‘Kung Fu’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 9 “Isolation”


In this week’s episode of Kung Fu, Nicky learns some difficult truths about Mei-Xue as she, Henry, and Evan go on the world’s most awkward road trip searching for her. Althea is faced with a tough choice about her NDA, and Mei-Li and Jin continue to work on their relationship. Read on to find out what happened in “Isolation”!

Nicky starts going through Mei-Xue’s box with Mei-Li, trying to figure out if anything inside is important. Nicky wants to know more about her aunt, but Mei-Li tells Nicky to just read the letters Mei-Xue sent home, which became increasingly incoherent before stopping completely. This is why Mei-Li didn’t want Nicky to follow Mei-Xue.

Nicky regroups with Henry to make a new plan to stop Zhilan. Nicky thinks finding Mei-Xue is the key to getting ahead of Zhilan, and they look at Mei-Xue’s last letter that arrived with a red panda figurine. The letter is mostly nonsense, but a line about a fringe jacket rings a bell for Henry. When he was searching message boards he found a post from Professor Chau mentioning a woman in a fringe jacket searching for the weapons in the 1980s and 90s. Henry also found an alias for the woman: Sandra Yang.

At the restaurant, Mei-Li and Jin awkwardly reunite. Mei-Li asks if they should talk, and Jin says he needs time as he preps for the lunch rush. Zhilan and Kerwin Tan lay in bed together discussing Zhilan’s past (that escalated quickly!). She shares that after a childhood of surgeries, she’s used to pain. He asks if that’s where her anger comes from, and she says that comes from betrayal. She notices scars on his arm that he claims are from a car accident as he insists they get back to reading the scroll. She’s disappointed as he walks away.

Evan pulled records about Sandra Yang, finding that she entered Canada and vanished 20 years ago. Nicky realizes that the date on her last letter is after her entry date and knows there must be a clue to her location inside. Nicky finds a small town in Canada that sells the red panda figurines and realizes Mei-Xue sent this on purpose. It’s time for a road trip, and Evan invites himself along when he realizes Henry is accompanying Nicky. Mei-Li is worried about Nicky going to Canada, but Nicky tells her if this is her path, she needs to know what happened to Mei-Xue.

Zhilan and Kerwin continue to search the scroll for clues, with Zhilan suggesting Kerwin call his father. Kerwin refuses, and Zhilan is angry that after she translated the scrolls, Kerwin isn’t willing to take the next step. He menacingly tells her calling his father isn’t an option. Zhilan holds his wrist and asks if his father was the one to give him those scars. Kerwin steps back in shock.

Evan packs the car, with a text from Sabine confirming she’s moved out of their apartment. Nicky and Henry approach, and all three get in the car for what is proving to be a tension filled trip. Ryan accompanies Althea to her women-in-tech seminar, where she tells him she wants to give back in a way she couldn’t when she worked full-time. He wants to stay due to his boredom with Joe away at a conference, but Althea encourages him to just enjoy his time alone as she shoos him out. A student named Courtney excitedly rushes up to Althea to talk about new changes in tech, and Althea is thrown by terms she hasn’t heard. It knocks her confidence, but she begins the seminar anyway.

Kerwin shares his childhood trauma with Zhilan. One night, his father gathered his three siblings together and ranked them, with Kerwin ranking last despite doing everything his father wanted. Apparently, his father wanted him to push back and find himself, and not doing so was a sign of weakness. Kerwin drunkenly drove home and got into a car accident, crushing his hand and giving him the scars. Kerwin says the only reason he’s working with Zhilan is to see what his father’s face will look like when he achieves what his father couldn’t. Zhilan shows him the weapons she already has, asking him what else he hasn’t been telling her.

In the car, Evan turns on Dua Lipa to keep Henry awake as he drives, making both Henry and Nicky laugh as he dances along. The next morning, the trio arrive at their destination. While Henry and Evan understandably want to use records to find Mei-Xue, Nicky gets a gut feeling about where she is. The two follow her to a local bar. They ask the bartender about Mei-Xue, but she doesn’t have any information about her. She does point them in the direction of Hank, a local whose father Duke used to own the bar. Nicky tries to talk to Hank to get to Duke, who Hank shares is dead to him. When another pool player tries to get Nicky to leave, Evan steps in and gets punched for his trouble. Nicky takes over, and she and Henry tag team the other men. Evan even gets a shot in before Hank relents and gives them Duke’s address.

Courtney and Althea go out for a chat. Even though Althea didn’t do as well as she hoped with her presentation, Courtney says she’s brilliant and asks for advice about job offers — including one at Althea’s old firm. Althea diplomatically tells her she doesn’t think Courtney would flourish there, sighing with relief when Courtney says it’s off her list. Meanwhile, Ryan dances around the house enjoying the temporarily single life as Althea catches him. Her phone pings with a text from Courtney — she took the job with Chase after all because of the benefits, not understanding the full context of why Althea wanted her to stay away. Ryan asks if she’s okay as Althea stands still, shocked. Althea and Ryan talk about what to do about the NDA and Courtney. She doesn’t want this to happen again and needs to warn Courtney. But she realizes she needs to tell Dennis first.

Zhilan and Kerwin compare notes. Kerwin’s father has three weapons, making six between the two of them. Kerwin says it won’t be easy to get the weapons from his father, but he can when the time is right. He asks why it’s so important to summon Biange with the weapons, and she says it’s to ensure no one can betray her again by gaining power. Kerwin shares that his father has poured money into an archaeological dig in Myanmar, and a weapon must be there. He wants to go there with Zhilan and steal it from his father.

At Duke’s cabin, Nicky spots a red panda statue. They split up to look for Duke, and Nicky notices a carving of a woman. Duke points a gun at Nicky, and she pulls out the red panda statue. She tells him about Mei-Xue, and he lowers the gun. He raises it again when Evan and Henry emerge, but Nicky tells them to wait in the car. Duke wants proof she is really Mei-Xue’s niece, and Nicky calls Mei-Li. She asks Mei-Li to tell her about Mei-Xue and what she was really like. It convinces Duke as Mei-Li calls Mei-Xue her hero. She cries, and Jin comforts her.

Duke tells her how he met Mei-Xue after she rescued him after an accident. She visited him for years, but never shared where she lived. He almost found her, but she discovered him, and they haven’t seen each other since. Duke gives her directions and adds that he thinks she should go alone. Evan and Henry are antsy waiting for her and find Duke, who tells them Nicky went looking for Mei-Xue following his directions.

Henry wants to go after Nicky, but Evan reassures him. He says he and Nicky used to go camping all the time, and she knows how to handle herself (likely better than Henry.) In the forest, Nicky finds herself facing a wolf as she gets closer, and it drags away her backpack as she twists her ankle. She splints it herself and continues on. Henry and Evan continue bonding while waiting for Nicky. They both note how Nicky is independent and really doesn’t need their help, laughing. Evan shares that he broke up with Sabine and that Nicky doesn’t know yet. Henry says that in the end, it’s Nicky’s choice whether to be with Evan or Henry.

Nicky is chased through the woods by the wolf, but it is caught in a trap. Nicky frees it, falling asleep until the morning. When she wakes up, Nicky is caught in a shower of plum blossoms — Mei-Xue’s favorite flower. Nicky follows the blossoms to a deserted cabin. Inside, Nicky sees a picture of Mei-Xue and Mei-Li. Pei-Ling appears to her again and helps Nicky find a chest in the main room containing tapes of Mei-Xue talking, warning everyone about the power of the weapons and telling the listener that there’s more to find even if her journey is at an end. Nicky rushes outside to the plum blossom tree and finds a grave beneath it. It’s Mei-Xue’s, and Nicky wonders aloud who buried her.

Nicky makes her way back to the car and wakes up Evan and Henry, telling them what happened. As they drive home, Nicky listens to Mei-Xue tell her to not make this journey alone as we see Althea tell Dennis the truth while Jin and Mei-Li make up. Nicky tells Mei-Li what happened to Mei-Xue as they hug, Mei-Xue advising whoever is listening not to fight this battle alone.

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

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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