Now with the announcement that Daredevil: Born Again is coming to Disney+ in around 2024, what better way to celebrate than look back at the most polarising of Netflix’s Marvel shows: Iron Fist? While it’s clear from his cameo in Luke Cage, Finn Jones could capture the essence and personality of Iron Fist, it’s just a shame that his solo series failed to demonstrate consistently that. That was due in a lot to the writing though. Although it did introduce us to the fantastic Colleen Wing, played by Jessica Henwick, which is definitely a positive. So before I get into the list properly here is some history about the show.
Iron Fist first debuted on Netflix in 2017 and follows Danny Rand, the son of a billionaire, who ends up in the mystical land of K’un L’un after his family’s plane crashes in the Himalayas. It’s here that he learns about the legend of the Iron Fist and his wars with their eternal enemies: The Hand. Upon Danny’s return to New York, he has to balance regaining control of his fathers company with his duties as the Immortal Iron Fist. While many critics rightfully called out the show’s pretty trash writing, they did praise some of the cast’s performances. And the performances praised were Jessica Henwick (Wing) as well as Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple) and Carrie-Ann Moss (Jeri Hogarth). So without further ado, let’s get into the list of the best Iron Fist episodes properly.
10: Target: Iron Fist (S2, E5)
Kicking off the list of the best Iron Fist episodes is the aptly named Target: Iron Fist. Now what makes this episode good? Well, it marks a much needed upturn in the show’s quality with this episode seeing Danny lose the power of the Iron Fist to childhood friend: Davos. And what’s even better is that the episode does this really well. Other highlights include the relatively quick pace and the arrival of fan favourite Marvel Netflix character: Misty Knight. Oh and just to make it even better, Misty has the iconic bionic arm from the comics. Overall, a very solid episode.
9: Shadow Hawk Takes Flight (S1, E2)
Now this episode sees the payoff to a very bold decision: holding off showing the iconic Iron Fist until the end of this episode. Now while the visual is worth it does mean the audience has had to go through nearly two hours of television to get a few seconds of the titular character’s power. However, the rest of the episode is alright. This is because it sees Danny sent to a psych ward for supposedly believing he’s the Immortal Iron Fist. But the real highlight is how the convergence of multiple storylines helps to provide a much needed boost of energy for the show moving forward.
8: Felling Trees with Roots (S1, E7)
Right so if you’re interested in the pivotal story beats of Iron Fist maybe don’t skip this episode. This is because we see the fate of Danny’s parents, the pursuit of Madame Gao and that’s not even mentioning the killing of Harold Meacham by someone close to him. And I haven’t even talked about the development of Danny and Colleen’s romantic relationship which is always great to see. Oh, also we see further clues as to Colleen’s past to really seal the deal for a good midseason finale. Another very solid outing.
7: A Duel of Iron (S2, E10)
Now this episode stings in hindsight because what it promises is awesome. But we may never see that vision realised which is a shame. I am of course referring to Colleen becoming the new Iron Fist and thus new protector of Chinatown. Oh and just to really show how good all of the above is we get a reflection of all the other characters to hold the mantle of Iron Fist. Oh and the rest of the episode leading up to that point is just as good. Check this episode out for the intriguing set up of a season that never came and the reverence with which it treats the titular character.
6: The Dragon Dies at Dawn (S2, E6)
How to follow up an entry about a potential episode hinting at a third season? How about a team up episode featuring fan favourites Misty Knight and Colleen. This of course is another reunion of the duo named the Daughter of the Dragon. Anyway, whilst Misty and Colleen are fighting a trio of villainous sisters Danny is left in a bad way. This could also be said of Davos who is left on the run which sets the stage for the conclusion yet to come. Overall, another solid episode which really shows how cruel it was to cancel the series…
5: Black Tiger Steals Heart (S1, E10)
Speaking of Davos, this episode introduces him to the show and really helps the audience believe in the idea that he and Danny are good friends. Also there is a lovely bit of irony in the fact Danny is taught how to recharge his chi by a member of the Hand. Yep, his sworn enemies taught him how to use one of his deadliest assets…. Anyway, this episode again sees Danny struggling with his power and becoming increasingly reliant on Colleen and Davos. But the true highlight of this episode is how it sets up Davos to become the primary antagonist of the series….
4: Eight Diagram Dragon Palm (S1, E4)
Now this episode has a very neat little twist behind the villains, Harold Meacham, association with the Hand. By having Harold indirectly imprisoned by then because of their intervention in his cancer treatment meaning he feels indebted to them. This is a great twist because it means Harold is secretly hoping Danny can defeat the Hand once and for all. Also this episode fixes a big problem with earlier episodes where it felt like Danny was at such a disadvantage it didn’t really feel fair putting him against the Hand. But thankfully Danny emerges with the resources and support to continue his crusade as Iron Fist.
3: Immortal Emerges From Cave (S1, E6)
A rich Marvel character emerging from a cave? What is this? Iron Man? Not at all mainly because this sees Danny fighting a litany of classic Marvel martial arts villains. These include Lei Kung the Thunderer and The Bride of Nine Spiders. Oh and the showdown between Ward and Danny is brilliant mainly due to the little subtleties of Ward. Mostly these subtleties take the shape of drug abuse withdrawals combined with a compassionate tension. Truly a unique finale in many ways….
2: War Without End (S2, E9)
Now as alluded to in a previous entry, this episode finally sees Colleen’s development as the new Iron Fist take the first steps. Overall, this episode acts as a series of events aimed to get Colleen to take up the mantle. And a big part of the reason why this is a good decision is Jessica Henwick’s performance as Colleen which makes her a more than worthy successor to the mantle of the Immortal Iron Fist. Damn why is Jessica Henwick so good? Also stings further we may never get a series with her as Iron Fist ….
1: Bar the Big Boss (S1, E12)
And the best Iron Fist episode is…… Bar the Big Boss. Now why is this the best episode? Well firstly it’s a brilliant thriller story. And secondly, it shines a light on the inner lives of the characters. Not only does this episode continue the tragic on again, off again rivalry between Danny and Davos. And thanks to some very good writing, which is a rarity in Iron Fist Season One, the show is able to build up their rivalry to near mythic proportions. Out of all the Iron Fist episodes this truly feels the closest to the comics it was inspired by.
What are your favourite Iron Fist episodes? Let me know in the comments below!