‘Kung Fu’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 12 “Sacrifice”

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In this week’s episode of Kung Fu, the final clues fall into place as both Nicky and Zhilan search for the Forge. Love confessions are made (in vastly different circumstances) and Althea prepares for her wedding by attempting to please her grandmother Po Po — who might be the key to Nicky’s quest. Read on to find out what happened in “Sacrifice,” the penultimate episode of season 1.

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Zhilan and Kerwin are staring longingly at their wall of weapons. Zhilan explains the Forge to Kerwin while noting she still isn’t sure of exactly where it is. She has been translating the scrolls tirelessly to find the location while Kerwin would rather be having fun in bed. After working all night, she discovers the location. Nicky and Henry are poring over their star map as they also try to find the Forge. She is anxious, but Henry reassures her that they will figure it out together.

Nicky and Evan talk about Kerwin’s goal in working with Zhilan as they realize his relationship to Russell Tan. She also worries over the arrival of her Po Po, who is attending Althea’s wedding this weekend. He jokes that at least it will go better than last time and implies that Po Po did not approve of Nicky dating Evan. Sensing that she needs a push, he tells her that no matter what, she’s going to solve this puzzle. She’s Nicky Shen, after all.

At home, Althea is panic cleaning when Nicky arrives. It’s clear Po Po intimidates everyone. The script for the evening is for everything to be “perfect” with no mention of Harmony Dumplings’ struggles or Ryan’s sexuality (at Ryan’s request). Nicky agrees not to mention the weapons even though Po Po could potentially have answers she needs.

Zhilan and Kerwin drive, and he asks some probing questions about Biange. He seems fixated on the idea that only Zhilan will wield the power. Before he can ask too many questions, his father calls. Russell tells Kerwin that he will forgive him if he comes home now, and Kerwin scoffs that that forgiveness won’t be on the table if he comes home without the weapons. But Russell insists that there’s a lot Kerwin doesn’t know about Biange and that he can’t trust Zhilan. Kerwin hangs up.

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Po Po makes her grand entrance by complaining about everything she can as Mei-Li and Althea rush around to please her. Dennis, Ryan, and Jin arrive late from their paintball outing, with Dennis sporting an injury courtesy of Jin’s competitive streak. Po Po disapproves, but Jin refuses to let her mood get to him (never change, Jin!) as Dennis tells Althea that he should be fine for the wedding. Dennis charms Po Po with his Mandarin and quickly becomes her favorite person. Not her favorite? Althea’s traditional wedding dress, which she literally rips to shreds in front of Althea.

Henry calls Nicky as she looks for Po Po’s medicine. She notices a photo of Mei-Xue in her wallet along with a picture of Po Po holding the sword. Could this mean she was a warrior? Nicky tells Ryan about the photo of Po Po, but Ryan wants her to leave it alone so Althea’s wedding isn’t ruined. Evan is working late as Nadia tells him the Tan files were intercepted by the DA. The DA is watching his work more closely now, but Nadia lets slip that the files will be unguarded all night on the DA’s desk.

Zhilan and Kerwin arrive at the cemetery where her parents are buried. She reveals that Russell owned the textile factory where her father worked. She adds that pollution from that factory is what gave Zhilan her spinal condition and killed her mother during her birth. Kerwin reassures her he isn’t like his father, but Zhilan is focused solely on her mother. Kerwin asks why she brought him here, wondering if it’s revenge against Russell. She rages that his father’s empire is far greater than Kerwin understands. Zhilan tells him that if his father had managed to bring about Biange with his connections, no one in the world would be safe. She wants to use Biange against Russell to protect everyone.

Zhilan says she needs to erase everything he holds, and Kerwin realizes she means him. Zhilan says falling in love with him wasn’t part of her plan, but he’s a liability to her goals. She tearfully tells him she loves him. Kerwin sees the knife in her hand and resigns himself to what’s about to happen. He says, “Attack me if you want, but I won’t fight you,” as she steps forward. True to his word, he doesn’t defend himself as she slits his throat. His body hits the ground in front of her parents’ graves as Zhilan limps back to the car, heartbroken.

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At dinner, Po Po is grilling each of the single Shen children about their romantic prospects. Ryan tries to steer the topic of conversation away by saying he’s too busy with the clinic to date, but she pushes on. Po Po asks Nicky about her job at the law firm (a fiction the family invented regarding Nicky’s time in China). Po Po approvingly says that maybe if all three children keep working hard, Mei-Li leaving Po Po alone in China after Mei-Xue left will have been worth it. Seeing the look on Mei-Li’s face, Nicky’s stubborn streak kicks in. She tells Po Po that she’s not a lawyer (featuring a great spit take from Jin). She goes further, explaining about her time training in China and showing her the photo of the sword.

Po Po is angry, questioning Mei-Li’s parenting. Mei-Li retorts that she let Nicky run away like Po Po let Mei-Xue run away because of all the family secrets. She is upset that Po Po had the answers Mei-Xue was looking for all along and reveals that Mei-Xue is dead. Mei-Li says she is proud of Nicky and that she deserves the truth Po Po couldn’t give Mei-Xue. Po Po agrees.

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The three discuss Po Po’s past. Po Po starts the story 50 years prior before Mei-Li and Mei-Xue were born. The other woman in the photo is Fang-Su, Pei-Ling’s mother. Fang-Su was the first to tell Po Po about their destiny and how to use the sword. Po Po says she was afraid of the sword’s power and did not want to lose the life she had. She vowed that no one else in their family would have to face that burden again, which is why she tried to stop Mei-Xue. Nicky tells Po Po about Biange and says the warrior path chose her.

Po Po recognizes the symbols from the burn on Nicky’s hand as being for each of the seven battles involving the weapons. Henry plots them on a map and finds that they form Lau’s constellation. The eighth point is at the monastery: the monastery is the Forge. Althea hears Nicky say they need to go to China. Nicky sobs and says she doesn’t have a choice about missing the wedding. Althea embraces her and tells her that she hates this, but Nicky has to go. They tell the family together. Nicky promises she will end this now before it affects another generation.

Evan heads to the DA’s office to look at the Tan files and takes photos of them all. Nicky gets to the library with her duffel as Henry prepares to leave with her. Nicky tells him she thinks she needs to do this on her own. She says she dragged him into this fight, and Henry protests that he wants to help her. Nicky says seeing him hurt and Simon killed reminded her of losing Pei-Ling. Henry tries to argue, but Nicky simply says, “I love you.” Henry says he can’t let her go alone because he loves her too. She confesses she’s scared, and he asks her to let him help. Nicky says he has helped, but that this is her choice as they kiss. She leaves as Henry watches.

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As Nicky waits for her ride to the airport, she sees Pei-Ling. Pei-Ling tells her that it’s the people around her who make her strong. Nicky says she doesn’t want anyone else to take the risk, but Pei-Ling says the Nicky she knew wouldn’t have just followed the rules blindly. In China, we see that Henry has joined Nicky after all as they hop on a tour bus, with Zhilan in the distance watching them.

At home, Po Po shows Althea the fixed version of her dress as they all laugh, shocking Ryan and Jin. Jin gives Ryan Nicky’s “gift” to him — the maid of honor guidebook telling him how to make Althea’s day perfect. Jin hopes that Nicky finds what she’s looking for. Henry and Nicky arrive at the monastery where Nicky finds her friend Hua. Hua shares the remaining warriors have been preparing to fight for their home. Hua and the other warriors show Nicky that they found a false wall after the fire. Behind the false wall is a door to the Forge. A gong sounds to signal intruders. They rush outside as Zhilan stands in the courtyard facing them. Zhilan says she’s here for Biange — and for Nicky.

Kung Fu‘s season finale airs next Wednesday 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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