Wednesday, April 14, 2021

REVIEW: 'Kung Fu' - Nicky Yearns for Direction When She Suddenly Finds a Homeless Woman in Need of Help in 'Silence'

The CW's Kung Fu - Episode 1.02 "Silence"

When adjusting to life back at home doesn't go as planned, Nicky turns to Henry for help in her hunt for Zhilan. As Jin looks forward to life getting back to normal, Mei-Li isn't as optimistic. After lending a hand to a young woman in need, Nicky finds the mental clarity she desperately needs.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Kung Fu.

"Silence" was written by Christina M. Kim & Robert Berens and directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Nicky had no intentions of returning home. That changed when her monastery was burned down and her shifu was killed. Those actions untethered her from this new life she built for herself. She was forced to return to her family and all the pressures she was trying to escape. She doesn't know how to thrive in this space. She has expectations of how these relationships will act. And yet, it's just as startling when she realizes that everyone has moved on with their lives. They aren't planning on slowing down or changing what has worked for them now that she is suddenly back home. Sure, she is included in the various activities. Althea is happy to have her sister back to go shopping for bridesmaids dresses and test wedding cakes. But Nicky has still largely kept her family at a distance. Jin is full of hope now that she is back. He has waited for this moment. He hopes to pick up their bond exactly where it left off. Mei-Li is much more pragmatic. She sees clearly that this wasn't a choice for Nicky. She simply had no where else to go. She will openly share that fact too. She doesn't want to dampen her husband's mood. She wants him to feel happy and excited. She can't feel the same way because she knows the truth. Nicky confirms it to her. Nicky doesn't know how to belong here anymore. She finds her way eventually though. The show does the exact same thing. Part of this episode is designed around potentially finding a story engine for the show itself. It states how the series will operate on an episodic basis. Nicky struggles to find the quiet in her mind. She is determined to find Zhilan and exact vengeance for Pei-Ling's death. She has no viable leads though. She has no idea where to start. She doesn't even know what fueled this conflict to begin with. She is operating in the dark. She is terrified. Her fear has the potential to prevent her from being of service to anyone. She can't be solely focused on this one task. Her siblings become aware of her grand ambition. They are worried for her. They hope to talk her out of following this path. However, Nicky finds a new way to be of service to her community. She sees the value in stepping in and offering help when another woman is in distress. That was one of the primary teachings Pei-Ling passed along to her. Nicky is struggling. She also gains clarity from helping Ronda and her family. It's a very episodic plot that doesn't offer much nuance. But again, it serves as a way for Nicky to utilize her skills in a way that can make a massive difference in someone's lives. It provides an opportunity for her to blend her Shaolin skills and her pre-law training. She has a desire to help this family escape an abusive figure in their household. They are suffering from emotional and financial abuse. Nicky has the tools and resources to help. She shares them. She offers that hand to provide salvation instead of allowing this situation to turn tragic. Ronda was willing to buy a gun in order to deal with this situation. Evan suggests that there is very little the cops could do. Nicky operates in the dark a little bit. But she knows what's right. She knows how to make a difference. She does exactly that. It helps ground her. Sure, the episode ends with a couple of big revelations that will play into the overarching story. Evan shares that Pei-Ling and Zhilan are actually sisters. Then, Henry details that the mythical weapons are guarded by eight families. Zhilan is making her move on the next protector in Singapore. Nicky may once again be powerless to stop her. This conflict is happening on a global scale. Meanwhile, Nicky's life is grounded in her local community. Her influence can be absolutely life-changing. The show reaches for these big and small stakes in these stories. The more intimate moments are more effective right now. These big proclamations about Zhilan's agenda are daunting. They are mostly teases of what could potentially occur in the future. Right now, Nicky and the audience are just slowly learning the truth. It's slow going while also providing the freedom for Nicky to mourn Pei-Ling's life with the joy her shifu has now inspired within her. She must be present and participate in every aspect of her life. She can't ignore one person to better serve another. She must understand and respect her limits. But she also has a responsibility to help others when they need it. That comes in many different forms as well.