Kung Fu: Shannon Dang Talks Althea's Big Mission and That Surprising Team Up in "Alias" (Exclusive)

Last week on Kung Fu, Nicky (Olivia Liang) got in a little over her head when she was busted breaking into Delta Security Endeavors and ended up behind bars, but not before discovering the truth about what the organization is really up to in San Francisco. This week, with Nicky unable to be in the field, it falls to Althea to go on a daring mission to get the evidence needed to not only stop Delta’s very illegal plans on how they want to police not just San Francisco but other cities as well, but also potentially help clear Nicky’s name as well. It’s a high stakes adventure and ComicBook.com sat down with Shannon Dang to talk about Althea’s big mission, the humor in this otherwise tense episode, and that epic and unexpected team up.

Warning: this interview contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Kung Fu, “Alias” beyond this point.

Nicole Drum, ComicBook.com: Talk to me a little bit about the position that Althea has found herself in this week.

Shannon Dang: So, it is quite the predicament. As we saw in the last episode, Nicky has been placed. She went to jail, and you’ll see soon the next episode that she’s on house arrest and she cannot go in on the mission to fight Delta Security Endeavors. So as the Shooby gang is getting together and trying to figure out, okay, so who is going to go on this mission? We should send a fighter and then we realize that won’t work, or Dennis can do it, but he’s not very capable. There’s just so many different reasons for the group, and Althea quickly realizes that she is the best fit for it. She doesn’t want to have to put herself into that situation, but she realizes she knows tech, she knows about entrepreneurship and business so she can schmooze with these people and build the algorithm. So she is unfortunately by default, the best pick.

But then as much as she is terrified, she’s also really excited because she finally gets to put herself out there and use her skills for the greater good. We used to see Althea help Nicky and her family from a distance. She is the tech warrior of the family and she’s perfectly comfortable and capable of being the tech warrior from a distance, and being behind the scenes, but for once she’s going to need to be thrown into the action and into the line of fire. So that’s both very exciting and inspiring for her to be able to do that for her sister and for her family and San Francisco. So, it’s really fun.

There was a TV show years ago called Alias where Jennifer Garner character was always in these spy situations, and this very much felt like that, but on kind of a comedy level, but also the same kind of stakes. And I love seeing Althea in this situation. The first thing first is we see her get there and it’s almost like she’s been dropped into a weird episode of Yellowstone, There was this moment where she finally, she might have to hunt, and I love how she’s fast on her feet, but there’s also humor there too.

I think going back to also what you mentioned about Alias and how fun that was. A few of my favorite movies growing up were The Parent Trap, and Mean Girls, and She’s The Man and all of those movies have to do with where the protagonist has to go undercover or in disguise and has to deceive people, but in a comedic way. So, I really did feel like this was a, selfishly as Shannon as an actor was a fun way to bring that scenario into this episode. And so, you see that in where she has to, the writers did a great job with the hunting bit and she’s undercover, everything’s going great, but then she realizes she has to hunt and then she puts together, oh, a buck means deer, means Bambi. Oh my gosh, I am not shooting a Bambi. And the idea of the whole mission crashing because she doesn’t want to go out there and shoot a Bambi, and Nikki being like, “Just shoot and miss, it’s fine.” Is just so funny to me. And she does get into these predicaments, and she has some moments with Patrick Fabian getting to work with him. And that was a funny bit right there where she claims that she’s allergic to hunting, so she can’t do that.

That line in particular about being allergic to animals with horns, that was just so great.

Yeah, I think it’s really fun that she gets to, you see Althea processing as Althea and her improv that comes up, and she’s all of a sudden Madeline. And so, the audience, getting to watch her juggle Althea and Madeline Jung is really fun. And I think it makes for some great comedic moments.

What is also really cool in this episode is we get to see kind of a team up that I don’t think anyone would’ve ever expected to see, but now that we have seen it, I want it all the time. And it’s Althea and Zhilan.

What’s funny is that sometimes on Instagram we would do our Instagram takeovers and people, and Twitter would say, is Althea and Zhilan ever going to team up? We want to team up and they want photos of me and Yvonne. So, it’s really funny when we found out later that Althea and Zhilan were going to get one finally. And Zhilan ends up rescuing Althea in her way. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Althea gets in on the action too, but Zhilan does most of the heavy lifting, but it’s a really cute, you’ll see in the fight scene and everything how their dynamics work, and they both bring what they can to the table, and it works out great, and they end up succeeding in this mission together.

I think it’s really interesting is in the first part of the episode, we have Nicky being very overprotective and concerned about her sister, whose fight skills aren’t necessarily the best. And Althea makes that comment about her kick being a really good kick. And then we get to see her pay off on a really good kick at a really important time. And I just have to be like, that has to be so satisfying for Althea to be like, “You know what? I did kick and I did sort of save myself in this crazy moment.” But we’re seeing Althea’s fight skills kind of become a little more impressive for Althea. I mean, granted, she’s not Nicky, but she got the job done.

I know, it’s pretty cool. I mean, I love that they referenced the kickback in that first episode and then I got to do another, Althea got to do another kick to save herself, and it’s like a full circle moment and it worked. But of course, in Althea fashion, she ends up kicking and then apologizing for it. Sorry. But she had to do what she had to do. And yeah, I think it’s fun to see Althea getting on the action, and I think there’s a really sweet scene between Nicky and Althea. Well, yeah, Nicky is worried about her sister, and she loves her, and she doesn’t want to put her in that danger. But it’s a great arc where Althea has to get to step into her bravery and real realize, yes, I know you’re worried, but how many times have we all helped you on your missions and trusted the fact that you are going to be okay? And now it’s time for her, Althea. It’s her moment to ask for trust and yeah, ask for trust and let her know, and her family know that it’s going to be okay. They have to. She’s got this.

There’s also the complication that is Althea’s in-laws. Althea and her husband had to go to them for money to not only get Nikki on house arrest, but also to get into the situation to get the algorithm. And now they’re kind of in on, to an extent, this chaos that is going on. Kind of tell me what you can about what this means for that relationship going forward.

So yes, as you can see, Althea and Dennis from the very beginning of season three, they were cut off from their family, and their money, and they both lost their jobs. She lost her company, and they had to move back in with the Shen’s and their parents and the Shen family home. And that’s been really fun to see. But this whole time they’ve gone back and forth where the Soong’s are trying to make amends, or money is being talked about and they could easily go back to that comfortable life. But Althea and Dennis are happy with where their lives are. They’re making do, they’re working hard, they’re standing on their own two feet. And I think that’s really important for them individually and as a couple. So, what’s ironic is once money starts to come into the picture and where they do drastically need it, they’re like, “Ah, we really didn’t want to have to go back down this road.” But they do for the greater good, and they use the money to help Nicky with bail and to get into the Delta’s shareholder meeting. And I think it’s just going to… More money, more problems.

So, I think the audience will definitely be seeing the repercussions of that and what does that mean when things are loaned or given and there’s expectations. But at the end of the day, I really think that the Soong’s we’re trying to help the family and they mentioned that Dennis and Nicky we’re all family now and they really did want to help. So, I think there was some genuineness in that, and they didn’t want to be estranged.

Kung Fu airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.


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