Mako, what a douche. Also you know, that part one of tonight’s four part extravaganza was the perfect ramp up towards an action packed finale. Yes, Team Avatar, and more specifically Bolin took center stage as we moved towards the final face off with soon to be a Bond villain Varrick. Of course with Mako in prison, Korra away, and Asami mechless, the duty to save the day fell to the goofy Earthbender. At the same time Tonraq had grown impatient waiting for Korra to return with reinforcements and decided to attempt to take down Unalaq with the southern rebels. What managed to make “Night of a Thousand Stars” succeed where the other ramp up episodes failed was its strong and well centered story. The episode knew the path it wanted to weave for us and it managed to accomplish it’s checklist with only a few minor qualms. So lets dive in shall we.
Like I previously said this was largely Bolin’s show and he really managed to own it once he actually believed what Mako had told him about Varrick. One of my largest complaints about Bolin as a character is that he lacks depth and seems to only be on screen to crack a joke or provide a nice backup to Mako. However it appears when truly given a chance to shine Bolin is just as charismatic and dynamic a character as the rest of the team. Easily playing up the comedic moments while still being the heroic Earthbender we got quick glimpses of in the first season. The fact that he was able to take on the three Waterbenders without any sort of backup reminded us just how capable a fighter Bolin truly is. Bolin’s classic comedic timing was also going at full force, and it was easily some of the best laughs we have had all season. Note kids animation, comedy comes from proper facial expressions, and Bolin has those in spades. Of course if Raiko or Lin had listened to Korra or Mako at any point during the season most of this could have been avoided. Oh well, shit happens.
Of course everything got ratcheted up once Korra and Team Tenzin showed up at the premier, which I really have no idea how they knew the gang would be there but I will let it slide. Now with all the proof Korra once again asked Raiko for help only to once again turn her down. Granted, Raiko made a smart play by saying that he needed the army to protect Republic City, but I am still pretty sure that he could have spared a few troops to go back Korra and the gang, especially after Bolin saved his life. At the same time it seems Mako’s time in prison made him a bit more of a douche, as he choose to not tell Korra that she angrily broke up with him. If you are going to make someone forget major relationship choices with amnesia I am guessing their original choice was not a smart idea in the first place. Luckily Bolin was silently representing the audience during this entire scene and his faces were absolutely priceless, even Bolin knows Mako screwed up. Another high note was that Varrick was back in top form as well tonight by not only being the devious Bond villain mastermind, but also flexing his comedic muscles to the max. Even when Varrick finally gets caught and put in prison he manages to be awesome and slightly redeem his actions by giving the team his battleship, which he has conveniently had all season I assume, and all of the mechs he got from Asami. Don’t really know why Varrick needed to go pseudo-evil to do it but in the end he made good on his promise to help Korra.
In my humble opinion the true standout of this episode was the action which was easily some of the best choreographed work we have seen all season. Both the fight in the arena and Tonraq’s raid managed to excel in how they presented their given elements as well as be unique in how they used the environments. With Bolin’s fight there were great parallels to how Bolin was fighting in the mover and what he was doing in the actual ring. The way Bolin used the earth disks in the ring was far more creative than anything we saw him do in the pro-bending matches or season one. It was also creative to have the announcer narrating the majority of the fight as his color commentary really brought some liveliness to the entire affair. With the Tonraq vs Unalaq battle we had the distinct pleasure of seeing the two brothers opposing styles of Waterbending. Where Tonraq was more brutal and forceful in how he used the water, Unalaq was much more artistic and fluid in terms of his bending. These differences helped to ratchet up the tension and sheer force of the entire fight. It really was some spectacular work.
Overall a great ramp up episode.
Final Grade B+
+The action was top notch
+Bolin finally being the hero we wanted
+Comedy was spectacular
-The return of douche Mako
-Korra’s amnesia screws Asami out of happiness once again
-All of this could have been avoided if Raiko and Lin had listened in the first place.
-President Raiko’s wife seemed to be really be enjoying that mover, a little to much if I do say so myself. Kinky.
-Ok, Naga’s mover prosthetic arms were hilarious. Such B movie quality.
-Varrick’s list of “good deeds” was amazing, with a capper of “Mako, I put you in prison! I guess that is not a good thing?” Top notch Varrick humor.
-The douche cops apparently were not being paid off, they were just really incompetent. That was a fun twist.