Kung Fu – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

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Episode 3 of Kung Fu begins with Nicky sparring with Henry. Midway through training though, Nicky breaks the fight up to spill some exposition.

Professor Chau has gone missing in Singapore and they know Zhilan is behind this. As they turn their attention back to fighting (and flirting),  Evan shows up. He’s tracked down Zhilan’s location and police are en-route now.

Cut across to Singapore and police cars rock up with English lettering on the side. Come on guys, at least try to make it realistic! Anyway, the officers enter the hotel room (speaking English) and realize Zhilan has gone.

Zhilan is actually with the Professor, kept hostage and with demands that he spills details about the mythical weapons. Chau knows who she is, and realizes the girl is part of the sacred families. He refuses to let her anything and instead asks her to bring him a coffee.

Back in America, Nicky helps out around the restaurant. With her family busy, she winds up befriending a girl called Faye. She’s organizing workers to rally and unionize against a fashion designer called King Kwong.

Nicky is a little distracted though, especially when she shows up with Henry to Chau’s office. Inside, they find a box with the crane insignia on the front. Snatching this up for themselves, the pair head out into the hallway. As they arrive, they notice Faye taken away on a stretcher after fainting.

Faye is desperate get the union off the ground but given she has no sick pay coverage, Nicky decides to jump in and help.

Nicky shows up to see Kwong at his fashion event. He refuses to answer her questions and instead turns her attention to his right hand man Brad. He enthusiastically tells her that he supports Faye. They definitely won’t be firing her.

As Nicky keeps digging, she learns that Kwong’s factory has been exposing Faye to dangerous toxins. Could this be the same for all the other workers?

Althea gets cold feet though and bolts, leaving Nicky all alone. She’s confronted by a journalist on the way out the door though, a woman pressing Althea for answers regarding what her boss did to her. We’re not explicitly told but it is heavily implied that this is linked to sexual abuse.

Nicky heads backstage and notices documents confirming that Faye was being sabotaged by Kwong’s right hand man, Brett. He was also responsible for Faye’s poisoning too.

When Brett finds out, he traps Nicky in the storage room. With his right-hand man inbound, Nicky uses her skills to break the door open.

Nicky thwarts the threat of this single gunman and goes on the hunt for Brett. Eventually she gets him talking, where he admits to everything he’s done. Only, Nicky happens to be recording this whole conversation! This is enough for the police to get involved and have Brett arrested.

As the case is wrapped up, Evan’s jealousy gets the better of him and he decides to call in a favour to investigate Henry. Meanwhile, Nicky uses her photographic memory to break into the crane box (and subsequent puzzle box inside) with Henry. As they crack the combination, the uncover a key. Now they need to figure out what this unlocks. Any clues?

The Episode Review

Kung Fu returns with another formulaic dose of teen drama, complete with minimal martial arts and some pretty contrived drama.

The sloppy inclusion of Singapore with English words and writing all over the place just feels really lazy. And that is ultimately the biggest problem with Kung Fu.

This show just doesn’t have many redeeming features and given the sheer wealth of excellent Asian content on TV, this one pales in comparison.

In fact, the biggest issue I have with the show, beyond the cheesy script and formulaic plot, is actually the music. The decision to include bass or pop-orientated tracks over the top of these fights completely discredits martial arts.

Maybe it’s just me but I can’t help but feel orchestral music, complete with pulsating drums and some shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar) would really help elevate the material.

Then again, this is a CW show so perhaps it’s best we don’t get our hopes up too much with this one!

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