Forget the Hand, the Iron Fist may have found his next great adversary in the form of his childhood best friend. Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) has found her way to the dark side.
This post contains spoilers for Iron Fist Season 1.
While Joy Meachum’s depth of character was questionable throughout the entire first season of Iron Fist — as she was kept in the dark by her family and thrown every which way by powers unbeknownst to her — she was morphing into the supervillain she was always meant to be.
The finale of Iron Fist sees Joy’s brother, Ward, returning to Rand Industries as a new man: healthier and most definitely on the path toward being a better person. He’s patched things up with Danny despite their never having gotten along, and he has, after a lot of pain and suffering, morphed into the unexpected good guy.
But it seems like only one Meachum sibling is ever allowed to walk the path of righteousness at a time. Ward’s triumphant return to his office is immediately followed up with a scene of Joy meeting up with Davos and (probably without realizing it) Madame Gao, Danny’s two greatest foes.
“The boy you knew died that day,” Davos says of Danny. “Becoming the Iron Fist changed him.”
“Maybe,” Joy replies, seeming reluctant.
Davos delivers the killing blow with: “He destroys everything he touches. Isn’t it true your world fell apart after his return?”
Joy says that things “changed” when Danny returned, but even she doesn’t seem convinced of her own words. It’s then that Davos sets up what will probably be the main plot point of Season 2, besides the mysterious disappearance of K’un-Lun: This new gang is going try and kill Danny Rand to ensure he can never fuck anything up ever again.
And despite Danny being the hero of the story, you have to admit that Danny messed up a lot of stuff throughout Season 1. Joy’s world is thrown into chaos by Danny’s return. At first, she thinks she’s being stalked before having to deal with the emotional fallout of realizing she’s allowed her brother to lock her childhood best friend up in a psych ward. Then Danny messes around with the company Joy and her brother have been contractually tied to for years.
As if things weren’t bad enough, everything comes crashing down around Joy upon realizing that her dad, Harold Meachum, has been alive for years and hiding from her. That’s not Danny’s fault, per se, but, just as Davos points out: “Isn’t it true your world fell apart after his return?”
Getting shot in the stomach and used as a pawn by one of the leaders of the Hand to pay for the sins of her father, brother, and estranged best friend is just the nail in the coffin. Joy almost bleeds out on the couch of her long-lost father’s hideaway apartment as she is thrown into a world of crime and legend she’s wholly unprepared to handle.
But there’s a very good chance she’ll be able to handle it in the future. Joy is a fighter, and two of Marvel TV’s best villains, Mariah Dillard and Cottonmouth of Luke Cage fame, arose to their stations as A-level baddies after dealing with endless family trauma and unbelievable loss of innocence. The finale of Iron Fist Season 1 seems damn determined to take Joy down that same road.
And Danny better watch out — Joy Meachum does not fuck around.
Season 1 of Iron Fist is now available on Netflix.