More than a third of the way through this season of Korra and we have not had our usual Avatar meets the bad guy episode. I mean “The Metal Clan” was a great episode which offered a very unique and new look at our favorite grumpy earthbender, but I really feel we should have learned a little bit more about Zaheer by now. Especially, given how much of a threat he is being built up to be. Luckily the large majority of the material was really fascinating and allowed us to have a deeper exploration of what it means to be a Beifong. We also got introduced to an astounding new location and charters including Suyin, Lin’s half sister. It seems like the Beifong children represent two parts of Toph’s original persona, Lin being the powerhouse cynic and Suyin being the free spirited wild child. The is so much room for exploration so let’s dive in.
Let’s start with Suyin: artist, mother, city builder, rare meteorite collector. Yes, Lin’s half sister is quite the antithesis of our grumpy ol’ Chief of Police. Her free spirt persona manages to rub me the wrong way at some points because of how she just brags about how great her life is compared to Lin’s as well as all her “amazing” accomplishments. Granted she is one of the premier metalbenders in the world going so far as to create Zaofu, a massive sprawling metal metropolis where free thinking and artistry are not only encouraged, but seemingly required. However, there is just something a little off about the way she presents herself to everyone not named Lin. She seems too perfect as if Lin is the only person to have seen her true colors, and that brings forth some hesitation. Characters like that often betray the people the seemingly care about and that can easily be seen in the company she keeps. The fact that her chef is a former pirate and Varrick is her new business partner doesn’t help.
Yes, everyones favorite egomaniacal, self involved, “alleged” president kidnapper is back and just as seemingly crazy as ever. It says something that Varrick is now planning to build a magnet train and is using all of the resources at Suyin’s disposal to do it. The high speed rail is a fascinating idea when in the right hands but this is Varrick we’re talking about, right and ideas rarely if ever come together for the man. Varrick’s reemergence should give pause to everyone involved but as soon as he shows up everyone is seemingly cool with him just chilling out and building his train. Lin and Asami seem to be the only voices of reason as you would think that everyone would warn Suyin just how dangerous and untrustworthy the guy is. They say you are the company you keep, but if Suyin is keeping Varrick as company it will only be a matter of time until something inevitably and hilariously goes wrong.
As for Lin, we don’t quite have a handle on why she is so angry at Suyin yet but I am assuming it has something to do with Suyin possibly having a shady past. Once again, a lot of the Suyin’s trusted friends are seemingly reformed criminals and usually in stories like these only former criminals give other criminals a chance. Although I do understand Lin’s hesitance towards Suyin it does not explain why she is being such an utter bitch to her niece and nephews. By all accounts they have done nothing to wrong Lin, and yet Lin treats all of them like dirt especially her niece and the newest airbender Opal. Opal is very sweet and innocent and has obviously not seen the side of Suyin that Lin hates, but that does not excuse her treatment of Opal who just wants to seemingly spend time with the aunt she has never met. What was most shocking was Lin’s confrontation with Korra to close out the episode where Korra tells Lin she will always be “bitter and alone.” Not only was it shocking to see Korra be so cold to one of her closest allies, but the comment brought Lin to tears. Obviously, there is so much more we have to learn about Lin, but this episode did a fantastic job of building the blocks for a flashback.
The part of the episode that I was most confused by and also most excited for was Zaheer’s quick little trip to Air Temple Island. I mean other than another mention of Guru Laghima, who I guess is going to be important this season, there was not much gained from checking in with Tenzin’s family. Watching Meelo and Ikki train the new recruits was enjoyable enough, but having Zaheer involved lacked the necessary punch to really put this side story over the top. I would’ve much rather Zaheer just visited some random air temple involved with Guru Laghima and pick up some random glider. At least that way we could have some sort of tie back to the other air temples. I just hope when Kya informs Tenzin about what Zaheer took we will gain some insight into Guru Laghima and why we have never heard about him.
Overall a strong episode, just not as great as the material that came before it.
Final Grade B
+Suyin and Zaofu are wonderfully interesting
+Varrick being Varrick
-Opal kind of bland
-Lin being mean to Opal
-Zaheer’s trip to Air Temple Island
-Mako’s breakdown of how Bolin only attracts crazy or stupid women might be the pot calling the kettle black since he can’t maintain a functioning relationship.
-You just knew Lin was gonna have a bad day when she popped Naga’s ball. Naga was just so sad.
-“I mean, what are any of us doing here? Food for thought.” Varrick never change you crazy diamond. Also, do the thing soon.
-Toph is out wandering the world. If she does not show up I will be royally pissed.