American Born Chinese Season 1 Episode 8 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 24, 2023
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American Born Chinese Season 1 Episode 8 Recap and Ending Explained

This article contains major spoilers for the ending of American Born Chinese Season 1 Episode 8.

American Born Chinese repackages the classic 16th-Century Chinese novel Journey to the West as a contemporary Disney+ series, combining the usual coming-of-age theatrics with Chinese folklore and an all-star line-up of Asian Oscar-winners.

The mythological underpinnings of the series revolve around the journey of Sun Wukong the Monkey King and the accumulation of his knowledge in four scrolls, the fourth of which was believed to be destroyed and lost. In his ascendency to Great Sage, Wukong had a bit of a falling out with Niu Mowang the Bull Demon, who in the present day is leading an uprising against Wukong and his kingdom of heaven.

The setup for American Born Chinese finds Wukong’s son, Wei-Chen, venturing to earth in possession of Wukong’s staff, Jingu Bang, and in pursuit of the missing fourth scroll. He believes that Jin Wang, the child of Chinese immigrants who hates his heritage and just wants to play soccer, is the key to finding the fourth scroll because he had a dream about a crane.

These macro storytelling elements combine with micro ones in the characterization and interpersonal drama, and it all comes to a head in the eighth and final episode, “The Fourth Scroll”, though as is the way of things with streaming shows, the ending is far from conclusive.

American Born Chinese Season 1 Ending

After spending the entire season trying to discover more about the fourth scroll and fend off Mowang’s various attacks, Jin and Wei-Chen, along with Jin’s best friend Anuj, develop a plan to draw out Mowang and the Jingu Bang.

The plan revolves around basically a panto performance, during which Jin cosplays as the Bull Demon to lure him and the Jingu Bang into a trap. Mowang plans to use Jingu Bang to harness the earth’s power as a weapon against Heaven during the autumn equinox.

Mowang falls for it, and the action is mistaken by the onlookers, including the soccer team, Amelia, the school faculty, and Jin’s parents, as part of the performance.

A presumed-dead Wukong returns to join the final fight, which dovetails with the big soccer game in the typical way that a teen show’s high school elements always intertwine with the big picture stuff. It comes right down to the wire, but Jin is able to thwart Mowang’s plan by putting himself between the staff and Heaven.

What is the fourth scroll?

This action reveals that Jin himself is the coveted fourth scroll.

Wukong points this out to Wei-Chen, who shouts it out to Anuj, who screams it out to the entire school, who burst into rapturous – if a little confused – applause.

Wei-Chen raises Jin’s hand to the crowd. He has not only saved Heaven but finally garnered himself some social acceptance and popularity.

However, it isn’t all good news. After Mowong is taken to Heaven to be judged by the Jade Emperor, Jin returns home to find his parents missing, and a woman on his couch telling him that he’ll have to go with her if he wants to see them again.

She says this in Mandarin, though, so Jin needs her to slow it down a little. His Chinese isn’t super good, after all.

Season 2 anyone?

You can stream American Born Chinese Season 1 Episode 8 exclusively on Disney+. Do you have any thoughts on the ending of American Born Chinese Season 1? Let us know in the comments.

Additional reading:

Disney+, Endings Explained, Streaming Service, TV, TV - Ending Explained, TV Recaps
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