"Getting back on track" must have been the motto for every meeting held among the Iron Fist creative team this season. In many respects this new season of martial arts crime fighting surpassed the last one: the villains this time felt more properly grounded and motivated, less like cartoons. The stunts and fights did get a lot better and they feel more like they’re happening for a reason. The story finally explores the mystical aspects fans were dying for, instead of spending hours in the boardroom.
The biggest difference between last season and this one is a combination of improved acting and greater attention to character across the board. Each player in the Iron Fist gang has their own motivations, both outward and inward, and they all try to figure themselves as well as each other out. They also engage in highly choreographed fights when necessary, but sometimes real relationships are like that.
From episode one, this season has a greater sense of itself, the Meachums, Misty, Mary, Colleen, and Danny all have a better idea of why they’re working together, and where they could be going. This season really opens up toward the end as gangland negotiations fade into mystical tattoo rituals. The mythology of the character was really leaned into here, and that wealth of Marvel storytelling is adapted into an all-new legacy for the Iron Fist.
In order to keep up with the easter eggs, comics references, and character twists, here are 20 Things You Completely Missed From Iron Fist.
20 “Typhoid” Mary Walker
The primary slow burn of the ten episode second season was the unfurling of Mary Walker and her back and forth impact on the Meachum-Rand saga.
Alice Eve brilliantly portrayed the unsettling nature of dissociative identity disorder, and the effect lands her squarely in the anti-villain category; the audience can even sympathize with her as a victim at times.
Typhoid Mary is the inspiration from the comics, and, as in the show, she’s torn between three personalities: Mary, the soft-hearted artist; Typhoid, introduced as Sergeant Walker for the series; and Bloody Mary, the hurricane.
The comics treat her as a sometimes friendly villain as well, she even forms a brief relationship with Daredevil. Mary and her multiple personalities were one of the season’s bright spots, so it’s possible fans haven’t seen the last of her.
19 Colleen's supervisor is a secret superhero
Bayard Street, and the Community Association there, played a prominent role in Colleen’s story. She volunteers to give her life some structure, and it’s the location of the rummage sale where she finds the box with her family heirloom. Her supervisor there, we learn, is named Sam Chung.
Sam Chung is also the name of a long time street level-Marvel hero named Blindspot.
His sight is impaired, but that didn’t stop his intelligence from creating an invisibility suit he uses to fight crime. In the comics he takes his martial arts background, acrobatic talent, and genius brain over to Daredevil for mentorship. Even if he grows into something else on the show, Chinatown has another strong protector.
18 Colleen’s Iron Fist Tattoo
The second ceremonial tattoo of the show took place when Colleen finally decide to take up the mantle of the Iron Fist. Colleen received the full dragon tattoo, similar to Danny’s, recreated on her forearm.
Even seeing the transference ceremony for the second time, it’s not entirely clear what’s taking place. Colleen imbibes a beverage, passes out, wakes up with a tattoo, and then she’s ready to channel Davos’ body, and pull the Chi out of it. S
he’s interrupted, but the process still works; she’s a match for Davos’ power and ultimately defeats him. From there, she ends the show as a full Iron Fist with her katana bathed in white light.
17 Mary in Sokovia
In the second half of the season, when the audience learns a little bit more about Mary Walker, she eventually lets on that she was a prisoner of war in Sokovia. And then she mentions it a few more times just to make sure that everyone heard her.
In addition to being the setting that initiated her psychological disorder, Sokovia was also the fictional Eastern European location of the final battle depicted in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.
That movie was only released three years ago, so even on the most conservative timeline, Mary Walker has had more than enough time to spiral down and out from her traumatic event, and transform from Sergeant First Class Walker, into Typhoid Mary.
Her incarceration wasn’t directly linked to the Avengers.
However, it might have been one of the many negative consequences of the events of that movie.
16 The Golden Tiger Gang
The Golden Tiger Gang and their control of the docks leads to an intergang conflict with the Hatchets that the Iron Fist struggles to control. Season two presents Iron Fist as a necessary street level hero to keep the peace and maybe work with the gang hierarchies once in a while.
The Golden Tiger Gang has been a villain in the Iron Fist comics for a long time. Even Kwai Chang, the once-leader of the Gang who suffered an untimely stroke on the show, was also a character in the comics.
The name most associated with the Golden Tigers is Chaka Khan, a villain who hasn’t been referenced yet, but the groundwork is set for their season three breakout.
15 The Thunderer of K’un-Lun
A lot more of K’un-Lun was explained this season as fans got to see the actual competition battle between Danny Rand and Davos, fighting for the privilege to hold the Iron Fist.
Lei-Kung, aka “the Thunderer," was seen looking on in the background. Davos is his son, but Danny goes on to be the one to fulfill the prophecy.
Lei-Kung is an immortal in the comics. He’s guardian of the Iron Fist tradition, and the one who runs the dojo and adopts Danny as a surrogate son. Even in the few scenes he appeared in the show, it was clear that his primary focus was the power of the Iron Fist, and he who held it. Eventually, it becomes clear that too much of that focus was diverted from his first son.
14 Canal Street and Chinatown
All of the Netflix Defenders are set in New York City, each making their home and beat in a different neighborhood. Season two of Iron Fist goes a little bit further toward making the city a character in the show.
Chinatown landmarks like Canal Street and Columbus Park are name dropped, and back alleys, abandoned buildings, and secret entrances all play key roles in the story.
Chinatown is the canonical home for Iron Fist and his supporting crew.
Sub streets and secret locations are commonly found in this neighborhood, according to the comics, making alluring locations for villains like The Hand and The Golden Tiger Gang to spread.
13 Colleen's inheritance
Colleen Wing stole season one, first as martial arts teacher, then as disillusioned Hand operative, and finally as partner to Danny Rand.
Entering season two, all we knew is that Colleen was orphaned at a young age, and the mystery around her parentage was unresolved.
Colleen goes into more detail about her childhood, when she was raised by her grandfather. The white katana she wields, and her training in Bushido, come from him, but the details of her mother and father were never spoken of.
One day she stumbles upon a very old, ivory hair combing set that jostles a memory of her mother and she takes up their mystery once more. It takes all season to track down a lead, but eventually she learns that comb set could be the key to her larger destiny.
12 Coffee A Go Go
The second time Mary meets Danny Rand, after bumping into him on the street, they run into each other in a cafe with “Coffee A Go-Go” painted on the window. The scene nearly functions as a meet-cute for the hero and occasional villain, until Danny clarifies that he has a girlfriend.
Coffee A Go-Go is a long recurring Marvel joke, mostly in X-Men comics, but they probably have non-mutant customers too. Most appearances of the cafe also place it in Greenwich Village, instead of the implied Chinatown here, but coffee shops are known to pop up everywhere.
The first comics appearance of Coffee A Go-Go was in 1964, so cheers to Iron Fist for keeping it alive today.
11 The Steel Serpent Holds The Iron Fist
At the beginning of the season’s third act, Davos finally achieves his goal and recovers the power of the Iron Fist from a captured, helpless Danny Rand. With the help of some local tattoo artists, an ancient bowl, and the exhumed body of a former Iron Fist, he recreates the ritual to imbue himself with the power of Shou-Lao.
The Steel Serpent is one of the many monikers Davos adopts in the comics.
In the show, when Davos harnesses the Iron Fist, he has a snake tattoo on his chest instead of the dragon that Danny has. Presumably, the snake symbolizes the Chi’s ill gotten means, and his two red fists drive it home with clear malevolence.
In the source material, Davos could never hold the Iron Fist either, but the Steel Serpent can find mystical power in other places.
10 The Triads Gang Wars
The main gang conflict takes place between the Golden Tigers and the Hatchets, but in the background, the Triads are mentioned in fear even by the crime lords we see.
The Triads is an organization on the level of Hydra’s ideology and organization.
In the comics, villains such as Fu Man Chu, Mr. Negative, and the Mandarin all spin out of this centralized gang structure.
This is good news for Iron Fist, a lot of that second season was about laying out the hierarchy and nuance of the street level gangs. Danny Rand was even at the negotiating table.
It’s all set up for him to fly around the world chasing organized crime to the top.
9 Misty Knight is finally armed
At the climax of The Defenders miniseries, Misty Knight lost her arm in battle with the ultimate legions of the Hand. Season two of Luke Cage saw Misty don and grow into the bionic arm she’s known for in the comics. In her second season getting used to the prosthetic, she has almost seamlessly integrated the “Maserati Arm” into her daily life and work.
In the comics, Misty’s bionic arm is provided by Stark Industries, as opposed to the Rand model shown on Netflix, but that doesn’t mean it should be any less powerful.
Upgrading the arm with more abilities will hopefully become a seasonal event, adding gadgets and just-in-the-nick-of-time escape advantages. Today, super strength, maybe tomorrow, repulsor blasts?
8 Meachum's NA sponsor is Tony Stark's ex
The surprise of the season has to go to the rebirth of Ward Meachum. His struggle with addiction and repairing his life through recovery has somehow made itself seem interesting, conflicted, and sympathetic. The main story in Ward’s arc is the fraught romance he strikes up with his Narcotics Anonymous meeting sponsor, known only as Bethany.
It’s not confirmed, but this could be a reference to an old Marvel character, Bethany Cabe. Her role in the comics was as political liaison with Stark Industries, taking on several security based roles at that company.
She’s notable for her ongoing romantic relationship with Tony Stark and the way she worked with him through his own addiction. Not much about Bethany was revealed on the show, so this could be her hidden past.
7 Which Iron Fist was in the sarcophagus
To facilitate his transformation, Davos tracks down a shipping container with one important artifact that he needs. In the container is a sarcophagus holding the corpse of one who was obviously a former Iron Fist.
Davos stole the warrior's mask-- possibly because he needed something borrowed, in addition to old, new, and blue.
No one ever figures out who the guardian in the tomb is, though it connects to a larger chain that eventually leads Danny around the world. It’s possible that those remains belonged to Quan Yaozu, the very first Iron Fist, but they could also be those of Kwai Jun-Fan, one of the first Iron Fists in America, who operated around the wild west.
For all viewers know, they could even belong to Wu Ao-Shi, the first female Iron Fist, dating back to 1500s.
6 The Crane Family
A group of underground tattoo artists are able to assist Davos in his final transformation into the Steel Serpent. They even give him his eponymous ink. These women are referenced as the Crane Sisters on the show, but they could connect to a larger group of dark martial artists that ties into a whole Crane family.
The Crane Mother of K’un-Zi presides over a city full of dark magic, populated mostly by her many daughters.
In the comics, the Crane Mother, through her daughters, supports Davos, and briefly contributes to his power in return for his protection. Those tattoo artists came back to do the work on Colleen at the end, but they may also lead to an open door to the city of K’un Zi.
5 The Heart of the Dragon
One of the most basic criticisms of the first season was a muddy description of the hero’s power. The glowing fist, along with the mystical temple, years of training to be an ancient guardian, all held together with Chi; there was a lot of swirling background there. This season, more about the dragon, Shou-Lao, anchored the power of the Fist.
According to the comics, long ago, Shou-Lao was an immortal dragon that protected K’un-Lun. When he was slain in a misunderstanding, his heart was enshrined so he would always stay with the city.
That heart of fire, as we saw on the show, is what the Iron Fist must be worthy of harnessing.
By plunging his fists into the flames, Danny Rand carries the heart of Shou-Lao wherever he goes.
4 Davos’ Background
Davos, Danny Rand’s best friend from K’un-Lun, plays a much larger role this season. The rivalry between them eventually drives Davos crazy, and Danny is powerless to save the man he once called his brother. The two wind up becoming enemies in a classic, yet still tragic separation of worlds.
The key piece of information revealed about Davos is his connection to K’un-Lun. Before the Rand family semi mysteriously crash landed on the mystical city, Davos was the heir apparent to hold the Iron Fist when he came of age.
His father was the Thunderer, chief guardian of the Iron Fist legacy, so he was training his entire life to one day take the power of Shou-Lao.
3 Daughters of the Dragon with Colleen and Misty
Back in Luke Cage season two, it was Colleen who came in to help Misty get used to her new arm. That emotionally and physically difficult process led to the two continuing their friendship into this new season of Iron Fist.
Misty is constantly serving as Colleen’s check to make sure she doesn’t get too wrapped up in Danny’s saga. Their friendship extends into the comics.
Knightwing Restorations was just barely name checked in the show.
It's a bail bonds firm the two start together and use to base their private investigations. The two have been known as the Daughters of the Dragon, due to their martial arts expertise and proximity to the Iron Fist. They’re also occasional Heroes for Hire.
2 Colleen's connection to Wu Ao-Shi
Before she becomes the guardian of K’un-Lun and Chinatown, Colleen learns a key piece of information about the hair brush set that reminds her so strongly of her mother. According to the man who bought it from her, that brush and comb used to belong to the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay, a princess who challenged a pirate king for control of a small fishing village.
In the comics, it’s elaborated that this princess is named Wu Ao-Shi, and she was also the first female Iron Fist, reknowned for shooting Chi powered arrows.
With the late season revelation that Colleen Wing may now be related to her-- a relationship that doesn’t exist in the comics-- her character is elevated to a new prominence in the Iron Fist legacy.
1 Introduction to Orson Randall
For the final sequence of the show, Danny sends himself on a trip back to Asia, to reconnect with the power and meaning of the Iron Fist. Ward and Danny have a confrontation with a man who says he works for Orson Randall, trying to recover his property. Danny responds by flashing two Chi powered handguns in his face, and blasting his way out of the situation.
Orson Randall was the Iron Fist immediately previous to Danny, known for his use of those guns.
He too resigned his post at the gates of K’un-Lun, and struggled to live up to the responsibility of his powers. If he’s making an appearance next season, it will send Danny on an even deeper journey of self-discovery and maturation.
Did we miss anything else from Iron Fist? Let us know in the comments!