. They do let him know that Harold died almost fifteen years-ago. For some reason.  Why would you tell the person you think is insane about family history? The security team arrives and force Danny out. On the elevator ride, he has a flashback to the plane crash. It was rather traumatic, as his mother was sucked out of the plane before crashing. After being thrown out on the street, again, Danny starts exploring town. He goes back to his old house, and tries to get inside. When the old hide-a-key doesn’t work, he uses his ninja skills to climb the fire escape. Inside, he learns that Joy is the current occupant. While exploring this strange but familiar home, he flashes back again. He and the Meachums played monopoly on the roof. Ward is a dick then, shocking, I know. Joy gets home, and just barely misses Danny.

That night, Danny finds a nice tree to camp out next to. He meets Big Al, a local homeless man. Al offers to look stuff up online for Danny, using an Iphone he ‘acquired.’ Al looks up Harold Meachum and Danny Rand, and confirms to Danny that they’re both believed dead. Al let’s Danny where he could go to get some free shoes, and spouts some insanity. Danny is as kind as he can be, and realizes that he has been coming across as a crazy person.

Not the best way to wake up.
The next day, he approaches Joy again. He tries to get her to listen but she’s still not willing to listen. He runs off when Joy threatens to call the cops, and is nearly run over by a taxi. Danny leaps over it, and keeps running. He goes to central park again, and starts doing some martial arts katas to meditate. A passing woman, Colleen Wiig, believes he’s some kind of street performer and gives him some money. He tries to return it, and notes that she’s hanging posters for Martial Arts lessons. He tries to see if she’ll give him a job, but she obviously thinks he’s insane and blows him off.

With the Meachums, Joy tells her brother about her latest encounter with Danny. She wants to talk to Danny, just to know for sure if maybe, just maybe, he isn’t insane. Ward blows it off, thinking it’s a setup to screw with RE’s latest business dealings. A few hours later, Danny hops into Ward’s car and kind of kidnaps Ward. He tries to get him to listen, and is a little “aggravated” that no one is willing to hear him out. Danny disarms Ward when he pulls a gun, and demands to know whatever Ward knows about the plane crash. Ward only tells him what Danny already knows, further frustrating him. When Danny goes to leave, Ward promises that this isn’t over. To which Danny replies, “Oh, I know.” In the park, Danny runs into Al again. He gives Danny some food he scrounged, and lets Danny know a little about his world view. Al blames all of life’s problems on people abandoning the hunter-gatherer system. Not crazy at all.

Danny tracks down Colleen again, at her Dojo. He wants to challenge the Dojo’s master, but Colleen isn’t interested in fighting. Danny again asks for a job, but she turns him down when he claims he was trained in K’un-Lun. Not because she knows anything about it, but because once again, Danny comes across as crazy. When Danny goes to leave, she does give him some ratty old shoes. What a nice lady. Outside, Danny is attacked by goons. He beats the snot out of one of them, and sees they’re the security team from RE. He makes a run for it, with the security goons, and Colleen with her sword, not far behind. He escapes to Chinatown, where they’re throwing Chinese New Year. Maybe. Danny takes all the goons out, and forces one of the guards to let him know the obvious, that Ward sent the guys to take him out.

Sad we won't see this costume this season.
Ward, upon learning of the failure of his men, calls someone. He tells the guy that they have a situation, and is forced to meet his confidant. It’s revealed that the man on the other end of the call is Harold Meachum, very much alive and living in a penthouse. Harold isn’t so dismissive of Danny’s story, and wants to know if Danny’s really who he says he is, and where the heck he’s been.

At around the same time, Danny runs into Al again. Sadly, Al seems to have OD on heroin. Danny covers him with his coat, and says a little prayer over the poor homeless man. The following morning, Danny sneaks into RE again and goes to Joy’s office. He tells her about Ward’s attempt on his life, but she’s not completely willing to believe that. She does let him tell his story over tea. He starts the story, but starts passing out. Joy drugged the tea, obviously. He walks up in a mental hospital chained to a bed. Sad way to end this first episode.

I liked this first episode. It’s a bit of a slower burn then Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage. It’s a good ten to fifteen minutes before we see some of Danny’s martial arts skills, and nothing of his legendary/titular Iron Fist. I will say that it’s pretty insane that Danny seemed to think that his plan to just walk into Rand Enterprises and be welcomed back. You’ve been gone fifteen years; Bruce Wayne was missing for half that time in Batman: Begins and believed dead. Just saying. It was rather surprising to see the narrator guy from 300 as Harold Meachum. Didn’t seen that coming. Also, didn’t see the whole “ending in a mental ward,” thing come either. It’s been a rough week back home, eh, Danny? Hope he’ll be free soon, smacking some evil Ninja’s around. See you next time, folks.

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