Royal Dragon was a necessary come down episode after the first Defenders team-up. Like any good team, after a big throw down, it’s time to unwind over a good meal. While the Avengers do shawarma the Defenders do Chinese.
But while there’s few things some good fried rice won’t fix, suddenly believing in an evil ninja hand, chi-powered fists and blind vigilantes proves a bit much. Given the personalities and various trust issues among the group, immediate cohesion is probably a bit much to ask.
This was largely a dialogue heavy episode with the Defenders-to-be learning to stop worrying and trusting each other. That was hardest for Jessica, who has always enjoyed being a loner. While true to her character, even Jessica wouldn’t be this dismissive knowing what’s at stake.
The biggest highlight of Royal Dragon had to be Cage and Danny’s interaction. Although second seasons are in the works for both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, I’d happily swap them both out for one Power Man & Iron Fist season. Mike Colter and Finn Jones had great chemistry here strongly conveying two guys on opposite sides of the tracks becoming best friends.
With so much of the episode being more of a getting to know you session, Director Phil Abraham creates fun in exploring different combinations. Cage and Jessica have an appropriately awkward moment, fitting for two exes who never really had closure. Matt and Danny’s moment would have had more impact if Matt wasn’t arguing with Stick for most of it.
Not surprisingly, Matt’s one on one scene with Stick was stronger due to their complicated history. Add on their encounters with the resurrected Elektra and things between them were tenser than usual.
Frustratingly, we’re no closer to Alexandra’s end game. At the halfway point of the series, it’d be nice to have more clarity about what the Defenders need to stop beyond Stick’s ominous warning.
As most of the episode took place in the Chinese restaurant the momentum slowed down too much. If Stick was so worried about Alexandra and The Hand, chilling at a restaurant didn’t seem like the best strategy. The final scene with the Defenders confronting Alexandra and Elektra made for a fun cliffhanger, but this episode lacked the substance of the previous three installments.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/Netflix