Monday, December 5, 2022

‘Kung Fu’ Recap: Season 3, Episode 1 “Shifu”

THE CWKUNG FU'Kung Fu' Recap: Season 3, Episode 1 "Shifu"

Kung Fu is back! Season 3 started off with a bang, bringing many changes from the end of last season. In the aftermath of the disastrous earthquakes, there are new love interests, new mysteries, and new challenges ahead for the Shens and co. Read on to see what happened in Shifu.

All Business, No Pleasure

Bettina Strauss/The CW

As we saw at the end of last season, Nicky is hard at work, teaching martial arts classes at the community center.

We cut to a local businessman getting robbed, only to find out his incomplete delivery was to Harmony Dumplings. The stolen item? A new oven for the restaurant’s grand re-opening. Since the earthquake, crime’s been up in Chinatown.

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Jin crunches some numbers, and it’s not looking good for the restaurant with the oven delaying reopening. Even despite the boom in business last year and all the help from the community and disaster relief, the restaurant is hurting for cash. There are investors circling Harmony Dumplings, but Mei-Li doesn’t want to relinquish control of the family business to outsiders.

Sebastian helps Mei-Li repaint the walls of Harmony Dumplings. He’s been working at a diner with little pay and no benefits, much like the rest of the kitchen crew. Mei-Li is worried about them getting by if the re-opening gets delayed, but Sebastian maintains waiting is worth it.

After the oven is safely returned and the opening is back on track, Mei-Li starts meeting with investors. Though the re-opening is back on track, it still isn’t enough with the hole they’ve fallen in with the earthquake damage and the closing.

The Shen Family/ Case of the Week

Bettina Strauss/The CW

It’s family mealtime at Harmony Dumplings. Sebastian and Mei-Li seem as close as ever, with him having taken another step in integrating himself into the family by moving in with Ryan. Althea and Dennis have also moved back in with Jin and Mei-Li. Althea’s currently embroiled in a court case after turning herself in for violating her app users’ privacy to send out the earthquake alert last season. Evan and Nadya seem to be going strong as they join the Shens for dinner. Evan recently opened his own law practice. They all share a happy meal, but Nicky is notably the only single person at the table. 

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When Mei Li gets wind of the delivery gone awry, the Shen siblings do what they do and go to track the thieves down. Nicky ends up embroiled in a fight as the criminals don’t want to give up the stolen belongings. Althea and Ryan even get a little action as backup comes in. However, the real mystery is Bo, a local who flies to Nicky’s assist against the thugs — and boy are there some vibes.

Althea tracks down Bo (full name Bo Han) through some Youtube sleuthing and employment records hacking. Nicky starts to head to see him, only for him to show up on her doorstep (in the midst of a truly embarrassing conversation between her and Althea concerning Althea teasing her about Bo as a potential romance).

Nicky asks about the gang’s running the operation that resulted in the critical loss of the restaurant’s new oven. Ben reveals the rival gangs, the Bay City Soldiers and the Oaktown 13, were working together, signaling something big. Bo, apparently hacker extraordinaire (even Althea says he’s good), finds the leader of the group that she fought, Benny Hines. The two go to pay him a little visit.

On the trip over, the two swap stories. Bo also lost a mentor who taught him how to fight, and he feels like it’s a waste not to use what he learned. The two catch Benny and shake him down for info. He claims to not know where the stuff got moved after Nicky and Bo scattered the team. However, Nicky nabs his phone.

Althea and Bo get to hacking at Dennis’ job (busboy/waiter/bartender — we love a multi-talented man). The gang finds messages detailing where the stolen goods were taken. Ben, Althea, and Ryan go to investigate while Nicky runs off with Evan to investigate the footage.

Bo enters the building to investigate and finds a bomb… which Althea and Ryan trigger the timer for by walking in a booby-trapped door. If the bomb goes off, all of the neighborhood’s stolen goods, which seem to be harbored in this warehouse, will go kaboom. Bo’s solution? Zindle an answer on the internet… mixed results. After the Internet fails them, Bo fumbles with the circuitry and miraculously stops the bomb. This doesn’t answer the question of why all of this is happening though. This isn’t typical gang activity.

Near, Far, Wherever You Are

Bettina Strauss/The CW

Sebastian and Ryan are as cute as ever. The two share a sweet moment as Ryan comes home from a long residency night shift… only to fall cold asleep. But don’t worry. Despite their rough schedules, the two are making it work.

Althea and Dennis are stuck in the Shen family house, which is putting a damper on the romance department. With Dennis having been disowned and Althea having lost her company, they’re living on a dime. But they’re at least in it together. Meanwhile, Althea is driving Jin and Mei-Li up the wall organizing things around the house with her new app, Matron. Althea needs somewhere to put her pent up energy without a company to funnel it into, and it looks like helping Nicky is one solution. Evan calls, and Nicky sets him on tracking down Bo. Althea is the one that ends up finding him, though no news on the appliance chop shop. It turns out Bo’s a vigilante in Oakland.

Althea is really pushing Nicky pursuing Bo romantically. None of them have heard from Henry since he left, made even worse by the fact that Mia still manages to keep in touch from the monastery. As Althea keeps pushing, Nicky yells at her to stop, the veneer of being fine crumbling. She’s accepted that what Henry and she had was over, but wants to focus on things she can change, like helping the city recover from the earthquake, which she feels guilty for not being able to stop. 

Meanwhile, Henry is on a ship in the Mediterranean… playing poker? As he wins a lot of money off of some shady guys (who threaten to expose he’s basically a stowaway on the ship? Henry, what are you doing), he barters for a stop in Cyprus since the ship’s headed for the Aegean. They argue it’s too expensive, but Henry barters the ring he was going to propose to Nicky with. Is it truly over for them? Maybe the answer is no. As he gets off the ship in Cypress, ring safely re-pilfered and tucked away, one can only guess at his motivations. 

Twists and Turns

A cop walks up to someone sleeping on the ground outside and tries to move them along. However, as the figure beats up the cop and runs off, we see it’s… Pei-Ling?!?

Evan finds the footage looking for info on the chop shop and pulls Nicky aside to show her. They rush off to the site where the body cam footage was taken. Evan warns that they don’t know it’s Pei-Ling. It could be Xiao. Nicky is still determined to investigate. They turn up to a full crime scene; they’re not the only ones looking for her.

In some nearby stables, Nicky finds Pei-Ling hiding. Pei-Ling doesn’t seem to recognize her, starting to brawl with her former charge as Nicky tries to get through to her. Nicky bests her and somehow manages to get through. 

Nicky asks what Pei-Ling remembers about getting back to the land of the living, to which she answers “Lightning. Rain. It hurt. Everything hurt.” 

Later, Nicky talks to Evan about her concerns. When she and Pei-Ling fought, she pulled out a move Nicky had only seen Xiao do before. She knows in her gut it’s Pei-Ling, but she doesn’t think she crossed over alone. Meanwhile, Pei-Ling’s necklace begins to glow with The Source.

You can catch Kung Fu on Wednesday nights in its new time slot at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on The CW. As always, make sure to stay up to date with all of our coverage here, and stay tuned for more updates!

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