Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This week’s bae is Davos! Please note this article contains spoilers for season 2 of Iron Fist!
Who is Davos?
Davos is a character from the Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist. In the first season, we learn only a little. He grew up with Danny Rand in K’un-Lun, where they were close. When Danny won the right to challenge Shou Lao for the power of the Iron Fist, Davos was resentful but tried to support his friend.
All that changed when Danny left K’un-Lun to explore his past in New York. Davos felt this was a betrayal, as the Iron Fist was meant to protect K’un-Lun. Leaving for New York felt like a slight against his culture and his community. He followed Danny to New York and tried to get him to return to K’un-Lun, to no avail.
Davos was unable to convince Danny to return to K’un-Lun. Danny had run into the Hand in New York, and felt that he needed to stop them, as the Hand was the sworn enemy of the Iron Fist. Davos felt that Danny was being negligent, and was being swayed by Colleen Wing, a former agent of the Hand.
When Davos gave up and returned, he found K’un-Lun destroyed. Angered that Danny’s negligence led to the destruction of his home and death of his family, Davos set out to get vengeance. He ended up meeting up with Joy Meachum, who was angry at what befell her family after Danny returned. Though Joy had previously been Danny’s friend, her anger led her to want to see him hurt.
Davos and Joy teamed up to enact their revenge. Davos knew of an ancient, and dangerous, ritual that would remove the power of the Iron Fist from Danny and give it to him, instead. Joy knew that this would hurt Danny, so she set out to help Davos achieve his goal.
Joy and Davos’s team-up was a very destructive one. Joy’s anger and bitterness towards Danny was a result of her feeling like she couldn’t hate her brother Ward or her father for what they did, so she turned it on, Danny. Davos felt that Danny was undeserving of the title of Iron Fist and that he could do a better job.
Season 2 of Iron Fist showed more of Danny and Davos’s backstory. The two were raised as brothers, both under the tutelage of Davos’s father, Lei Kung. Lei Kung was a prominent monk in K’un-Lun, and he trained both boys hard. It was thought that Lei Kung’s son would one day become the Iron Fist, and we see that Davos’s mother raised him harshly to prepare him for this burden.
However, when it came time, Danny ended up winning the duel for the right to challenge Shou Lao. In Davos’s eyes, however, Danny didn’t win because he never gave up – the fight was called by Lei Kung. Davos thinks that Danny, an outsider, stole his birthright. It doesn’t help that Davos’s mother berated him for losing to Danny.
As a result, Davos is obsessed with becoming the Iron Fist. Not only did Danny steal Davos’s birthright, but he’s doing a bad job of being the Iron Fist. K’un-Lun is destroyed, and New York is a mess. So Davos performs a ritual to steal the power away without killing Danny. After all, they are brothers – Davos doesn’t want to kill Danny, just take his place.
The ritual is a success, and Danny loses the power of the Iron Fist to Davos. He lets Danny go, and proceeds to set out and try to save New York. There’s a lot of work to do.
Danny’s vision of the Iron Fist is not ideal. He abandoned his duty in K’un-Lun, which led to the city being destroyed. While he is trying to do a better job in New York, there is still rampant crime and destruction. However, Davos’s vision is worse.
He sees the Iron Fist as judge, jury, and executioner. He doesn’t try to negotiate and believes mercy is a weakness. In fact, he was raised to see Danny as foolish for his compassionate heart. So, as the new hero of New York, Davos starts a bloody reign of terror to end the triad wars.
In fact, Davos is so brutal in his mission that Joy becomes frightened and sees herself as a target. She betrays him and gets Danny necessary resources to perform the ritual again and remove the Iron Fist. This leads to him trying to kill Joy. Joy’s betrayal sends Davos even further down a dark path; she was one of the few people he felt comfortable with.
Davos tries to improve things, at first. He takes in a group of teenagers who are living in an abandoned building, trying to train them as he was trained and improve their lives. However, when he realizes that Chinatown doesn’t see him as a hero, but instead another violent tyrant, he snaps and starts killing civilians, too.
Now that Davos is completely off the rails, Danny strikes back. He works with Colleen to incapacitate Davos, and they manage to complete the ritual. Now, neither Danny nor Davos is the Iron Fist – it’s Colleen instead, as Danny thinks she has the best chance of not being corrupted. Still not wanting to kill his brother, Danny instead restrains Davos. The last we see him, he’s off to the hospital, and still bitter.
Why is Davos Bae?
Uhhh, I gotta be honest with you guys, Davos is really not bae. This article is 1000% just an elongated thirst tweet because Davos would be horrible to date. He’s really, really, really messed up. But he is also really, really, really hot.
Like, I know I should not be attracted to a violent, angry, messed up guy like Davos. But damn if Sacha Dhawan isn’t unfairly attractive. He’s always dressed so nicely too, in season 2 at least. When you compare him with “laid off steelworker” bland-and-boring Danny Rand, it’s hard not to feel at least a little attracted to Davos.
So, yeah, Davos isn’t bae. But he is damn attractive. Sue me.
So, uh, this would normally be the part of the article where I talk about what else besides a person’s appearance makes them worthy of being your newest fictional crush. But, as already established, there’s not much to go on here, so bear with me.
One thing I can say about Davos is that he is a very honorable person. It’s just that his definition of honor gets skewed along the way. Before he goes off the rails obsessed with one-upping Danny, Davos is actually a pretty okay guy. He was raised to value K’un-Lun and its ideals, and that shows.
You can see this in the way Davos tries to convince Danny to return to his duty. To Davos, the duty of the Iron Fist is to protect K’un-Lun. That is what he was raised to believe, what he was taught, and what he strived his entire life to do. So when Danny goes AWOL, he is offended that he lost the right to be Iron Fist to someone who has no honor or respect for duty and tradition.
When Danny refuses to return to K’un-Lun, Davos’s honor starts to fray a little. He still shows some signs of honor. He finds a lot of the tactics Joy uses to accomplish their goals distasteful, though he does acknowledge that she is a necessary evil. Davos tries to improve New York, it’s just that his idea of improvement – killing every criminal – is not the best way to do things.
Davos’s story is the story of an honorable man whose honor was corrupted. He was corrupted by bitterness at Danny’s success and betrayal of K’un-Lun. He was corrupted by Joy’s deviousness and his obsession with doing things the right (read: wrong) way.
One other thing that makes Davos a little better (or at least, less terrible) is his emphasis on family. His entire arc in season 2 comes from his pain at losing his family. In season 1, Davos is angry that Danny would shirk his duty, but not deranged. The derangement comes when he realizes K’un-Lun was destroyed because of Danny’s negligence.
Davos’s family was in K’un-Lun. When Danny let the city be destroyed, Davos’s family was lost, too. We see in the season 2 flashbacks that family was important. He has some serious mother issues, and we see that he had a lifelong quest to impress his mother and make her proud of his accomplishments. When Danny became Iron Fist instead, Davos felt like he had failed his mother.
Now that K’un-Lun is gone, he will never have the chance to prove his worth to his mother. Still, in her memory, he tries to live up to her lessons. Her lessons were harsh, brutal, and violent, which explains Davos’s messed up way of approaching being a hero. It’s just how he was raised.
Although it’s somehow even more messed up, Davos’s relationship with Danny also points to his emphasis on family. Davos and Danny were raised as brothers, and the flashbacks show them being close. They were friends, which made Danny’s success in the duel and his subsequent betrayal of K’un-Lun all the harsher.
Yet, when it comes down to it, Davos does not want to hurt Danny. He wants to take away the power of the Iron Fist, but he cannot bring himself to kill Danny. Even when Danny attacks, he limits himself to crippling Danny instead of striking a fatal blow. Davos’s family is messed up, but they are important to him.
What’s Not To Love?
To be honest, there is a whole lot not to love about Davos. He is violent, deranged, and obsessive. He kills a lot of people. While yes, some of those people were bad people, others were civilians. He even causes the deaths of his students, by training the other teenagers to have no mercy and strike without hesitancy, just like his mother taught him.
And while, yes, Davos is very attractive, that doesn’t make up for the fact that he is a hot mess. A pretty face, fantastic style, and excellent martial arts skills don’t make up for a bloody reign of terror (take notes). Thirst tweeting aside, there’s not much good about Davos as a person.
As a character, though? As a character, Davos is one of the most compelling villains in the entire MCU. What makes him interesting is that he’s hard to qualify as a villain at all. Throughout season 2 of Iron Fist, I was struck by how Danny and Davos’s interactions were reminiscent of Matt Murdock trying to reason with Frank Castle in Daredevil.
Frank believes the only way to stop criminals is to kill them. He argues with a more merciful hero (Matt) about the ethics of stopping crime. That’s entirely the same as Danny and Davos’s arguments. Yet Frank is not considered a villain. He’s an antihero. He even got his own show. By that right, Davos could be considered an antihero as well… until he kills civilians.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Davos is a villain. But he is a uniquely complex, interesting villain with deep, conflicting motivations. Marvel could learn from what they did here. If they want us to sympathize with the villains, learn from Davos’s example. And, you know, also make them hot.