Kung Fu season 2, episode 4 centers the relationship between the amazing Althea Shen-Soong and the love of her goddamn life. Also, Dennis is there. Read on for our review of “Clementine.”
We’re a third of the way through Kung Fu season 2 now, and before we touch base with our various important women on the run or delve more into the true plans of Russell Tan, it’s time for things to devolve into some straight-up silliness.
In this week’s episode “Clementine,” Nicky faces off against some familiar faces (for us, at least!) when a search for Althea’s missing car sees the gang discover the seedy secret leisure activities of bored rich people. And on a more serious note, Nicky’s two gentleman callers both have trouble on their hands. For Evan, it’s long overdue, but for Henry, what’s revealed is completely unexpected.
The official synopsis of “Clementine” reads:
GIVING UP THE PAST — After finding himself in a bind, Dennis (Tony Chung) turns to Nicky (Olivia Liang) for help, leading them to uncover an auto theft ring in Chinatown. Elsewhere, when an argument about family causes Henry (Eddie Liu) and Nicky to have their first real fight, Henry reluctantly reconnects with his estranged father. Finally, Evan (Gavin Stenhouse) is forced to make a difficult decision that could cost him his job. Tzi Ma, Kheng Hua Tan, Shannon Dang and Jon Prasida also star. Richard Speight, Jr. directed the episode written by Richard Lowe.
Keep reading for our reactions to Kung Fu season 2, episode 4 “Clementine.”
‘Kung Fu’ season 2, episode 4 review in conversation
Natalie: So my first question for you this week – does watching Kung Fu ever tend to make you hungry?
Nichole: Ha! Yes. I would kill to eat at Harmony Dumplings. And I loved all the casual cooking at the beginning of the episode. To be honest, the casts’ social media is also a solid 30% food and it always looks so good.
Natalie: Maybe we should prepare to watch in advance with appropriate food the way I tend to need to when watching, like, the Great British Bake Off. But indeed, we play catch-up with everyone over a quick family meal scene as the Shens gather to congratulate Althea on the beginning of her new company! Things have moved pretty quickly on Kung Fu, I guess this must be weeks later – at least. Because Althea is ready to go! But before we get into that, there were a couple of family news tidbits revealed as everyone catches up at home.
Natalie: Why don’t you start with what I know you want to say.
Nichole: Well, we didn’t get any Sebastian this week, but Ryan’s bitchy comment, “Getting mixed signals from my parents’ hot but arrogant line cook is not a perk, it’s a curse,” might win my favorite line of the episode. And then, tangentially, Tony Chung did an instagram live from the CWKungFu instagram account with Olivia Liang, Eddie Liu and JB Tadena, and much to my delight Olivia asked JB, “Why is Sebastian so hot and cold with Ryan?” Because, as you know from last week, this is my big question. JB basically said, “probably for reasons…” which, while not a satisfying answer, does lead me to believe we will eventually be getting a reason, so I’m hyped despite our lack of interaction this episode.
Natalie: I’m still not writing off the idea that he’s a plant of some sort, if not by the Tans, then by the new antagonist revealed this week (if, in fact, those baddies aren’t all in on it together.)
Nichole: At this point if he ends up a plant I will cry so much.
Natalie: Hey, at least JB’s answer can make you feel better about whether you’re overthinking his behavior!
Nichole: I’m definitely not imagining it!
Natalie: But you’ll have to wait to find out more.
Nichole: We got confirmation Jin is working with Frank.
Natalie: I guess no drama there so far, but no updates on what they’re actually doing.
Nichole: It’s such a small thing, but I want to know! Is he just helping to run the Art Collective?
Natalie: I guess we will wait to see if we check back in on that. The most important bit is that Nicky and Mei-Li discuss telling Mei-Li’s mother about Mia, which… hadn’t occurred to me until they said it, but obviously makes sense. It reminded me that Kung Fu actually has so much open communication about the Family Secret! Obviously it took most of season one to get there, but now that it’s a thing, I was like, oh yeah!
Nichole: Same! I really appreciate the attention to detail on the family relationships.
Natalie: Actually, because it’s information that kind of incidentally gets revealed over the episode without touching the main plot, let’s quickly catch up on Mia before moving into Clementine. First off, Mei-Li hadn’t managed to tell her mom, Nicky’s popo, about Mia yet, because she was stressed about Mia disappearing and I guess, didn’t want to deliver the news in such a painful and unresolved way. Which I guess is fair.
Nichole: Like during my freshman year of college how my parents didn’t tell me my dog was sick until after she had died.
Natalie: Oooof, I am sure you have moved past that, but that would be a bit of a dealbreaker for me. Even though the alternative is also awful. I would be carrying that for a LONG time.
Nichole: Yeah, I was upset at first, but I realized my parents were worried about my homesickness and sending me into a spiral, which, again, fair.
Natalie: Ultimately, Mei-Li does tell Popo about the sick dog, I mean granddaughter. And good thing too – because she’s got a lead!
Nichole: Grandma getting in the game.
Natalie: Apparently Mei-Xue called her mother when she was in the hospital giving birth. Didn’t tell her about Mia, but I guess was just feeling alone and emotional, and luckily, her mom traced the call to this Canadian hospital. Ryan apparently has enough Doctor Cred to get access to any sort of records that might be relevant, and while her father isn’t listed on her birth certificate, another medical record shows that Mia is the carrier of something called the Kell antigen. And I was a bit like… so? Is this relevant to the whole… sacrifice thing? She’s got magic blood?
Nichole: Right? I was like, “Is this a real thing or a fake thing?”
Natalie: But then I was like ohhhhhhhhhh. Because another side gig in this episode is the laptop stolen from Russell Tan. In the background of the episode, they’ve been decrypting it, and they eventually are able to access a database of hundreds of people from warrior/guardian families. We hear early on that many of the files are very detailed, medical records and stuff, an I guess Mei-Li’s side wasn’t the carrier of this antigen, because they use that detail to cross reference the other database people… coming up with one man’s name. Because he and Mia both carry this Kell thing, they think that there’s a good chance he might be her father.
Nichole: That database really had me rethinking Russell Tan’s season 1 obsession. I was not thinking big enough.
Natalie: Also, Kell blood type is real, so I think here it’s more a way of giving them a solid genetic link to follow, rather than an explainer of why Mia is special.
Nichole: Just a lucky genetic quirk.
Natalie: Just a way of proving that there’s a way to link these people. Though if Mia doesn’t know these details, I wonder how she herself is on her way to tracking her dad down. Mia, we also learn, is about 20 – given the timing of the phone call Mei-Xue made.
Nichole: Finally we have an answer! I don’t know if that nixes my Mia/Evan potential relationship or not. Probably.
Natalie: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe? Maybe not. Anyway, Mia’s probable dad is called John Liu and she is, allegedly, heading “straight towards him” as we are villiniously told. We don’t know how Mia tracked him on her side, but maybe next week we will see them together?
Nichole: Do you think we’ll jump right into finding her dad? I think we’ll find Mia, but we won’t find John yet. BUT, Kung Fu does have a habit of moving faster than I’m expecting.
Natalie: I’m not sure at all! Next week is called “Reunion” but that could refer to a few pairs. Nicky and Mia, even Nicky and Zhilan.
Nichole: The preview looks like Nicky and Zhilan for sure and I’m all aflutter.
Natalie: Well, save that energy for next week. Now the “case of the week” is very much a standalone “Nicky fights crime in San Francisco” caper, but it centers Althea, Dennis, and Althea’s car. How did you feel about getting such a comedic episode focused on this couple at this point in the series?
Nichole: The timing seemed perfect. The first 3 episodes were laying a lot of groundwork and every episode packed so much in. It was nice to have a, well, I can’t call it a slower pace, but the bulk of the episode felt more focused. I love, love, love how good Kung Fu is at giving every character’s storyline enough time to feel meaningful and have depth, but this also felt like a nice break with most of the characters focused on one problem. And I love Dennis and Althea, so getting to see more of Dennis in all his himbo glory was super fun.
Natalie: What about the chain of events that lead to the problem at hand? Althea’s first day of her new business… running things out of her house and her rather scattered yet controlling speech?
Nichole: This is not the first time Althea has frozen under pressure when trying to present to a group. It’s such a funny quirk, because she’s so brilliant and confident until she is faced with leading a group of people. Which maybe explains why it took her so long to realize she wanted to be a boss. The Shen sisters are so good at everything that those moments of vulnerability are so delightful and make me appreciate them even more. And the car… I am such a rule follower that the double parking made me so mad! Dennis, you’re a sweet himbo and I love you, but don’t park like an asshole.
Natalie: I don’t drive, but this seemed very ill-advised especially in a street that didn’t seem to have other lanes to even overtake with. A lot of the Dennis content in this episode was not just himbo, it was delusionally rich himbo, and I was extremely amused by that. I need them to befriend Kerwin better so he and Dennis can be insane together.
Nichole: Your brain!
Natalie: Dennis is obviously a little more in touch with reality, but it would still be very, very good.
Nichole: And much, much sweeter, but I feel like Kerwin has the potential to become sweet.
Natalie: Oh yeah, that’s not even a question. Kerwin is my babygirl. I miss him.
Nichole: [flashes back to Ludi Lin in hello kitty glasses]
Natalie: Don’t… don’t. Anyway, this well-meaning, thoughtless fool leaves the KEYS IN THE IGNITION and gets Althea’s classic car stolen, and goes running to Nicky about it. We then learn a little more about the depth of Althea’s relationship with her car – hinted at when she is very reluctant and pedantic about handing over the keys.
Nichole: This is where things started getting hysterical.
Natalie: Beyond anything I could have predicted!
Nichole: The cast has had some opportunities for great humorous delivery, but this was the first real balls to the wall comedy.
Natalie: Every sentence that Nicky and Dennis explained to Henry was the equal best line.
Nichole: Dennis’ shrug when she called Clementine the love of Althea’s life, “no offense.” Actual laugh out loud.
Natalie: Yeah, a true highlight. I mean the whole explainer – that Althea fell for cars and started planning for her car the way some girls plan for a husband…
Nichole: Scaring off other potential buyers…
Natalie: Yeah, I think that was the winner, Nicky describing her haunting the parking lot and spooking off people. Like. The mental image of Althea doing this, of all people.
Nichole: Althea is such a well rounded character when she could be so one dimensional and still be very lovable. She has so many contradictions and I love that for her.
Natalie: And I agree, Dennis being like, in full agreement that the search for the perfect car was bigger than the search for a husband and all… very very funny. And great to see these two people united over knowing Althea so well, and the whole thing is just… perfectly great.
Nichole: A delight.
Natalie: Nicky agrees to spend some time helping Dennis look for the car before telling Althea – again, like the sick dog situation, they don’t want to worry her until the worst happens – and Evan reveals that there have been a series of similar opportunistic thefts.
Nichole: I did appreciate how much Nicky hated keeping it from Althea.
Natalie: Once again, my questions about Evan just keep coming. Is his advice official advice or non-official? Him encouraging him to leave a bait car, saying SFPD has done it before… is his involvement here personal or professional? Not that it’s going to matter by the end of the episode, but one more What Is Evan Doing Episode for the road, I guess.
Nichole: This was a rough episode for Evan.
Natalie: Is this meant to be an official police operation? Sending in civilians to get evidence? HOW IS THIS A THING. I need to stop getting fixated on this, but yeah it does come to a head in certain ways. I just still don’t get how he can be using official resources, but also totally doing stuff off the books endangering civilians, and being like, you get in, i’ll have police back up. THAT’S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS. But yes. More on Evan later.
Nichole: Maybe Evan was just legitimately bad at his job.
Natalie: DGahgdhsvdsj. Look. I know that shows involving law enforcement play fast and loose, but this one keeps confusing me. Anywho, Nicky decides to involve Ryan, rather than Henry, because she and Henry are “fighting” – more on that later, but it’s like the world’s tamest fight. The result is that Henry isn’t a part of the main mission this week, and is working on Tan stuff and personal stuff. So it’s Ryan’s car that they try to get stolen. He seems kind of okay with it.
Nichole: He’s just happy to be here.
Natalie: And we get the great moment of Nicky and Ryan both yelling opposing advice at Dennis. What would have YOU done in the circumstances?
Nichole: I would not have ghosted my wife, but Ryan is correct that once you see those three dots it’s over. Do or do not, there is no three dot then ghost. Related, the visual of giant Dennis leaning forward from the back seat was priceless.
Natalie: I feel like I probably would have lied in some way honestly. If I am being totally candid I would have made something up. Not ideal, I know!
Nichole: You’d be in so much trouble when cabbagehead99 showed up on the bank account.
Natalie: Look. Yeah.
Nichole: I guess if I basically had a superhero at my disposal, I might assume I could get it fixed without getting caught too.
Natalie: Anyway, they catch the thief and apparently it’s kind of a carjack for hire situation, like nab a car, drop it off, get paid – not someone who is in any way involved in the true plot. It’s just some kid struggling with money so naturally Dennis just.. gives it to her. Direct action.
Nichole: WE STAN A SENSITIVE GENEROUS HIMBO.
Natalie: I fucking love rich people doing insane things when they aren’t evil. It is comedy gold to me. Again, Kerwin needs to get with the program and get amongst it. We WILL get him to D&D.
Nichole: I am on board for your Kerwin/Dennis BFFs agenda.
Natalie: So they use cabbagehead99’s info to trace the drop off location and work out who might be in charge – a nice little element was Dennis getting word about the party world underbelly from his sister! That was one moment I was like hey, that makes absurd amounts of sense! I’m a big Chloe fan actually.
Nichole: She sealed her place in my heart when she knocked over the big vase of flowers to cause a distraction for Ryan last season.
Natalie: But we learn that the organizer is this guy Leif who basically does illegal black market stuff for rich bored people. You know, if you wanted to hunt a human for sport he could hook you up. And Leif is played by none other than our Director Dick. Tell me two things. A) what was your mental process when you realized what was happening in terms of like, the events in question – blowing up cars for a thrill, and the other things Evan described? Like your general reaction to the awareness of that kind of secret rich people culture? Which I believe is, to an extent, real. And B) what were your first thoughts seeing Rich and Briana in that video?
Nichole: Well, first, I am such a naïve rule follower that I hear things like that and I cannot wrap my head around it. It just does not compute. I also grew up with, like, zero access to people who were anywhere above lower middle class, so if you wanted to blow things up you used bottle rockets in your backyard like a sensible person. But now that I’m older, I know intellectually that rich people are crazy, so I do believe those type of experiences do exist, but for my sanity I try not to dwell on it. As to Briana and Rich on the video, even knowing they were in the episode and anticipating it for what felt like forever, I was a little emotional just hearing Briana’s voice! If I am 100% honest I was also thinking about her cleavage, but, in my defense, there were emojis over her face, where was I supposed to look?
Natalie: I should let the readers who don’t know us know that Nichole and I met via Supernatural and have been very involved in various elements of that community for ages. Richard Speight Jr, this episodes director, was a recurring guest star and regular director on Supernatural who, particularly in the last 5 years of the show, was a very big voice behind the camera on important episodes, and Briana Buckmaster was also a recurring character who was meant to star in Kung Fu showrunner Bob Berens’ SPN spin off Wayward Sisters. Both actors are very heavily involved in the SPN convention culture, very popular and big fan favorites for most fans. So if you watch Kung Fu but don’t know Supernatural, that’s the reason for a lot of hype about these two being paired up in this episode. A lot of important Supernatural connections, particularly in terms of relevance to the specific work with Bob, who is now co-showrunner of Kung Fu. But me, honestly, that video, I was like “oh… oh no.” I mean I assumed they were going to be bad guys but I didn’t know what flavor of bad guy. And I saw this and I was like oh DEAR.
Nichole: I was so excited that they were over the top.
Natalie: It looked like they had a lot of fun!
Nichole: Yes, and so much of the social media from the Kung Fu cast and from Briana was talking about how much they enjoyed working together, which gave me miles of warm fuzzies.
Natalie: A more niche reference, but the entire premise of the party – the drugs, blowing up cars, etc – it all immediately brought to mind the Raven Cycle, specifically Ronan in The Dream Thieves, with the “substance parties” of Kavinsky. Again, bored and angry and disillusioned rich people. Apparently there’s nothing better for them to do than blow up cars.
Nichole: It’s definitely more atmospheric in The Dream Thieves. Not so much played for laughs.
Natalie: Still really disturbing here, when you look directly at it, though.
Natalie: Of course, before they actually get to the creepy party, they have to weather Hurricane Althea.
Nichole: Is Althea ever going to have a monologue that good again? She was perfect. Perfect delivery.
Natalie: Dennis’s hangdog posture was just… A+ work.
Nichole: He knew he had made a big mistake. The way he kept saying “BABE” in slightly different tones was also amazing.
Natalie: So Althea is just in time to come with them to the big party, where she shows up cosplaying her own car.
Natalie: The vibe is all kinds of excessive but also kind of basic and dank, which is a good metaphor for the trappings of the very wealthy – things aren’t that luxurious at the very top, when you need to go out of normal boundaries to do more seedy things. And along come Leif and Tamra in the flesh.
Nichole: Rich, but trashy.
Natalie: Richard is a pretty flexible actor, and even on Supernatural Gabriel had a few facets that aren’t that far off the whole vibe he has here, but I know you said seeing Briana like this really tickled you. I mean, she was so, so funny.
Nichole: So funny. Her convention persona can be a little wild and gregarious like that vs her character in Supernatural who was more reserved. I liked getting to see her a little more unhinged. “Drugs! All complimentary, of course. We are not drug dealers.” I mean. She killed it.
Natalie: That whole… that whole bit… was insane.I mean I think Briana is one of the most gorgeous women in the whole world, like truly right up there and she is so warm and talented, that I think it’s ridiculous she isn’t a lead on some other show! And yeah, both in SPN and in real life she has some serious comedy chops. It was all very fun.
Nichole: That was probably part of why it tickled me too. Supernatural had to work so hard to tamp down how gorgeous she was that I was like WOW LOOK AT ALL THAT SEXY.
Natalie: “What’s in this?” “Oh, just see where it takes you.”
Natalie: Would you drink an undisclosed neon drink at that type of party if she handed it to you?
Nichole: Absolutely not! I don’t think we ever see anyone drinking them either.
Natalie: Not even for SHE?
Nichole: Well, I mean, I’d do a lot for her, but not get roofied and end up in a car about to get blown to bits.
Nichole: That’s a fair critique and I’ll take it under advisement.
Natalie: Anyway, they’re gabbing away with her trying to blend in while Nicky goes hunting for notable stolen cars to send to Evan, and their cover gets blown! Were you expecting that to happen?
Nichole: No. Obviously something was going to go wrong, but that particular wrinkle didn’t occur to me. But, oh my God, Dennis trying to get out of being recognized. Tony’s face was amazing.
Natalie: “I DON’T KNOW WHO THIS… WHO IS THIS GUY!”
Nichole: So good. Please let them all do more comedy this season.
Natalie: Obviously, like Leif, Tamra is pretty sharp and her whole hostess persona drops when she realizes, but I also have another angle to this whole circumstance. Which is absolutely moot. Because the episode doesn’t follow that way at all, but…
Nichole: Do tell.
Natalie: Well, they get caught out, and threatened, and all that, and Leif is like, they might be cops, which, valid. I’ll come back to the actual plot in a sec. But my thinking, immediately, with this guy Benny, is that if you ARE indeed rich and into underground shit, surely not giving your real name is NOT unusual. You pay for access, you get the contacts and the secret links, but are these people really expected to tie their true identities to being involved? As.. collateral or something? I would have thought not putting your real name anywhere near this stuff would have been NORMAL.
Nichole: That’s a good point. But maybe that’s where the NDAs come in.
Natalie: It isn’t relevant to anything that goes down, but until Leif says they might be cops, I am like “HOW does he think people having a cover at an event like this is weird?” Just where my mind went.
Nichole: That totally makes sense. You would make a better criminal than Leif.
Natalie: He looks better in makeup than I do, though.
Nichole: That eyeliner.
Natalie: This guy is obviously severely shady, because he goes straight to “kill these people and bury their bodies out back” and I got the shock of my life when dude was like “err… we’re just private security, we don’t… do that.”
Nichole: I LOVED THEM.
Natalie: For some reason I was not expecting that at all and it was fab. Like, very realistic! And funny.
Nichole: Give me a spin off of those security guards. Always getting hired by crazy rich people and having to decline murder.
Natalie: “What was that, Barry? Another one?”
Nichole: “I have a good feeling about this next party. Totally normal stuff.”
Natalie: Also, like, “you both signed NDAs, watch me do this murder”…. an NDA is a legal document, I don’t think it counts for witnessing crime… but sure.
Nichole: I had the same thought. I don’t think that means what you think it does.
Natalie: Anyway, Leif takes things into his own hands, and then Rich and Olivia get to fight!
Nichole: What a good fight scene! It’s so rare she fights someone who is so aggressive, but so underpowered.
Natalie: The only issue I have with Rich’s acting in this episode is that he’s a one and done baddie! We can assume he will be back to direct again, as he did last season as well, so it would be cool to have a continuing role. But acting while directing can also be tough, I actually interviewed him about SPN 13.20, that Meredith ep where he directed, played Loki AND Gabriel, so was directing himself in a fight scene with.. Himself. This was a little less complex than that, but directing while action is happening that you are a part of must be a bit tricky.
Nichole: As much as I would love to see him back on screen, I probably love having him as a director more.
Natalie: Yeah, he’s very talented and obviously he’s someone who we know a lot about the approach of, because he’s done so many panels now with questions about how he works and collaborates with the writer and stuff.
Nichole: Yeah. Whenever I hear he’s directing something I just know it will be good. We don’t really see what happens to Tamra, maybe she’ll be back…
Natalie:Anyway, Leif jumps into Clem and takes off, and the other three jump into another car and try to catch him. Given what we find out a little while later, Leif probably should have picked a different car. But a car chase is always fun!
Nichole: I love to see Nicky frazzled.
Natalie: What does that say about you as a person, do you think?
Nichole: Hmmm. I think I find people more relatable if they have a human weakness. Like, she doesn’t need a lot, but not understanding chemistry and being scared while driving really fast are relatable.
Natalie: All driving scares me, so… Anyway, I do worry about Nicky getting kind of out of her depth as a vigilante hero. She can do hand to hand combat, yeah. But a lot of the “case of the week” stuff is sort of.. bigger than that, not just petty crime.
Nichole: Lot of guns this season.
Natalie: A LOT of guns this season! It all seems a bit above her pay grade and I wonder if that will sort of become an issue. Like, the sensible part of me says “she should not be doing this,” even if it meant we wouldn’t have a show. And then stuff like this, where she nearly crashed her own getaway car into Clem, who was already filled with explosives.
Nichole: They didn’t seem sufficiently traumatized by that discovery.
Natalie: Leif was pretty traumatized. He even tried to save them… kind of.
Nichole: Kind of.
Natalie: WHY DIDN’T HE PICK ANOTHER CAR, IDIOT.
Nichole: He was not a smart villain.
Natalie: No, not really, but he was very funny. Especially when watching Althea finally blow up at Dennis about everything that’s gone on today.
Nichole: He was really invested in the Dennis and Althea show.
Natalie: So was I. He’s so valid. I have to say, Dennis saying “since forever” hit kind of hard, in terms of not feeling good enough for Althea in terms of him still having her on a pedestal. We heard a little, in season 1, that in high school they were in different social circles and then reconnected when he got hot. Obviously it isn’t that simple or shallow, but she was a high achieving cheerleader and he was a gawky mathlete. And despite being hot and rich… he’s got issues about that.
Nichole: I really loved that. Now I want a flashback episode where we get to see everyone in high school. Althea’s speech about how she liked him when he was a mathlete too hit me right in the feels.
Natalie: She should have asked HIM out then! AU version.
Nichole: Get AO3 on the line, STAT
Natalie: I know this was a cute comedy moment between an already-strong couple, but chasing that psychology down the rabbit hole in earnest is genuinely a bit upsetting, like the idea that he’s been thinking like this their whole relationship and that he probably only thought she said yes to going out with him when they reconnected because OF how he looked and his social status had changed. That’s a heavy idea. AO3 could definitely give us a sad and thoughtful and deep exploration of the reality of that kind of mindset. Poor Dennis.
Nichole: I feel like if he still plays D&D we’re in safe territory because he means he didn’t give up the nerdy parts of his personality to become someone she’d like better. But, yes, I think it could be mined for some quality fic.
Natalie: Are you okay with Clementine’s death?
Nichole: Oh man. I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was shocked! They came so close and then to lose her! I’m ok with it because it felt like Althea had to learn not to rely on an external good luck charm, but it was a very cute car. That said, in my fic, Clem lives. No major character death.
Natalie: That’s fair. And Althea is able to take the experiences of the day and use them to try a new approach to implement a plan with her new team as they start creating… whatever it is she’s doing that I do not understand.
Nichole: What is her company doing?
Natalie: Making…. apps?
Nichole: That do…something?
Natalie: Yeah, you nailed it.
Nichole: Yes. Give me that sweet VC money.
Natalie: I’m sure that they will tell us if one of them ends up being important in some way. Now, Nicky’s two boyfriends both have their own troubling little journeys this episode, while she’s off almost getting blown up. Henry and Evan both touch the main plot lightly, but they have their own things to focus on. Both are pretty stressful – one, we’ve seen a long time coming, and one seemed more personal and then had a shocking twist. Who do you want to run through first?
Nichole: Let’s tackle Evan and save Henry because that was my biggest WTF.
Natalie: So Evan was once again doing his whole… “Here’s what you, a civilian, should do in order to take things into your own hands!” which I feel can’t be legit at ALL, but has kept on happening and seems to be in cahoots with police back up. There was no work “drama” for him in terms of helping Nicky out with the Clementine case. However, there was huge work drama for him in other ways.
Nichole: I don’t mean this in a bad way but everything about Juliette showing up to ask for “help” for her family and every action Evan took was on the nose. Like Juliette was practically winking at him and daring him to fuck it up. Then the way they shot him deleting that file that showed Nicky and co on the scene was FRAUGHT. It was very obvious that all this loosey goosey with the law was coming for him. For as hostile as his boss has been, she seemed to really have wanted him to pass that test.
Natalie: That’s true. I was so surprised at Juliette honestly, and yes this has been a long time coming, honestly even if his boss was above board he would still be in the danger zone. Maybe the boss wanted him to, yeah, be compliant and go along with things, even when things are corrupt.
Nichole: I know I joked that he might be bad at his job, but maybe his boss did want someone competent she could corrupt and was bummed Evan wasn’t up for it.
Natalie: But honestly, him saying “you set me up, how deep in this are you” – he still very, very much did wrong in the on paper legal sense. The Tans haven’t been charged with anything, and he is deleting evidence of the break in. If his boss wasn’t corrupt this would just look flat-out BAD. But obviously she knows that the Tans are kind of evil, so Evan working against them is for the secret greater good. But imagine if she was on the level and he got caught doing that!
Nichole: I wonder if this was always the plan for Evan or if he was a little overpowered, so the writers wanted to make things harder for the gang.
Natalie: Well, I mean – yes, it could be about defanging him, but also… god. What is his motive here? Like, obviously he’s a good guy and aware of bad things happening that the system isn’t able to stop. But is this still about Nicky first and foremost? I don’t watch a lot of shows that have like, your friendly cop/law enforcement officer involved and he’s one of the main prosecutors on behalf of the city. HE is the corrupt one from many angles, covering up vigilante superhero “crime” or unofficial justice.
Nichole: I think it is a mix, but heavier on the justice piece than the Nicky piece. Obviously he gives Nicky access to legal backup, but Nicky gives him access to stopping crimes he couldn’t otherwise manage. He’s very justice focused. He wants to make the world safe. I wonder if he’ll go all Batman now?
Natalie: Or if he’ll fight to keep his job and expose his boss? Maybe he will become the main DA instead. If Juliette isn’t really evil and it’s all a long game, maybe Julievan will be a thing.
Nichole: OH! Oh ho ho. You have my interest. Juliette felt more evil this episode though. Maybe because Kerwin wasn’t there to soften her up.
Natalie: I agree, actually. I’m still a bit like, the audacity, when Evan gets caught doing serious wrongdoing and his defense is like I KNOW U ARE CORRUPT. But I am interested to see where this goes in terms of justice inside the actual law.
Nichole: I guess Evan and his boss are at a bit of a stalemate in terms of exposing each other as they have both done illegal things.
Natalie: Yeah. That’s pretty much it, so it depends which way that will flip… if Kung Fu will ultimately say “systematic justice isn’t to be trusted” and get Evan out of there for good, or whether he will make it right and will present a more well-intentioned law enforcement office. Do you have a preference?
Nichole: I’ve lost so much faith in institutions lately (and I mean, maybe I shouldn’t have had that faith to begin with), that it almost feels more right for him to be outside the system, ACAB and all. But, I also like the mirage that our justice system could, theoretically, do the right thing. How frustrating is it that I am absolutely incapable of picking one thing over the other?
Natalie: Yeah, but unless Nicky wants to start killing bad guys and burying them out back, she does sort of need to be able to escalate the handling of them.
Nichole: Oh, that’s a good point. How does she funnel them to prison if she doesn’t have an inside man?
Natalie: Yeah, like someone to at least pretend they got a trustworthy anonymous tip. Hmmmm.
Nichole: I guess there is still Nadia on the inside.
Natalie: Oh, Nadia. Good for her. I wonder if she will work with Batmevan.
Nichole: I wonder if now that there isn’t a workplace complication Nadia/Evan could heat up? Poor Evan. We have paired him with every available woman on the show and he’s still not getting any.
Natalie: Well, unlike some people, we didn’t pair him with the corrupt boss.
Nichole: Oh boy. I have not seen that, but I believe it.
Natalie: It was Tony!
Nichole: Ahhahaha. I also suggested Kerwin and Henry had sexual tension, so I can’t throw stones. But that woman’s a dom and I don’t think Evan has a kinky bone in his body.
Natalie: Look, that’s fair. Sometimes I just can’t ship certain people or things because I am like “absolutely no way is that guy anything other than hetero” or something and yeah, D/s vibes can also be a similar factor. So yeah, Evan would be a bit hopeless with a woman like that.
Nichole: Evan wants to make sweet love to a woman he cherishes.
Nichole: Somebody’s got to do it.
Natalie: No offense to anyone who’s into that. But not even a little bit of murder. Not even a casual bit of sparring.
Nichole: I’d be happy to throw myself on that boring bomb to save anyone else from having to endure it.
Natalie: I mean, don’t you ever want to beat Aaron up as a treat? No, I’m joking. Evan can be someone’s very nice boyfriend and good for him. I still think he’s very, very into Nicky.
Nichole: I could see that more this episode. I think because Nicky and Henry were fighting, all of Evan’s “I’ll do my best to protect you” felt more weighted.
Nichole: Right, well, they felt like they were having a fight.
Natalie: Bless them. Henry had a bit of a time this week, didn’t he? A bit of an abrupt turnaround.
Nichole: Henry was going through it and he doesn’t even know the half of it yet!
Natalie: Apparently pulling off a vigilante B&E makes you very horny though.
Nichole: Jesus. Natalie. Nicky needs to remember she has superhuman stamina. Is she making sure Henry is resting and drinking plenty of water?
Natalie: I’m always very like, eyeroll at CW sex. Like I kind of want shows to either have legit sex, that’s messy and heated, or like, just cut around it. This is a family show! I didn’t need to see Nicky in her underwear! Though I did like her outfit. And yeah, apparently just planning to bang all day. Doesn’t Henry like, have a job? His life is hard.
Nichole: It’s all sexy fun and games until Henry goes into cardiac arrest because his girlfriend is too horny and powerful.
Natalie: So the so-called “fight” was Nicky pushing Henry to speak to his dad, and Henry saying that his family situation wasn’t like hers. It really, truly, barely seemed like an argument, and they carried on working together with the laptop and with Dennis after that, so I was surprised, later, when Nicky was like he’s not here cause we are fighting. It was SO mild to me, did you have any thoughts about them and that conversation?
Nichole: It did feel like a fight to me, although not an earth shattering one. Henry is so mature and emotionally available that seeing him get riled up and “yelling” at Nicky felt significant. Nicky obviously wants to solve all the world’s problems with the power of love, but life doesn’t always work like that and I think she needs to be more sensitive about other people’s issues. It was their first fight so of course it is going to feel worse than it logically is. In my house we don’t yell, like, ever, which I know is not how most people work, but that’s probably why I heard it as a fight.
Natalie: I wouldn’t have even called this yelling! So indeed, very different.
Nichole: Maybe yelling is the wrong word, but it wasn’t a rational tone of voice. He was angry.
Natalie: Nicky definitely does have that issue of applying her level of family forgiveness and bonding onto others. As she also did it with Mia.
Nichole: Exactly. I’m wondering if this is a theme for the season or if, in the end, the power of love will prevail?
Natalie: From a personal standpoint, I do feel like she needs to accept that it isn’t the same for everyone and she can feel lucky that it is for her.
Natalie: But ultimately Henry does go to see his dad, and there are some quite long and drawn out scenes involving him reuniting with his father after a long period of time. I didn’t exactly interpret it as like, hasn’t seen him since the sixth grade, but certainly not a lot. It sounds like he left and Henry’s mother and grandparents raised him? Do we know what happened to his mom?
Nichole: He does talk a little about it in the first season, but I can’t remember the details. I’m pretty sure she’s alive.
Natalie: They really let us sit in the moment of just this long conversation between them, reminiscing and making some sort of peace – not perfect peace, still heated, but maybe Henry accepting that his dad just isn’t ever going to be what he wanted or whatever and being able to put it aside? How did you feel about the way they talked?
Nichole: I thought it was very healthy for Henry. He’s obviously been avoiding his dad for good reasons, but he needed closure. Sometimes the only way forward with a bad parental relationship is to accept that you can just let them go. So while the talk wasn’t angry, I was left with the feeling that Henry was done with his dad. Like, yes, I was right about him and I don’t have to let him live rent free in my brain. At first I was surprised by how accommodating dad was! I expected him to be less likable. But he’s really trying hard to bond and Henry is calm, but not having it. We learn there were reasons dad was on his best behavior, but I did not see that coming.
Natalie: And the ring talk? Obviously he says he’s not ready to propose yet, but he came to get the family heirloom engagement ring!
Nichole: But then left it!
Natalie: Yeah, he did, but that felt more about like “well, when I do this, I want something without baggage” – it doesn’t change the fact that he went there wanting to get it to have it on hand. I did not assume he would have it in mind at all.
Nichole: I loved how he talked about his relationship with Nicky. Again, he’s so emotionally mature and available. I love him.
Natalie: All in all, it felt satisfying, even if we didn’t get TOO much backstory about what actually happened in Henry’s past, and whatever led him to his criminal record and all. He has a lot of past, and dad didn’t answer too much of that to me. But the twist at the end, about Dad and his girlfriend, or partner or whatever? I don’t think anything in Kung Fu has shocked me more!
Nichole: I was so surprised! I was sure I knew where this dad business was going and then BLAM. It felt like plenty of drama that Henry’s deadbeat dad was going to try to insinuate himself into Henry’s life and test his maturity. But what is their deal?? Who is she? What do they want? Also I love and respect the writers, but can this show really sustain a whole new set of villains? How am I going to have time to wallow in Ryan and Sebastian’s relationship woes if everyone is busy with villains all the time!
Natalie: I assume it isn’t related to Tan, but I DID wonder if Sebastian is on Team Henry’s Dad.
Nichole: Oh, yeah, wow. You could be onto something. Or even if he’s not explicitly on Team Henry’s Dad, maybe he used to be. His dark past or whatever.
Natalie: I feel 100% clueless about what they could be wrapped up in. I mean, I assume more Guardian stuff. Henry is a complication in the way of taking out Nicky for some reason. Maybe this is in relation to Tan, I don’t know. But it was very, very unexpected!
Nichole: I’m just along for the ride on this one. Whatever it is will be a surprise!