In 2017, I wrote about the first season of Netflix’s Iron Fist. In that article, I argued that though the show fell short, especially in comparison to Jessica Jones or Daredevil, it was not nearly the disaster it got credit for being. With that said, I binged the second season of Iron Fist after it was released last month, and I would like to declare that its creators obviously heard the complaints and bad reviews and definitely did their homework to improve the quality of this season. This was the season that the first should have been—the show we deserved in the first place. I’m not alone when I say that the newest season of Iron Fist, which was just revealed to be its last, may be one of the greatest, improvements from season 1 to season 2 to exist, if not the greatest. I’d have to agree. Let’s see why.
Let me paint the picture in regards to the debut of season 1. We’d had the first of the Netflix/Marvel series, Daredevil, which premiered in 2015 as a much darker and frankly superior version of the man without fear compared to the last time we’d seen him (i.e., the Ben Affleck movie). Later that year came Jessica Jones, which dealt with issues as dark as rape, kidnapping, and PTSD. And in 2016 we got Luke Cage, which wasn’t necessarily as dark as the other two in tone but dealt with race issues and wrongful imprisonment. With all that in place, enter Iron Fist in 2017. The first impression I got of Danny Rand (Finn Jones), AKA Iron Fist, was something resembling a surfer, and not in a cool way. For me, that set the tone. Danny Rand, regardless of spending years in an isolated location being raised and trained by monks, came off with the innocence of a child and the righteousness of a hero that is very well aware that he is the good guy.
Things did get better throughout season 1, then The Defenders happened, and we got to season 2. Danny is very much grown-up in this season. Call it learning from one’s mistakes or maybe just growth in character, but this Iron Fist deals with darker tones and seemingly harder issues: betrayal, mental instability, and his own place as a hero. Needless to say, it just came off better than “surfer seeks fortune after years away, and oh, by the way, I learned martial arts.”
I also have to take a second to recognize some of the female characters in this season. Anyone arguing that there are no good and strong female roles is not paying attention to Marvel’s series. First, let me mention Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup). Joy started off as being happy that Danny was back in her life, but after the end of season 1 regarding her father and Danny and her brother knowing about him being alive, she enters season 2 in a much different way. First off, she appears to have formed some kind of alliance with Davos (Sacha Dhawan), who seems to have his own dark intentions towards Danny this season. Then she quickly becomes the woman you love to hate in this season. I won’t spill any spoilers, but she often leaves you wondering, “What the fuck is she doing?!” I enjoyed it immensely.
Then there is Alice Eve and her character, “Typhoid Mary” Walker. I myself had to do research on her for lack of knowledge on this particular character. Suffice it to say, Mary makes for some interesting and unpredictable television moments. However, it isn’t the character I actually want to talk about but rather Alice Eve. Let me put it out there: Alice Eve is a very beautiful and sexy British actress. And the majority of her career is that of the sexy, voluptuous blonde. Some of her biggest roles include She’s Out of My League, where she plays (you guessed it) a woman far out of the league of the man pursuing her. Then there was her role as Dr. Carol Marcus in Star Trek: Into Darkness, which sounds like a legitimate role, but one could argue that it was undermined by the fact she appears in her underwear for no real reason. I mention this all to say that many of Eve’s roles pigeonhole her as the pretty girl and not necessarily as someone three-dimensional. Enter Typhoid Mary. First of all, with her hair dyed and wearing minimal makeup, Eve is essentially unrecognizable. Second, it becomes increasingly difficult to see what this character is thinking or even what the point of having the character around truly is until—bam—she does something unexpected and it’s all you’re thinking about. I wont go into great detail, but this character was extremely well thought out and so brilliantly portrayed by Eve that you forget that she’s that actress from whatever film you might know her from before because she’s so enthralling to watch. I won’t give anything away, because it is truly something you need to see, but if you want a hint, allow me to be obscure for a moment. Alice Eve, in real life, has a condition called heterochromia, which causes the irises of her eyes to be different colors—her left is blue, her right is green. Why is that significant? Let’s just say I think that would’ve been an interesting thing to point out regarding her character: two separate and individual eyes for one person.
Folks, Iron Fist was once the weakest of the Marvel shows, but with the tone, storytelling, new characters, and acting of season 2, I must say that isn’t the case anymore. Last week, I would have said Luke Cage and Daredevil should look out, because someone might surpass them. However, it was announced on October 12 that Netflix had canceled Iron Fist. Regardless, I still suggest a viewing of the current season—a season that showed such promise.