Kung Fu -- “The Scepter”

‘Kung Fu’ season 3, episode 11 in conversation: Biange’s back, baby!

Kung Fu season 3, episode 11 took us in several directions we weren’t expecting. With only two more episodes after this, it makes sense that a few plots are starting to tie up, but there are certainly still surprises along the way. Read on for our review of Kung Fu season 3, episode 11 “The Scepter.”

We’ve spent a lot of time during Kung Fu season 3 wondering if we could really get a satisfying conclusion while Harmony Dumplings was still under corporate control. Ever since Carrie forced Sebastian out, it hasn’t felt possible for Harmony Dumplings to continue as is. Episode 11 gives us a wholly unexpected, but delightfully bittersweet solution in the form of a food truck team-up between Mei-Li and her favorite child.

Henry tries to use his compass powers to track Xiao, and he has some success, but Zhilan urges Nicky to follow their best lead — Bo. Nicky gets a little closure when she visits him to apologize and try to get more information on Xiao’s plan. Bo doesn’t give her much to go on, but it does open up the possibility that Mia might be in danger at the monastery. Nicky and Zhilan head to China together to save their daughter, but it turns out that Mia isn’t the target after all. The three confront Xiao, but she gets away, which has shocking and terrible consequences for Henry.

Meanwhile, it’s election night and Anthony Chan continues to find new ways to be the worst!

The official synopsis of “The Scepter” reads:

ELECTION NIGHT — With time running out, Nicky (Olivia Liang) is forced to confront Bo (guest star Ben Levin) to get information on Xiao’s whereabouts before it’s too late. Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) clashes with Carrie (guest star Kim Rhodes) at Harmony Dumplings, and Jin (Tzi Ma) makes a surprising decision that could affect the outcome of the election. Shannon Dang, Jon Prasida, Gavin Stenhouse, Yvonne Chapman, Vanessa Kai, Tony Chung and JB Tadena also star. David Grossman directed the episode written by Angela Trevino.

Catch up on all of our Kung Fu reviews right here, or keep reading for our chat about the events of Kung Fu season 3, episode 11 “The Scepter.”

‘Kung Fu’ season 3, episode 11 review in conversation

Natalie: So after a couple of weeks of a really focused story about Delta, we are catching up with a few of the other big side plots. They’re all fairly massive actually! The election AND Harmony Dumplings AND the most surprising Xiao twist… And Althea’s whole thing, lol.

Nichole: OMG to Althea’s whole thing.

Natalie: It’s difficult to know where to start, because Nicky once again gets taken away from the rest of the action within the family. It actually sprung to mind this week that she misses a LOT of important moments, and that happened earlier in the season too.

Nichole: It’s true. She often has to put saving the world before family events.

Natalie: In this case, she misses both her father’s election victory and the really surprising loss of her mother’s legacy. Do you maybe want to start with Harmony, actually? Because of all the surprises. this one sort of got me the most.

Nichole: That was a big one. I still don’t know how I feel about it.

Natalie: It was not at ALL what I expected the solution to that problem to be.

Nichole: Same. I mean, I probably should have envisioned that it would be something out of the box, because I could not envision an acceptable solution. You know the idea of Mei-Li toiling under corporate control was REALLY bothering me.

Natalie: Let’s go through what actually happened, beginning with Harmony getting untenably busy. There’s just more interest in the restaurant than ever and maybe not the kind of interest Mei Li wants. It’s too successful!

Nichole: So successful that her good friends can’t even get a table.

Natalie: Even as the episode moved forward I did not understand, at all, where this was going. When Sebastian is looking for new jobs, he’s in a good mood, which is nice to see. He’s in a good place again.

Nichole: Love to see my son happy.

Natalie: But Ryan discovers that he’s also looking at the prices of used food trucks, because apparently he has secret dreams of running his own — I guess that’s a little more manageable than starting his own restaurant, but it’s still a big deal.

Nichole: And a lot of money.

Natalie: He’s not depressed over not having it, just daydreaming. Just checking it out, wishfully. But very much is like yeah, no, I need to pay my half of the rent!

Nichole: What’s the point in bagging a doctor if you can’t be a househusband?

Natalie: Well, yeah! In general how did you feel, seeing Ryan and Seb back together and communicating like this? Should Ryan have immediately taken more control? I just don’t think his brain works that way.

Nichole: No, I don’t think he should have. I think it made sense for him to research a bit to see if what he had in mind was feasible before he pushed Sebastian. Like, he respects that Sebastian feels like contributing is important, so he sort of had to figure out if Seb’s dream really was a pipe dream or did he just need some support to make it work. But I really loved seeing them together and happy.

Natalie: Yeah, I mean I don’t think Ryan being like “don’t worry about work! Just stay here and be pretty!” would have gone down well either.

Nichole: No, although it is tempting.

Natalie: The conversation Ryan has with Mei-Li is really interesting because it sounds like he and Seb HAVE discussed it in the interim. Ryan doesn’t go from that conversation with Seb to the one he has with his mom. He mentions that Sebastian didn’t want him supporting him while he tried to start a business — so it sounds like Ryan already offered between now and then? But also, the way Mei-Li freezes in place and looks at him when she’s like Sebastian??? Food truck?? She is just yearning for him.

Nichole: Of course she is! I love the parallel Mei-Li draws to her and Jin opening the restaurant.

Natalie: The whole dynamic frankly fascinates me. There’s the professional approach from Ryan — is my boyfriend worth investing in? And the personal way Mei-Li identifies with Sebastian. And the fact that she is basically like, yeah, in a real partnership sometimes one person works hard for the money and supports the other person’s dream. And you should do that for him, because he’s my favorite child. The Mei-Li Ryan Seb love triangle always makes me crazy.

Nichole: Yeah, I don’t know if Ryan was asking if Sebastian was worth investing in, so much as if I get him this food truck, am I setting him up for failure?

Natalie: No. it wasn’t spelled out like that, should I risk it on him — but Mei-Li does let him know that Seb is worth the risk. As in, within the food industry

Nichole: I just love Mei-Li and Sebastian so much. The vibe feels so good and supportive to me. I know we joke about #Meibastian, but I find so much joy in that platonic love.

Natalie: Nothing about this Ryan conversation led me to expect what happens with Mei-Li though! We’re tying these stories together now because we know, but I thought they were two little stories. Or maybe that Mei-Li was maybe a bit upset at the idea of Seb never coming back and would finally find a way to actually get him back with her instead. Maybe running a second location. I think I thought the food truck was sort of Sebastian’s most realistic dream, after a) being with Mei-Li, or b) having his own actual restaurant. Not to take away from his truck plans! I just wasn’t expecting this to come together in the way it does.

Nichole: I had a little moment of sadness with the food truck, because I was like, “Okay, this is it, he’s definitely not going to end up back at Harmony Dumplings.” Even though I was happy for him, I really wanted him back with Mei-Li. DUH.

Natalie: I think Mei-Lu felt that sadness when Ryan told her too.

Nichole: All is not right with the universe when they are in two separate kitchens.

Natalie: I guess I wanted to know how you felt about the surprise gift, rather than Ryan wearing him down with some sensible conversations. That could go very very wrong for a lot of people. This is TV and they want Sebastian to be pleased. so of course he’s pleased. But if you were to think realistically, is just buying a truck that Seb didn’t even pick out a good idea? As opposed to being like “Look, here’s twenty grand, here’s why I believe in you. Please let me do this.”

Nichole: I liked it and I approve of the gesture. I think sometimes a person needs a little push to know you mean it. Does this make sense? Like, if they had talked it might have been hard for Sebastian to accept, but with the truck right in front of him, he knows Ryan really means it.

Natalie: Yes. I do know what you mean about some people needing the push.

Nichole: I mean, I personally, would probably rather have the money and pick out the truck, but I also wouldn’t be difficult to convince to accept help.

Natalie: It just could have gone really badly for another person. I think I feel just the same as you. I would have easily accepted the offer and would have preferred to take control of the money. But that’s less romantic.

Nichole: Yeah, it was a big gesture and I love it on my TV screen. It did inspire a good kiss and I also love that on my TV screen.

Natalie: Ryan seems a little uncertain about what Seb will think, but he did also make his point strongly, if slightly twitchily.

Nichole: His angle was good. It will only be a little while, because this is going to be a success.

Natalie: They have to get married, right?

Nichole: What if the season ends with a wedding. EEEEeeeeEEEe! I guess we don’t have time for that, but I would love to see it.

Natalie: A proposal, maybe.

Nichole: Yeah, that would be good too.

Natalie: Because this isn’t just betting on the business. It’s betting on the relationship. Jin and Mei-Li were married when he did all that. What if these two break up? This is saying… we won’t.

Nichole: I’m getting sentimental thinking about the first time they saw each other. Look how far we’ve come!

Natalie: I was thinking about how when Kung Fu started Ryan was in the closet.

Nichole: Gosh, yeah. Contrast that with his talk with Mei-Li about the food truck.

Natalie: Pivoting back to Mei-Li’s perspective, as you said, Harmony is unable to function as it once did. The stuff Mei-Li wants to prioritize isn’t there. Her regular customers aren’t able to just walk in and get their meal. It’s too much success. The clientele are changing — more tourists coming there after huge reviews, less locals. They don’t say it aloud, but you look at the room and it’s mostly white people.

Nichole: I noticed that too!

Natalie: I’m sure that’s intentional.

Nichole: It was so upsetting.

Natalie: It’s people coming from elsewhere because they heard it was trendy, which is in its own way a compliment but it isn’t what she wants.

Nichole: She doesn’t want to be a tourist trap!

Natalie: When she goes to speak to Carrie about it, what did you feel about that response?

Nichole: It was interesting the way Carrie deflated. Like, she knows this isn’t what Mei-Li wants and it isn’t really what she wanted for Harmony Dumplings either, but they’ve been too prickly at each other to discuss it. But in the end, it’s a job for Carrie in a way that it isn’t for Mei-Li. But also, capitalism is definitely the big bad.

Natalie: In particular I hated the idea of the restaurant being a tourist destination in terms of like, Home of the Freezer Dumplings.

Nichole: It’s so bad. On the one hand, I can be happy for Mei-Li making this choice and doing what feels right to her, but I have to completely suppress the knowledge that Harmony Dumplings will live on with subpar food and service. I’d rather it close completely, to be honest.

Natalie: I still literally didn’t see what was happening until she told Sebastian. Carrie says that Mei-Li could take the fight to corporate and that she believed she may win. I thought that she was being like “yes, this is worth fighting for.” And I think that’s what you’re meant to think.

Nichole: Especially so soon after her saying the same thing to Ryan about Sebastian. Like, the underdog can do it!

Natalie: Even when she comes to Seb and says I want to be in business with you, I still thought she meant as an investor, a little thing she can do on the side. Literally wasn’t until she said “full time” and he asked about Harmony that I was like oh, shit. It’s so not in my brain, that possibility, as you mentioned of selling the brand on and letting it escalate in that way, just turning her back on it. That sounds negative I guess, but yeah, the whole… “Right, I’m walking away from that, it’s become something else, it’ll keep escalating and I have to let it.” It’s the kind of acceptance I personally could not, well, accept.

Nichole: I can definitely understand her decision. Everything had changed so much, that even if she managed to wrest control back, would it even feel the same?

Natalie: And it’s almost unheard of to see in fiction in a small business story narrative. Like when have you ever seen this solution in any film or whatever about a family business?

Nichole: Yeah, it subverted expectations for sure. Of all things you would think Harmony Dumplings would be an automatic win! I have so many complicated feelings about it!

Natalie: I think this kind of business decision happens all the time in real life. But usually in fiction the underdog family business wins. We kept saying we couldn’t understand at all how this gets remedied… But I never would have predicted this at all.

Nichole: No, same. It’s very bittersweet. I guess it falls under “Give them what they want (Mei-Li and Sebastian working together) in a way they don’t expect.” At least I don’t hate it?

Natalie: Yeah, the sweet side is that she wants to choose Sebastian over anything else. She literally chose a new adventure with him over trying to get her own business back. And she won’t be the power player here, she’ll be supporting him. They have to get married, right? This is such an incredible declaration of love and faith.

Nichole: I don’t think you can marry a mom and her son. I’m no legal scholar, but I’m pretty sure you can’t do that.

Natalie: They can take turns. Alternate weeks. It’s fine. “I want to build something new with you” is a fucking proposal. Look, it is one of the greatest relationships on the show. Definitely the most interesting.

Nichole: That scene really did fill me with longing. Mei-Li was so wistful. I don’t even know what I was longing for! Just a generalized longing.

Natalie: They’re so thrilled by each other. It’s such a level of dedication, the way they are almost compulsively cry-laughing. I mean this was just a fantastic monologue for Mei-Li when she talks about Harmony, and yeah she has this vulnerable element, “will you have me?” Sebastian doesn’t really even seem to know what to do with how much they mean to each other. It’s just very powerful. That black and white photograph from filming, of them in the truck, I think you should put that in a frame in your house.

Nichole: Honestly. It’s already in a frame in my heart. It’s such a good photo and it really encapsulates that moment.

Natalie: Like I said, this absolutely wasn’t how I expected any of this to play out. But Mei-Li only made the decision today. Do you think we’ll see one last family meal at Harmony before they move on?

Nichole: I don’t know. The kids reminiscing about it felt a little final. It seems hard to imagine not getting a goodbye scene for Harmony Dumplings though.

Natalie: Yeah. I feel like we must… or maybe a picnic in the garage served by the food truck? LOL. As Ryan says, in the end it’s just a building. Which is not an attitude I’ve ever been able to adopt. I have attachment issues. About everything. Kung Fu is challenging me on what’s good and right in terms of letting go!

Nichole: I am so conflicted about it!!!

Natalie: Well I’m glad I’m not alone. But really. They’re not making it easy for me.

Nichole: I think this particular closure feels more like a series ending than a season ending. Which also makes me feel sad about it.

Natalie: Look. Season 4, Meibastian are taking this show on the road.

Nichole: I want it! I want to see those two cooking in that tiny kitchen and making it work.

Natalie: So while Mei-Li is off making major life decisions, it’s the last night of Jin’s campaign. He is Jin it to Win it, Nichole.

Nichole: I love that slogan an unholy amount.

Natalie: Maybe they can send you one of the tshirts.

Nichole: Or a poster.

Natalie: I guess it’s to be expected that the Delta news is tied to the election — with the DA willing to press charges on Delta or whatever, bring the case against them, that would make Anthony look bad. Evan has the inside scoop that it won’t happen before the election, though. The campaign manager is bummed.

Nichole: I find it hard to like that campaign manager. I don’t think we are supposed to see her as particularly manipulative, but I guess I just really don’t like politics or what people usually do to win.

Natalie: Yeah, I think that’s fair. She’s fine, but she wants the advantage. That’s how it works. Jin says they don’t need a scandal to win, though.

Nichole: Because he’s too pure for this world.

Natalie: Really feeling a bit… conflicted about his big win, lol.

Nichole: Same. Ugh. Politics. GROSS.

Natalie: So. Jin showing up at Anthony’s office and warning him, telling him to get ready to distance himself from Delta. This… is so… eeeeush. What was your immediate reaction to that conversation?

Nichole: I thought, “Oh, here it is. Jin is giving Anthony the chance to redeem himself. To prove that he is worthy of the job.” And, Jin wasn’t even asking him to be a hero, he was giving him info to save himself! And he still FUCKED IT UP. Anthony is on my shit list.

Natalie: He thought Anthony would win, so he warned him in the eventuality that the new supervisor would need to quickly defend his position. Never do the right thing in politics, Jin! You great, silly man!

Nichole: Too. Pure.

Natalie: It’s really tough! Anthony taking credit, announcing the situation before the election… that is so bad! The DA will be so angry! And now Delta has a warning! What a fucking idiot!

Nichole: Yeah, it was bad on so many levels.

Natalie: I genuinely have no idea what this means. Like even though Jin wins… is Delta going to get away with it? Because they’ve been warned about the case against them?

Nichole: I don’t either. We don’t have time to mess with more Delta plot! We’ve got that wrapped up!!!

Natalie: And will the Shens get in trouble for spreading the word?

Nichole: I don’t think it will come back to them.

Natalie: So Jin won. Now he has to do the job.

Nichole: Blergh.

Natalie: Unless there’s one last ditch attempt to redeem Anthony and Jin passes it over.

Nichole: I do not see that happening.

Natalie: Honestly I think he’s meant to just be a weak, bad option.

Nichole: He is. He’s terrible.

Natalie: Which was a bit tough to accept because we were meant to feel sympathy for him being blackmailed. Like we thought he was a good guy in a tough spot.

Nichole: He had so many chances!!

Natalie: Yeah. He sucks.

Nichole: I’m glad he lost. Even if that means Jin has to be a politician now.

Natalie: And because he sucks so much, the world will now beat the idealism out of Jin and break him.

Nichole: Me looking at that: “What Natalie says can’t hurt me, I can’t read.”

Natalie: Look. I don’t know. At least Mei-Li and Jin got to tell each other how proud they were.

Nichole: They love each other so much.

Natalie: So do Althea and Dennis. Because if I was Dennis. I absolutely would have said, “Babe, you’re being paranoid because you’ve had a big scare recently.” I am not as good a person as Dennis.

Nichole: Like we said last week, he is the perfect wife-guy. He is going to go all the way to support her even when logic is not on her side.

Natalie: Did YOU think she was being paranoid?

Nichole: I figured it had to be going somewhere. That is not to say I expected where it went though.

Natalie: True. I definitely would have thought the spy was Delta. Or someone with bad intentions.

Nichole: Or even someone who maybe had info on Delta and wanted to see if they could trust her? I don’t know. I did not expect knock-off Agent Coulson.

Natalie: OMG, he even looked like him!

Nichole: HE DID. It was striking.

Natalie: Do you think she will accept this job offer? Will she have to go away to some other city?

Nichole: I think she might accept, but I feel like there’s been enough mysterious illegal business going on in San Francisco. She could probably stay there.

Natalie: Agent Althea… I’m not sure. It sounds a bit rigid. But I bet places like that do track expert hackers and stuff.

Nichole: I feel a little bit about Agent Althea the way I do about politician Jin. Do I really want Althea mixed up with the government?

Natalie: Yeah… nah. It feels too close to defense. She could be asked to do things that are really unethical in terms of, IDK, war crimes. But we’ll see.

Nichole: If she doesn’t end up taking it, I wonder what the goal of the offer is, story wise? Just to prove Althea’s worth maybe? To herself? Although I feel like episode 10 did that.

Natalie: If it gets her out of the internet ban… I’m down.

Nichole: True. Worth its weight in gold.

Natalie: So that’s what the rest of the family is up to. Nicky still has a whole adventure here that’s just…. massive.

Nichole: There was a lot in this episode.

Natalie: First of all, the group finds out about what Xiao did, so they have some level of gaining on her, I suppose.

Nichole: Nice to hear that the Wan Zai is helping out.

Natalie: Well, they’ve gotta be good for something. But Nicky wants to know what the point of Henry even IS if he can’t use his magic. Okay, she doesn’t say it like that…

Nichole: She does learn some more clarifying details about how his power works though… Oops…I’m still in love with you.

Natalie: Were you expecting them to just dive back in like that? Do you think Henry gave that answer just because it was the truth? Or because he wanted to sort of put it back on the table?

Nichole: Hmmm. I think I interpreted it as saying it because he felt a little frustrated and backed into a corner. Like maybe he didn’t mean to say it, or wouldn’t have said it, but with Nicky pushing him he let it slip. Like, “You want to know why I can’t do it? Fine!”

Natalie: Yeah, possibly. It wasn’t like “Hey hey, Nicky, let’s go again, hey hey.” It was just an interesting moment for it to come out.

Nichole: I feel like I should be 100% confident they will end up back together, but I still feel like it’s not a done deal.

Natalie: Really!

Nichole: Given the ending of this week’s episode, we don’t know what is going to happen to Henry! It’s going to be traumatic at the least. And the last traumatic thing that happened to him didn’t bode well for their relationship. I don’t know if I’m just protecting myself, so I don’t get my hopes up.

Natalie: Jeez. I think it’s a done deal.

Nichole: I’m probably just being paranoid.

Natalie: Well, they do take the Xiao matter to the group, and how much do I love Zhilan being in a place to make jokes about murdering everyone? She is a perfect, beautiful murder angel.

Nichole: She was in top form this episode. She and Dennis???

Natalie: PLEASE.

Nichole: The little scene I didn’t know I needed.

Natalie: They’re definitely pretty stressed to find out that Pei-Ling has been transformed into someone else.

Nichole: Zhilan is gutted. Nicky stays focused though.

Natalie: Even though Zhilan is like… go ask Bo.

Nichole: Nicky is not ready for that, but Zhilan is right, it’s dumb to leave that on the table.

Natalie: She isn’t going to sugar coat it.

Nichole: No. She’s not. I think she’s right to be blunt about it, but she also leaves it in Nicky’s hands. You know, the old Zhilan would have gone and done it herself, but she recognizes that this is Nicky’s piece to handle.

Natalie: I think this scene is interesting particularly because yeah, after Zhilan is her usual stern, slightly scornful self about Nicky refusing to engage Bo, she really gets upset. When they’re looking at Pei-Ling or rather Xiao, she’s shaky, almost tearful. The others are like “oh, what is that magic stick,” and she’s like, “Does it matter?” She goes in trying to be catty but it’s maybe the most vulnerable moment we’ve had from her. She’s really upset, more upset than Nicky is. It got me thinking about a lot of things, like you know — this is her sister. It means “more” to her, even after all the hate. And she’s just so genuinely upset.

Related: ‘Kung Fu’ star Yvonne Chapman on Zhilan’s struggle to embrace community: ‘Who am I now? Where is my place in all of this?’

Nichole: Pei-Ling is really her anchor right now. She is so fixated on it. I think she has tied rescuing Pei-Ling to her own success or failure in becoming a good person. Like, if she can’t rescue Pei-Ling, does she deserve this redemption?

Natalie: I also think there’s an element of child love. She sort of split from her affection for Pei-Ling at a very young age, right? When Pei killed their dad. What a family. And now that she loves her again, it’s like a regression.

Nichole: Yeah, I really like that.

Natalie: She’s just a tiny little girl!

Nichole: It’s probably hard to process all of these emotions!

Natalie: A baby!

Nichole: I hope they rescue Pei-Ling so that Zhilan gets a chance to mature in those emotions and become more complete!

Natalie: She’s able to muster enough of the regular Zhilan to be blunt and a bit harsh to Henry about his compass control… and to ring the Bo bell again. “I don’t care if it’s a friendly chat or a torture session, find out what he knows.” I mean… she’s right.

Nichole: She is right. He’s their best lead.

Natalie: Did you vote chat or torture?

Nichole: You know I was chat. That’s my baby boy.

Natalie: Boring.

Nichole: I’m a simple woman with simple pleasures.

Natalie: Well, turns out Magellan was the better lead anyway. Henry does see Xiao when he tries to track the scepter. With no help from Zhilan’s backseat driving.

Nichole: How creepy was that scene?

Natalie: Yeah, I mean the fact that Xiao can I guess see or feel any magic probing around her… We have no idea how Henry works. I assume a normal person couldn’t feel him though.

Nichole: Yeah, I think that’s a Xiao special. Ok, sorry, I jumped past Zhilan’s backseat driving. I LOVE THEM.

Natalie: Well, yeah. Go on though.

Nichole: Their dynamic is so funny to me, because Zhilan is a little bit mean to everyone, but Henry feels like the one person she isn’t trying to drive away with it, or protect herself. And Henry is so carefully nice around everyone else, but he’s not afraid to snap back at her. I am very pro Henry/Zhilan BFFs.

Natalie: That’s the kind of banter that leads to kissing sometimes. But maybe here just bros.

Nichole: I can definitely see the kissing angle, but in this instance I like the bro quality. They just both need someone they can safely be a little bitchy to.

Natalie: Okay. Nicky and Bo. She didn’t find out much from him. Enough to build a theory. But this was mainly an opportunity for Nicky to apologize and so on. I personally — the episode doesn’t have time for this — I would have sat Bo down and gone over every single detail of the relationship with Xiao from day 1, looking for clues that Bo didn’t know the meaning of, you know? “She only told me what she wanted me to know.” Okay, but you have so much information and you didn’t know the truth, so stuff you saw or heard from her could be relevant in ways you don’t even know. Grill that man. And along the way, grill him about what was going through his head when he was openly brought in by the Xiao secret by the Shoobies, because he was knowingly pretending to work against her. He should have made some links there. Nichole, this guy is… stupid.

Nichole: Ok, I agree about the grilling, but I don’t think he’s stupid.

Natalie: He is so stupid. When he heard the Nicky side of things and was on Team Shooby… He didn’t once be like “OMG am I in the leopards eating faces party?” He is SO stupid. He is thick. And so weak. He has to die doing something useful. It’s the only way to make him worth anything. There is no value in him otherwise.

Nichole: I was wondering if he might show back up and sacrifice himself at the end, because that didn’t really feel like quite enough closure. But I don’t want him to die.

Natalie: He’s gotta. He sucks too bad to live. Again, the episode doesn’t have time to do a long conversation, but I maybe would have done a cut that wasn’t a real time conversation? I would have done the apology and then been like okay, I’ll tell you everything I know, and cut it like, time passes and we then hear him wrap up. Because I feel like whatever Xiao told him about saving souls from the wasteland is important. Hearing everything she actually told him is enough to get more clues probably. And also so many chances for Nicky to either be like you absolute fucking loser, or empathize, I GUESS.

Nichole: I’m making such a scrunchy face at you right now. You’re not wrong, but that’s my boy!

Natalie: Like he says in passing, I thought I was a hero — that makes no sense to Nicky. He needed to tell his full story.

Nichole: I would have loved that.

Natalie: Nicky says, you know, freeing Xiao you had to know that was the end, which made sense in that he’d already been on Team Shooby, knew they were trying to stop her, knew their angle on her, and went against them. But we don’t even hear the explanation that Bo didn’t give her the totem. That he realized just before. I don’t know. He’s pathetic. I did say Nicky would apologize though. This was mainly a chance for that to happen. How did you feel about that part, rather than the information part?

Nichole: Well, you know I wasn’t sure if she would straight up apologize or not, but this felt like a good balance. I mean, obviously she is sorry — it’s been plaguing her. But I think how she said, kind of, no matter the truth, she shouldn’t have done what she did was good and she probably needed to get that out.

Natalie: And gave him back his little toy. Maybe he will travel to help them.

Nichole: Yeah, I didn’t realize she had taken it, although that obviously makes sense. But now that he has it, I do assume we have to see him again.

Natalie: I do think that Xiao vs Bo will happen, like for all I think he’s a stupid weak moron who shouldn’t have accepted this woman’s gaslighting, in some ways he’s her biggest victim. I will still victim-blame him for it. But narratively, he will probably confront her.

Nichole: He really is a goner, isn’t he? I don’t want him to die though!!

Natalie: Suffer.

Nichole: I will.

Natalie: Good! And then Henry and Nicky can make love on his grave.

Nichole: You’re like “The narrative is punishing you for liking such a terrible man baby”

Natalie: I mean aren’t you glad I’m not a parent? Because any kid of mine who was this pathetic…

Nichole: Ahhahahah.

Natalie: I would neglect them and likely give up on them. I mean no. I’ve liked some pretty pathetic people. But this one, somehow it just doesn’t create any sympathy for me.

Nichole: This is abundantly clear.

Natalie: Yeah I mean I know I’ve tried to be rational about it and all… He’s definitely a character who’s going to create more value in death. What would he even do with his life if he was just left to be normal? There’s no space for him to atone within Nicky’s narrative. The other people he messed with are in other realms. He could go and fix the trapped souls, I feel that will happen anyway. And then DIE.

Nichole: At least I can take comfort in the fact that it will probably be a heroic death.

Natalie: I’d love it if it wasn’t. If it was just ineffectual collateral, and Xiao says something awful and laughs at him. The show laughing at us for ever thinking this waste of space mattered. Etc.

Nichole: Bob would probably love that too, but I think the vibe of Kung Fu demands a bit of a hero’s death for him. DO YOU HEAR ME, ROBERT?

Natalie: I was thinking of Bob and Ketch, yes.

Nichole: Well, Ketch didn’t deserve a hero’s death by any stretch, so…

Natalie: Bo is like Ketch 🙂

Nichole: Do not speak to me or my baby man son ever again.

Natalie: I will stop, only because we need to leave that baby man behind. What Bo says about cleansing the bloodlines, that it was corrupted after her death… I absolutely didn’t draw the conclusion they drew. I thought he meant all the people in the bloodline. Like, basically wrap them all up.

Nichole: Yeah, it did seem like a bit of a jump to the hybrid.

Natalie: Given it turns out that their jump to the hybrid wasn’t accurate… I still wonder. They do have the location clue of the monastery’s province to lead them there also, but am I the only one who remembers the source or whatever? I mean no, the episode knows this. But at first.

Nichole: You mean the underground forge or wherever she is with her Wicked Witch glowy fire?

Natalie: Yes. The forge, which I think is the place biange entered the world. We will get to it. While Mia being a target from Nicky and Zhilan’s biased perspective makes sense, I wasn’t expecting to see her again, especially as a random surprise in the middle of an episode!

Nichole: Yeah, I was glad to see her and I liked a lot of the shenanigans around them showing up at the monastery, but I kind of wanted something more dynamic out of that reunion.

Natalie: I was okay with the reunion, I didn’t think it was lacking, except for a Mia/Zhilan hug. Mia has changed a lot. So much that I almost thought they recast her. But it’s just the way she’s holding her face!

Nichole: I didn’t think she’d changed so much, except obviously finding inner peace, lol.

Natalie: I dunno, she felt and even looked different to me. But still. Hug Zhilan, please!

Nichole: Yeah, the second time I watched it the lack of hug was even more glaring! That’s your co-mom! Give her a hug.

Natalie: Maybe they’re saving Zhilan’s affection for a big Nicky hug in the finale. Like she hugged Pei-Ling once… But maybe Zhilan isn’t allowed to get more hugs, lest they become too normal.

Nichole: Ok, but at least one more before the end.

Natalie: Anyway, they want to take her back to America and she doesn’t want to go. I’m never sure how I feel about these “NO, I’m staying HERE” plots. Its meant to be heroic, but it puts the place at risk.

Nichole: That’s what I was thinking. The other people there don’t deserve that!

Natalie: They’ve been slaughtered enough! Take the fight away from the monastery. It does frustrate me a little. Here it was irrelevant- just something they needed Mia to insist on because the fact is she isn’t the target but the monastery is.

Nichole: If the runes hadn’t been keeping her there would she have just left without doing anything except juicing up her scepter? I apologize that that sounds like a euphemism for masturbation.

Natalie: Yikes. I suppose she could have gotten in and out, yeah. Obviously Zhilan and Nicky aren’t going to just leave China having achieved nothing though. Lucky they stayed — what did you think of their plan to hang around and recruit Mia into the fight? They’ve still got this secret weapon element that she’s even stronger than anyone else. But she didn’t ask for that!

Nichole: I interpreted it more like Mia was saying she was going to stay and fight if need be, rather than run, so it was more like, they chose to stay to help her.

Natalie: I guess that makes more sense. What was your response to seeing that they had trapped her IN? Let alone the BIANGE, FINALLY.

Nichole: Trapping her in reminded me of when they did it on purpose in the community center. BIANGE’S BACK, BABY.

Natalie: I’m not 100% sure of its status aside from generally imbibing the universe. But it wasn’t in any weapons any more. But now it is! Or at least in a magic staff.

Nichole: Xiao is so greedy taking everything for herself!

Natalie: I’m just relieved we are finally getting a look at the ties between biange and the bloodlines, and how the bloodlines existed before the weapons. I think she may want to wipe them all.

Nichole: It feels like it, but does she want to replace it with anything? Or just herself?

Natalie: I mean…. she’s crazy. Maybe she will try and imbue a new selection of chosen. I don’t know. The only thing I feel sure of is that she will cast bolts of magic from her pearl. Zap zap zap. It could be to empower new people.. or to kill.

Nichole: She seems to feel like she has a big plan. It can’t be good.

Natalie: Definitely she has a big plan. She’s happy to take some time out of her busy schedule to fight the girls though. We do learn she can wear Pei-Ling, and does so in an attempt to trick Hua into showing her the rune trap. And she reveals Pei is still alive. Did that feel like a Bond villain convenience to you, or a tactic?

Nichole: I felt like it wasn’t totally trustworthy and also I couldn’t figure out her angle in telling them. If Pei-Ling is in there doesn’t that increase their desire to defeat her, in order to save Pei-Ling? Or does she think it ensures they won’t go all in on killing her?

Natalie: Being happy to tell them Pei-Ling is in there makes it more likely they won’t try to kill her. But Xiao is also crazy. So it could have been a crack, a mistake.

Nichole: But she was also like, “But she’s almost dead!! Too bad, so sad.”

Natalie: I don’t know. She’s weird.

Nichole: So, if she thinks it is helping them not kill her it’s like, come back in 15 minutes and try again!

Natalie: Look I think if they know Pei is alive they would hold out hope. I’ve never understood Xiao though, why break the habit of a lifetime? I’ll just continue to not get her.

Nichole: Or maybe all will become clear! But, probably not, because she most likely is insane and unhinged from her years of being trapped and impotent.

Natalie: Which Nicky is happy to taunt her about. Laughing at her weakness is only going to piss her off and make her throw people through rune- inscribed doors, Nicky. It does seem like Mia is a threat, though, so I assume she will be back in the last few episodes.

Nichole: Well, they did say they were bringing her back to San Francisco in the end, right? I guess the reality of the situation caught up with Mia and now she’s ready to help take Xiao down.

Natalie: Yes. Nicky tells Henry on their phone call. I think now Mia sees this as a fight she can take part in. She isn’t the target, so it isn’t running away. She can actively choose to do good. Xiao beats them home, though. Right after Nicky and Henry basically decide to get back together.

Nichole: The writers really softened me up with that phone call. Just got me all gooey and then went in for the kill.

Natalie: Hahahah. I’m sure that was the point. Though Henry being the first person she called just makes sense from a tactics POV. It doesn’t have to be emotional. She isn’t going to call Althea or Baba with a Xiao update. I suppose maybe her mom, since it’s Mia. But I’ll let them make it gooey.

Nichole: They had to get us in the right headspace for that shocker. I actually gasped.

Natalie: We knew Henry’s powers were going to be crucial in the end run. But this… I assume Xiao wants to use him like a sniffer dog.

Nichole: But without the headpats.

Natalie: Definitely not. I have no idea what he can track that she can’t… Or what the deal is with her scepter marking people with the symbol once they get zapped. She seems pretty good at finding things on her own, but maybe there are facets of Henry’s power that he doesn’t know about yet. Maybe it’s a matter of spying. Making him look back at Nicky, keeping tabs?

Nichole: I don’t know!

Natalie: How would you feel about Bo saving Henry for Nicky, then? Exchange bad rotten boyfriend for good ripe one.

Nichole: I don’t like to think of it like that. But, I do think Bo is in the best position to find Xiao and save Henry.

Natalie: Come on, can’t you think of it a little as Bo trading himself in for a better model boyfriend. It’s right there. He sucks, she needs Henry. This is one thing he can do for her.

Nichole: And I have no doubt he will feel compelled to do it, but it kind of sucks because he’s been manipulated his whole life! I would love for him to get to move on and actually grow up.

Natalie: No. Death is coming. Some people can’t be saved and I like people to admit that. Life isn’t fair. He blew his chance when he was a kid.

Nichole: If life isn’t fair then he should live!

Natalie: Well, lots of shitty people do!

Nichole: He should have to live with his crimes.

Natalie: His crimes aren’t punishable by the real world though. So he must be punished by DEATH.

Nichole: His death makes him a hero. In some ways it’s a best case scenario!

Natalie: Yeah, I’m okay with that. He can redeem himself in death. Just get rid of him, and then Nicky never has to think about him again.

Nichole: Scrunchy. Face. At. You.

Natalie: You’re just mad because you know I’m right.

Nichole: It’s true, but you don’t have to call me out like that.

Natalie: *chanting* kill him kill him kill him… Don’t you love these chats?

Nichole: We really bring the love.

Natalie: And the violence! Next week, some sort of torture for Henry. Delicious.

‘Kung Fu’ airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW. Episodes stream free the next day on The CW website. ‘Kung Fu’ season 1 and 2 are streaming now on HBO Max.