The Tiger’s Apprentice (2024) Ending Explained – Is Tom dead or alive?

Tiger’s Apprentice Plot Summary

Tiger’s Apprentice is an American drama film penned by David Magee, Christopher L. Yost, and Laurence Yep. Directed by Raman Hui, with Yong Duk Jhun and Paul Watling, the film is an entertaining fictional drama that delves into the life of Tom and the mystical world his family is associated with. 

The film opens in the late 2000s during the Lunar New Year, and we see  Grandma Lee taking young Tom on a ride during Lunar New Year’s Eve. They encounter demons sent by Ms. Loo, prompting Hu from the Zodiac team to aid her. Unfortunately, Hu suffers a life-threatening injury while protecting Lee and Tom.

The scene cuts to a community high school in San Francisco, where we see Tom struggling to navigate high school life. He is constantly harassed by school bullies and finds himself feeling weak. Tom desperately seeks a way out of this situation, especially as he’s taunted for living in a house that resembles an antique store. 

What happens to Grandma Lee?

Tom’s house was constructed by his grandma, Mrs. Lee, who had to leave China and move to the United States of America. She keeps a low profile, and all she cares about is her grandson Tom. As the story progresses, we understand that she is the Pantheon, the protector of all creatures in the Zodiac.

Grandma is entrusted with the responsibility to safeguard the Power of the Phoenix, which is stored in a pendant she wears around her neck. This power can create or destroy the Zodiac as needed. Because of this, she must protect herself from any mythical attacks.

This is why she stores many pendants and antiques that can be used as weapons when necessary. However, every mythical being knows Mrs. Lee’s location, and she constantly fears being attacked.

Finally, Mrs. Lee’s fear comes true when a horrendous mystical being, whose sole goal is to destroy the Zodiac, attacks her house. An epic battle ensues between Lee and Ms. Loo, resulting in the former’s death. 

Even still, Loo can’t get her hands on the pendant. Hu flees with the coveted pendant to ensure that both Tom and the Power of the Phoenix remain safe.

What does Tom learn about his lineage?

After the death of Grandma Lee, Hu tells Tom the reality of his lineage. Tom learns that his ancestors have been protecting the Power of the Phoenix (the pendant) from endless celestial beings.

Only someone from Grandma Lee’s heritage can become the next Pantheon, and since Tom is the only surviving member of the bloodline, he has to shoulder the responsibility. With things escalating quickly, Tom feels unprepared and unsure, but he soon realizes that he can’t run away from his destiny.

According to tradition, a new Pantheon can only be trained by an older Pantheon. However, with Grandma Lee’s gone, there’s no one who can train Tom. Thus, the Zodiac committee takes matters into their own hands and tries to teach him.

This doesn’t help, as only a Pantheon knows how to unlock the Power of the Phoenix, and none of the Zodiac members can help Tom with that. Nonetheless, they share all their mystical knowledge with him.

What Happens to Loo and Tom?

As the story progresses, we see Tom improving his skills, getting better with each passing day, and coming closer to mastering all the mystical powers. However, he still cannot unlock the Power of the Phoenix. 

We also see Tom engaging in numerous battles as Ms. Loo keeps sending her demons to kill him and obtain the pendant. What she doesn’t anticipate is that these fights are only helping Tom improve as a Pantheon.

Despite constant attacks from Ms. Loo, Tom refuses to give in. On the other hand, all the creatures in the Zodiac realm are slowly getting kidnapped, and no one knows what to do. Everyone suspects that Ms. Loo is behind these kidnappings.

Tom feels he should put an end to it once and for all and infiltrates Loo’s hideout. Therein, Tom meets Rav and is shocked to learn that Loo is Rav’s stepmother. Loo is hell-bent on obtaining the pendant at any cost, building up to a huge climactic bout between Loo and Tom.

Tom tries to defeat Loo with other creatures in tow, but one by one, they are captured by Loo’s mystical umbrella.

Is Tom dead or alive?

The battle intensifies with Loo having the upper hand. Tom remembers his grandmother teaching that if something cannot be won by power, it can be won by love. Realizing he cannot afford to lose the pendant, Tom recombines his thoughts, concentrates his mind, and finally stores the Power of Phoenix in the pendant.

However, his mortal body can’t bear the energy. As Loo tries to touch the pendant, both Tom and Loo are reduced to ashes. This takes us back to the first scene where Grandma Lee has lent Hu half of her soul to bring him back to mortal land after he’s killed.

Hu feels burdened by this favor and believes it is his moral duty to do the same and resurrect Tom. As the episode nears its end, all the creatures come together to send Hu to the eternal realm so he can bring back Tom. In a conversation with the goddess, Hu expresses his desire to share his soul with Tom.

The goddess warns him that it is a risky decision, but Hu is prepared to pay any cost. The goddess shares Hu’s half-soul with Tom and sends them both to the mortal land. The film ends with Tom continuing to hone his expertise in mystical powers.


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