Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Legend of Korra – And the Winner is…

This week’s episode of Korra was a lot of fun. Amon and the Equalists staged an anti-bending demonstration amid the finals of the tournament. There were plenty of great action pieces spread throughout the episode, and plenty of characters had moments to shine. And though Korra had the most amount of screen time, she was upstaged by two characters that had far less; Pabu the fire ferret with his cute acrobats and people saving skills, and the tournament’s announcer giving a play-by-play of the Equalist member who attacked him.

The episode opens with team Fire Ferrets training for the finals. They have pictures of the White Falls Wolfbats captain Tahno as target practices (he’s the jerk from the last episode), and really psyching themselves up for the match. However, the joyous mood gets broken up by an announcement from Amon via the radio. As his voice crackles through the airways, you can still see the look of dread on Korra’s face as she hears him. It’s good to see that even though she has clearly gotten better at fighting, there is still a lot of hesitation in her abilities when it comes to Amon. She went through a traumatic event, and it will take time for her to feel up to par with the Equalist leader. On the radio, Amon states that the finals of the tournament should be canceled by the city council or he will cause trouble. Korra, sensing trouble from Tenzin and the council, goes charging in and demands they take no action. After some persuasion from the Fire Ferrets and Lin(!), Tarrlok votes in favor of keeping the tournament open with a majority vote. Once again, you can see Tarrlok’s slimy hands trying to grab more power and he’s more than willing to use whatever he sees fit to his advantage. After some preparations at the stadium, and some great character moments between Lin, Tenzin, and Korra, the tournament begins, and inevitably all hell breaks loose.
An unnecessarily grand entrance by the Wolfbats
At the tournament, the metal bending police position themselves along the entrances of the stadium, covering the crowd so that they are evenly spread out. They are a well trained unit, and seem to know what they are doing, but it becomes obvious that they have never faced a treat as serious as the Equalists. Lin and Tenzin are positioned centrally overlooking the arena. However, despite the seriousness of the situation they both get caught up in the tournament. The White Falls Wolfbats are constantly cheating during the match (the refs have been paid off), and Tenzin keeps yelling whenever a foul goes unnoticed, and Lin is more than happy to keep watching him. Despite how well they have trained in their bending arts, they have much to learn about being focused on the task at hand. During the match, the Wolfbats are using all kinds of dirty tricks to beat the Fire Ferrets, and the refs just ignore them. The commentator is great during these moments, clearly stating his opinions of the Wolfbats and the refs, but there isn’t much he can do. The Ferret’s loose a round, win a second (a great one v one with Korra and Tahno where she kicks his ass KO), but then get knocked out of the arena to lose the match. It’s once they are in the water, and the crowd is going wild with the Wolfbats victory, that the Equalists go on the offensive.
Amon and the Lieutenant
It turns out that the Equalists have dispersed themselves throughout the crowd. Quickly pulling masks over their faces, and metallic gloves that can stun benders, they pounce taking out all the police including Lin and Tenzin. This is a huge embarrassment. Just what was the point of having all those police officers there if they couldn’t accomplish anything? Korra and the Ferret’s get taken out while still in the water by the Lieutenant and his stun rods. While he ties them up to a post under the stadium, Korra has visions of Aang’s life again. There are quick shots of Aang in the avatar state, as well as shots of a man I can only assume is Yakone (he threatened Republic City 42 years before Korra’s arrival). When they wake up, Bolin mimes to Pabu to cut through the ropes binding them to which Pabu obliges. Up on the stage, Amon and some of his chi blockers enter the arena, facing down the Wolfbats. Tahno and his crew foolishly challenge Amon only to get taken out. Despite Tahno’s pleading, Amon robs him of water bending and dumps all three Wolfbats into the pool. Amon then gives a speech to the crowd where he tells all that he has dealt with the police, as well as the cheating Wolfbats, and says that they used anti-bending gloves to take care of all potential problems. He also talks about bending as unclean. That statement gave the Equalists a very ethnic cleansing vibe. There is also a scene earlier in the episode where Amon is overlooking his minions loading crates into satomobiles, and I assume they were full of the electrified gloves. From this scene coupled with his speech, I get the feeling that Amon might try to sell the gloves via a black market to non-benders. He could make a pretty penny, and I wonder if this is one of his goals! It would certainly help to knock his “noble mission” down a peg or two. However, he clearly has some skilled people working for him in order to make stun rods and gloves, and he would need a factory in order to create it all. There could be a possibility that he has some sort of connection to Hiroshi Sato. It would be an interesting twist, and I see no reason why it couldn’t be true. Hiroshi and Asami were in the crowd during the match, but were conspicuously absent during the Equalists’ chaos.
Anti-bender gloves
Tahno get's what's coming to him

After the speech, while making their escape to a waiting airship, Korra and Lin face off against the Equalists, and both ladies kick some unholy ass. Korra tries to take the fight directly to Amon, but he’s just out of her reach. However, the joy I got from seeing Lin and Korra working together was great. We haven’t seen Lin bend at all yet, but it was worth the wait. Despite being caught off guard more than once, when she finally kicks into high gear, Lin did not hold back. The metallic ropes she used to take out the chi blockers and save a falling Korra (twice!) were controlled with precision and deadly force. Korra was also more than a match for the chi blockers, even taking on the Lieutenant and beating him down. The two women played nicely off each other, and when they land back in the stadium, Lin clearly has warmed up to Korra. This can definitely be attributed to how the young Avatar handled herself during the tournament and the fight, but also to a conversation Tenzin had with her earlier in the episode. Last week, we found out that Tenzin was with someone else before he met and fell in love with his wife. That someone turned out to be Lin. The reason she was being so harsh to Korra was less to do about Korra, and more to do about Korra’s closeness with Tenzin. Tenzin and Lin do bury the hatchet in this episode, and the moments after the fight in the stadium between Korra and Lin was welcome and heartfelt. But, at the end of the day, Amon got away, embarrassing the police, and he managed to show the citizen’s of the city that they have a means via technology to take out benders. Only time will tell how impactful his live “commercial” will be, but I feel there is more at play here than just Amon. I smell a rat (in the shape of a one Hiroshi Sato), and this rat looks set to make a lot of money. Another great episode. 
Lin and Korra to the rescue.

Published by Dogfish

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