If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Firstly - a disclaimer before I enter the review. Looking back at my stance on the previous episodes, especially last week's one, I see that I've been a little too harsh on the series so far. It is still developing characters and setting up their arcs, while expending upon the world. I may have been a bit too critical on some aspects, and I will try to level them out from now on. Blame my fandom of the previous series, which I shouldn't have allowed to cloud my judgement on the new one.
Now, with that out of the way, on with the review for this week's episode, which even without the disclaimer, was pretty damm exciting stuff. The Fire Ferrets are busy training for their Pro-Bending Final when the radio is interrupted by a broadcast from none other than Amon. He demands that the Final be cancelled for its propaganda of Benders, and warns of severe consequences if his wishes are not seen to happen. Korra and the rest rush to the City Hall, but the Council along with Tenzin have already decided that they cannot put innocent lives at risk, and are about to pass through the motion to cancel the Final.
Just as they are about to however, Lin Beifong enters and agrees with Korra points of view. She promises increased security at the arena, to which Tenzin reluctantly agrees with. They allow the event to go ahead, and quickly begin a thorough search of the arena for any suspect items.
The Final itself between the Fire Ferrets and the White Falls Wolfbats takes place under a full audience, while Tenzin and Beifong stand at the side together, putting aside their past to ensure that no trouble comes to the audience, or Korra. However, immediately from the get-go, it's clear that the referees are on the side of the Wolfbats, letting illegal moves and dangerous attacks pass by without a second glance. The Ferrets struggle through, and manage to stay in the game, even winning a tie-breaker round. But the back-handed tactics take their toll, and the Wolfbats win the game under angry scenes from the audience.
This is quickly forgotten, when masked people in the crowd suddenly attack the guards with special gloves that electrocute them. Korra along with her team-mates are captured as well, while Amon makes his entrance into the arena. With the crowd watching his every move, he outlines that it is now time for the Equalists to fight back against the oppression of the Benders, and in turn, declares war against the Capital.....
Needless to say, this is an action-packed episode, as we see the Fire Ferrets desperately try to stay within the Pro-Bending match, and the chaos that breaks out after Amon's entrance. The animation team brings out their big guns and provides some very impressive fight sequences. The use of the "Slo-Mo" shots and angles is played to a benefit too, it makes the hits and misses all that more close, and goes towards building the tension and excitement.
But as well as this, we are given some very interesting conversations between Tenzin and Beifong. Without spoiling what is discussed, they delve into the past relationship between the characters, outlining the reasons for her cold stance. Seeing them agree to place the past aside to protect the arena was a very nice touch too, I wouldn't have expected this episode to try this out, but it makes us care for their part in the overall story all that more.
The Equalists are shown to have advanced their methods of attack as well since the last time we have seen them. To overcome the Metal-Bending of the guard, they have created electrocuted gloves that they sneak into the arena. It was a power that I knew would appear at some point, but it's implemented in a novel way that suits their style. It is like the beginning of the technological side starting to truly become a force for the Benders, which will surely lead to some more epic battles in the future.
Overall, this episode was fast-paced, energetic, confident, and played its cards very well indeed. There was just the right balance between scenes of character development, and all-out action that we all love to see from this series. The strong elements of rebellion, segregation, defiance, and mystery to Amon are making his demeanour just great to watch unfold too. The series is still not at its full pace just yet, but we are beginning to witness the potential it has, and this does appear to be a significant corner that the animators and writers have turned.
Thanks for reading! ^__^