Recap: Nicky Learns to Slow Down in ‘Kung Fu’ Season 1, Episode 3 “Patience”

16 Min Read
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This week on Kung Fu, Nicky must learn to reestablish her old relationships as she involves herself in a labor dispute. Althea’s past comes back to haunt her as Mei-Li and Jin confront their different ways of handling stress. Read on to see what happened when Nicky was forced to learn some patience …

The episode opens with Nicky and Henry sparring as they wait for news about Professor Chau. Nicky is distracted, and Henry jokingly calls her moves “sloppy” right before she slams him into the ground. Just then, Evan shows up. Nicky introduces them, and Henry and Evan instantly get into a “who knows Nicky better” contest that Nicky breaks up with an eyeroll. Turns out Evan has a lead on Zhilan, showing Nicky surveillance footage of Zhilan in Singapore. The footage shows Zhilan kidnapping Chau, and Evan tells Nicky to let the FBI handle it. She kidnapped an American citizen, and she’s on their radar now.

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In Singapore, the FBI arrives to find that Zhilan purposely left her phone in an empty apartment and she’s already gone with Chau. In her luxury suite far away, Chau is tied to a chair as he asks her what she wants. Zhilan says she wants to know everything about the Shuang Gou legend. He tries to deflect, but she tells him she’s been watching him. Zhilan says she knows about his secret research and that he knows where the Shuang Gou is — and she’s about to torture him to find out.

Back at the restaurant, Nicky is helping out (to her father’s delight). He asks her what her plans are now that she’s back, and Mei-Li not-so-subtly notes that they’re catering a celebration for the birth of a baby whose mother is a year younger than Nicky. Mei-Li doesn’t want Nicky to help because of her past mishaps, which is made even more hilarious when Nicky pulls the door off “Jerry” the fridge because she didn’t read the sign saying to open “him” gently. As everyone rushes off, Nicky feels left out. She feels even worse when she gets a text from Evan saying Zhilan and Chau are gone. Pei-Ling arrives in Nicky’s mind again, with Nicky angrily saying making peace with her family is harder than she thought it would be. Pei-Ling says she needs to have patience and earn forgiveness.

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At the clinic, Nicky tries to get lunch with Ryan like they used to before. But Ryan is backed up with patients, and their usual restaurant closed a year ago. He tells her it’s not personal and he just can’t, but Nicky definitely takes it personally. Nicky notices one of his patients, Faye, struggling with a bag. She helps Faye, and Faye gushes about how amazing Ryan is in the community and with his patients. The bag she’s struggling with has lists of union members. She’s organizing the workers at King Kwong, a local garment factory that sells luxury fashion while paying the workers nothing. Faye needs to rest because of her condition but can’t because she doesn’t have paid sick days (hence, the union). As she walks away, Henry texts to tell Nicky that Chau’s TA is willing to talk.

While Nicky and Evan wait for the TA, Henry asks what’s up with Evan. Nicky gives him the basic situation, and it’s clear he’s fishing for whether he’s still a potential rival or not. Nicky’s impatience once again rears its head as she wants to kick down the door to meet with the TA, but Henry tells her he’s got a better idea as he picks the lock to the office instead.

In Singapore, Chau asks why Zhilan wants the weapons, and she doesn’t say. He says he knows who she is and who her family is, even mentioning Pei-Ling. He also says he knows that their father was murdered when she was young. He says he has no incentive to speak because she will kill him regardless, and she just stares him down.

Back at Berkeley, Nicky and Henry search Chau’s office. Nicky finds a drawer with a false bottom containing an ancient puzzle box. The box has a symbol of a crane — the symbol of the Zhang family found on Zhilan’s necklace. They bring the box back to the community center, and Nicky sees Faye being brought out on a stretcher. Nick visits Faye in the hospital, and all Faye is worried about is getting back to work. She needs to see the union through. Nicky says she’ll carry on the fight for her.

At the restaurant, Althea gets another call from an unknown number that clearly worries her. Jin notices and asks what’s wrong. She brushes him off as he tries to fix Jerry, failing again as Mei-Li enters. Althea offers to pay for a new one, and Mei-Li refuses the offer even as Jin notes that it will cost just as much to call the repair company. Althea gets a call from Nicky, who’s looking for Ryan. Althea tells her Ryan is out for the night and not to go after him, but she can’t even get the request out before Nicky hangs up.

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At the bar, Nicky storms in and asks why Ryan is too busy to return her texts. She’s about to berate him for drinking alone … until Ryan’s date Joe shows up. She’s embarrassed, but she tells Ryan that Faye is in the hospital. She asks him to do something, and Ryan bitterly says he does something every day for his patients (the “unlike you” is left unsaid), but the system is stacked against him. He also notes that as a doctor, labor law isn’t really his forte. Joe overhears the name of the fashion brand, and he tells Nicky that the founder, Eddie, is publicly “woke” and wouldn’t want a scandal about labor practices. He says that’s her leverage to ask for help for the workers. Being an activist, Joe knows that King Kwong is throwing a party and that Eddie may be there. Nicky sheepishly apologizes again for breaking up their date and leaves to go to the party, with Joe telling Ryan he likes her. Nicky asks for Althea’s help getting into the party, and Althea is in as long as she also gets to go.

Zhilan asks why Chau never tried looking for the weapons himself since he knows the location, and he says the location is too inaccessible for him to try. Zhilan sympathizes, saying it must be devastating to devote your life’s work to something you can never see with your own eyes. Zhilan shows him the sword, proving that the myth is real and that he was right. She’s offering him a path to redemption if he wants it.

Back at King Kwong, Nicky and Althea arrive to a massive party. As Eddie arrives, Althea asks what Nicky’s plan is as Nicky simply forces her way towards Eddie. She tells Eddie about Faye’s predicament, and he tells her that they’d never fire “Faith” just for getting sick. It’s clear he’s completely out of touch with what’s happening in the factory. When the COO, Brett, comes over to chat, Eddie pawns Nicky off on him and leaves. She tells him that she knows Faye must not be his favorite employee because of her union work, and Brett says he helped Faye get her petition through with the NLRB and that his father was a union man himself. Nicky is surprised Brett seems to care. Eddie pulls Brett up on stage to announce that the company is going public. As the celebration breaks out around them, Ryan calls. The hospital labs came back showing that Faye is sick because of chemicals she was exposed to at work. The levels are so high that it’s clear the company is exposing all its workers, not just Faye.

Althea begs Nicky to slow down as she goes to confront Eddie directly. Althea says they need proof and that Eddie won’t just admit to labor violations with cameras on him. The factory is next door, and Nicky wants to break in to get a sample of the chemical. Althea sees a woman talking to Brett who she clearly recognizes. The woman starts moving towards Althea, and she drags Nicky away claiming she has a headache to avoid her. Nicky is frustrated at what she perceives to be Althea’s lack of interest in helping, and Althea runs as Nicky heads to the factory.

It turns out the woman is a reporter, who tells Althea she wants to tell Althea’s story about what happened to her. Althea says it was too painful and she doesn’t want to relive it. She says no one in her life knows what happened. The reporter says her former boss did this to other women, and he might do it again. But Althea tells her to leave her alone as she walks out in tears.

Chau tells Zhilan that Dahliar Ahmusfad has the hook swords at his palace in Dubai but is unaware of their place among the eight weapons. He also tells her he noticed that her sword is missing its scabbard and that its power is diminished without it. She asks if he knows where it is, and he says he doesn’t. She sighs with relief, saying if he had, she would have made a big mistake. The coffee she gave Chau was poisoned.

At the factory, Nicky calls Faye. She asks where the chemicals are, and Faye says she doesn’t think she could have been exposed at work because she’s the only one getting sick. The call disconnects as Nicky sees a locked door. Inside, she finds a bin of materials to be shredded. It’s all of Faye’s signatures and union materials. Brett arrives, and Nicky realizes he’s purposely been sabotaging the union by pretending to be Faye’s ally. Brett panics and locks Nicky in the room. As she bangs on the door, he calls someone, telling them he needs them to “clean it up.”

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Nicky thinks of Pei-Ling’s teachings as she tries to break down the door. Pei-Ling tells her not to think of the reward and be in the present, instead of being impatient for the future. With that, she breaks open the door and takes down the hitman Brett sent. She calls Evan, who tells her to stay put until the police come. But she sees the hitman’s phone and has an idea. She stalks Brett around the party and gets him to admit everything (including that Eddie knew nothing) as she broadcasts it. The police arrive and arrest Brett as everyone stares.

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In Zhilan’s apartment, a news anchor narrates that several priceless artifacts were stolen in Dubai as Zhilan places the hook swords in her weapons cabinet. At the community center, Nicky tells Ryan they’re fast tracking the union as Ryan tells Nicky that Faye is getting better (and that the company is covering her medical bills). He says that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for her. Nicky apologizes for rushing him to get back to their old relationship. She says he’s a hero, and she didn’t see it because she was thinking of the Ryan she left behind. She even gives Ryan the limited edition King Kwong sneakers Eddie gave her. Nicky mourns as she realizes she already wore hers when Ryan excitedly tells her they are worth over a thousand dollars in mint condition.

Mei-Li still refuses to get a new fridge even as they pay a fortune to fix Jerry, and Jin asks her what’s going on. He sees the way she pushes Nicky away despite how hard she’s trying, and yet she will put all her time and energy into fixing a fridge that should have been replaced years ago. He says their family is hurting — why is she pouring her energy into a thing? He walks away, and Mei-Li whispers “it’s not a thing” as she puts the baby pictures back on the fridge. Nicky arrives to help, and Mei-Li hides her tears.

Ryan goes on his “do over date “with Joe as Evan texts Nicky about the break in at Chau’s office, asking if she knows about it. She doesn’t answer, but we see that Evan can see Henry and Nicky on the surveillance footage as Evan asks a friend to look into Henry’s past. Nicky meets up with Henry, who is trying to crack the puzzle box. Nicky uses the right combination, and it opens to reveal a key. But what does it open?

Kung Fu airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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By Jules
I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.
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