‘Kung Fu’ Recap: Season 1 Finale, Episode 13 “Transformation”

17 Min Read
Bettina Strauss/The CW

Last week, we left Zhilan confronting Nicky, Henry, and the monks at the monastery just after Nicky and co. discovered The Forge. Will Zhilan release and harness Biange? If you’re not caught up, check out the recap of last week’s episode here. Without further ado, let’s jump into what happened in the season 1 finale of Kung Fu, “Transformation.”

Nicky tells Zhilan she has no interest in listening to what Zhilan has to say. Zhilan laments at having been so close to The Forge the night she raided the monastery. Nicky tells her the monks are ready and that she won’t reach it. Zhilan presents a twist.

“Warrior and guardian must cross together.”


Nicky asks why Zhilan thinks she’ll go with her and Zhilan threatens the ones she loves, saying her attachments make her weak. Zhilan has men parked outside of Dennis and Althea’s wedding.

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Ryan picks over details for Althea’s wedding, using the Best Man binder Nicky left him. Preparing for the tea ceremony, Ryan notices one special tea is missing; Po Po has been drinking it all morning. Nicky’s binder saves the day by pointing Ryan to some extra tea the family has. Outside the Shens’ house sit men in dark SUVs.

At the doors of The Forge, Nicky and Zhilan begin to open the door, going on instinct though they have no concrete knowledge of how it works. Pressing an array of buttons and turning some gadgets, the door slides open. Nicky tells Zhilan to call off the men outside her family’s home. Zhilan ignores her and they enter the room.

Zhilan begins touching the walls, and in a panicked voice says she doesn’t feel anyting. Nicky agrees; “the energy is gone.”

Zhilan questions if Nicky knew that the energy was gone. Nicky denies the accusation. They spot a bed; there used to be a sorcerer living in The Forge, protecting it. The sorcerers and their apprentices drew Biange energy from the earth and infused it into The Forge and weapons. Zhilan had assumed they’d died out. Zhilan questions Nicky about what she knows. Nicky tells her about her sighting of a woman in the courtyard with a green glow about her two years ago. Zhilan surmises Pei-Ling raised the alarm about Zhilan’s intentions to capture the weapons after she paid her a visit two years ago, causing “Ziqi” to flee. She would another hiding place, somewhere peaceful. Nicky tells Zhilan of a place Pei-Ling spoke of, the ruins of an ancient temple in the Hong Kong mountains.

At Dennis and Althea’s tea ceremony, Po Po hands the bride and groom the tea and they serve it to Jin and Mei-Li. Ryan’s phone buzzes. It’s Nicky asking for Althea’s help “I need her help. Like hella bad.” Ryan tells her she’s in the middle of the tea ceremony and Nicky instructs him to have her sneak and call her back soon. Dennis’ sister Chloe talks about how it sucks Nicky has “food poisoning” and can’t talk to Althea. She offers to be a distraction, owing Nicky for helping her back then. Chloe tips over a flower vase, causing a commotion. Ryan pulls Althea away telling her that “hella bad” was a code from when they were kids meaning that something terrible was going on. They surmise that she was warning them about something. They peek out the windows and see the SUVs.

Althea calls Nicky and Zhilan back. She asks for help finding the satellite. Althea hacks Gigaping, a common texting app overseas. Zhilan shows Nicky Biange blooms, flowers that bloomed outside The Forge and died when it was abandoned, telling Althea to search for the flowers. They end the call when Althea finds the location.

Evan and police officers pull up to the house. Jin and Mei-Li barge in and ask if Ryan and Althea see what’s going on outside. The monks surround Zhilan. Nicky tells her that now that the threat on the Shens is neutralized, she’s not going anywhere. Zhilan claims she never needed her attachments to beat Nicky. A gong rings. intruders are swarming the monastery. However, it’s not Zhilan’s people, it’s Russell Tan’s.

The monks and Henry go to protect the monastery while Nicky and Zhilan gear up for a showdown. Armed men enter the room where Zhilan and Nicky are, throwing flashbangs and smoke bombs. They take the weapons while the women are disoriented. Zhilan manages to get up and drive away. She and Tan’s men have gone to find Ziqi.

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In the monks’ truck, they give chase. Nicky calls her family back and asks her to promise to have a great time at Althea’s wedding. Tearfully telling her she loves them, the call cuts out. The rest of the Shens worriedly look on. Jin and Mei-Li urge Althea to get on with the wedding, trying to carry on Nicky’s wishes.

An obscured man confronts the sorcerer Ziqi at a place with the blossoms, indicating it’s the new Forge. She asks what’s happening and Mr. Tan, who she’s obviously familiar with, guides her to the weapons. He tells her that she will recharge the weapons, release Biange, giving him the power. The weapons begin to glow green. Mr. Tan had found her months ago, telling her things could go the hard or easy way. Ziqi and Zhilan collapse and stumble. In the truck, Nicky feels the energy as well.

Ziqi refuses to give up the energy. Russell says that he will take it if she doesn’t willingly relinquish it. Nicky and Henry exit the truck, running towards Ziqi, but not before Russell stabs Ziqi. Nicky holds her and Ziqi says that since the warrior is now there, she can let go. The weapons glow brighter and the energy splits; half of the green light flows into Nicky while the other half goes into Zhilan. A shockwave blows everyone back at the redirection of power.

Nicky wakes up in bed, phone buzzing. Evan is telling her … he missed her? And promising to finally introduce his girlfriend (her) to D.A. Hughes? A figure in a black cloak is seen behind her. Downstairs, Jin greets Nicky with a black eye. He brushes it off as an accident. Mei-Li comes in talking about a lawyer job. Nicky asks what day it is and when she got back from the monastery, which Mei-Li is confused about.

Zhilan awakens to Kerwin asking her to stay with him. She says she has someplace to be and he says there’s no place more important for her to be. He tries to get her to stay but she insists on going.

Nicky meets Ryan who is late to work — but not at the clinic. He’s abandoned it for more lucrative work. Althea is chatting with Dennis’ mom and sister. She pulls Althea aside and asks her for help, explaining what happened with Biange. Althea has no idea what she’s talking about. Flashing to the community center, Henry doesn’t recognize Nicky. Nicky’s tired of being trapped in this bizarro world. She spots the hooded figure and starts chasing her.

Zhilan is now at the monastery, surrounded by the slaughtered monks. Pei-Ling appears; she’s the hooded figure. Zhilan asks why she’s been led to where she killed Pei-Ling, and tells Pei-Ling she was always trying to stop her concerning Biange. Pei-Ling claims she’s trying to reach Zhilan and doesn’t blame her for anything. Zhilan angrily demands to know Nicky’s whereabouts. Pei-ling tells her this isn’t about power, it’s about pain. She’s trying to use power to escape her pain, but there are other ways: love. Pei-Ling implores her it’s never too late to change. Zhilan still has a choice. Zhilan says she’s made her choice.

Now Nicky is at the monastery with Pei-Ling, who shows her Guangli, The Forge’s original sorcerer, imbuing the weapons with Biange. Nicky asks for Pei-Ling’s help destroying Biange. Pei-Ling asks if she truly wants that. She tells Nicky the life she saw was a life without Biange.

“Biange is neither good nor evil. it can lead to great destruction, but also change. it is the spark of transformation. The world needs Biange … Being a warrior is not about wielding a weapon. It is about that desire for change.”


Pei-Ling tells Nicky that’s what inspired her to jump in her truck all those years back. She tearfully apologizes for holding so much information back from Nicky, thinking they would have more time. Nicky realizes it’s really her shifu she’s talking to, not a hallucination. Pei-Ling tells her the world needs Biange and to look beyond the duality of good and evil and make her own choice.

Zhilan appears; Pei-Ling disappears. The two rush towards one another, ready to clash. Suddenly, they wake up on the ground outside where they were blasted. They begin to fight, flying through the air in ways that definitely defy physics with seemingly enhanced strength. A vicious battle ensues. Zhilan picks up one set of weapons while Nicky picks up another. As they clash, The weapons break; the energy has left the weapons. Zhilan and Nicky are now the vessels.

Henry begins to wake. Mr Tan and his goons shuffle out of the scuffle. Picking up new weapons, metal meets metal once more. Henry tackles Zhilan, keeping her from striking Nicky. In turn, she slices his arm. Flashing back to her shifu’s words, Nicky declares she doesn’t want to wield or destroy Biange. It came from the Earth and she’s going to send it back to the Earth. It doesn’t belong to any person.

Breaking Zhilan’s weapon and striking her, green smoke flies out. Nicky is releasing the energy to the environment, “doing the one thing [Zhilan] can’t: letting it go.” In the final move, Nicky flies through the air and strikes Zhilan, releasing a wave of green. The runes disappear off her hand. Biange is gone from both of them. Nicky holds her at sword-point. Zhilan begs Nicky to kill her, citing she has nothing left. That’s not who Nicky is though. She walks away from Zhilan and towards Henry.

Darker now, the cops show up and put Zhilan in the back of a cop car. Henry and Nicky return the sword to the monastery and thank the monks. A memorial is lit up for Pei-Ling.

Nicky returns home. Relieved, Jin and Mei-Li hug her, questioning if it’s over. Nicky replies that they’re safe and Zhilan is not a threat, but that Biange and their birthright will always remain a part of their family.

Dennis and Althea are about to leave for the Galapagos for their honeymoon when Althea gets a text that Nicky’s home “feeling better.” She wants to swing by. Dennis offers to bring Nicky a slice of cake. As he walks away, Althea calls him back, telling him Nicky was actually in China. She tells Dennis he needs to know something about Nicky.

Ryan shows Nicky photos of the wedding, thanking her for the binder. As Nicky asks how is was “riding solo,” Ryan coyly claims he hooked up with one of the groomsmen. Telling him about fighting Zhilan, Nicky admits she flew again and that it wasn’t physics after all (a callback to her early-season shenanigans). She explains Biange wasn’t good or evil and that she sent it out into the world, dispersing it not destroying it. Nicky tells him that she had to, “give up the juice so no more flying,” but that she feels different. What that means? “Stay tuned.”

At a restaurant, Evan meets Nadia the secretary from the DA’s office. He tells her that Russell Tan nearly killed Nicky a few days ago and that he’s buying up a lot of influential people, including D.A. Hughes. Claiming Nadia knows more than she’s letting on, he demands information with an intimidating glower on his face.

Mr. Tan talks to Kerwin, who’s unconscious but twitching, hooked up to a plethora of machines. He tells him that he tried to warn him about Zhilan. However, the whole thing made him see clearly. While Zhilan’s no longer a threat, Nicky doesn’t know that she has a cousin who he’s been keeping tabs on. A young girl is seen at Mei-Xue’s gravestone. Now that the weapons are destroyed, and Biange is floating around freely, “she’s the key to everything.”

Nicky and Henry are seen kissing outside. He asks after her family who is proud of her. She asks after his sliced arm, which is better. He jokes that now they have matching scars. Asking what’s next for her, Nicky tells him the monks are safe, Zhilan’s in jail, the weapons are buried or destroys, and Biange has been distributed. As they make plans to get boba (Henry remembers her order now!) they walk away, and a Biange bloom spouts out of the concrete.

Unfortunately, that marks the close of season 1 of Kung Fu. However, never fear! Kung Fu will be back next season. As always, stay tuned for more updates and check out all our coverage of the show here.

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By Kenedi
Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.
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