So, that’s what the original series was like folks. Our heroes traveling from place to place discovering new possibilities as they try to complete their goal.This is what Avatar should always be, a story of adventure with amazingly high stakes. With Korra now exiled from Republic City she has decided to aid Tenzin in his mission to recruit Air Acolytes. Unfortunately, persuading the new airbenders to join up is harder than it seems as many them have their own lives and do not find the Air Nomad lifestyle appealing. Luckily the team meets Kai, a young orphan thief who has just recently got the skills to airbend and now wishes to join the crew and change his ways. At the same time Zaheer, has decided to free his imprisoned cohorts in order to attack Korra and the White Lotus society. Easy to say this was a very jam-packed episode that had a lot going for it so let’s dive in.
I have to say right off the bat I felt all of the airbender recruitment material was kind of hit or miss. I annoyed the gravity of the situation and both Tenzin and Korra’s absolute desire to get the airbenders to join them, but the joke just ran on for a little too long. I mean yes, it is funny to see Tenzin awkwardly list off the reasons you should want to join the Air Acolytes, but it really does nothing unless you bond with them first. He was putting his own desperation above connecting with the airbenders as people which greatly hindered his cause. Similarly with Korra, her refusal to accept the stay at home airbenders refusal to join up felt hokey towards the end, but the character was a really big douche. I mean he was never going to make use of his powers and Korra should have realized he was not worth her time earlier on in their conversation. This entire section of the story felt like it did not know a good end point to the joke, and that is really sad.
Luckily the story managed to really pick up and become enjoyable once we met Kai, who seems to be an awkward mix of Aang’s vocal patterns and Toph’s “The Runaway” personality. The entire Bolin as a carnival barker routine was a well played bit of humor as well as shooing off some really neat airbending tricks. Unfortunately, no one but Kai was interested in joint the team but this was all a ruse to help him escape from the cops. I found it bizarre that the cops were just going to throw Kai in jail as he is eleven and hardly a dangerous threat worthy of imprisoning. Luckily, his lying nature and overall upbeat personality manage to make his character just interesting enough that I want to see where his story is going. Although this can change quickly if he is just left to his own devices and continues to be an obnoxious little jerk.
For me the most interesting part of the episode was watching Zaheer round up Team Dark Avatar from their super isolated prisons. First up was Ghazan, who was imprisoned on a wooden boat in the middle of the sea. His power seems to be an extension of magma or lava bending which is a rather unique turn for an evil earthbender. The way in which he manipulated the magma star to take down the guards showed just how dangerous he is by himself, and when teamed up with Zaheer what a powerful duo the can be. Next we met Ming-Hua the evil amputee waterbender voiced by Grey DeLisle, Azula from the original series. Ming-Hua was imprisoned in a volcano but that did not stop her from nearly murdering every White Lotus member who was guarding her. We were definitely given some unique variations on how bending can be used or evolved and to what extreme Zaheer’s people are willing to go too. These action scenes were top notch and definitely my favorites of the entire episode due to their creativity and scope. If they are any indicator of what we have in store for us, I am extremely pleased.
This all led to the reveal of an old friend, Fire Lord Zuko, now voiced by X-Men’s Bruce Davidson, who is seemingly much gruffer and wiser in his old age. Oh and he also has a flipping dragon so Zuko has moved up in the world my friends. It will be interesting to see how Zuko’s personality has changed over the years and the type of adult everyones favorite awkward prince has become. I personally can’t wait to see Zuko pull out his swords and firebend Zaheer to what I will only assume to be a close match. Get pumped people, it’s a coming.
Overall a very strong part two with only some minor hiccups.
Final Grade B
+Zuko’s back and has a FREAKIN DRAGON
+The prison break scenes and the evil benders
+Kai joining the squad
+Bolin circus time.
-The convincing airbenders bit went on a little too long
-Cops were gonna lock up an eleven year old.
-“Did someone order a fully equipped Future Industries airship?” Yes, Yes we did.
-Bolin’s story about meeting their family was so touching right up to the point where “She dies,” Then it became darkly hilarious.
-I like to believe there is another show of just Oogi and Naga having out and causing shenanigans.