Kung Fu season 2, episode 11 offered us some shocking twists, one of which morphed into a different shocking twist. If this is any indication of how the last two episodes will play out, we have more unexpected turns and maybe even a few more startling deaths ahead! Read on for our review of “Bloodline.”
Last week Natalie predicted Russell Tan’s end goal could be to bring his beloved dead son Raymond back to life. This week, with Xiao’s help, Zhilan jumps to the same conclusion and uses that knowledge to goad Juliette into helping take her father down. Juliette’s reaction to this revelation leads to her ultimate downfall and we finally learn the true goal underlying all of Tan’s plans — immortality.
Meanwhile, Zhilan is exhausted from experiencing human emotions while also trying to parent the world’s most powerful rebellious teenager. Her exciting new foray into the world of caring about people leads her to attempt to bond with Nicky, who refuses to treat Zhilan as anything but the enemy. When will Nicky accept that Zhilan is our little meow-meow and needs to be loved?
With only two episodes left and one of the season’s major mysteries revealed, expect a wild ride from here on out.
The official synopsis of “Bloodline” reads:
THE RACE TO FIND MIA — Nicky’s (Olivia Liang) desperation to find Mia (guest star Vanessa Yao) intensifies after learning that Mia is beginning to unravel, and that Xiao’s (Vanessa Kai) prophecy may be coming true. Meanwhile, Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) makes a surprising discovery about Russell Tan’s (guest star Kee Chan) plan. Tzi Ma, Kheng Hua Tan, Shannon Dang, Jon Prasida, Eddie Liu and Gavin Stenhouse also star. Kristin Windell directed the episode written by Michael Deigh.
Catch up with our conversation reviews so far, or stick around for our deep dive into the events of Kung Fu season 2, episode 11 “Bloodline.”
‘Kung Fu’ season 2, episode 11 review in conversation
Natalie: So this episode is very tight in terms of throughline, and everything escalates so much, so for once, it looks like we might have to go scene-by-scene rather than collecting the parts of each character! That’s how you know things are getting heated up for the big finale — no B-plot.
Nichole: This episode was really one thing after another! I was quite breathless by the end.
Natalie: For starters, enough time has passed that Ryan is able to come home from the hospital, and is forced to stay back at the family house to be supervised. Sadly, no Sebastian in person to help out, but maybe it’s for the best — we wouldn’t want to make a mess of Mei-Li’s good green couch.
Nichole: Natalie, he’s still injured! No vigorous activity.
Natalie: Hey, all he would have to do is lie there. Sorry, I’m so sorry.
Natalie: Anyway, as predicted, Ryan is the least concerned of anyone about his condition, but the family seems happy and whole, Nicky and Mei-Li don’t seem to have carried any issues about Mia further. Were you satisfied with the resolution after last week?
Nichole: I was satisfied. I didn’t really want an elaborate family drama to derail the bigger issues right at this point. Also, everything seems ok with Mei-Li’s attitude towards Mia right now and I do think she will be on board to save her regardless of the issue with Ryan, but I think any larger issues of Mei-Li’s feelings about her children being in danger were pushed aside for the moment (because of everything else happening) rather than dealt with. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it. I think it will come up again with Mei-Li. Although in the end, like we said last week, the whole city is in danger, it doesn’t seem like it would be in character for Mei-Li to be like, “Screw the city, you stay safe instead.”
Natalie: Yeah, though honestly if she was, I would kind of get it. What did surprise me was Althea being the one with the most potential vitriol for Mia. I don’t think it will last, I think the show needed someone to say it and she was kind of who was left, but it startled me.
Nichole: Me too! I think Althea has been used for exposition more than usual in the last few episodes. Like, she’s almost had the omniscient narrator role a few times, lol. In this case it felt a little weird, but fair, I guess, considering Ryan did get shot and Mia ran off. I think you’re right that it won’t last. She seemed to take Nicky’s response to heart. I liked the little note of Althea being distracted by her phone. Just a reminder that all this work stuff is still happening and she can’t be in two places at one time.
Natalie: Yeah, reality doesn’t pause. And that comes up again later, her work is the closest thing this episode has to a side plot.
Nichole: Love that dope side plot.
Natalie: Of course, plot begins to happen again immediately — as soon as Ryan gets his phone charged, he finds that his cousin cannot bear the guilt of running away, as she texted him an apology! I was really surprised that this was the “in” to tracking Mia, but it is lovely.
Nichole: Yeah, it was a nice little moment. Mia is spiraling, but she is good at heart. I am getting nervous about her ultimate survival to be honest. I felt like this episode put some things on the table that might make it difficult for Mia to come back from and might make it more likely that she will sacrifice herself in some way.
Natalie: That’s an interesting call, I think probably possible, but quite sad. What makes you say that at this point in our chat?
Nichole: I guess I’m jumping ahead, but I think that the emphasis on Mia’s humanity, in this case, her attempt to check in on Ryan, coupled with the things that come later create this cognitive dissonance that is, maybe, resolved by her dying in a heroic way. If she were more strongly to one side or the other, I could see her sticking around either as a permanent part of the family or as a villain, but it is the push-and-pull in such equal measure that makes me think she doesn’t have other viable options. Not that it wouldn’t be interesting to bring her back into the fold afterwards, but it just got me thinking about how her potential death would feel.
Nichole: I’m a beacon of positivity this week.
Natalie: Zhilan will be so sad. This is my favorite Zhilan episode ever, I think. She is so sexy in that tshirt and having feelings and stuff.
Nichole: Mmmhmmm. And hot wiring that car.
Natalie: I don’t know why, but I gasped when she was like, “Kerwin told me about your childhood,” — I guess because we didn’t know about Juliette in season 1, I hadn’t done the math that Zhilan likely knows a LOT about her, that there is some established knowledge or high ground there.
Nichole: That’s true! I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but I did love Zhilan bringing Kerwin into the discussion.
Natalie: So the scene before Mia gets the call from Ryan, when they’re dealing with Juliette, had yeah, just a few elements that I wasn’t expecting regarding established assumptions — that Zhilan knew what she was dealing with. But I mean she had hair and lipstick and a cool tshirt with cuffed sleeves so my focus was a little split.
Nichole: That’s fair. What did you think of her gently pushing Juliette’s hair out of her face? I think I bluescreened for few seconds.
Natalie: Well, the face touching worked on Mia. Maybe that’s the only lesson in human intimacy she’s got up her sleeve.
Nichole: Zhilan’s list of acceptable ways to touch other human beings: 1. Athletic sex 2. Murder 3. Face-touching.
Natalie: Let’s see if she can combine all three! What did you think of Ryan’s attempts to be stealthy and casual when calling Mia back? I was ashamed of his efforts.
Nichole: Yeah, it really felt like maybe they should have prepared a bit better. He sounded so suspicious! And he’s probably the one MOST on Mia’s side, so you’d think he could sound sincere.
Natalie: He truly sucked at it. Mia could have been suspicious of the call being traced even if he was natural, just the element of keeping her on the line for long enough could be suspicious. But yeah. What did you think of Nicky interrupting and not carrying on the facade? After everything, that seemed probably kind of important.
Nichole: I was glad she did. It was sort of silly that they were trying to fool her in the first place. I was just bummed that it put Ryan in a bad light with Mia — that she might think he didn’t care about her and was only helping Nicky. The fact that they didn’t succeed with the tracing and are now sending the recording to Evan to magically find a connection to clean up the audio, made me realize we still have no idea what Evan is doing with his life. With so few episodes left I wonder if that is a problem for next season.
Natalie: Yeah, I mean this time around the hacking and tracing of the location, the whole Althea and Evan element was quite convoluted, giving them something to do. I still think Althea and Evan need to start a real PI firm.
Nichole: That would have been amazing, but unfortunately I think that ship has sailed.
Natalie: As we are going in order, I think the next crucial thing is Mia snapping and slapping, then choking out, Juliette. Like, yes, Juliette was being a bitch, but the slap shocked me, so I wasn’t really prepared for what happened next.
Nichole: It was shocking! Juliette was definitely provoking her, but I wonder if she was surprised by what happened! If I were dealing with an unstable hybrid destined to destroy everyone around her, I simply would not insult her mother.
Natalie: I have a few questions here about different elements of this scene. Number one: They haven’t really told us what the hybrid snapping and going crazy looks like, but, did you see these actions as “authentically Mia,” or this corrupting level of force that is not truly her? Is this her, or is she under some sort of influence?
Nichole: I think it didn’t feel very authentically Mia. I do think, or hope, that what we saw is the corrupting influence. Although, to be fair, Juliette’s needling was excessive.
Natalie: I don’t like, think she’s possessed or anything but we haven’t exactly seen what they mean about the person losing control.
Nichole: I agree that she doesn’t seem possessed. Which, again, goes back to my dying a heroic death theory. Maybe this isn’t something that can be fixed.
Natalie: The other question is, of course, Zhilan’s response to it all, what did you reckon? It struck me that she had to also tell Mia the same thing Nicky did — don’t act impulsive, follow my lead, don’t be feelings-led.
Nichole: Mia is not a good follower.
Natalie: She didn’t seem too offended by Mia kicking her across the room, but she did seem very disturbed by the behavior in general.
Nichole: It felt like a combination of feelings, but also realizing she might have bitten off more than she could chew, so to speak. One of my favorite scenes was actually Zhilan’s conversation with Xiao right after this. There was antagonism, sure, but there was also an element of bonding and understanding that I really enjoyed.
Natalie: What did you make of Zhilan there? She is really troubled, I think. She was going through it this week.
Nichole: Yeah, she was uncertain in ways we haven’t seen before. Her conviction is wavering a bit. She seemed tired. Turns out having feelings is exhausting.
Natalie: Feels like she would welcome a visit from big sis if it got her away from Xiao.
Nichole: I am despairing that we’ll ever see Pei-Ling again.
Natalie: Perhaps she is gone for good. I did think we might alternate between her and Xiao by now.
Nichole: Maybe she’ll come in at a crucial point towards the end.
Natalie: Maybe she can’t come until Xiao is banished?
Nichole: Hmm. I hadn’t thought of them being connected in that way, but it could be possible.
Natalie: One funny thing about this scene is that we stay on Zhilan and I didn’t realize we had cut to a few moments later in another room.
Natalie: So for the first half of the conversation I was like, is Juliette going to ask who she’s talking to?
Natalie: I thought they were still in that open space for a second. It was slightly badly cut I guess, like the transition wasn’t fully clear because we don’t know the layout of the church or the rooms. So I fully thought Juliette was still right there. I was a little disappointed when I realized that she wasn’t!
Nichole: Actually same, I was wondering if we were going to get some clarity on how the communication with the apparitions looks from the outside. Like, it could be that it is actually all happening in their head in spite of us seeing/hearing them speak. But, alas, that is a mystery for another day. I would have loved to have heard what Juliette had to say if she caught Zhilan talking to herself. How did it feel to have jumped to the same conclusion as Zhilan?
Natalie: After Xiao stops teasing Zhilan about having a feeling, it’s time for information to be dropped and as soon as she said “This isn’t about the earthquake, that’s just collateral” I was like YES, I AM A SUPREME GENIUS OF TV. It only took me all season, but I GOT THERE!
Nichole: Here is your crown, my queen 👑.
Natalie: I don’t even care that it isn’t actually true, because Russell’s real idea is stupid and small and selfish, but still operates on the same principle, the quake is a side effect to get to this other power source for cheating death. I am happy to be on the same wavelength as a) Zhilan, and b) the writers, I guess, as like, a potential possibility.
Nichole: You were picking up what they were putting down.
Natalie: I don’t feel like I was “wrong,” per se. I think I was very fucking close. It wasn’t some insane, outlandish idea.
Nichole: I don’t feel like you were wrong at all! The writers were clearly laying that trail for the fake-out. And, it’s obviously connected, like you said. It’s just a different result from the same set of goals. I practically did a standing ovation for you when I watched it.
Natalie: Thank you. I appreciate that. I guess my next question about that whole thing, the clues and details that Xiao revealed to Zhilan… why? Why do you think she told her? Do you think she believes Zhilan has a chance at stopping it? Killing Tan, maybe, so that whole realm invasion can’t go ahead?
Nichole: She very cleverly doesn’t confirm or deny Zhilan’s thinking. So maybe she wanted Zhilan to destroy Mia, but if she thinks Zhilan has a chance at killing Tan, that is also a plan she can get behind and she’s willing to wait on the Mia situation. Or maybe the Mia situation was never as bad for her as she claimed. Maybe she just wanted Mia to die to stop Tan’s plan? So it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.
Natalie: I guess Zhilan is a safer bet on any of those options — taking things into her own hands — instead of Nicky.
Nichole: For sure. There really did seem to be a kind of connection between Zhilan and Xiao too. Assuming Zhilan 1. lives and 2. doesn’t opt for a redemption arc, I could see them being friends.
Natalie: I still don’t know if Xiao is evil or just a bitch — if her thing is all about preserving the warriors and guardians, not just herself, she could just be someone executing Tough Love. So even if Zhilan DOES redeem herself, I’m curious about Xiao’s continued role.
Nichole: I’ve been wondering the same thing. She almost has to be here to stay, much like the jyu sa itself. It’s too good of insight into the warriors and the guardians and all the lore. And you’ve got this magical realm to play with as well. So, what will her role be? Villain? Antagonist? Reluctant source of information? Temptress? And I mean temptress in the sense of trying to coax Nicky or Zhilan into taking more power than perhaps they should. Everyone get your head out of the gutter.
Natalie: Well, it wasn’t there initially, but it is now.
Nichole: You’re welcome.
Natalie: So I can’t really think of the right moment to do this little side plot, it seems fairly tiny and anticlimactic to stick it at the end, so we may as well do it in order — after this is when Dennis and Althea have this moment, where Dennis has been doing a bit of sneaky PR. I know nothing about app numbers or what is good or bad, or whatever, but I feel like a) this was cute, and b) if you have celebrity contacts who owe you for saving the ethics of their business and the lives of their workers… reach out for retweets IMMEDIATELY.
Nichole: It was so cute. I also had no frame of reference for those numbers, but whatever works! I loved this scene. I had really been gunning for them to work together and my favorite part was how excited Dennis was about it. I imagine at some point the ‘togetherness’ of it all might be mined for a bit of comedic tension, but they are such a good team and so supportive of each other. I loved how he was like, “But this is your thing.” So respectful.
Natalie: Do you see this causing friction next season or him feeling out of step? Or do you predict it will be happy and adorable?
Nichole: My prediction is happy and adorable with a side of maybe a tiny bit of getting on each other’s nerves because they are always together. Then we’ll have to have an episode of Dennis playing D&D and Althea car shopping for a Clementine replacement so they can remember that they have interests outside of each other and their jobs.
Natalie: Do we know if Dennis has career interests of his own? Or was he just sort of doing what he was told.
Nichole: We haven’t gotten much more than “business.” I feel like he’s going to take all the things he learned following his dad and turn them into more of a passion with Althea’s company.
Natalie: He seemed pretty honored and excited, I don’t think he is a person with a lot of ego, ultimately.
Nichole: I agree. He’s a himbo in the best sense of the word. Just sauntering through life being tall and rich and good at things with no ulterior motives. I love him.
Natalie: I do wonder how the employees will react to Dennis stepping in for Althea given that it seemed to be a women-only organization, but we haven’t heard of any issues there so far. He’s happy to take the reins so that Althea can go hack stuff.
Nichole: Yeah, and I think Althea will still be the driving force of innovation and the big picture, he’s just going to take care of the boring stuff for her! It’s very important stuff that has to get done, but Althea doesn’t need to be the one to do it.
Natalie: In terms of working out the puzzle of information via hacking and environment, which Kung Fu does rely on a bit, how did pinpointing helicopter routes rank for you?
Nichole: It didn’t feel as organic as some devices, but I guess I was pretty neutral on it. I certainly wasn’t on pins and needles waiting to see how they were going to figure it out.
Natalie: The helicopter engine identification so quickly was a bit lol for me, but that’s television I guess. Back to ZhiMiLiette. How did you expect Juliette to respond when Zhilan reveals her knowledge of (what she thinks is) Russell’s plan? “You can’t even win against a corpse” is not only my favorite line of the episode, but maybe the greatest line of the season. Sick burn.
Nichole: The sickest. It was a good line. I didn’t have a lot of time to form an opinion on how Juliette would react, but I was torn. On the one hand, we’ve been getting signals that she is fed up with her father’s refusal to move past Raymond’s death. On the other hand, raising someone from the dead is a pretty tough pill to swallow. I think her initial hesitation and her refusal to cooperate, followed by doing her own research about it made sense.
Natalie: I think, in general, I’m a little disappointed that I’ve been overestimating Juliette all season.
Nichole: Yeah, by the end I was like, “Huh, I guess we were overthinking her.”
Natalie: This episode revealed to me that her perception and understanding of the scope of things is a lot smaller than I assumed. There’s more on this to come, but the reason it matters here is because I think there is a level of disbelief that Juliette has about this level of like, paranormal activity or whatever. I’m surprised she doesn’t act more like they’re crazy, but I guess she’s seen enough to suspect a few things. But on the whole, I think her grasp on things was much more mundane (not dull, like, as in, real, non-magical) than I was expecting, like she was very much inside the box.
Nichole: She really did just want to be the successor to the company.
Natalie: Yeah. I have more to say about that, but it is more relevant later. But when they ran away and left Juliette for Nicky to find, I was sure they’d won her over and this was an elaborate set up. Apparently not! They actually did just ditch her and flee.
Nichole: Overthinking again!
Natalie: I did wonder if it was like a bait situation, but no. Nicky did not like hearing that Zhilan had to pull Mia back from the brink!
Nichole: No she did not. I find myself a little annoyed at how mean Nicky is to Zhilan even though Zhilan obviously deserves it. I cannot square this in my brain. Nicky is objectively right, but I just want her to believe Zhilan could be a better person so much.
Natalie: I don’t think Zhilan deserves it! I think Zhilan IS a better person!
Nichole: I think from Nicky’s perspective she does deserve it! She killed Pei-Ling! She threatened her family on more than one occasion! She lies to get what she wants no matter who it hurts!
Natalie: The end of this episode is definitely meant to make you feel sorry for her and that Nicky is too mean!
Nichole: Well, that emotional manipulation is working on me for sure! But I think it is only logical and fair that Nicky doesn’t like or trust her, because she has done and continues to do bad things to Nicky and her family. Nicky hasn’t really seen any glimpses of Zhilan’s humanity until the very end of this episode.
Natalie: Yes, our lens on the bubbling cauldron of Zhilan’s emotional stew is not something Nicky has actually witnessed.
Nichole: One thing I loved about the Juliette/Nicky confrontation was Juliette saying that Mia is “unhinged,” and then Juliette proceeds to get more and more unhinged as the episode goes along.
Natalie: I think that being wrapped up in stuff that just seems too crazy to believe and seeing things in that new insane way can make you insane.
Nichole: In a surprising turn of events, the more unhinged Juliette became the more I was rooting for her.
Natalie: For Juliette here, it felt like the impact of paranoia and the veil coming off about the scope of her dad’s vision — suddenly processing all these things that just seem unbelievable.
Nichole: And the way she has played Juliette all along, there has been this sense that she’s on a bit of a tightrope, so just tipping over into straight-up mania was fun.
Natalie: It really becomes clear that she wasn’t thinking big enough, and now the big thinking is making her brain melt. Both Zhilan and Nicky got into her head, so she goes home and is all… disturbed, seeing things through new eyes.
Nichole: Everything’s coming up zombies redux!
Natalie: I think it’s kind of funny when she gets home and it becomes clear that her dad is feeding her this stuff about the Zindle search engine deal, like as an obviously indulgent pacifier. And because she has these ideas in her mind now, she stops being careful and starts being pushy.
Nichole: I was surprised at how badly she underestimated her father.
Natalie: Yeah, honestly, I was as well. I guess she was just a bossy little know it all who thought she was more than she was.
Nichole: Ouch. Talk about sick burns.
Natalie: So Juliette goes home and Zhilan is on the run. Stealing a car, very sexy of her. The one thing that surprised me here was her continued concern for Mia. “Revenge isn’t worth anything if you don’t get out alive.” When she came in through the window, I think we said that maybe she didn’t care if Mia died in the attempt? Like might as well go down doing this? I guess we were wrong.
Nichole: Up until this point I would have said that she definitely valued killing Russell over her own life. Not that she wouldn’t try to make it out alive, but that she would find killing him to be the more important issue! I wonder if this “get out alive” attitude has always been her M.O. or if it changed when feelings got involved?
Natalie: Good point, though I don’t know. I think she’s a survivor. I don’t think she feels like her life is worth sacrificing, and certainly not Mia’s. I guess that then leads to the question… What comes next for Zhilan? If she finally gets Russell, what the hell does she plan to do with the rest of her life?
Nichole: Go on vacation? Be glamorous and sexy somewhere? Kiss people and not murder them for a change?
Natalie: I think she might struggle with this. I know you don’t do ATLA, but for all my ATLA babies out there — I’m thinking Azula in “The Beach” episode vibes. I just don’t see someone like that ever settling and chilling. You’d feel edgy forever. Lacking in purpose.
Nichole: I bet she could find a purpose helping Nicky right wrongs, though. We just have to get Nicky to agree.
Natalie: I think Kerwin could teach her how to chill if she let him, and I would enjoy watching him try. But before we get there, it’s back to the boy with the hole in his chest who will not chill. Number one — what even was that lunch order????
Nichole: I know what a Mission style burrito is, but I did not understand the Christmas part. This little scene had a lot going on for Ryan. I had very “baby boy… baby” emotions for 2 very different reasons. First he’s so upset about Mia! He thinks it was his fault for not keeping her safe. I was ready to put him in my pocket. But then the switcharoo where he absolutely played the “uwu youngest child” card to get Althea to do what he wanted! And then just chowing down on that burrito after she left. Such mischievous baby energy!
Natalie: The manipulation quite surprised me actually! I absolutely bought it. I wasn’t expecting that to have been a ploy. I wonder if he got any sense that Althea was sort of a Mia holdout, or just the easiest target for him to in some way get to do some work. His mother won’t let him, for sure.
Nichole: A little from column A, a little from column B. I was surprised that Althea fell for it, because she’s been the one who seems to know all when it comes to family dynamics.
Natalie: I do think him snapping and yelling that it was his fault was very authentic.
Nichole: For sure.
Natalie: That’s why I was surprised that it was a sympathy play, I think!! He wants his jyu sa research to make sure they haven’t missed anything… I didn’t quite follow what that had to do with anything until later, but I guess in regards to either the scope of what Russell is doing or what Mia might become? But okay, speaking of research and meanings. Juliette getting into Russell’s safe — if I was an evil billionaire I would simply have a better code — okay.
Natalie: Tell me your reaction to both the whole parent child conquer death thing a) the first time when it looked like I was a full genius, and then b) the second time when it turns out Russell is not as cool as me
Nichole: My first thought was, what is this book? The Lost Journal of the Alchemist… It’s obviously not supposed to be her actual journal because you don’t title your own journal The Lost Journal, so who made it? Where did it come from? But anyway. I wondered what that phrase meant for Xiao. She was obviously messing with mothers and babies, but not in particular to conquer death, right? Does she/did she have a child? Was it just theoretical musing? And the fact that Tan wasn’t actually after resurrection makes it even more curious. Is it a red herring or is there more to come related to that. Also, is Mia the sacrifice? In my notes I wrote, “A parent’s grief, sacrifice, parent and child will conquer death” and I don’t remember if that is the exact wording. Does it mean anything? Is it totally unrelated? Russell has the grief and has described Mia as a sacrifice. Was he going to take Juliette with him? Is that what he meant when he said it could have been you? Will he need Kerwin now for whatever this is? Is our babygirl about to become immortal?
Natalie: Nah, my thinking is that he needs to kill his child to become immortal. Unfortunately, he’s wasted Juliette now so I think Kerwin is in serious danger. I think the sacrifice is sacrificing your own child to prove that you are a selfish, power-hungry asshole.
Nichole: I don’t think he was planning to kill Juliette. Not that I should take a murder’s word for it while he is mid-murder, but he did really seem disappointed that Juliette was missing out on something.
Natalie: I don’t think he was planning to kill Juliette in the moment he killed her…
Nichole: Right, but I mean ever. He seemed like he was really disappointed she wasn’t going to share this with him.
Natalie: Depends how crazy he is. Maybe he thought her dying so he could get power and immortality is a great honor.
Nichole: I mean, he is a psychopath… But I keep coming back to “parent and child will conquer death” — that implies the child is also living forever, doesn’t it?
Natalie: Well, my interpretation of that text was still very much parent will suck children’s life force haha.
Natalie: Like, so sad, so much grief while I murder you, wish it didn’t have to be this way…
Nichole: Russell is the worst.
Natalie: But Kerwin is the best.
Nichole: So true, bestie.
Natalie: I am obsessed with how much of an ongoing joke Kung Fu has kept rolling about his workouts. They keep getting funnier.
Nichole: I screamed! I felt like my wildest dream was handed to me on a platter. I did not in any way think we would realistically get another dramatic exercise entrance.
Natalie: The candles.
Nichole: So many candles!
Natalie: He’s an angel.
Nichole: The little vest that he put on which didn’t really hide the goods, if you know what I mean.
Natalie: He is ridiculous. He needs his own show.
Nichole: We should manifest it just like we manifested this gift.
Natalie: When I heard what Juliette had to say to him, I was stressed, because again, she was thinking too small. She’s still trying to cram legitimacy into her approach. Catch him out on things that are illegal! Or that the company board wouldn’t like! This is when it became really, really clear to me that Juliette really was not aware of the game board, the scope.
Nichole: Yes. And Kerwin being so soft and peaceful and trying to warn her. I’m pretty mad that Kerwin is going to have to give up his reclusive candles and yoga lifestyle to go confront his father.
Natalie: He definitely shouldn’t have to. He’s so damn zen. He’s accepted that he can have a better life.
Nichole: Yes. He seemed settled with himself in a way we’ve never seen. It was also a bit of a contrast to how we saw him set out last time with his fast car. I don’t know what I expected him to be doing all this time, but coming to peace with himself in an egoless way was not on the list.
Natalie: It does not seem like he’s been in touch with Zhilan.
Nichole: No. I guess that makes sense, but it is a little sad.
Natalie: I did think this episode was going to bring them together. I very much assumed the house that Nicky and co were trapping Zhilan at would also turn out to be Kerwin’s house!
Nichole: OH! That would have been good.
Natalie: You didn’t feel that coming? I really thought it was happening! I was like, waiting for it! My note: They plan to bait Zhilan and Mia with fake footage at a Tan property. I assume this will put Kerwin in the mix.
Nichole: My note on the whole plan was “I don’t think that’s how the cloud works.” So clearly we were on different wavelengths.
Natalie: I think Evan really needs a new job, lol.
Nichole: I was actually confused because I missed the part where this was some separate property and I was like, “It doesn’t seem like a good idea to do this right in front of the Tan mansion.”
Natalie: I definitely think the Kerwin scenes and the Zhicky scenes were filmed at the same house. Like, even if it isn’t meant to be the same place on screen. So that may have confused me.
Nichole: Well, now I’m curious.
Natalie: Were you surprised that Zhilan fell for the plan? I mean, I guess it is a pretty good plan, if the “cloud” can work that way.
Nichole: I’m not surprised because it was pretty clever, but even if I had been, she was pretty distracted trying to raise a teenager.
Natalie: I was surprised to see Mia get even more belligerent and resentful. She just seems to want someone to keep her, the way she’s like this is a one-off, right? We do this then you’ll ditch me. Like a challenge.
Nichole: Yes. Very teenager behavior to be honest. How far can I push and still be loved?
Natalie: Mia, you’ve been told people want to keep you! All of these people have said so. You’re choosing not to believe. Remember at the start of the season where you wanted her to get with Evan? How are you feeling about that now?
Nichole: Want is a strong word! It just felt like a possibility. Now? I’m going to have to go hard no. She really is too young, emotionally speaking.
Natalie: She is tiny baby.
Nichole: With zero emotional regulation.
Natalie: On a scale of 1 to 10 how guilty do you think Kerwin is going to feel when he finds out what happened to Juliette when he didn’t tag along? On the one hand, I don’t think that Kerwin believed his father capable of this, at least not to Juliette. I don’t blame Kerwin for this, but he will.
Nichole: He did his best. He tried to stop her. I think he’ll be gutted, but I don’t know if he’ll feel guilty. Maybe. He might be too busy exacting revenge to feel guilty.
Natalie: I was really surprised by basically the entire situation here. I was surprised that Juliette seemed to believe she had the upper hand for so long, a trump card. I was surprised that Russell would go as far as to kill her for his end goal.
Nichole: The whole thing was bonkers! I was so invested in Juliette’s complete mental breakdown.
Natalie: It was such a strange vibe from everyone involved. Tan seemed very, very upset, but I can’t have a lot of sympathy for someone crying over killing their own daughter, even if it was in vague self-defense.
Nichole: We’ve heard so much about how he pitted the kids against each other and all, but this was the first time we really see him target one of them.
Natalie: Before that, he seems disappointed and devastated, gentle.
Nichole: Yeah, he’s been a weird villain all season because he is obviously doing these terrible things and has these terrible plans, but his demeanor is so calm.
Natalie: But he’s such a psycho that it’s hard to parse exactly what was going on for him. Maybe the plan was to be Russell and Juliette together in immortality after all, and now he has to be like ew, Kerwin. But if he wanted it to be Juliette why not just tell her that?
Nichole: It is weird that he kept it from her if he wanted her to be with him. But I do think the idea of him trying to convince Kerwin to spend eternity with him is pretty funny.
Natalie: Nichole, no.
Nichole: It would be a tough sell!
Natalie: I was absolutely stunned that it escalated to this though, I really wasn’t expecting it. For her to be fully dead.
Nichole: Agree! I was shocked he killed her. The whole scene was a wild ride start to finish. It was all so bonkers and unexpected that I was not too torn up about it, to be honest. Like, I enjoyed the way it ramped up and I was satisfyingly surprised he killed her. Not satisfied that she was dead, but more in a way like, “Wow you really shocked me here, writers, good job!” So overall I was just like surprise-emoji-face about the whole thing. I enjoyed Juliette’s character, but I don’t feel disappointed with this outcome.
Natalie: Do we think Kerwin heard all of that? Or she just put her phone under the chair for evidence later?
Nichole: It could go either way. He obviously heard enough to know something is wrong. Unless she was secretly recording from her phone, the only thing that makes sense is that Kerwin is still on the line right?
Natalie: Very distressing. I’m surprised we didn’t cut back to him taking action.
Nichole: They had a lot of plot left to get through! I am ready for his confrontation with his father though! Maybe he is the one who gets to kill him!
Natalie: I guess he could do that. He’s already killed people, what’s another one? In the meantime, the whole ZhiMi trap worked perfectly and Zhilan gave up super fast. I loved Nicky not being able to process Zhilan making good choices. What do you think she took away from Nicky’s speech to Mia? Nicky did villianise her quite badly. Made her feel terrible!
Nichole: She sure did. But to be fair to Nicky, Zhilan has taken Mia on a murder field trip, so in addition to historical reasons to think Zhilan is terrible, she has a very tangible reason right in front of her.
Natalie: I just think they should be allowed to murder Russell Tan a little.
Nichole: I know I just suggested Kerwin do it, but I think Nicky’s right that Mia taking someone’s life will have devastating consequences for her psyche.
Natalie: Well, she’s got that out of the way already now. RIP Baz.
Nichole: Ok. Let’s assume Mia makes it out of this season alive — will Sebastian take her under his wing to help her overcome this tragedy?
Natalie: I was thinking about Sebastian when Nicky was being all preachy, for sure. I was also surprised that Zhilan gave Mia back. She said, go with Nicky, this isn’t who you are and you’ll get us killed. But underneath it felt like she didn’t want Mia to be all hard and broken like her.
Nichole: Yes, I think the “you’ll get us killed” part was more bluffing.
Natalie: Everyone loves Mia, she will have plenty of murder mentors if needed. Or anti-murder. Recovering murderer mentors.
Nichole: Fingers crossed that Zhilan can become a recovering murderer mentor. She’s the closest she’s ever been to making good choices, but I’m not sure she’s ready to give up her wicked ways yet.
Natalie: Once again, I wonder about what she thinks is going to happen to her post-Russell.
Nichole: Can she even imagine a post-revenge life?
Natalie: She certainly wants to live, so you’d think so! And that’s a big change from where she started this season in prison.
Nichole: She’s almost come full circle, though. She needs Pei-Ling to help her process how to move on from all of this. In prison, she was wracked with guilt, but unwilling to accept it. It feels like now that she has these feelings for Mia that connect her to her humanity, there is a place for the guilt to take root — in a healthy or unhealthy way. Like, she could accept what she’d done and try to make amends or she could spiral into depression and inaction like in prison.
Natalie: Do we think Nicky and Zhilan will remain a team for the rest of the season, getting Mia back? Is it almost time for waffles?
Nichole: They certainly didn’t end this episode as a team.
Natalie: I am sure they will find it is needed though!
Nichole: I think Zhilan will feel compelled to try to do something to save Mia. Maybe Nicky will soften on her when she sees her genuinely trying to help. We need everyone to come together! The cast is all teasing a very surprising ending that no one will expect. Do you have thoughts about what would qualify as something that surprising?
Natalie: I have literally no idea how to judge that at this point.
Nichole: Same. My only potentially surprising thought is that somehow the ritual gets botched with Kerwin and Russell and Kerwin accidentally ends up the immortal one. I’m not sure that qualifies as big enough. I would love to see Kerwin and Xiao hanging out though.
Natalie: I am ready for him to be a benevolent immortal. As long as he can come to DnD. The scene of Ryan, Henry and Evan working together made me wish that Dennis and Kerwin were there. I think that boy band would be unstoppable.
Nichole: Let’s get all those good boys in one place.
Natalie: What did you think of those good boys actually figuring out the (potential) true aim of Russell? I still can’t get over the selfish aim of individual mortality while paired with the seemingly real trauma of killing his daughter. These two things don’t fit, but maybe he is just delusional and gross.
Nichole: I enjoyed the Evan/Henry/Ryan bonding. I like that Ryan was able to get some information out of his research. His burrito manipulation was not for naught!
Natalie: I am still not ruling out that Tan is Mia’s father. I’m just not. That she is maybe not really a hybrid, but Tan and Mei Xue’s daughter. In terms of surprises. And that the hybrid hype was just like, make her think this so she acts on it. Or maybe the Tans are secret guardians. Like, Russell has all this information from the journal but we still don’t have an answer as to how he knows about this whole world in the first place
Nichole: Yeah, I think there still might be something new to discover about Russell. The idea that he is Mia’s father could make sense with the whole parent/grief/sacrifice business. I didn’t really get lover vibes from him and Mei-Xue, but that could be because he was about to kill her.
Natalie: No, but wouldn’t big brother Kerwin be a great recovering murder mentor.
Nichole: It would be nice for Kerwin to get a sweet little family to make up for his years of trauma!
Natalie: Yeah and then Zhilan could be like an auntie or sister-in-law. I am not happy with Nicky in her rejection of Zhilan at the end honestly, I think as we mentioned because we’ve seen so much heart and distress from Zhilan that Nicky hasn’t. Nicky comes across slightly like the bad guy in this scenario when she yells at her and tells her to stay away, when Zhilan wanted to team up and help.
Nichole: She does. And I was so upset about it!
Natalie: I can’t wait for Zhilan to come and save everyone and make Nicky see.
Nichole: Ok, I don’t want to put this evil on us, but what if Zhilan dies doing something heroic?
Natalie: In a word: no. I think she’s too good an anti-hero. If Nicky really can’t bring herself to love Zhilan, Zhilan can die doing something heroic at the end of the series, not sooner. Do you have any other wild theories about the unexpected ending?
Nichole: As long as I’m dreaming big — Pei-Ling gets pulled out of the veil!
Natalie: You just keep banging that drum. Or ringing that bell, I suppose.