Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Legend of Korra - The Spirit of Competition

In this week’s episode, the main plot involving Amon took a break as we delved into the inner workings of the Fire Ferrets and the pro-bending tournament. Things stated off fairly well, with the team showing great cohesion. During their training session their movement flowed well, and it translated nicely to the first few rounds of the tournament. However, when Bolin decides it’s time to ask Korra out, things quickly go downhill for the team. During their downtime, while Mako and Bolin are at home, Mako cooking and Bolin trying to wash Pabu, Bolin brings up the topic of dating Korra. Mako instinctively thinks about a relationship with Korra, and tries to compare it with his current relationship with Asami. It’s funny that he immediately jumped to thinking about dating Korra. It’s obvious the topic has been something he has been thinking about before, weighing the options between dating the avatar, or continuing his relationship with his nice new rich girl. Both girls are pretty, however, breaking either of their hearts could prove costly. If Mako were to dump Asami, he risks not only losing her father as a sponsor for the Fire Ferrets team, but he risks possibly gaining a very influential and powerful enemy. This could prove costly in the future. However, turning Korra’s advances away could mean untimely loosing a teammate, and also a close friend and ally in the future. Mako has a very difficult balancing act to do if he is to come out of his personal love triangle unscathed.
Love triangles after a good training session helps a team fall apart.
On the other side of this love triangle, Bolin decides it’s time to up his game with Korra. Mako first tries to discourage him, telling Bolin that it’s not a good idea dating a teammate, however, Bolin decides to go on a date with Korra. Their date goes well, but you get the feeling that Korra was only with him to be with someone, and to possibly hurt Mako. It’s obvious that she’s not into Bolin (though she blushes when he tells her how great he thinks she is), and her mind was clearly on Mako. Earlier, when she decided to ask Mako out, he turns her down, telling her that he’s not into her like that, and that he feels that teammates should not be dating. Later, a hurt Korra is eventually confronted by Mako when she is alone where Mako tells Korra that he likes her, leading inevitably to Korra kissing him. Unfortunately, Bolin sees everything, and runs away crying. There is a lot of innocence about Bolin, and I was glad that he did not get mad and shout at them; it would have felt out of character. The funny visual of his tears streaming down his face as he runs away was great. Mako eventually finds him drunk in a food coma at a restaurant and takes him home. There is so much tension now between the three of them that it inevitably spills over into the tournament.
Poor Bolin, at least he knows he's gorgeous.
During their first round of the tournament, when no one was trying to date each other yet, the Fire Ferrets dominated their opponents with precision. The training had paid off, as each member had a job to do in the arena, and they executed moves with ease. But when Korra asked Mako out only to get turned down, then goes out with Bolin which annoys Mako, these two members of the team get distracted by awkwardness and a little animosity. It falls on Bolin to keep the team afloat, and he does a good job. Bolin has never come across as a great fighter. I've always gotten the impression that Mako held the team in place with his combat skill. However, Bolin really shined in his opportunity. He was bobbing and weaving his way through attacks to take out his opponents, leading to a one on one spar match to decide the winner of the round. Bolin knocked his man out of the ring, and really made it look easy. It was good to see him take charge away from Mako (who he noted was distracted throughout the match), and shows some potential of becoming a confident leader in the future if the need arises. Things get worse though when Bolin is witness to the kiss, and the last match of the episode goes horribly wrong. Very quickly the Fire Ferrets distractions are exposed in the arena, with the opponents clearly taking advantage of the weakened team. Mako and Bolin get eliminated, but they really don’t care. Their hearts aren't in it anymore, and only Korra seems willing to go on. That turns out to be a good thing, because she is the only one left in the area. She immediately goes into ass kicking mode, using her water bending skills to line up the opposing team so she could eliminate them with a strong gush of water, winning the semi-final for the team. Her tenacity in the ring put the fire in the teams belly once more, and they get excited for the finals. In the dressing room, words are spoken, apologies are made, wounds are healed, and all is forgiven. There is a quick shot of the other finalists being jerks to them, and very quickly winning their semi-final with ease, but all the bad blood between the Ferrets has been washed away. They are friends again, and that bothered me.
The Kiss seen around the world!
This was a fun episode not doubt, but they were dealing with some very serious issues. Like Avatar Roku once said to Aang, “Love is hard when you’re young”. That is very true. Kids are dumb. Little things blow up into big messes, and get taken out of context. However, kissing the brother of the man who you know has a crush on you is a very big deal; especially when he has taken the time to take you out for dinner and show you a good time. Bolin was not only betrayed by Korra, but by Mako. Mako was clearly agitated by Korra going out with Bolin, and this betrayed his feelings for her. If he had not confronted Korra, then Bolin’s heart would not have gotten broken the way it did. But that may prove to be better rather than dragging out a relationship that clearly is not going to work. However, it still does not explain how Bolin was able to forgive everyone so quickly. I understand why he forgave Mako; ever since they were kids and Mako became Batman, Mako’s looked after Bolin, raising him into the man he’s becoming. Forgiving Mako was a given. But forgiving Korra was too easy. She did not earn his forgiveness. She betrayed him. She knew he likes her, yet she went on ahead with Mako. Sure she single handedly won the semi-final, but so what, Bolin single handedly won the quarter-final, and not once this episode (or series so far) has Bolin done something to earn anyone’s distrust. He a good honest kid and he deserves better. In the end, it just felt too easy; it was not earned. Maybe they will use this plot in future episodes to bring up the tension again, but as it stands now, its resolution was too clean and held the episode back. Other than that, the animation and music was once again top notch, and seeing the elimination rounds of the tournament was great. I can’t wait for the final! A good episode.

Posted by Dogfish

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