Now that the Last Defender has finally smashed his way onto Netflix, it's only a matter of time before Iron Fist joins Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in the fight to protect New York City. In the meantime, it's going to take zen levels of concentration to unpick every Marvel easter egg, comic book reference and link with The Defenders in the first season of Iron Fist.
That's where we come in.
Join us as we break down all 13 episodes of #IronFist, chronicling Danny Rand's rise from bare-footed hermit to fully fledged Defender, complete with obligatory pictures of Finn Jones's chest along the way.
Episode 1 — 'Snow Gives Way'
— The title sequence continues the Marvel #Netflix tradition, depicting our hero's silhouette with an appropriately somber color scheme. Fans will be pleased to see that Iron Fist's dragon symbol appears in the title too — but don't hold out for an appearance from Shou-Lao, the dragon who Danny had to defeat in order to gain his powers in the comics.
During an interview with #FinnJones, the star revealed that the dragons from his former show wouldn't make an appearance on Iron Fist:
“I’d love to have the budget for these shows to have a full-on Game of Thrones style dragon. But unfortunately you know, we have budget restraints. That’s the nature of the show.”
— After #LukeCage impressed with a killer soundtrack, the Iron Fist showrunners must have felt the pressure to deliver here too. Fortunately, the first scene opens with the classic Outkast track, 'So Fresh, So Clean,' taken from the hip-hop group's 2000 album, 'Stankonia'. Notably, each of the songs that Danny listens to on the show were released before 2003, when his plane crashed in the mountains of Tibet.
— Speaking of the crash, we flash back to that fateful accident numerous times throughout the pilot, and we quickly learn that Danny first went missing 15 years ago. In the comics, this gap was only ten years in length, but the show's writers presumably lengthened this to accommodate the age of star Finn Jones, who will soon turn 29 years old.
— The villainous Ward Meachum shares his name with Grant Douglas Ward, the secret Hydra mole from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the two are obviously not related. They're just both assholes.
— Jessica Henwick brings Colleen Wing to life for the first time in live-action here, and her portrayal is remarkably faithful to the comics. However, we'll have to wait and see whether Iron Fist's Colleen will ever develop the power to focus her chi, enhancing her strength like her comic book counterpart.
— When Danny meets Colleen, the young fighter is putting up flyers to promote her dojo. Eagle-eyed fans may remember also spotting one of these in the first season of Luke Cage.
— Whether you were impressed by Danny's flip over the taxi or felt like the CGI wasn't up to par, the moment is inarguably reminiscent of the scene in Spider-Man 2 where Peter Parker jumps over a car.
— It's hard to catch, but it sounds very much like the #Daredevil theme can be heard briefly when Danny steals Ward's car and hits the guard rail.
— Danny briefly name drops the city of K'un-Lun in the first episode, where he first gained the power of the Iron Fist. He also mentions Lei Kung the Thunderer, an expert fighter who trained Rand and all of his predecessors in the comics too.
— During the festival scene, Danny wears a mask — but not the one that comic book fans want to see. Iron Fist doesn't wear his iconic costume this season, but that doesn't mean we won't see a glimpse of his comic book outfit in a later episode...
— During Ward's talk with his father, the conversation leads to an off-hand remark of how "Stranger things have happened," alluding perhaps to both the hit Netflix show, and the fact that Iron Fist is set in a world where Asgardian Gods and Super Soldiers also exist.
Episode 2 — 'Shadow Hawk Takes Flight'
— Danny mentions 'The Iron Fist' by name for the first time in Episode 2. It might sound cheesy to some, but comic book fans will be well aware of the mythos surrounding this legacy.
— During his stay at Birch Psychiatric Hospital, Danny hears Paul Edmonds discuss the existence of super-powers in the wider MCU:
"I do know that ever since the Incident, I'm seeing a lot more people who honestly believe they have superpowers."
'The Incident' is yet another Netflix reference to the Chitauri alien invasion that took place in the first Avengers film — but could the "people" he refers to also be an allusion to the Inhumans from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. too?
— Mention of the The Crane Mother, one of Iron Fist's biggest foes in the comics, has people speculating that the ruler of K'un-Zi could in fact be Madame Gao, who we were first introduced to in Daredevil.
After all, the Crane Mother only appeared a few short times in the comics, so there's plenty of room for #Marvel to reimagine her, combining the character with the mysterious heroine dealer we met a few years back.
— Harold Meachum's caller ID is Frank N. Stein, which is presumably a reference to the story of Frankenstein. The reason behind this will be made clearer in later episodes that explore his connection to The Hand in more detail.
— Jones first became famous after starring as Ser Loras Tyrell in #GameofThrones, so the line "Ward Meachum sends his regards" immediately reminds us of the Lannisters.
— Danny Rand uses the name of John Anderson on his fake passport, which matches a Spider-Man character of the same name who once took on the identity of 'The Kiwi Kid' in order to help save Spidey during a battle with Doctor Octopus. However, the passport itself claims that Danny Rand is from Canada and not New Zealand, which seems like a wasted opportunity to us.
— We've seen Danny use a variety of moves during the fight scenes depicted so far, but it's not until the end of Episode 2 that we finally see the Iron Fist itself in action, punching a door off its hinges. Yasss!
Episode 3 — 'Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch'
— Daredevil's Madame Gao makes her appearance officially known in Episode 3, once again pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Check the end credits if you don't believe us.
— Joy Meachum takes one of her clients to Metro-General, the Hell's Kitchen hospital that's popped up before in previous Marvel Netflix shows, and the former place of work of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson).
— Colleen Wing achieves new levels of badassery when she introduces herself as the Daughter of the Dragon, which just so happens to be the name of the detective agency that she opened in the comics, alongside Luke Cage's Misty Knight.
— Carrie Ann Moss returns to the MCU as a much kinder version of Jeri Hogarth, who we last saw giving #JessicaJones a hard time in 2015. The lawyer still remains rather cold, but gives Danny Rand an easier time than most.
— When Hogarth says the line, "We'll see you in court,' we immediately hoped for a potential appearance from lawyer Matt Murdock, otherwise known as Daredevil. However, Iron Fist won't meet his fellow vigilante until they officially unite on #TheDefenders.
— While you were probably focusing on how incredible Colleen was during that cage fighting sequence, it's worth noting that the fight referee is referred to as The Ringmaster in the credits. Although the Ringmaster isn't a major Marvel Comics character, he is a minor villain who's been kicking around since Stan Lee wrote 'The Amazing Spider-Man' back in the '60s.
— The New York Bulletin makes its return here, acting as the official newspaper of the Marvel Netflix universe. Just don't hold your breath for a cameo from Daredevil's Karen Page.
Episode 4 — 'Eight Diagram Dragon Palm'
— It wouldn't be a Marvel Netflix show without an obligatory and admittedly awesome 'hallway fight'. After the intensity of these sequences from Daredevil and Luke Cage, it's refreshing that Iron Fist took a more scaled-back approach this time, befitting of Rand's character.
— Colleen Wing reaches new levels of awesomeness this episode by wearing her signature Daughters of the Dragon outfit from the comics, complete with the snow-white catsuit.
— While it was plastered all over the promotional material, Episode 4 finally reveals the iconic dragon tattooed on Danny's perfectly chiseled chest. In the comics, this was given to Rand after he defeated the dragon Shou-Lao the undying in K’un-Lun, and is the source of his power. You may have also noticed that the branded heroin which bore this symbol in Daredevil is now back too, and Ward specifically refers to him in the opening scene.
"Climbing the wall like goddamn Daredevil."
— Speaking of Daredevil, The Hand return in full force in Episode 4. The mysterious cult have infiltrated the Rand Corporation, but it's ok — Iron Fist is supposedly the only one who can defeat the organisation.
— Further mention is also made to K'un-Lun after the 'August Personage in Jade' is name dropped in reference to Yu-Ti, the ruler of the celestial city. Keep on the lookout for an actual appearance from this character in future episodes.
— Jennifer Manning's character doesn't seem to have a comic book counterpart, but it would blow our tiny minds if it turned out that she held some connection to Jennifer Walters, a famous lawyer from the comics who also just so happens to be She-Hulk, cousin to the Green Goliath himself.
— When Colleen's students discover that she fought in cage matches for money, she shuns their admiration, explaining that:
"You dishonour yourself when you fight for more money. There's more at stake than just your bills.
This is somewhat hypocritical, considering that Wing regularly teamed up with the other Heroes For Hire (Misty Knight, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) in the comics, who would tackle cases for money.
— Finally, Daredevil's Karen Page is mentioned during a conversation between the villainous Ward and a reporter from the New York Bulletin, who says "don't give the front page to Karen." Nice to see that Matt Murdock's former secretary is doing well enough to considered for the front page of a popular newspaper.
— Did anyone else spot those stickers featuring some familiar Marvel Monsters from the Silver Age? We definitely clocked Orrgo The Unconquerable in the shot.
Episode 5 — 'Under Leaf Pluck Lotus'
— An offhand reference to Danny's "friend Davos" actually refers to Steel Serpent, Iron Fist's greatest enemy. The two first met when they were both studying together back in K’un-Lun and quickly became intense rivals. Let's just say Davos held a grudge after Danny was chosen to become the Immortal Iron Fist instead of him.
— Claire Temple, the glue that holds each of these shows together, finally appears in Episode 5 of Iron Fist. After she began to take on a more physical role in Luke Cage, it's great to see her training under the tutelage of Colleen Wing at the Dojo.
— Reference is soon made to the Hand's ninja attack on Metro-General from Season 2 of Daredevil, yet Temple never explicitly name drops the other Defenders, despite referring to them in passing more than once.
"My mother says I can't escape meeting people like you."
"You need special abilities to fight these people."
— Radovan's captor in the back of the van is played by a Kiwi stunt performer called Sala Baker, who has previously worked on Marvel projects such as Ant-Man, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War.
Episode 6 — 'Immortal Emerges From Cave'
— Still reeling from how incredible this action-heavy episode was? Make sure you thank Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, who directed this instalment, as well as kung-fu movie The Man With The Iron Fists. Yep, he was basically born to do this.
— The hitman hilariously knocks out a karaoke version of A-ha’s 'Take on Me' during his killing spree, which may be a nod to Iron Fist's comic book origins. Anyone who remembers the original video for the song (which depicted comic book panels coming to life) can surely see the link.
— It wouldn't be a Marvel Netflix show without at least one mention of the Avengers. This time round, the "Incredible green guy" is mentioned — although why they don't just call him the Hulk is anyone's guess.
— Claire Temple adopts Luke Cage's signature catch phrase in this episode, exclaiming "Sweet Christmas," just before taking on one of The Hand's associates by herself.
— Claire's old co-worker Shirley Benson also makes a brief return following the pair's clash in Daredevil Season 2, and yes, she's still a bitch.
—Two of the immortal weapons who first appeared in The Immortal Iron Fist #8 debut in this episode, taking on Danny in a fight to the death. In the comics, the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven all send one of their 'weapons' to compete in a kung-fu tournament, including the likes of Dog Brother and the Bride of Nine Spiders. The latter is particularly interesting: Not only does she sport an almost identical costume to her comic book counterpart, but the Bride of Nine Spiders even has the phrase B-09-S written on her door.
— At the end of Episode 6, viewers discover that Danny's father, Wendell Rand, did have a connection to K’un-Lun after all, which is why their plane was flying so close to the city when it crashed. This ties in to the comics quite nicely, and will play a larger role later in the season.
Episode 7 — 'Felling Tree With Roots'
— Madame Gao name drops each of The Defenders, except for Jessica Jones:
"I've been alive long enough to see the world change in many ways. This change seems significant. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The man with the unbreakable skin. And now an immortal weapon has left K'un-Lun..."
Is this because Jones kept a lower profile than the others, or is she simply not deemed important enough by Madame Gao?
— Karen Page is mentioned once again in Episode 7, and Harold also discusses the dark MCU corporation Roxxon in passing, which has previously held ties to The Hand. While we're throwing out smaller Daredevil links, the biker gang called the Dogs of Hell are also mentioned, who've also appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
— Danny finally makes a move on Colleen in a rather sweet and tender scene, but comic book fans used to seeing him hook up with Misty Knight may be somewhat taken aback. Don't worry though, guys. Misty got hers with Luke Cage.
— Just as Danny and Colleen seem to be establishing a real connection with one another, Wing's former sensei Bakuto arrives, which heralds trouble, if his evil comic book association with The Hand is anything to go by.
— Just as we were starting to like Harold, he ends up being killed by his son. Would you look at that — Frank N. Stein was murdered by his own creation! Not only is this a rather clever nod to Mary Shelley's proto-sci-fi masterpiece, but it also continues Marvel's tradition of killing important characters in the seventh episode of each show. Presumably, this is done so that the deaths can be kept under wraps. After all, critics are usually sent six episodes to review, so this approach helps to prevent spoilers leaking online too early.
Episode 8 — 'The Blessing Of Many Fractures'
— Luke Cage sends Claire a letter from prison, which Claire adorably kisses before she heads off to shower. The part of the letter shown on-screen reads:
"...use those shoes to walk straight to you.
What else have you been up to? How's the martial arts training going? You really want to spar with me? You've seen what I can do, right? I throw a few at you, but it wouldn't be a fair fight. You could knock me out with just a smile. A kiss? I'm dead.
Some wisdom from prison..."
— Lewis Tan impresses as Zhou Cheng, another fighter from The Immortal Iron Fist comic book series. In the source material, Cheng's specific purpose is to ensure that the Iron Fist doesn't live past his 33rd birthday, but here, he's been designated as the "Sworn Defender of The Hand."
— Speaking of Zhou Cheng, the "drunken master" style is a knowing nod to Jackie Chan's infamous Drunken Master film from 1978, which helped raise the prominence of this unique discipline within martial arts.
— Claire Temple mentions Matt Murdock indirectly, forcing us to question once again why she doesn't just enlist his help to take down The Hand. After all, Luke Cage played an important role in Jessica Jones, so there's precedent for Defenders to appear in each other's solo shows. The only reason that we can suggest for this potential plot hole is that Claire and Matt didn't part on brilliant terms, and he's usually the one to approach her first anyway.
— Joy Meachum recalls a time when she hired a private investigator who struggled to stay sober... oh hey, Jessica Jones!
Episode 9 — 'The Mistress Of All Agonies'
— It turns out that Harold's 'Frank N. Stein' caller ID was even more on the nose than we predicted, as Episode 9 opened with Daddy Meachum rising from the grave/scummy pond once again. Just a word of advice: If a walking corpse offers you cornflake ice cream, take the goddamn ice cream.
— While we know that the dragon Shou-Lao won't appear in Season 1 of Iron Fist, it's nice for fans to finally hear the extent of Danny's fantastical origins laid out more clearly;
"You got something scarier than a dragon in a cave?"
— Colleen Wing's grandfather, Kenji Ozawa, is also name-dropped in this episode. In the comics, Ozawa trained Colleen and was the one who gave her that kickass sword, so we may see him somewhere later down the line — Daughters of the Dragons spin-off, anyone?
— When she's not drinking, it seems that Jessica Jones is taking photos that implicate members of the Rand board in dubious activities. No doubt Jones is going to be pissed when she fines out that Madame Gao ignored her in a rundown of The Defender yet again.
— Sweet Christmas! Claire Temple really needs to think of her own catchphrases instead of stealing Luke Cage's all the time!
Episode 10 — 'Black Tiger Steals Heart'
— In Episode 10, we discover that Bakuto and his students are in fact a faction of The Hand. Bakuto's group wear red — much like Elektra, and the cult's comic book counterparts. Not only does this explain why Colleen is so good at holding her own against her fellow ninjas, this also ties in with a Daredevil comics storyline from 2010 that introduced Bakuto in the Shadowland arc.
— It's worth bearing in mind that Bakuto and Colleen don't share such strong ties in the comics and Wing herself isn't connected to The Hand, so this was a nice twist for readers of the source material.
— Danny's ability to command the Iron Fist effectively comes into question after Bakuto shows Rand footage of an older Iron Fist kicking ass with two glowing hands in the woods. While there's a chance that this could be either Bei Bang-Wen or the "Golden Age Iron Fist", Orson Randall, Netflix must be commended for featuring Iron Fist's superhero costume from the comics in such a natural way.
— This video clip also provides us with a further insight into the legacy of masked heroes in the MCU, here dating back to 1948, just a few years after Captain America fought in WWII.
Episode 11 — 'Lead Horse Back To Stable'
— Remember when the kids in Daredevil's second season had their blood drained out of them by The Hand? Bakuto's young charges plan to do the same to Colleen; they even plan to use the same location for her slow, brutal death. Fortunately, a quick head-butt put that scheme to rest.
— Ok, people really need to stop asking Davos if he has the Iron Fist. Don't they know that he's going to turn into the villainous Steel Serpent out of bitter jealousy!?
"It's all I've ever wanted."
I swear Harold Meachum is just trolling him at this point. To be fair though, most of Davos's grievances with Danny are actually quite legit. After all, the Iron Fist is supposed to guard K'un-Lun, not visit New York dressed like a hobo.
— Once again, there's no glimpse of Shou-Lao the undying in the flashbacks, but at least we're provided with a glimpse of how Danny felt immediately after he defeated the dragon, complete with the first seeds of Davos's resentment towards the Iron Fist.
— During an amusing conversation between Temple and Davos, the two discuss the finest pizza in NYC, which was ordered from Joe's. Whether you agree with Davos or not, that pizza sure looks great. Furthermore, Joe's just so happens to be the takeout restaurant that Peter Parker worked at in the beginning of Spider-Man 2.
— If Claire really did just give Danny one of Luke Cage's old messed up shirts, how the hell did it fit him? Shouldn't that look like a dress on Danny? Maybe it's just because Luke likes to wear his shirts real tight.
— Claire once again refers to the other Defenders after lamenting that too many crime-fighters have used up her antibiotics. We can't help but wonder why Danny doesn't ask Temple to clarify this a bit more, and perhaps even ask them for help. Luke's a little preoccupied, what with being in jail and all, but we're sure Jessica or Matt could pitch in.
Episode 12 — 'Bar the Big Boss'
— The Hand may be an evil cult whose sole aim is to reshape the world in their own dark image, but they're also great at matchmaking. First, they helped to reunite Matt Murdock with Elektra and now they've helped push Danny Rand and Colleen Wing together. It's kind of adorable.
— The final showdown between Colleen Wing and her former sensei Bakuto was one of the best fights of the season, reminding us yet again why a Daughters of the Dragon show needs to happen asap. The sequence also contained a few callbacks to Bakuto's death in Daredevil #507; both contained a broken sword and both ended with Bakuto being stabbed in the gut. Instead of Wing though, it was White Tiger who originally took the warrior out.
Episode 13 — 'Dragon Plays with Fire'
- Stan Lee's cameo finally appeared in the Season 1 finale of Iron Fist and... it was a poster again. You'd think that Marvel's creator supreme would put a bit more effort into his Netflix appearances, although reports suggest that illness has begun to hold him back from making extended cameos like he used to.
— It turns out that Harold Meachum was responsible for the death of Danny's parents all along, pulling focus away from Madame Gao. This takes us back to Iron Fist's origin in the comics, and his final showdown with Meachum also wraps things up in a neatly symmetrical way. After all, both the season premiere and finale both revolved around Danny's quest to reach the top of the corporate Rand building in order to discover who he truly is.
— Harold also mentions how he wanted to push Wendell Rand over a ledge on the roof, which is exactly how Danny's father died in the comics, instead of during that fateful plane crash.
— The finale makes use of further comic book parallels in the scene shared between Joy Meachum and Davos. In the source material, Joy also blames Iron Fist for the Meachum's difficulties and enlists the future Steel Serpent to take care of him once and for all. Madame Gao's involvement here suggests that she may be the one responsible for giving Davos his own mystical abilities, tying the whole story together nicely ready for Season 2.
— Claire Temple makes her final reference to the other Defenders, describing her gifted friends as "dark, haunted people." Let's just hope she remembers that Trish Walker is a friend too and ends up giving her those clawed gloves in The Defenders. It makes far more sense for the future Hellcat to use these than Claire, even if she did look all kinds of badass during her Iron Fist fight scenes.
- 'Iron Fist' Season 2: Will Marvel Add Luke Cage & Form A 'Heroes For Hire' Show With The Daughters Of The Dragon?
- Oh Chi-t! Here's Why Some Of The 'Iron Fist' Fight Scenes Punch Below Their Weight In Season 1
- Defending The Last Defender: Season 1 Of Marvel's 'Iron Fist' Is Far Better Than The Critics Say
Despite the negativity that surrounded Iron Fist before its release, the fourth Defender's debut is shaping up to be an enthralling new addition to the MCU, one that rounds out the Netflix street-level shows in surprisingly satisfying ways.
Did you spot any Iron Fist easter eggs, comic book references or links to The Defenders that we missed? Let us know your thoughts on Season 1 in the comments section below and continue to check back as we update this article.
Will you watch every episode of Iron Fist?
(Source — Yahoo News. Poll Image Credit: Netflix)