Last week, I was hit with the emotional heart strings when Iroh came on screen, bringing back fond memories of the original cast of the Avatar series, and I may have reacted harshly to Team Avatar 2. This week’s episode reminded me that though they are vastly different, Team Avatar 2 are a great cast of characters. If the Gaang were the Justice League, a group who works well together though not necessarily seeing eye to eye on everything, Team Avatar 2 are the Avengers, who constantly step on each other’s toes and work best with one another when their backs are against the wall.
Let’s start with Bolin. The kid never had the angst of Mako, or the drive of Asami. He has been content with drifting around, being pulled in one direction or another until it’s time to move on. And you know what, that’s fine, he’s 16. He’s still trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs in this world. Hell, many people in their 40’s struggle with those very issues. But when push came to shove, Bolin stepped up to the plate and did the bold thing, which was to save the president, capture the assailants, and prove his brother innocent. I forgot just how powerful and resourceful Bolin can be, and he did a good job cleaning up Varrick’s mess.
Speaking of Varrick, the man who is full of endlessly good quotes finally pushed things too far and got caught in his web of deceit and trickery. I am a little disappointed; what’s up with all the industry giants being baddies, is this a reflection of the current crop of Wall St executives? At least Varrick wasn’t trying to help the goals of some mad despot like Asami’s dad, he was just in it for the money; there was no ideology. I liked that. It was simple, neat, and the fact that Varrick himself was so self-aware of the boundaries he was pushing and unsurprised when the rug finally got pulled from beneath him, I couldn’t help but be once again charmed by the man who was the best new character introduced this season.
Combining Asami’s and Mako’s character ark this season is simple. Once again, like season 1, Asami didn’t really go anywhere, which is surprising because she has some very interesting story lines the writers could deal with (dad in jail, 18 year old CEO who is trying to keep a company, her love life, and competitors in place), but she didn’t get much screen time, and was reduced to flying Team Avatar from one place to the next. Mako too didn’t have much ground to cover. He figured that Varrick was the bag guy, got put in jail due to some very questionable character judgment calls by Lin, and was proven right in the end. There really isn’t much to discuss about these two, which in the case of Asami is a shame because there is more to her than just puppy love over Mako, and it should be told.
Some may question President Raiko’s decision to not help the Southern Water Tribe with his army, but from his point of view why should he. The United Republic is not the USA of 1900s. It’s the USA of the 1800’s, despite how much it looks like the 1920s. They were a collection of former colonies from the most powerful empire the world has seen, and have quickly developed into a cultural hub, but not a world leading influence. And in that regard, President Raiko is like a James Monroe, or a John Quincy Adams; they aren’t the legends that were the founding fathers, but their role in sustaining the young country they were now in charge of allowed the other, more Abraham Lincolny type presidents to make the bold choices and make big history. In the end Raiko was right to keep his troops in his country, let the rest of the world figure its own problems out.
Finally, let’s talk Tonraq. When fighting, he may not be as swift as Korra, but he is just as straight forward and head strong as she, and it really is great to see where she gets it from. We now know that for so long Tonraq has run from his past, not willing to confront it till it was too late (something Aang did for about a 100 years), but the truth eventually came out. Tonraq had to fight, not just for his family and the personal injustice, but because he is the rightful leader, and if he wasn’t willing to fight for his position, then no one would. But he decided to act too late, and Unalaq, feeling emboldened from his recent victories, was no longer afraid of his big bro, and unsurprisingly beat him into submission! What’s to come for Tonraq, time will tell.
This was a good episode, animated well with a great backing soundtrack. I will continue to post a separate review for each episode.