In the final moments of Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 06, right after Gao mentions Danny's father, Gao uses some kind of power to throw Danny at a wall.

What kind of power is this and why does Gao never use it again throughout the series?

I couldn't find a YouTube video so I took some screenshoots. The scene I described is in the final 4 minutes of the episode.

Iron Fist pushed

  • those are some SUPER dark images you got there...
    – DForck42
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 21:44
  • @DForck42 Well, the scene itselft is a bit dark =D Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 21:47
  • 2
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 22:30
  • She did something similar to Daredevil. youtube.com/watch?v=XlTID9HuU-o In a nutshell, she's more of a planner than a fighter. She'll punch (or chi-palm) someone only when she has to get away, or make an impression. To some extent, who she is and how she does what she does remains unanswered, cause the Netflix shows differ some from the comics, but as @Paulie_D points out. The Crane Mother is a popular theory. Has been since daredevil. If someone wants to answer with more detail - please do, that's why I left as a comment.
    – userLTK
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Since this has gone 7 hours, I'll give it an answer, but I welcome any additional answers.

What kind of power is this and why does Gao never use it again throughout the series?

She prefers not to fight. She'd rather negotiate. I can't explain that exactly or back it up with quotes, but it's rather obvious. She let herself be taken prisoner twice rather than try to fight her way out of those situations.

Why does she let herself be taken prisoner? In part, cause she knows her words can do harm and drive people apart. Her words were very upsetting to both Claire and Colleen.

In part, perhaps, cause she knew Colleen Wing was poisoned and she wanted to wait for an opportunity to arise when Colleen started dying. Something she may have felt, only she could help (not anticipating who Colleen's teacher was)

In part (a personal theory) because she's very patient.

It's worth adding that when she struck both Daredevil and Iron First, neither was expecting it. The outcome might be different if their defenses were up and they knew what she was capable of.

As for what kind of strike, while it wasn't said, it appeared to have some kind of chi to the strike or (possibly) magic.

Madame Gao is clearly someone mysterious. Not only is she able to stun Daredevil and Iron Fist with a palm strike, while looking like a harmless old woman, but the Kingpin respects her and appears, at times, afraid of her. He says "She knows when I'm lying" and when they have a conversation, after Westley had been translating to Mandarin for her at all their meetings, she reveals that she speaks "all languages" and she was able to find the Kingpin's home, something he kept secret. Her line "I'm from someplace further than China" is the clue that's most often referred to that there's something un-earthly in her origin.

Iron First trained in from K'un-Lun, one of the seven capital cities of Heaven. It's often speculated that Madam Gao is the Crane Mother, the ruler of the K'un-Zi. Now, the Crane Mother's the ruler and not the champion. Theoretically, the champion would be more eager to fight.

K'un-Zi is (in the article above), is a "City of dark magic". So it's possible that her power is dark magic, not chi. How that would reveal as different in future writing isn't clear. Marvel is kind of tiptoeing around the whole "Magic" thing, Spells are just programs, etc.

There are inconsistencies between the comics and the Netflix series. K'un-Lun and the Iron First were never the "enemy of the hand". The Hand was earthly, K'un Lun only had a gateway to Earth every 15 years. There were conflicts between the capital cities, but the Hand wasn't part of that, so they've made some changes with the original story.

In the comics, the Chaste was the enemy of the Hand. Stick, Daredevil's teacher, was the head of the Chaste.

All that said, what works about Madame Gao is her mysteriousness. She's a fun character, from someplace farther than China. Precisely who she is hasn't been revealed and as a result, how she does what she does isn't 100% clear. The Crane Mother is a popular theory though.

  • 'Marvel is kind of tiptoeing around the whole "Magic" thing, Spells are just programs, etc.' The Dr. Strange movie fully introduced magic/mysticism.
    – JAB
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 15:49
  • @JAB what I meant was, it's not clear how magic and chi might differ. They used magic in Dr. Strange, but never explained it and even suggested it might be tapping into other dimensions, a "Program" of sorts. They kind of straddled the fence on that one, making magic distinct but keeping it somewhat tied to reality. In the sense of the the Crane Mother's or Gao's(?) "Dark magic city", it's not clear how that would be applied in the Netflix series.
    – userLTK
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 19:35

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