The newest series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Netflix's Iron Fist, joins the superhero slate alongside Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil. The show centers on Danny Rand (Finn Jones), a young martial arts master/billionaire who returns home after 15 years in search of his identity. This proves to be more challenging than he originally thought, because his duty as the Iron Fist gets in the way. In case you're wondering what goes down in the first season, here's what you need to know — including spoilers!
Danny's Tragic Past
When Danny was a child, he and his parents were in a plane crash near the Himalayan mountains. As the lone survivor, he was rescued by Buddhist monks and raised in K'un L'un, a mystical city in a realm different than Earth. For over 15 years, Danny trained to become a warrior monk and, after passing a deadly test, was chosen to become the next in a long line of Iron Fists. The Iron Fist is the sworn protector of K'un L'un and the destroyer of The Hand, an evil organization.
His Return to Power
However, unable to let go of his past and the family he once knew, Danny leaves K'un L'un and returns to New York to claim his rightful place at his family's company, Rand Enterprises. Since he was presumed dead for all those years, he is met with nothing but hostility, skepticism, and violence when he arrives. His former childhood friends, Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) — who now run Rand Enterprises — fear that he wants to take over their company; Ward tries to have Danny killed, while Joy orchestrates his committal to a mental hospital.
He seeks help from Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), a young martial arts instructor who showed him kindness when he first arrived to the city. Danny uses the power of the Iron Fist (a glowing all-powerful hand and unmatched fighting skills) to escape the hospital and flee to Colleen's dojo. With the help of a lawyer, Jessica Jones's Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), who happens to be a former intern of Rand whom he affectionately calls J-Money, he is able to prove his identity and reclaim his rightful position within the company.
Danny Finds an Unlikely Ally
Meanwhile, the Meachum patriarch, Harold, is busy pulling strings behind the scenes at the company. This is particularly troubling because Harold died of cancer 13 years ago; he made a deal with The Hand to bring him back to life. However, this made him indebted to them and he has been working, with the help of his son, to break out from under their thumb ever since. Ward and a faithful assistant, Kyle, are the only people who know he's still alive.
Eventually, Harold learns that Danny is the Iron Fist, and Danny learns that Harold is alive. The two realize that they both are enemies of The Hand and decide to work together, although Harold can't be trusted. They discover that The Hand have been using Rand Enterprises to create, import, transport, and sell heroin. Danny and Colleen stake out a pier where they find a chemist has been taken prisoner; they help him escape, but he is stabbed in the process.
Things Spiral Out of Control
Colleen and Danny enlist the help of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), a former nurse and student at the dojo. They learn that the chemist's daughter was kidnapped, so while Colleen and Claire work to heal him, Danny accepts (and wins!) a challenge with The Hand to get his daughter back. During his fight, Danny comes face to face with a leader of The Hand, Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho); she reveals secrets about Danny and his past, making him question everything that he knows about the Iron Fist. While this is going down, Ward reaches the end of his rope with his controlling and abusive father and stabs him to death in a rage.
Ward is traumatized after killing his father and begins to have hallucinations. Unaware of everything that's been going on, Joy simply suspects that his drug addiction has gotten out of control (which it has), and their relationship becomes strained over the lies. Meanwhile, Colleen, Danny, and Claire fly to China to kidnap Gao. When they return to New York, they realize that Colleen was infected with a lethal poison. On the brink of death, she calls for Bakuto (Ramón Rodriguez), her sensei, to help her. When he arrives, Bakuto teaches Danny to harness the power of the Iron Fist to heal Colleen — something he didn't realize that he was capable of.
The Big Twists
Leaving Claire behind, Danny, Colleen, Bakuto, and an imprisoned Gao go to Colleen's "home" for safety. This home turns out to be a compound . . . and base of operations for The Hand! (Major plot twist!) Danny and Colleen had developed a relationship and fallen in love, so he is distraught when he learns of her deceit. Danny manages to escape with the help of Davos (Sacha Dhawan), his best friend from K'un L'un who (unbeknownst to Danny) had followed him to New York. Davos is the son of the leader of K'un L'un and always thought that becoming the Iron Fist would be his birthright, so he's extremely jealous that Danny was granted the power; he's also upset that Danny abandoned K'un L'un and left it unprotected.
Meanwhile, apparently immortal (second plot twist!), Harold comes back to life, kills his assistant, places Ward in a mental hospital, and (after revealing himself to his daughter) enlists the help of Joy to defeat The Hand. This is dangerous, however, because each time that Harold comes back to life, he loses more of his soul and humanity (which explains why he murders an employee at Rand and is prone to frequent angry outbursts).
The Final Showdown
In the climactic moments of the series, Colleen realizes that The Hand isn't what she thought it was. She teams up with Danny and Davos and defeats Bakuto (who tried to have her killed and shot Joy, putting her in the hospital). Thinking that he's free of The Hand, Harold comes out of hiding and frames Danny for the heroin operation, making him and Colleen targets of the DEA. Madame Gao tells Danny that Harold is the one that killed his parents so, with the help of Ward (who has been released), he, Colleen, and Claire come up with a plan to get justice and clear their names with the authorities.
In a final battle, Harold is killed and Ward finds the evidence they need to clear Danny and Colleen of the DEA's allegations. Harold is cremated, Ward takes over Rand Enterprises, and Danny and Joy venture to K'un L'un to learn more about the Iron Fist. However, when they arrive, they find that the city has vanished without a trace. As for Joy and Davos, they have teamed up and are in France concocting a plan to take down Danny — a plan that an escaped Madame Gao is eavesdropping on and will undoubtedly use for her own evil gain.
A ton of exciting things happen in the first season, but there are still so many questions that we need answers to. Guess we'll have to wait until season two to see what happens next!