Now thats more like it, pacing, plotting, action, comedy. Everything was flowing tonight and it really made for one of the best episodes in all of Korra. Avatar is at it’s best when the core cast is given the majority of the heavy lifting, rather than focusing on the problems of the minor characters. There are exceptions to any rule, just look at last week’s subplot, but Korra managed to succeed on all fronts this week and it really helped to increase the overall enjoyment of the season. Though the Water Tribe conflict had hit a rough point last week, this episode really managed to maximize the tension between Korra and her Uncle. What really managed to surprise me was even when I felt the plot points were being telegraphed I did not care because it was done so well. So lets dive in.
So when we last left our heroine, her parents were about to stand trial for their alleged involvement in the rebellion, Unalaq told Korra they would be given a fair trial, but come on did anyone really believe that for a second? Unalaq is basically Loki incarnate, a deceitful master trickster under the guise of a politician, although I am pretty sure politician and Loki are one and the same in terms of job description. I have to say he played the game rather well in terms of how he had worked his family and by extension the entire Water Tribe, into believing he had pure motives and that he truly wanted the best for his tribe. However once we saw the judge in the car, you could tell all of Unalaq’s plans were gonna go south fast (no pun intended).
It turned out that not only had Unalaq rigged the trial, but he had also hired the barbarians who got Tonraq banished from the North. That is playing the long con like no other and it made it plainly clear that the main goals of Unalaq at this point are power and control. I am of course hoping that there is some sort of spirit type big bad that will pop up, as since the first two episodes there has been a startling lack of spirits to be seen. If anything this season should be titled Water rather than Spirits as we have only seen a total of like five spirits since the premiere. I just want consistency in terms of villainy as Unalaq is a fine strategic villain, but to this point he lacks the physical prowess to be a significant threat to Korra.
Another upside of the main plot this week is that all of Team Avatar was on display as not only did Mako and Bolin get to play, but Asami as well. Apparently she was just chilling out in the South waiting for Varrick to finish their deal, which makes her absence the past two episodes even more surprising. You’d think Korra would keep one of her really good friends in the loop about what the hell was going on. Another bright spot was that Bolin’s romance plot was not as unbearable as in previous efforts, as even when he was able to pull the trigger and break up with Eska that she would not let it be. I have to say Pabu and Bolin looking like two more of the creepy twins gave me a much larger laugh that I had intended. Of course Varrick is continuing to be comic gold and I can’t decide which was funnier, that the Platypus-Bear costume pooped money or that Zhu Li was inside the costume with him.
Of course the side plot of this episode managed to really put a capper on an already great episode, with Ikki helping Tenzin to realize just how great his siblings are. The entire scene with Tenzin, Ikki, and the baby flying bison was absolute heart tugging gold, and the writers managed to perfectly capture what it means to have siblings. Sure they will frustrate you and drive you crazy sometimes, but they are the best friends you will ever have. It was especially nice to see two of the baby sky bison playing and pulling on each others ears, how is that not supposed to be adorable as hell. Tenzin and Ikki did not get to have all the character building moments as Bumi’s speech to the statue of Aang was fantastic, it truly captured the emotion of a kid who just wanted to make their parent proud and Kya’s hug completely sealed the scene. It was just classic Avatar emotional story telling and I enjoyed every second of it.
Add on the fact that the action in this episode was truly outstanding, from the brief confrontation with Unalaq to the raid on the prison ship, everything was beautifully rendered and completely captured the feel we have come to expect from and episode of Avatar. The entire plane raid scene was an absolute standout with the quick Avatar State push and the raid on the ship playing out like poetry in motion.
Overall, a fantastic episode and a major step up in terms of last week’s offering.
Final Grade A-
+Korra was a badass
+Varrick is comedy incarnate
+All of Team Avatar was back
+Tenzin and Ikki learn family values
-Unalaq not even trying to hide he is an evil douche
-Where the hell are the spirits?
-Blueberry Spice Head, Princess Rainbow, Twinkle Star Child and Juniper Lightning Bug. Ikki and Tenzin’s other family
-“That platypus-bear is pooping money!” is going right up there with “You added a rainbow”
-Bolin is awful at a few things including bribing public officials and breaking up with crazy stalker girls.
-“Any way this boat can be faster that my crazy waterbender ex-girlfriend?” “What do you think this boat was made for!” Varrick never change because you are quickly approaching Sokka class in terms of characters I love.