Iron Fist gets better. Surprise characters like Bakuto and Davos should have been introduced earlier, but at least they managed to spice things up toward the end. Madame Gao and Harold Meachum’s mysterious agendas kept the suspense rolling in spite of the series’ extraordinarily tame attempt at introducing a hero who could have been one of the most interesting characters on television.
Putting the Iron Fist reviews aside, there were some great moments that prompt serious questions about Iron Fist Season 2 and (or) The Defenders. Here’s what we want answered.
Darryl is one of Colleen’s top students and his arc as someone greater has been foreshadowed since the first episodes of the show. He was introduced as the frontrunner for the ‘scholarship’ we now know was code for The Hand. Bakuto quickly turns Darryl evil after Colleen learns what The Hand is really about. When Danny flees The Compound after he realizes Bakuto’s true intentions, Darryl gets injured in the battle. Bakuto says, “Let’s get him [Darryl] patched up. This young man is our future.” Darryl clearly plays a pivotal role in Bakuto’s plans for Iron Fist.
Bakuto, a leader of The Hand and Colleen's Sensei, claims he doesn’t want to kill Danny, but he’s obsessed with the power of the Iron Fist. He knows more about Danny’s powers than Danny does and is training an army to fight him. By the end of the series and after he captures Madame Gao, Bakuto is doing business with The Meachum’s and Rand Industries. The Hand has also infested Ku’n-Lun and it’s a safe bet that was Bakuto’s doing. Who else would know the pathway was open? Let’s just say Danny’s beef with Bakuto’s faction of The Hand is far from over, but whether Bakuto’s agenda aligns with the same Hand group we met in Daredevil remains to be seen.
Iron Fist informed us there are two factions of The Hand. A rogue faction which deals in the black market and is led by Madame Gao. She’s not exactly an enemy of The Hand, but she doesn’t seem to be a friend either. Gao doesn’t work with or against The Hand, that’s why Bakuto had no problem locking her up and stealing her connections. We saw this same dynamic in Daredevil with Gao and Nobu’s faction of The Hand. Though Nobu is now dead thanks to Stick, we know for sure The Hand is still active doing the same weird shit we’ve seen before.
The blood-draining labs in the basement of the Compound is the same setup from Daredevil. We also see multiple people die and come back to life (Harold and Bakuto) using The Hand technology or magic. While Bakuto never mentioned Nobu, Daredevil, or Hell’s Kitchen, and claims to be a ‘good’ faction of The Hand, there’s no question he’s aware of the whole Black Sky situation...
In the last episode of Iron Fist, Danny and Colleen travel to Ku’-Lun and find dead Hand bodies. Danny says Ku’n-Lun is gone. This means The Hand has infested New York and the capital city of heaven. Danny is going to need some help, and thanks to Stick, it seems The Defenders will face The Hand and whoever Sigourney Weaver is playing. There's a reason Ku'n-Lun was the final scene of Iron Fist and Finn Jones said the series basically contiunes straight into The Defenders. It’s only a matter of time before Daredevil and Iron Fist realize they have a common enemy.
We learn the symbol on Gao’s drugs from Daredevil is a sacred symbol on Ku’n-Lun. Though the serpent itself is never mentioned, it may be because Davos has not taken a name for himself yet. Davos, known as Steel Serpent in the comics, is not going to be happy when he finds out Ku’n-Lun is gone. It’s Danny’s fault--the Iron Fist is supposed to protect Ku’n-Lun from The Hand, a mystical force Danny believed to be a myth until he arrived in New York. Danny considers Davos his best friend and brother, but it’s clear Davos is still butthurt over Danny being selected to face Shou Lau the undying and getting the power of the Iron Fist.
When Davos first came to New York, his intentions were good--he vowed to help Danny fight the Hand and bring him back to Ku’n-Lun. But when Danny fails to kill Bakuto, he and Davos become enemies. In the final episode, Davos meets with Joy Meachum.
“He [Danny] destroys everything he touches. Isn’t it true your world fell apart after his return? If you have any hope of returning to your old life, he must be removed. I can help you with that,” Davos tells Joy.
“I’m listening,” Joy says, as Madame Gao listens at a table close by.
This final scene suggests Davos and Gao could be working together to take down Danny. Unfortunately, Sacha Dhawan (who plays Davos) revealed he won’t be in The Defenders, which means we’ll have to wait to see the Steel Serpent. It make sense because his and Gao’s motives with Iron Fist appear to be separate from The Hand. The good news is, Davos storyline is almost exactly as he was in the comics. While he claims Le-Kung sent him to New York to fetch Danny, there’s no way to know if he was being honest. It’s possible, considering the final scene, his motives were tainted by Gao all along. This would be in line with his comic book trajectory, where his father, Lei-Kung, exiled him from Ku’n-Lun. Davos is eventually embraced by the Crane Mother, who asks him to be the champion of K'un-Zi in exchange for killing Iron Fist.
Who is this woman? She has powers, she’s used them once against Daredevil and once against Iron Fist. She has been to K’un-Lun, though it’s unclear if that’s the capital city of heaven where she is from. Danny is the second Iron Fist she has met in her lifetime and she was alive in the 17th century. Danny mentions the Order of the Crane Mother multiple times and the final scene with Madame Gao and Davos seems to foreshadow these Crane Mother theories about Gao’s true identity that have been circling around since Daredevil Season 1 may end up being true.
Gao has been doing business with Rand Industries for decades. In fact, Harold setup Gao’s heroine operation in China. The drugs are imported through a pier owned by Rand Industries in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where we meet The Chemist aka Radovan, the man who invented the synthetic heroin formula Daredevil vowed to get off the streets in Season 2.
Gao didn’t get along with Wendell Rand, but it wasn’t her idea to kill him either. It was Harold’s idea to poison the pilots of the plane carrying Danny and his parents. Gao actually tried to talk Harold out of it. Gao was first introduced to the Rand’s by Danny’s mother, that’s how she first met Wendell. But Harold knew Wendell wouldn’t want to partner with Gao and didn’t want to Danny to inherit the company-- that’s why Harold killed them all.
When Harold was diagnosed with cancer, Gao offered him the opportunity to live--though he had to pledge allegiance to The Hand and do their evil biddings by distributing both Gao’s synthetic heroin and the medicine to treat the addiction that comes with it.
Madame Gao has Davos, Joy and Harold in her pocket. Her knowledge of mysticism and the Iron Fist is unsettling. While she’s not best friends with The Hand, their agenda with Iron Fist doesn’t seem to conflict with her own (for now). She is aware of Daredevil and Luke Cage, though she doesn’t speak of Jessica Jones. Aside from what she wants with the Iron Fist and her true identity, the immediate question we have about Gao is if we’ll see her in The Defenders.
Ward shot Harold and Danny watched as he falls off the side of highrise building. But when Ward and Danny put him in the incinerator, was Harold’s body inside? I doubt it. Joy is plotting with Davos to kill Iron Fist and she’s probably working with Bakuto and The Hand too, especially if her father is alive. With Harold and Rand Industries financially backing The Hand, eliminating Harold may be the first job on The Defenders list to save New York.
What are your biggest questions after watching Iron Fist? Let us know in the comments below!