Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Legend of Korra – When Extremes Meet

Wow, this episode was a hell of a lot of fun. The new Team Avatar formed, having a very American Graffiti vibe. The four teen members rode in Asami’s car, and with some stylish driving and bending, caught recently escaped Equalists. It was good to see the four of them gel together with such confidence and precision while causing minimum collateral damage. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of some tension bubbling under the surface as Asami finds out about Korra’s crush on Mako (she was none too pleased), and this could prove costly in the future creating divides and questionable loyalties.
Introducing the New Team Avatar
As Tarrlok took over the Metal Bending Police, the new Team Avatar chose to get in the way. Tarrlok has proven time and again to be smarter than those around him, and has easily manipulated most to his will. He puts a swift end to Team Avatar by arresting Bolin, Mako and Asami, and out maneuvering both Korra and Tenzin (who has proved to be useless against Tarrlok on the council). It’s still unclear what he wants with all the power, but it’s obvious that he will stop at nothing to gain more.

This power grab included rounding up non-benders and forcing a curfew on them. It was reminiscent of Nazi era Germany with curfews enforced on the Jewish population, eventually sending them off to concentration camps. No good can come from Tarrlok’s actions, and this will just send the free non-benders right into Amon’s arms. Korra too had big problems with Tarrlok’s actions, but she was rendered powerless with her team arrested. I’m not sure if Tarrlok is working with Amon, or if he is just trying to use the situation to his advantage, but unless benders outnumber non-benders, he is setting himself up for a fall.
Rounding up innocent people has never led to anything good
For the first time since getting beat up by Amon, Korra had to face her deficiencies. She is clearly frustrated with her lack of air-bending (despite mastering the movements) and has no affinity with the spiritual side of being an Avatar. Once again she felt isolated, and there really doesn’t seem to be anyone who can help her. Sure Tenzin is a master air-bender, but even his spiritual side pales in comparison to Bumi’s, Iroh’s and countless others from the last series. Those characters had a real connection with not just their fellow man, but with nature itself. It’s possible I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill because we have not spent enough time with Tenzin, but I’m finding him very inadequate for Korra’s training; he’s just not as wise as I was expecting.
Korra feeling all alone
All the preceding moments led to Korra confronting Tarrlok, and one of the most intense fights the series has had to offer commences. I was never under the impression that Tarrlok would be a good fighter (he seemed too slimy), but boy did he kick some ass. His affinity with water-bending rivals that of Katara. Ice bullets, water shield, and of course, the blood-bending. Wow! I was unsure if Korra knew about blood-bending, and still I’m not sure she knows how to do it, but she knows the basics; like needing a full moon. Not Tarrlok though. Without a full moon he whips Korra around like a rag doll, eventually knocking her out and smuggling her out of the city!!! Man Tarrlok’s not to be messed with, and I have a feeling he could be a match for Amon if they ever fight. While Korra’s knocked out, we see a little more of adult Aang, Sokka and Toph being rendered helpless by a menacing looking, blood-bending (!!!) Yakone. Yakone (who I have assumed was a fire-bender because, well, you know why) bears a striking resemblance to Tarrlok. Could they be father/son? Or could Yakone be immortal???
Is this the mysterious Yakone(?)
With Korra gone, Bolin, Mako and Asami arrested, it will be up to Batfong and Tenzin to handle things in the next episode. I can’t wait. One standout moment this episode is when Team Avatar is just hanging out by the car listening to the police scanner for trouble. It was so natural, and they looked like a pack of teenagers up to no good. Other standout moments involved Tenzin’s kids especially Meelo with his farty flirting ways. I didn’t realize how much I missed them and how much more I want them on screen. If the season was longer there would no doubt be an episode dedicated to each of them, but alas I doubt that will ever be. Oh, and Bolin vs Ikki. This was a great episode.
Meelo stealing the show

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