I disliked the first season of Iron Fist, I thought it was boring, focused more on corporate shenanigans and nebulous villains than on the martial arts badassery the character deserves. So I came to the 2nd season a bit dubious of how good it could be and gotta say, it pays to have low expectations!

This is a more violent season, but also very personal to the characters, with some much-needed character growth.

The Good

Smackdown: Where the first season was a boring mess of boardroom meetings, the second season begins with a beatdown and continues to deliver on the martial arts actions throughout its run, sometimes multiple times per episode. The action is great, the choreographies fantastic and without needing stuntmen, the actors performing all the fights themselves. The studio had so much confidence in how good the fights were that they released a special trailer for season 2 just focusing on this.

This time its’a personal: As I said, this season the story events hit close to home to the characters with the plotting between Davos and Joy, which we saw coming together at the end of the first season, finally coming to fruition. It’s a multi-layered affair with incredible impact not only on the lives of the characters but the neighbourhood they live in.

Highway to Hell: This season’s theme is about knowing yourself and where you belong and every single character is on that journey, taking over the entire season to fulfil their arc. I give props to the writers for not allowing most of them to end happier, but in a bit of misery and on the path to a better place, particularly Ward, who’s changed from completely unbearable to a much more likeable character with some genuine chemistry with Danny Rand. I also loved Davos and the downward spiral he’s on, fed by his self-righteous views and family issues. But above all, I loved Colleen’s arc, it’s really her season.

Daughters of the Dragon: Please give us this spinoff next year. Colleen and Misty have amazing chemistry and their scenes together this season are an absolute joy to watch. I can’t get enough.

Fist of the North Star: My favourite aspect of the season is the emphasis on the nature of the Iron Fist, both how Kun-Lun viewed it, what the role of its wielder is and most importantly, what the effect is on the user. By the end it becomes clear just how much of a double-edged sword it is and how corrupting it can be, how it can drive anyone without balance towards madness or addiction.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown: Something I loved about this season is how much Chinatown and its internal politics and powers play into the story. Much like Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem are not only locations but also characters in the Daredevil and Luke Cage stories, so Chinatown has finally become the same for Iron Fist. The community and those Chinatown forgets or discards and those who are merely collateral damage in the wars between criminals are central to the season’s plot and have a profound impact on the characters.

Something about Mary: Mary Walker, damn. Typhoid Mary in the comics, the assassin with dissociative identity disorders is one of the highlights of the season. At first, she’s just a bit off-putting but becomes something much darker and dangerous as the season advances and it’s never quite clear who’s side she’s on. At times it’s not clear if she’s even on her own side, as she’s clearly in conflict with her different personas or Alters. I do love they gave a nod to her Bloody Mary persona, but kinda glad it didn’t come into play this season. Traditionally a Daredevil villain, it would be great to see her again, especially if she’s fighting the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen in the future.

Tee Time:  I loved that for one moment, for one season of the shared Netflix Marvel universe, our good ol’ gun-runner Turk had a nice day. He sold things, he got paid and even received some golf advice. After the way Luke treated him earlier this year, it was good for the man to have one nice day.

The Bad

Enter the Cheese: Iron Fist’s last episode for this season has something of an epilogue for every character. Some comeuppance for baddies, some disappointments for goodies, a badass moment for Colleen and the absolute cheesiest possible ending for Danny. I mean I love a good twist, but the scene has such a blatant and bad use of CGI that is completely ruins it.

Punisher did it First: I said I liked Davos’ downward spiral to pretty much madness, but the season and its writers ask you to condemn or vilify the guy for doing with his fists what we saw Punisher do in his own series and in Daredevil, kill a bunch of criminals. The only moment when he becomes a true villain is when he kills an innocent restaurant owner, but even before that, the cast act like he’s some terrible monster and not a simple anti-hero. They should’ve had him butcher criminals and innocents alike from the start, to show how unhinged he is and what his black & white view of the world means for everyone, especially since he spends most of the season saying that everyone in the city is corrupt and beneath him.

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