As the four heroes of Netflix's MCU come together on Marvel's The Defenders -- Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil -- the scope of what they're fighting against becomes clear. The Hand has always been a global organization whose reach extends across time, and even space dimensions when it comes to K'un Lun. And though we've learned a decent amount about this shadowy organization, who exactly is in charge has not been clear. Now we know, as the five fingers of the Hand were revealed in the fourth episode of The Defenders.
As Jessica sits at home, faced with the impossibility that Alexandra Reid is a few hundred years old, having moved and signed for shell companies going all the way back to before there was an America to have a shell company in, Stick explains how they came about. The five people who formed the Hand were heretics of K'un Lun who wanted to use all that chi-harnessing for immortality. (Well, it's more useful than a glowing fist, anyway.)
Apparently, their work to make their chi help them live forever was seen as "an abbarration," as Stick puts it, and they were banned from K'un Lun for all eternity. They have been hanging out on Earth ever since.
As for who they are:
She may claim to be "The Hand," but according to Stick, she's merely one of five. The woman who seems to be leading the charge in this show, and is dying as we speak, has always been a "first among equals" sort.
Well, we sort of knew this. We've certainly known she's part of those in charge of the Hand. But seeing Madam Gao kow-tow to Alexandra is definitely a little frightening, since we all thought of Gao as a major big bad, especially after she put Wilson Fisk in his place.
This is one of the new characters we've met this season, the "cat in the alligator shoes" that Luke Cage was following. He's also not so impressed with Elektra... so far, anyway.
The man behind Nobu, who we met in an earlier episode stripping down a bear carcass, Tywin Lannister style. He's the one who accused Alexandra of not liking to get her hands dirty, and clearly would like to see her down in the mud with the rest of them.
Deceased, or at least he was at the end of Iron Fist. As Stick says "Finally, some good news!" But we've seen him appearing to fight his one time student Colleen Wing in The Defenders trailer, so it seems he won't be staying that way for long.