Kung Fu season 1, episode 13 recap – the ending explained

July 22, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Ending Explained, Weekly TV
4

Summary

“Transformation” brings the first season of Kung Fu to a satisfying close while also suggesting there’s much of the story still left to tell.

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4

Summary

“Transformation” brings the first season of Kung Fu to a satisfying close while also suggesting there’s much of the story still left to tell.

This recap of Kung Fu season 1, episode 13, “Transformation”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the Kung Fu ending.


Last week’s penultimate episode of Kung Fu set the stage for a big finale, and “Transformation” does a good job of keeping that episode’s promises with an action-packed climax that still doesn’t neglect the show’s characters, themes, and developing mythology. If nothing else it has the decency to feel like an ending, despite the forthcoming second season and a continuation of a story that ended up far better than it had any right to be.

Anyway, with Nicky and Zhilan both face to face, Kung Fu episode 13 throws a bit of a curveball – they’re going to have to work together, though the decision is kind of made for Nicky since Zhilan reveals she has goons stationed outside of Althea and Dennis’s wedding, which is still going on halfway across the world. Even after putting their brains together, though, Nicky and Zhilan have no real idea how to operate the Forge, or what to do now that its energy is notably absent. Nicky theorizes that sorcerers and their apprentices kept the Forge ticking over with their glowing green energy, but as a safety move, Pei-Ling had raised the alarm about Zhilan’s attack, and the latest guardian of the Forge, Ziqi, had fled, presumably to the ruins of an ancient temple that Nicky vaguely recalls Pei-Ling mentioning.

What I like about the Kung Fu ending is that it finds a way to rope in the entire Shen family, even though they’re many miles apart. There’s a whole chunk of funny stuff at Althea’s wedding when Nicky tries to get a message to her warning her of the men in SUVs outside; Althea is able to call Nicky back and hack into a texting app that allows them to locate the temple using a specific type of flower that used to bloom outside the Forge; Evan and some coppers are able to neutralize the threat to the Shen family based on subtle long-time family codes. It’s fun stuff.

Nicky should have the upper hand, in that case, but the arrival of Russell Tan’s goons complicates matters. Nicky, Henry, and the monks all rally together to defend the monastery and pursue Zhilan, who, along with Tan’s goons, is after Ziqi. Even this chase sequence spares a moment for Nicky to call home and tell Althea to make the best of her wedding. It’s a nice moment in the midst of the climactic action, and it ties up some family business just in time for a long-awaited showdown between Nicky and Zhilan, both of whom, after the death of Ziqi at Russell’s hands, receive half of the Biange energy each. So, not just a showdown, but a sort of superpowered showdown.

Not immediately, though. Kung Fu season 1, episode 13 devotes a good chunk of time to both Nicky and Zhilan roaming through bizarro worlds that both reunite them with Pei-Ling, who explains – mostly for the benefit of the audience – that Biange is a nebulous concept, a lot like the Force, which isn’t strictly good or evil but is integral to everything and everyone; at some point, this hallucination of Pei-Ling takes on a more concrete, though still otherworldly quality for Nicky, who realizes that she’s communing with her real shifu. It’s enough of an incentive for Nicky, who fights Zhilan in a well-choreographed, physics-defying sequence imbued with the tell-tale green glow of Biange. Both pick up and use the ancient weapons, but without their former power, they break and crumble.

What Nicky realizes in the Kung Fu ending is that she has to let Biange go; nobody can possess it, not even her, and so she strikes the force from Zhilan and sends it back to the Earth itself, freeing herself from her rune burns at the same time. Zhilan, defeated, insists Nicky kills her, but she refuses. Instead, Zhilan is arrested, the sword is returned to the monastery, and Nicky and Henry return home.

The end? Not quite. In a flurry of scenes, “Transformation” reveals that Russell Tan is buying up a lot of people, including the D.A., and keeping Kerwin alive. He has also been keeping tabs on a mysterious cousin of Nicky’s, who in the absence of the weapons is apparently “the key to everything”. As Nicky and Henry finally slow down to enjoy a bit of time together, a Biange bloom sprouts from the concrete as they walk by, suggesting this story is far from over.

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