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'Kung Fu' 1.08 Review: Guidance

Kung Fu's midseason return, "Guidance" proves it's worth the fight

Kung Fu -- "Guidance" - Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
(Image: © The CW)

Our Verdict

The series thrives when it comes to relationships with the family, but the story surrounding the ancient weapons is finally getting interesting

For

  • Great twist at the end
  • Powerful performance by Olivia Liang
  • Great and empowering fight scene
  • So many beautiful Asian guest stars
  • More character growth for the villain
  • The story has finally made me care about these ancient weapons

Against

  • Do they want me to start hating Pei-Ling? Cuz I'm starting to not like her.

This post contains spoilers for Kung Fu "Guidance"
Check out our 
last review here. 

With the shocking events from the mid-season finale two weeks ago, we finally have Kung Fu back in with "Guidance," an episode that immediately answers some of our burning questions. Was Pei-Ling who we thought she was? Did she really murder her own father? Who finds Nicky after she is knocked out by Zhilan? What shook Zhilan so much that she allowed Nicky to live? All of these questions were answered in ‘Guidance’. 

We finally get more of a backstory on Pei-Ling and Zhilan’s childhood and just how Zhilan transformed from a sickly child, who was obviously favored by her father, to this cold-hearted, vengeful woman. Pei-Ling fatally stabs their father with the ancient sword their family was sworn to protect in what was obviously an accident and runs away, but Zhilan views this as her sister murdering their father and then abandons her all alone with their dead father’s corpse. I completely understand why Zhilan is traumatized. Pei-Ling left her (estimating) six-year-old sister with THEIR father’s corpse. I would be bitter too. Then, twenty years later, to have Pei-Ling visit her sister on the anniversary of their father’s death and beg Zhilan for forgiveness, only to abandon her again when Zhilan requests for what is also her birthright. It makes even more sense to have Zhilan become obsessed with finding all the weapons. She was living an amazing life before Pei-Ling showed up. The trauma of facing her sister again completely triggered Zhilan to set out to collect all the weapons by any means. I am beginning to sympathize with her even with all the murders she’s committed. I was already Team Zhilan, but this just reinforces it even more. 

Kung Fu -- "Guidance" - Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

(Image credit: The CW)

I’m not too sure what the reason was for Zhilan to allow Nicky to live. She could have easily killed Nicky. Zhilan was shocked by the markings on Nicky’s hands, which reminded her of the ancient scroll her father was attempting to decipher. It could be one of the reasons why Nicky is still alive. Also, I feel like Zhilan knows something about Nicky more than the audiences or even Nicky herself. Maybe they will team up to battle the Tan family, because they really sound like a shady family if Pei-Ling was so scared of Mr. Tan.

Evan, who the series is really trying to get audiences to ship Nicky with--and it’s working--finds Nicky and, at her request, takes her away from everybody to his family cabin. It’s obvious that Nicky and Evan still have feelings for each other. I don’t blame them, especially since they were sitting in the cabin where they obviously have hooked up many, many times in the past. Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of Henry, who confronts Nicky about her feelings for Evan and she doesn’t deny it. It’s hard to not sympathize with Nicky regarding her relationship status. Evan was her first love and only love for MANY years and was only broken apart due to her mother. Henry is this handsome, charming, fit man who anyone could fall in love with. Maybe she really just needs to figure her personal life out first before adding a man to the mix.

Kung Fu -- "Guidance" - Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

(Image credit: The CW)

Although I am not a big fan of side stories that don’t involve the family, "Guidance" does feature brilliant kung fu. It also guest stars martial artist Gary Daniels as the very-Cobra Kai-like sensei for a shady dojo. It was so much fun to watch Nicky battle it out with the sensei; even though he is twice her size, Nicky comes from a line of ancient Guardians and she kicked his butt. There is something satisfying when Nicky defeats a cocky white man who takes advantage of the system of martial arts.

The most surprising twist of the series is the big reveal surrounding Mei-Li’s secret about being descendants of Lin Daiyu, the original owner of the ancient sword. Mei-Li has always known Nicky was the chosen one to protect the ancient weapons, but it makes sense why she would want to hide it from her daughter. She lost her sister Mei-Shui because of Mei-Shu’s obsession with the sword. Mei-Li didn’t want to lose Nicky too. This does change everything for Nicky and her search for the sword. Nicky was initially trying to find the sword for Pei-Ling’s legacy, but now it has become her own. It will be interesting to see how this affects her relationship with her family now. It is interesting to learn that the descendants of the Guardians, so far, consists of sisters--Pei-Ling/Zhilan, Mei-Shui/Mei-Li, and Nicky/Althea. Is this foreshadowing a future estrangement between Nicky and Althea?

Kung Fu -- "Guidance" - Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

(Image credit: The CW)

A highlight from "Guidance" was seeing all the wonderful Asian characters played by actors from the Asian American (and Canadian) community—Ron Yuan, Kelvin Han Yee, and Ludi Lin. It’s just great to see more Asian faces onscreen. Also, the addition of Lin as Kerwin Tan, a potential ally to Zhilan, is very intriguing. It would be nice to see Zhilan develop a partnership with another person and potentially see another side of her character, other than just the murder parts.

"Guidance" was a really great mid-season return. I really enjoyed this episode because it got me excited about the ancient weapons story, which I initially did not care about. But now that the Shen family are tied to the weapons through their own birthright, I’m interested to see where they take the story and how it affects the family in the long run. Also, I’m eager to meet Mei-Shui, if they decide to have her on the show, because it would be great to see more badass Asian women kicking butt.

Of course, I do need to mention loving the subtle Asian nods to our culture with the Chinese rub aka Tiger Balm. We really do rub that on everything.