‘Kung Fu’ 1×06, Season 1, Episode 6, “Rage,” Aired May 12, 2021
In this episode of Kung Fu, the Shens and Henry attempt to pull off a heist in the middle of a gala, Althea is threatened with an NDA, and Ryan has to contend with the possibility that his clinic might shut down.
Mei Li wants to know if Nicky and Henry are dating. Nicky remains cagey on the subject, and so Mei Li takes the first opportunity she can to grill Henry. That first opportunity happens to be at the Reed Gala, an opulent event held at the Reed Museum, where all of the one-percenters eat, drink, and mingle.
Jin has surprised Mei Li with tickets to the gala. Always the cutest, Jin reminds Mei Li that he wasn’t the greatest catch when they first met. A down-on-his-luck waiter, it took meeting Mei Li to whip Jin into shape. Why can’t the same be said about Henry? Despite his storied past, Henry’s impressively managed to land on his feet.
For Ryan, his main concern throughout the episode is finding funding for the clinic. He finds out that not only did his hours get cut, but the clinic is cutting back on hours all over the place. His supervisor, Dr. Chan, tells him that the clinic is running dangerously low on funds. Without money, the clinic may not exist within a week.
Further Biange Developments
Last week, Nicky and Henry discovered one more mystical weapon: a small knife, inlaid with obsidian that glowed green. Through her obsessive research, Nicky finds out that the knife had been buried for over 150 years at a mine in San Cristobal, Bolivia, after a deliberate mine collapse. A British explorer was chasing Li Jiang, one of the biange’s guardian families, desperately wanting to add the dagger to his artifact collection.
- Good news: the dagger is on its way to San Francisco, to make its final resting place the Reed Museum.
- Bad news: Henry’s thief friend, Randall, will be liberating the dagger from the museum and selling it to the highest bidder. Despite resolving to reunite historical artifacts with their rightful owners, Randall’s mission does not include mystical objects. When it comes to mystical objects that have shrouded histories, Randall has no objection to reaping the benefits to fund his more “righteous” mission. (His posh British accent just drips in condescension as he mimics Nicky’s plea to stay true to his supposed repatriation efforts.)
Frustrated at the impasse she’s come across, Nicky visits Evan. I’m not sure why she’s there, but it just so happens to align with Sabine swinging by with tickets to the Reed Gala that weekend. Nicky essentially runs out of Evan’s office to Henry, brimming with excitement. She wants to break into the museum during the gala and steal the dagger before Randall can.
Planning The Heist
Henry is much more realistic than Nicky is about the viability of pulling off a heist during a high security event like the gala. He paces around the room after Nicky proposes the heist, listing off all of the cons, wanting Nicky to take a breath before rushing into such a risky plan. Even when Nicky shows him the incredibly thorough rendering of the museum’s interior that she has drawn, Henry can’t wrap his head around the two of them realistically pulling off the heist.
Disappointed, Nicky leaves. Later that night, she imagines Pei Ling beside her, giving her advice in her soothing, modulated tones. Nicky finally admits, out loud, that she hates Zhilan and that she’s driven to avenge Pei Ling. Her mental dialogue with Pei Ling is interrupted by Ryan, Althea, and then Henry barging into her room.
Henry had told her siblings what Nicky’s plan is but instead of bringing an intervention, they’re actually there to offer their help. What ensues is funny sibling banter:
- Nicky: “I can’t put you guys in danger.”
- Althea: “Oh, we won’t be. You’ll still be the one carrying all the risk.”
- Ryan: “We’ll just be there, assisting you on the sidelines, keeping you from getting arrested.”
Pulling Off The Heist
Cut to the Shens (+Henry and Dennis) glamorously making their entrance into the Reed gala. They all look AMAZING. Immediately, Nicky trips over her heels, Ryan makes cutting remarks about the 1%, and Evan is stunned to see Nicky there. Oh and there’s one more surprise: Jin and Mei Li are there, all swanked out. The Soongs had given the Shens their comp tickets. Althea is shocked. Ryan is uncomfortable. Nicky is terrified. It’s pretty hysterical.
The appearance of Mei Li and Jin throws everyone off their heist plan. Now, Ryan and Althea have to distract their parents, and Henry’s nerves have doubled. Finally, at the end of her rope, Nicky “accidentally” spills red wine on Henry’s shirt, giving the heist team a chance to scurry away and get their mission accomplished.
Henry breaks into the server room to give Althea access, but she notices that the firewall’s already down. She brushes it off, saying it’s probably routine maintenance. Henry makes his way from the server room into the main room, and that’s when Evan confronts Nicky and asks what’s up. “I know when the Shen kids are up to something.” Despite her guilt, she still lies to him, hurrying to make it to the artifact holding room.
Nicky and Henry successfully retrieve the dagger from its box. But before they can leave, they’re confronted by thugs. Henry somehow manages to convince the thugs to put away their guns, and as they reach for zipties, both Nicky and Henry spring into action, in their best dressed. They work in Mr. and Mrs. Smith-tandem style and make their way out, unscathed.
When Nicky emerges from downstairs, to her horror, she sees Jin talking to a stately woman, dressed in white.
It’s Zhilan, posing as Charlotte Yang, a curator from Beijing National Museum. Jin waves Nicky over and introduces her to Charlotte/Zhilan. Charlotte/Zhilan tells the two of them that she flew out here to check out the Reed Museum’s fascinating collection of Chinese art. Specifically, a dagger that was surprisingly discovered in Bolivia.
Zhilan takes the dagger from Nicky, threatening her with all of the personal knowledge she’s collected about Nicky’s family. She walks away, and Nicky, furious, goes after her. Henry tries to stop her, recognizing that something deadly is motivating Nicky. Nicky does not care.
Nicky and Zhilan start fighting outside, looking glorious in their caped jumpsuits. Zhilan attempts to use the dagger against Nicky. She also, in between punches, reveals Pei Ling’s secrets. Zhilan claims that Pei Ling had stolen the sword from the family, murdered their father, and fled to the monastery to hide from her crimes. Nicky can’t believe it. Zhilan does a crazy Shaolin move that paralyzes and dizzies Nicky; she’s ready to go in for the kill, only to stop when she sees Nicky’s hand, still bearing the marks from the sword. Instead of killing Nicky, she just knocks her out.
Henry vs. Evan Week 6
YES, Evan is finally pulling his weight. Despite Henry pulling ahead just by a little bit in terms of romantic entanglement — he’s in the process of getting the Shens’ approval! — when it comes to character development, Evan’s more interesting than Henry this week.
Evan barely made an appearance in the last two episodes, and when he did, he was in full District Attorney gear. In “Rage”, we see more Evan-as-a-human. He reminisces a little bit about the trouble that all the Shen kids used to get into, he proves how much he knows about Nicky, and Gavin Stenhouse proves once again that he does indeed have chemistry with Olivia Liang.
Good Deed of the Week: Althea Must Choose
Again, this week’s episode didn’t provide a subplot of Nicky helping someone in need. However, Althea’s storyline could qualify for that position.
Althea is surprise-ambushed by an attorney from Cloudrush Capital at the end of a successful shopping trip. After first thanking Althea for her discretion when it came to Chase, he quickly reveals the real reason he’s there. To offer her an NDA as well as a $300,000 “thank you” compensation. When Althea scoffs and tells him absolutely not, the attorney warns her that her refusal to sign can have rippling effects on everyone she knows — especially on the Soongs, who were angel investors in Cloudrush.
Throughout the episode, Althea wavers. She doesn’t want to be responsible for ripping away Dennis’ comforts and luxuries or the Soongs’ impressive social equity. Despite Dennis reassuring her that he would love her even if they couldn’t maintain their wealth, he inadvertently shows just how much impact his family can provide others. At the gala, the mother of a patient over-effusively thanks Dennis and his family; the Soongs had paid for the creation of an oncology ward, and because of them, her daughter was able to fully recover.
Althea makes up her mind: she’ll sign the NDA and take the proffered bribe. However, she is determined to be silenced on her terms. She tells the attorney that she will accept $500,000, that she expects the check to be made out to the Chinese Community Center Medical Clinic, and that no one at Cloudrush Capital can ever contact her again.
Nicky’s Jacket of the Week
A thick, woolen A line red jacket. I would almost call the jacket bell-shaped.
The revelation of Pei Ling being on the wrong side of the myth is shocking. I kinda love it, though. Protagonist discovering that they have been under the spell of the actual villain, and fighting their way to the correct side? One of my favorite tropes. Especially when such realizations come stacked with amazing fight sequences.
These tantalizing insights into Zhilan are fabulous. Does she regularly go undercover as Charlotte Yang? What other personas does she have in her pocket? Do you think Zhilan and Lara Croft exist in the same timeline? I have so many questions!
Back to the episode: I’m glad Nicky was called out for her single-minded revenge plot. Despite her ability to effectively charm everyone around her, she has a tendency to use people to further her agenda. (That isn’t necessarily a bad trait.) I’m thrilled that the showrunners decided not to turn all of the characters into doormats, because plot and character development get interesting when there’s obstacles.
Best Quotes of the Episode
“Rage” was chock full of great quotes from the characters.
- “I preserve and repatriate real history. Mystical gewgaws, selling those off to some rich sucker will help fund my more ‘righteous’ mission operations for a long time to come.” — Randall
- “You have 6 smiles, Nicky Shen, and that’s your phoniest one.” — Evan
- “You went all quiet on me.” “I’m sorry, Nicky, you just pitched pulling off a heist at a museum. I’m going to need a minute.” — Nicky and Henry, respectively
- “If anger drives you, if what you feel is rage, you can only feel. I have told you, Nicky, about the difference between justice and revenge.” — Pei Ling
- “I know when the Shen kids are up to something.” — Evan
- “I thought you were dead. You were given a second chance. Take it. Stop fighting a dead Shifu’s battles.” — Zhilan
- “Go back to Harvard, you little monk. You’re not cut out for this.” — Zhilan
Tune into Kung Fu every Wednesday at 8/7c on The CW.