Nicky was forced to deal with her grief on Kung Fu Season 1 Episode 2.
A superb follow-up to a strong premiere, Kung Fu gets Nicky to evolve in more ways than one.
She got her physical and mental state tested multiple times throughout the hour, and the results were lovely.
Nicky did a lot of training this time around, both mental and physical. I think this shows how she is trying to improve herself, especially her mental state.
Meditation was a big theme. Nicky meditated to deal with her grief, her new issues with her mom, and the fight she had with Althea.
I think she showed emotional evolution because previously, she had not dealt with her grief. Taking the time and communicating to herself that she was not acceptable was a big step.
She also told Althea the truth about everything about the attack instead of continuing her lie. The confession allowed her to face her grief head-on instead of pushing it underneath her rigid walls.
Nicky didn't have much with Ryan. The family development was mainly with Althea, which paid off. Althea's bit of anger concerning Nicky leaving finally came to the surface, and Nicky had to clear things up with her. The moments they had together made them seem like genuine sisters.
I'm glad that everyone's feelings were brought to the forefront -- including Nicky's.
Mei-Li still had some underlying issues with Nicky. She didn't have faith that Nicky was going to stay. The tension between mother and daughter still ran high.
Mei-Li: He waited for you.
Nicky: I know mama, I just forgot, that's all.
Mei-Li: I didn't just mean tonight.
It's hard to trust a family member when they hurt you. Nicky damaged her relationship with her mom, and they both need to deal with the emotions that come with recovery. They touched on these emotions, with implications that we will get a lot more of their dynamic and emotional evolution appearing in the future.
Jin and Nicky had a touching moment in the end, and I think that their father-daughter relationship picked up where they left off before she went off to China.
Nicky made a lot of improvement with her suppressed feelings. I think the writers have thrown her into very intense situations, and the way they are portraying her mental turmoil is not something often talked about on action-heavy shows like these.
Speaking of action, badass kung fu was finally on the table. Nicky took on a challenging case involving a girl kicked out of her house by her mother's abusive boyfriend.
Nicky used her kung fu skills and her pre-law knowledge to help the girl and her mother. She had some tough battles with men around twice her size, and she managed them quickly.
The action, honestly, is starting to look cheesy to me. The use of the early 2000s slow-motion action trope isn't needed and makes the kung fu scenes much less believable.
I hope that the action sequences improve or at least lose the silly slow-motion bit. The action pushed the limits of believability this time around.
The one upside to the action within the segment was that we finally saw her train. She hadn't trained since the attack at the monastery.
The emotional beats within the case were steady and were on track with the weight of Kung Fu Season 1 Episode 1. Nicky has a strong heart and will to protect whoever she can.
Her drive to protect puts her in danger, and the show will have to deal with the consequences of her vigilant justice sooner or later.
I'm glad that the cases she takes on affect her in different ways and help her grow. The growth she has experienced so far has been fascinating to watch.
Nicky: Ronda and Carmen are filing that restraining order. If you ever mess with them again, you'll be arrested. And if the cops don't get you... got it?
Derek: Got it.
Nicky: Now, like I said, that money is stolen and I'm taking it back. My rules, darling.
Also, seeing her take down bad guys has been a lot of fun.
Nicky saw Pei-Ling in a vision again. It seems that Pei-Ling is becoming a kind of spirit guide to Nicky, which is beautiful. However, I cannot help but wonder how healthy seeing her dead Shifu can be for her mental state.
She witnessed her die, which already had to be tough. Now her dead mentor is coming to her in visions. Yes, she is there to help her, but it cannot be easy to see a dead person constantly.
The visions of her Shifu stem from the grief, as mentioned earlier, that she is still handling. She still hasn't told any family but Althea. Althea told Ryan, but she still kept the secret from her parents about what happened at the monastery.
Nicky: I miss you. It's been so hard finding the quiet within because I've been too scared.
Pei-Ling: Scared of what my child?
Nicky: Of feeling it. My grief for you.
Pei-Ling: Are you scared now?
Nicky: Not of that. Not anymore.
Telling her parents the truth will help her current situation with her mother and strengthen her bond with her father. They all need to hear the truth to heal as a family.
I love seeing Tzi Ma on screen in anything he does, but his development in Kung Fu is stunning. His performance is transcendent, and he dazzles with the rest of the cast on screen. He seriously is a gem of an actor, and I am so happy to see him shine.
Shannon Dang was equally as impressive. Althea gets more complex, and she's acing the role so far.
Althea: I should've known there was more to the story.
Nicky: I'm sorry. Today was supposed to be about you! Picking out dresses.
Althea: Ugh. If anything had happened to you! Why didn't you tell us?
Nicky: I couldn't! How do you think mom would've taken it?
Althea: Really bad!
Olivia Liang is continuing her excellent turn in the starring role. Everything from her small nuances to the powerful speeches, she was incredible. I hope that never stops.
Everyone else in the supporting cast is holding their own, and they portray a stable ensemble for a teen drama.
Even though this round was not as solid as the premiere, it still managed to hold my attention and keep me engaged with the characters. The twist (Pei-Ling and Zhilan were SISTERS?) was a shocker and well-earned, forwarding the overarching storyline along.
However, despite that great twist, the continuing storyline was lacking. I wish we had more from the Zhilan mystery, and it was a letdown when there were only a few minutes.
Overall though, the episode was a solid second outing, and I'm excited to see what comes of these characters in the future.
They also seem to be pushing Evan away from having a lot of screentime, which is disappointing because he's so dreamy. I hope we see him more often because I think he adds an interesting dynamic to Nicky's life.
So, Kung Fu Fanatics! What did you think of the episode?
Were you satisfied with the sister twist?
Please let us know how you feel in the comments!
Remember, if you need a rewatch, you can watch Kung Fu online right here!