Last Friday, Iron Fist premiered on #Netflix. The new series depicts Danny Rand, the indestructible weapon known as Iron Fist on a journey to reclaim his father's company, Rand Industries, after a 15-year absence away from the civilized world.
Ward Meachum Makes 'Iron Fist' Worth Watching
Most of the 13-episode season follows Danny Rand's adventures, but it wasn't as momentous as some of us expected. Early reviews indicated the series wasn't worth watching, and to some extent, those reviews were accurate. However, there was one saving grace among the many flaws of Iron Fist: Ward Meachum.
Ward was quite an amazing character. From the start, #WardMeachum is introduced as malicious, but it turns out he's quite a complicated character.
Towards the beginning of the series when Danny Rand returns to the Meachums' side attempting to explain that he's the real Danny Rand, neither Ward or Joy believe him. Ward is so skeptical that he does everything in his power to keep this impersonator from getting any further with his plans, including having Danny incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital. Unbeknownst to Ward, the impersonator is, in fact, Danny Rand.
Given the circumstances surrounding Danny's return, Ward's skepticism was reasonable. Although, when the facts began to present themselves, Ward remained skeptic. Ward stays on this course until Joy is able to convince him that Danny has returned to them. At that point, Ward finally gives in, remaining cautious nonetheless. Danny's return to Rand Industries does, however, put Ward in a tail-spin dive, which inevitably leaves him a drug-addled mess.
Eventually, Ward comes to his senses and figures out that Danny is doing what he thinks is right. And while that may not be the best thing for Rand Industries, Ward begins to understand Danny's point of view. However, Ward doesn't come to that realization until he's in danger himself.
Ward Actually Begins To Shine As A Character When He's Left Vulnerable By The Hand
In Episode 12, Ward is offered a deal by The Hand. As part of an agreement to help them capture Danny, Ward will be back in charge of Rand Industries, with his family's safety assured. Ward's response isn't immediately known but when it is, we learn that he chose to give up Danny. Unfortunately for Ward, his deal with the Hand doesn't go as planned, forcing a change in perspective for Ward.
In signature villain fashion, The Hand chooses not to fulfill their side of the bargain and as a result, the Meachums are at the mercy of The Hand. Danny then arrives to exchange himself for their safety. Seeing this, Ward begins to realize who Danny has been fighting for: them. With Danny willing to give himself up for their lives, Ward finally understands his mistakes. Ward had been treating Danny like a outcast so much so that he failed to see Danny protecting them. Ward apologizes to Danny before he's taken away by The Hand, marking both his change and redemption. It's unfortunate that we don't get to see this change in Ward until Episode 13, but better late than never.
When Episode 13 begins, Ward starts off with a move to protect Danny from Harold Meachum, who has been plotting to get rid of Danny since before his return to New York. Ward attempts to prove Danny's innocence while his father, Harold, is doing everything in his power to have Danny convicted ad incarcerated. Not only has Harold betrayed Danny, but he's also completely turned his back on Ward.
We saw that Harold and Ward had their issues with each other. It even came down to Ward killing Harold at one point, but even that situation wasn't enough to drive a wedge between them. It was when Harold called Ward an utter disappointment that the two truly broke bonds and Ward sought to create new ones elsewhere, specifically with Danny.
Ward Reconciling With Danny Marks Another Significant Change In Character
Most of Episode 13 goes over a lot of back and forth between Danny and Harold Meachum. It isn't until the last few minutes of the episode that Ward returns to the spotlight and begins to stand out as decent human being.
When we return to Ward in Episode 13, he's changed quite a bit. In comparison to Ward's first scenes of Iron Fist, his behavior takes a stark change. He's now fighting for Danny and avidly seeking to bring an end to his father's regime. Ward's change in demeanor toward Danny when his name has been cleared is a clear sign of Ward changing. He even rejoices in having Danny back by his side, so much so that he invites Danny to run Rand Industries alongside him.
Ward: "You (Danny Rand) should come back to Rand. Run the company the way our fathers should have."
Ward Meachum Gives Us Reason To Watch 'Iron Fist'
All of Ward's significant changes are very intriguing signs of character development, but Ward's presence on Iron Fist is important for another reason: It gives us a reason to watch the series
While many facets of Netflix's Iron Fist series have been criticized, no one is really giving credit to the positive aspects of Iron Fist — Ward Meachum being one of them. If he were to be acknowledged for the standout he is, critics might change their opinions a bit, but that's speculative for the moment.
Regardless of what's been said about Iron Fist in general, Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) makes the series worth watching. Between the thorough character development and superb acting skills from Tom Pelphrey, the character of Ward Meachum is arguably the bigger star of Iron Fist than Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Hats off to Tom Pelphrey as well, giving us an excellent depcition of Ward Meachum.
What did you think of Pelphrey's performance as Ward Meachum in Iron Fist? Worth noting or still irrelevant when it comes to the overall rating of Iron Fist? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Iron Fist is currently streaming on Netflix. The Defenders series debuts on Netflix later this year.