If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Well, I'm back from a very eventful London Spill Party that took place last weekend, and I return to Ireland with its usual greeting - miserable and cold weather. Still, it's time for me to try and catch up on some of the reviews I've been behind on lately, this may be a shorter one than usual, but should still prove adequate.
The latest episode highlighted both some of the strong points of the new series, but also some of the sticking points that are holding it back. Councilman Tarrlok wants to put an end to the uprising of Amon, and wishes to set up a task force to take out his followers, and ultimately, himself. Tenzin is against any move that could be seen as oppressing the non-Benders, but the motion gets passed nonetheless. Tarrlok wishes to have Korra on the team as well, but she has been having recurring nightmares about Amon, and is too fearful to face him once again. She declines the offer, despite Tarrlok's wishes.
A side-story takes place outside of this as well, where Mako befriends a young woman named Asami. She has been following his team in the Pro-Bending Tournament, and they end up going on a date together. It turns out her father is a renowned industrialist, who would be happy to offer the entry fee for their next championship. All he asks in return is sponsorship of his company on their team. Meanwhile, Tarrlok sees that his efforts to recruit Korra are failing, and invites her to a Gala event in her honour. Under the pressure and presence of many reporters, she finally gives in, and joins the Task Force, in their attempt to stamp out Amon's group from Capital City.
It's very hard to discuss this episode without highlighting its faults, so I shall cover them first. Between the interactions of these two main stories, the plots feel very dis-conjoined; many of them are only mentioned or end up being dropped when necessary. It makes for a storyline that lacks organic flow and fluidity; instead it just judders along between scenes with whatever material is available. The previous episode had a much more defined structure, but this one's issues really show through. This is mostly evident in the second third of the episode, from the forced inclusion of Asami's family in the Pro-Bending Tournament, to the "Satomobile", which even in the world of Capital City doesn't make a shred of sense.
We also see a problem rise with Korra which I am sure you are tired of seeing in films now - she doesn't discuss her issues. Through almost the whole episode, she needed only mention it to Tenzin, and a resolution could have been found. It doesn't feel in the same way as the fear Aang had for Fire Lord Ozai - that was his young self showing through the Avatar, his base fear. For Korra, we get very little idea about what's really going through her mind, the audience needed more hints to go on, instead of the score and camera angles indicating her emotions.
That all said, things did improve once she accepted to join the squad, we see her become reckless from her fear, completely ignoring its presence, and leading to her gaining an over confidence. It gives quite a good ending to the episode, bringing back (literally) a lot of memories from the previous show. Once again sadly, the story of the Fire Ferrets almost gets a back-seat while this goes on, it's not until two-thirds in that we realise it is actually the main focus for our attention.
It's a hard one to call, this one. It just felt so confused through the start between trying to pile on the stories, humour, and seriousness all at once. And it was only near the end that they grasped a hold of the matter and just managed to pull out a good ending. Did the episode add much progression? Hmm... probably not, maybe some points and new characters will become important in the future, but nothing of drastic importance took place. Maybe the next episode will show more clearly why the episode had to be the way it was, but for now, it left me mildly disappointed.
Thanks for reading! ^__^