How Is Harold Meachum Alive On 'Iron Fist'? He's At The Mercy Of The Hand
Danny Rand spends most of Iron Fist trying to find out what happened to his father, and longing for a relationship with the family that he lost as a child. If only he spoke more openly to Ward Meachum, he'd know that sometimes, having no relationship with your father might not be so bad. The Episode 1 reveal that Harold Meachum is alive on Iron Fist sets up the rest of the season and the Shakespearean power struggle between Ward and Harold. But it's nothing compared to the Episode 9 surprise that Harold can not die.
Harold has put Ward through a lot. To spend most of your life secretly caring for your manipulative, cruel, selfish father only to eventually snap and murder him doesn't exactly seem easy. Tougher still, is finding out that the dad you murdered and left in a swamp is not dead and in fact, will never die. Even worse than all of that, is having no idea exactly how your father gained immortality and not being able to find a way to reverse it. Unfortunately, audiences are in the same boat as Ward on that last point, as fans are wondering why Harold can't die.
At first glance, it appears that Harold faked his death from cancer, opting instead to run his company from the shadows through Ward. However, it soon becomes clear that he is kept alive (and hasn't aged) through the magic of the mysterious group The Hand, led by the ruthless Madame Gao. That same magic is what stopped Harold from dying when Ward tried to kill him, and what has kept Madame Gao alive for centuries, allowing to her operate an immense international heroin ring. The series doesn't go into the details of the magic when Harold returns, but only explains that it is magic and that it works.
Harold's return to life isn't without consequence, however. He is now under the Hand's orders and has to do what Madame Gao says. Upon his second resurrection, we also watch as he walks through New York much like Frankenstein's Monster (or Frank N. Stein, if you're going by Ward's cell phone) re-experiencing life for the first time. After readjusting to life and remembering who he is, Harold returns to his home. He's the same man, but different. It seems that each time someone comes back, they're changed. Upon his return, Harold's attitude suffers some major changes and his anger problems are worse than ever before, resulting in the murder of his loyal assistant. Unlike Harold, it doesn't look like Kyle is coming back to finish his ice cream any time soon.
Iron Fist is the first entry in the Netflix-Marvel Universe to take a deep dive into the world of magic and mysticism that has been hinted at previously, most notably in Daredevil. While that makes the series stand out amongst its peers, it also creates a lot of problems for its characters that other members of this universe haven't had to deal with yet.
The magic could be a major presence in the upcoming miniseries The Defenders that promises to bring all four of Netflix's superheroes together, and could be the answer to some other deceased characters being brought back from the grave. If that's the case, it will surely have consequences on the rest of Netflix's series.