What to Watch Verdict
This action-packed had everything we wanted - fighting and family
💥The Shens working together on a heist!
💥The multiple fight choreography
💥Give Evan his time to shine, CW!
This post contains spoilers for Kung Fu "Rage"
Check out our last review here.
What a way to end the middle of the season!
Kung Fu’s midseason finale, "Rage", aired tonight with a really fun and action-packed episode. In what appears to be a heist-centered episode, Nicky (Olivia Liang) and Henry (Eddie Liu) find out one of the ancient weapons will be held at their local museum. With the help of her siblings and Henry, Nicky is determined to steal the ancient Chinese dagger during a special gala being held that night, like Nic Cage and the Declaration of Independence. As wild as Nicky’s plans to steal the dagger was, it’s refreshing to see the series giving the fans what they want - more Shen family interaction. Given Althea’s (Shannon Dang) smarts and Ryan’s (Jon Prasida) quick wit, Henry and Nicky should be able to bypass all the security in order to access the item. Simple enough, right?
Unfortunately for them, Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) was also on the hunt for this dagger and was able to intercept it, which is great for us because at long last, we got to finally see Nicky and Zhilan interact again. In the most villainous entrance conceivable, Nicky finds her unknowing father at the gala talking to Zhilan. Posing as a curator for the Beijing National Museum, Zhilan was able to charm her way into learning all about Nicky and her family’s life - including the location of the family’s restaurant. Alone with Nicky, Zhilan is able to retrieve the dagger and leave without anyone getting hurt. But, for Nicky, the episode lived up to its title, leaving our hero seeing red. Liang’s face during the entire interaction was menacing and I felt the rage shooting through the screen. The fight between Zhilan and Nicky was bound to happen and I’m so glad it did. In one of the most anticipated battles that audiences have been waiting for, Nicky and Zhilan finally battle it out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style. During this battle, Zhilan dropped some shocking information about Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai) - Pei-Ling killed her own father and stole the sword from her family! Now this is a CW drama.
It seems like Nicky and Zhilan have something in common: the rage for revenge. Zhilan seeking justice for what Pei-Ling did to their father and Nicky seeking justice for her fallen sifu. It would be interesting to see how Nicky will process this new information and how she will move forward with her life. There were so many questions that popped up during this episode between Zhilan and Nicky. With the big reveal about Pei-Ling, would this mean she’s the bad guy? Maybe their father was an evil Guardian? If Zhilan wasn’t the bad guy, then why did she kill Dr. Chau who wanted to help her find the weapons? Give us the answers already!
"Rage" also highlights more of the cultural nuances from many Asian American families - specifically, the passive aggressiveness of Chinese mothers. Throughout the episode, Mei-Li (Kheng Hua Tan) questions Henry’s career path and his past. She is extremely friendly towards him and Nicky, but makes these passing comments regarding his future that sound like an insult with a smile. Of course, Jin (Tzi Ma) is there to be the voice of reason, proving that the elder Shen couple are the best couple in the series.
Althea’s situation with her former boss seems to be heightened during this episode with a lawyer presenting Althea with an NDA in order to keep her silent. With many men in power, an NDA is offered with a large sum of money that is difficult to turn down, especially with threats of litigation that could bury the victim if they were to come out. The situation is tense, but I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this story because it does get a bit triggering and traumatizing sometimes, especially with spotlights being shone on male toxicity in the workplace more these days.
I was hoping "Rage" would be time for Evan (Gavin Stenhouse) to shine past his ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ position in this episode, but we do begin to see the cracks in his relationship with Nicky. Since her return, Nicky hasn’t really spent any time with her former flame other than to ask him for favors. As much as I like Nicky, you begin to feel bad for the guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one to find Nicky knocked out in the back and tending to her. Maybe it’s time to move on completely, Evan.
Overall, this was the best episode of the season in regard to the family coming together to help Nicky and the multiple fight scenes - Nicky training; Nicky and Henry fighting the thugs in the basement; and, Nicky’s battle with Zhilan. We’ve been waiting since the pilot for the showdown between Nicky and Zhilan and it didn’t disappoint. I’m looking forward to Nicky processing her pain with the new info and begin to prepare for another round with Zhilan.
Laura Sirikul is a freelance writer, researcher, and managing editor of The Nerds of Color. Throughout her career, she has written for Nerd Reactor, What To Watch, Nerdist, IGN, Movie View Magazine, Red Carpet Report, Mental Floss, Trek News, The Hollywood Reporter, Character Media, Bitch Media, and many other outlets. She has been on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Nerdist's Fangirls, and many other news shows. For almost ten years, she has covered film and television extensively along with in-depth interviews with major studios such as Disney, WB, and FOX. She is also a member of the Asian American Journalist Association and the Hollywood Critics Association. Apart from addressing topics covering film and television, Laura is a strong advocate for social awareness for the underrepresented in the entertainment industry.
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