On Iron Fist Season 2 Episode 1, the Iron Fist himself is back in action with his partner in crime, Colleen Wing! They're back and better than ever in New York City after Midland Circle.
From the get-go, it's apparent how much Marvel wanted to rebrand the show after last season's criticisms -- including the orientalism, the cheesiness, the lack of strong martial arts sequences, and the weak narrative.
The series now has a new showrunner and the show has taken on a new tone, a slightly altered title sequence, and improved fight sequence editing, which is great. However, it's immediately apparent how much is impossible to change.
No matter how much I want to believe it, Finn Jones is still relatively unbelievable as Iron Fist, especially alongside Jessica Henwick's Colleen Wing and because of what transpired last season (too many unimpressive shirtless scenes for no reason!).
Similarly, the relationship between Danny and Colleen is also not particularly believable, especially now that Danny has moved in with her.
Although they did strike up a casual romance last season, Colleen's abilities and calm temperament seem to very much surpass that of Danny's, leading me to believe that they just aren't convincing as a couple.
This is pretty unfortunate, all things considered. Colleen is quite the badass and has an absolutely amazing sequence in the restaurant with the multitude of pots and pans, while Danny is stuck outside calling out "his girlfriend's aggressive behavior," or something along those lines.
However, Iron Fist Season 2 presents some new possibilities in the growth of Joy as the villain. Joy was always the more interesting of the two Meachum siblings -- clever, cunning, quiet, and observant.
Although Davos isn't that compelling of a character, his link with Danny (and ultimately being the saner and less cheesy version of Danny) is one that is sure to be a weakness for him in the future.
Davos: Because when I tried to get you to return, all I saw was cowardice and a Hand whore!
Danny: You talk about Colleen that way again, I will break you.
It'll be interesting seeing how far down Joy will dip in order to get what she wants -- as well as see what her end goal is. She still obviously feels for Danny, and trying to reconcile her financial ambitions with her conscience makes for some fascinating character work.
The new season also marks the introduction of more Asian actors, which is good to see, although they seem to still take a backseat (as well as villainous roles in the case of the Triad).
I had to eat spiders, to develop an immunity to the venom. Tarantula, actually. As big as a baseball, and hairy. And the hairs would just get caught in the back of in the back of your throat. And I had to wash it down with the blood of a lamb.Colleen
The show (and unfortunately the comic as well) is rooted in some questionable orientalism vibes, which makes it difficult to navigate, but the show has attempted to rebrand and veer away from that by merging it with the rest of the Marvel world.
Even the Iron Fist logo in much of the new branding features a stylized circle in the "o" of Iron Fist rather than the dragon, even though the Iron Fist symbol is still the dragon.
Danny's handkerchief covering his face also adds a more vigilante feel to his character rather than the white savior narrative that ultimately plagued the first season. He has now taken on this role from Daredevil, who Danny and the rest of the Defenders believe died at Midland Circle.
However, the way he talks about his responsibility to protect New York City just doesn't match up to that of Luke Cage or Daredevil -- and even that of Jessica Jones.
Jessica focuses on her own work but still cares about the well-being of others without venturing into cheesy overkill, which makes her such a dastardly likable character despite her many flaws.
I must have been four or five. And I would sit at the kitchen table, and my mother would brush out my hair. I can't see her. It's just this this feeling, you know?Colleen
Yet Danny still retains an air of arrogance that makes me believe that he's still "playing" the role of Iron Fist rather than being Iron Fist. We don't need to hear that he's the Iron Fist 50 times.
Colleen's nearly an equal player and she doesn't even have the fist. What sets Danny apart from the rest? Colleen is just as much of a protector. If the season is going to expand beyond Danny trying to piece his life back together, he's going to need a stronger purpose.
Colleen: I kind of like that you don't know who SpongeBob is.
Danny: He's a sponge named Bob.
Now, he must carve out his own redemption story (see Jessica Jones) or become something bigger than himself. Will the Triad offer this? Will working with Colleen to better New York City offer this?
Only time will tell.
What do you think Colleen's heirloom means? What are the gangs up to?
Let us know in the comments below!
Olivia Popp is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.