Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Legend of Korra – The Revelation

This week’s episode, The Revelation, was slower paced than the pilot episodes, but this served it well. The story’s focus was on the Equalist movement, and Amon’s nefarious plans, leading the episode on a very 20’s noir detective feel (like Who Framed Rodger Rabbit). The episode opens with team Fire Ferrets (along with pet fire ferret Pabu) training in the early morning at the gym. Korra complains about the time of the training session, and when Mako mocks her because of her rookie status on the team, she effortlessly knocks him down using her physical strength. However, things quickly move on from here when it turns out that the team needs money in order to continue participating in the tournament, thus forcing Mako and Bolin to look for a source of income. Bolin decided to try to use some of the tricks he has taught Pabu to earn his money as a street performer (with fake mustache and obstacle course), while Mako gets legitimate work in the factories. The standout part of this was the abundant use of lightning. Lightning bending was once something that only a few select fire benders could accomplish. We never even saw Aang have a go at trying to lightning bend. However, the once exclusive ability has now been mastered by countless fire benders, some working in factories acting like human generators while others work/lead gangs. Mako has this ability down quite well, as he executes some quick lightning strikes while in battle, vastly different from the slow execution of lightning from the last series. So while Mako earns money legitimately at the factories, Bolin get approached on the street by the Triple Threat Triad (TTT) gang to be a hired goon, and gets swayed by money.

Bolin with little Pabu
When at home, Mako looks for Bolin, and when he fails to find him, assumes that his “love sick” brother might be with Korra at Air Temple Island. Obviously Mako and Bolin are close, so it’s good to see that he knows that Bolin has a crush on Korra which might explain the distance he kept from Korra in the last episode, but it’s also possible that Bolin has told Mako of his feelings for the Avatar. Either way, it’s going to be very interesting when Korra finally reveals her crush on Mako, and could/will be a potential source of friction between the brothers. When Mako goes to the island to ask Korra if Bolin is there, we see Korra glide her way through the air panel training that she so struggled with in the last episode, watched on by Tenzin’s daughters. It’s good to see the progress, and serves to show that some time has passed between the episodes. As Mako walks towards the training arena, Jinora points him out, asking Korra if he is the boy who drives her crazy. Clearly there is a level of closeness that has developed between the girls, and it’s good to see that Korra has someone to talk to other and Tenzin who can come off a bit stuffy. Korra joins forces with Mako (who is introduced to Naga) to find Bolin, and they are quickly led to TTT’s headquarters. Knocking down the door with a powerful kick, Korra and Mako quickly discover that all member of the TTT (Bolin included) have been kidnapped by the Equalists. Korra and Mako give chase on Naga (with Pabu now too), but the Equalists have a car and some motorbikes to aid in their escape. The chase sequence is well done, with the music complimenting the chase very well. The resulting fight scene is very well animated, and serves to demonstrate the skill and strength of the Equalists. Not only were both Korra and Mako out classed, but they has their chi blocked and were almost taken out if it wasn’t for Naga. After this embarrassment, Korra leads Mako to the Equalist protestor who she ran into in the first episode. After a sleeping montage and interrogation, Korra and Mako are led to a secret meeting Amon is holding.

Good Stakeout
Mako and Korra infiltrate the meeting to find all the kidnapped TTT’s tied up on a stage. Amon joins them and gives a speech to the rather large crowd, giving us a tragic origin story befitting a man with plans as bold as his. Amon has been tormented by benders in his youth, even losing his parents and face to a fire bender. Amon claims to have been instructed by the spirits to take away bending, and makes some harshly honest points about the history of the world and how bending has only helped to ruin it. He demonstrates his ability to silence a bender by taking away the bending abilities of the TTT prisoners one at a time. In the previous series, Aang learnt a similar technique from a giant Lion Turtle, who informed Aang that before people could bend the elements, they could bend energy (it was lost to time). So it is possible that Amon has been instructed by some spirits, however, I’m not sure if we can believe him quite yet. It would be very interesting if he turns out to be a bender himself, which is unluckily, but I didn’t buy his story yet, but it will probably turn out to be true. When it comes time to rob Bolin of his earth bending, Korra creates a cover using steam, and Mako takes his brother back. Mako and Bolin get outside, where they are engaged in a fight against a stun rod equipped Equalist who wipes the floor with them. In the last series, there were very few non benders who could take on and beat benders (just a handful from my recollection) however, 70 years has changed the world a lot, and the playing field is much more level. This opens up the world of combat quite a lot. Korra and Naga save the brothers who flee the area and go home, with Mako and Korra riding her on her back while Bolin is picked up in her mouth (“I… want… to be… on… your… back”). Amon lets them escape, and you get the feeling that if he hadn’t called off his troops, the Fire Ferrets might not have made it out of that alley. Back on the Air Temple Island, Korra tells Tenzin all she has seen, and it worries him greatly.

Amon and his minions
The animation was once again top notch. The music too really complimented the tension and action in this episode very well. It was a very well put together package. The big revelation this week (bigger than Amon’s speech) is the identity of Mako as Batman (without all the money, and with added little brother he had to take care of instead of traveling the world learning to become a martial arts expert). His witnessing of his parents death at age 8 clearly mirrors what Amon claims happened to him. I’m left wondering if this connection between Amon and Mako might make for an understanding between the two, and a possible temptation to the dark side much like Zuko at the end of season two in the last series. However, it’s good to know the goals of the new baddies in this series, and despite their loftiness, they have the means to do it. Another great episode in the bag.

Posted by Dogfish.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I was into this show, this way when I don't have time to watch, I can have the incredible play-by-play that you do!! :0(

    Maybe you can do movie reviews too so this way I know if I should rent a movie when it comes out.
    Just sayin...