The CW’s Kung Fu reboot has finally arrived, updating the martial arts epic with a modern twist. Here’s a spoiler-filled recap of the premiere.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Kung Fu Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot,” which aired Wednesday on The CW.
The impactful reboot of the CW of Kung Fu ultimately created, updating the martial arts epic in a modern setting as young fighter Nicky Shen returns to her hometown in San Francisco’s Chinatown. As Nicky reconciles with her family, she defends her home against both the Triad and a vengeful killer armed with a mythical weapon bringing the fantasy menace closer to her home.
Nicky Shen is revealed to be a Harvard University student who took an organized trip to China, only to discover that it was her mother’s attempt to put her in touch with a Chinese husband. Disgusted, Nicky is greeted by kind Shifu Pei-Ling to train in martial arts at a remote Shaolin monastery in China’s Yunnan province for three years. But on a fateful night, the monastery is attacked by mysterious assailants, igniting the idyllic school of martial arts. Nicky arrives too late to help Pei-Ling avoid being stabbed by murderous warrior Zhilan with a mythical sword that burns Nicky when she tries to claim it for herself. In a cliff side skirmish, Nicky is beaten by Zhilan and nearly struck down, clinging to the cliff wall as Zhilan leaves with the sword.
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After searching for Zhilan in vain, Nicky returns home and leaves her family in San Francisco Chinatown where her father Jin welcomes her with open arms. As Nicky observes that Jin has one black eye, she is shocked to discover that her older sister Althea is preparing to marry a former high school classmate named Dennis Soong. Nicky’s brother, Ryan, and her mother, Mei-Li, are both less than happy to see her at home again, with Mei-Ling being particularly annoyed that Nicky has run away rather than expressing her reservations about the ‘be set up for an arranged marriage. As Nicky storms out, Jin convinces his daughter not to run away to yet unknown areas.
Nicky reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Evan Hartley, who she broke up with because she felt lost and under pressure from her mother’s expectations. Nicky reveals that she’s investigating a new Triad gang expanding its operations in Chinatown, hoping Evan’s connections as the city’s deputy district attorney can help. But that reunion is interrupted by Ryan’s new girlfriend, Sabine, a revelation Nicky takes badly as she confides in a sight of Pei-Ling that seems to console her and encourage her to reconcile with her family. However, Nicky’s introspection comes to an abrupt end when she discovers Jin being manhandled by a local gangster in a shakedown at his family restaurant.
After taking Jin to the hospital to recuperate, Nicky approaches Ryan at his clinic and reconciles with him over a game of ping-pong, but not before meeting a handsome graduate student named Henry. Henry reveals the ancient story of the sword to Nicky and continues his research based on the burn scars on Nicky’s hand after wielding it. As Nicky and her siblings start asking local businesses for more information about their father’s abusers, they are approached by gunmen who are easily sent by Nicky. In the aftermath, Nicky and Mei-Li finally took it out, Nicky revealing that it was Mei-Li who had pushed her to break up with Evan and micro-managed her life until she surrendered. China.
Frustrated by the authorities’ inability to act, Ryan goes out on his own to take incriminating photos of the Triads on the docks, Nicky rushing after him to save him. Nicky wows Ryan with her martial arts skills, sending the mobsters off when the police arrive. With the crowd now out of their way, the Shens happily celebrate Althea’s wedding, and Nicky and Mei-Li formally reconcile. And as Henry reveals to Nicky the legendary magical potential of the weapons, Nicky realizing that she must defend her hometown of Zhilan as the villain seeks to unlock the powers of the Mythic Weaponry, an inevitable revenge has just been set up. at the start of the series.
Executive Produced by Christina M. Kim, Martin Gero, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Warner Bros. TV, Kung Fu stars Olivia Liang, Tzi Ma, Kheng Hua Tan, Tony Chung, Jon Prasida, Shannon Dang, Eddie Liu and Vanessa Kai. The new episodes air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET / PT on The CW.
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