WARNING: Spoilers for Marvel’s Iron Fist ahead.
The idea of lost loved ones returning from the dead is as old as storytelling itself. It’s a major theme in mythology and religion. Even Shakespeare utilized it. In today’s entertainment landscape, the trope has appeared everywhere from soap operas to superheroes. Fans even joke that a character’s demise doesn’t count unless it happens onscreen. So there’s nothing inherently wrong with Marvel’s Iron Fist using Danny Rand’s mysterious return to New York City as the jumping off point of the Netflix series. Everything Iron Fist sets up is true to the character’s origin: Danny does go missing for years after an accident in the Himalayan mountains. He and his parents are presumed dead. So far, so good. But the way Iron Fist goes about reintroducing Danny to Western society is so naive that it is borderline — no, completely — idiotic.
From his first moments on screen, every single choice Danny Rand (Finn Jones) makes is one of a moron. I spent most of the first two episodes wondering why a grown-ass man would think this erratic, insane behavior would earn him the trust of his former childhood friends instead of rightful ridicule and rejection that normal humans would expect and plan for. In an attempt to keep anyone else from repeating Danny’s obvious mistakes should they need to prove they’re truly back from the dead, let’s break down everywhere the Iron Fist went wrong.
1.) Do not dress like a homeless hipster
Let’s say you’ve been away from home since you were ten years old and you want to impress upon your childhood friends — who now own a significant chunk of your multi-billion dollar company — that you are who you say you are. The last time they saw you, you hadn’t even hit puberty, so it would stand to reason you might not be immediately recognizable. Your best bet on getting close enough to talk to them is by looking like you belong. A nice suit, a slick haircut, a pair of shoes. Do not go in barefoot wearing pajamas that look older than time itself.
Now, procuring a decent set of clothes could be a challenge if you have no money. But say you were willing to commit a federal crime in Morocco to purchase a false passport in order to return to the United States. That kind of illicit activity requires serious cash, so save some of it to buy some shoes. Or just add thievery to your list of crimes and get a whole suitcase full of outfits! Because I’m pretty sure airlines won’t let you fly if you look like you have lice and ringworm. (Seriously, how did Danny even get to the United States in that outfit?)
2.) Do not attack security guards
Now that you’re dressed like someone who might have business with the movers and shakers of the one percent, request a meeting with your childhood friends. Know that you will probably still be turned away unless you have the charisma of Tony Stark. You don’t have that. When the receptionist asks you to leave a number and vacate do not, I repeat DO NOT attack the security guards. All assurances that you mean no harm and merely want to talk will be voided by dislocating the shoulders of dudes who aren’t getting paid enough to deal with your nonsense. Instead, try figuring out if there’s a way to contact your childhood friends outside of their places of employment. For example, their home.
3.) Do not break into people’s homes
Should you find the home of your childhood friends — or your own childhood home — please do not break in. As an adult, you must realize that a disappearance of over a decade will likely void any mortgages and the house you grew up in probably belongs to someone else. Besides, and I cannot stress this enough, people are less likely to trust you if you cannot respect the normal boundaries of human civilization. No matter how tempting it is to show off your parkour skills, please refrain until after you’ve proven you are indeed who you say you are.
4.) Do not kidnap your childhood friend at gunpoint
There are many ways to ingratiate yourself with people from your past who may be disinclined to believe your story. The easiest is to dredge up a shared memory that is not effortlessly discovered online. Examples of such memories are an idiosyncratic childhood ritual, a dark secret, or a favorite inside joke. No matter how frustrated you become, remember to see yourself through the eyes of your childhood friend. They believed you to be dead. No amount of “I just want to talk” will convince them you have no ulterior motives. Even in a moment of frustration, do not steal their car, kidnap them, and attempt to strong-arm them into believing you at gunpoint. This will not work.
5. Do not tell people you have mystical powers and are from another dimension.
Even if you happen to live in a reality where superheroes have become commonplace, do not assume this means people will readily believe your story of traveling to another dimension to be taught the mystical arts by warrior monks. Even in a world with Thor, this sounds like the ramblings of a mad man. Instead, ease folks into your situation slowly. For instance, instead of declaring you are the Iron Fist, the living weapon bound to destroy the Hand, try just saying you were raised in seclusion by monks. Should you find yourself in a mental hospital, do not panic. If you keep a cool head and say simply that you were raised in a remote province of China and not in the pocket dimension known as K’un-Lun, one of the seven capital cities of Heaven, you will be free on your own reconnaissance in no time.
With these five easy steps in mind, you too can avoid the mistakes made by Danny Rand in Iron Fist Be the Gallant to his Goofus should you ever find yourself in need of proving you haven’t been dead for the last fifteen years. Good luck!