Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s Legend of Korra review. This week’s episode, The Sting, was a fantastic episode more or less because is focused on everyone who WASN’T related to or currently an Avatar. Finally, some of the other characters have had a chance to breath and the results were fantastic! If you haven’t seen this weeks episode be sure to swing by Nick.com or just purchase the whole series over on iTunes! And if you missed last week’s review, check it out here! SPOILERS for this week’s episode ahead…
The best part about this episode was, hands down, Mako. But let’s start with the little hints we get of the overarching story, starting with Unalaq appearing out of the Spirit Portal in the South. If this doesn’t cement the idea that he is working for a greater spirit, than I don’t know what would. Especially when you consider how cryptic he’s being about it.
It’s also interesting to note how upset he is that the Avatar is dead. Sure he needed her to continue his plan, but I also think he suspects some other 3rd party is interfering with his plans. Perhaps the spirits of the ancient Avatars; who knows? It is good to see that he’s not just sitting around plotting though. He’s actively up to something, we just don’t know what yet…
Let’s take a second to talk about Bolin in this episode though. He’s being an idiot. Now, to be fair, he’s clearly being played by Varrick; who is obviously leagues above Bolin in terms of intelligence. But it’s sad to see Bolin get played so badly. We love him, he’s a lovable guy! But he’s not very bright, and all of this is eventually going to blow up in his face.
It was nice to see Korra throw some references at us with the mover though. Not only was it a nice throwback to the Ember Island Players from the original Avatar, but it was a nice play on the kind of propaganda you saw come out of the US during WWII. The “punching Hilter in the face” bit ala Captain America was particularly awesome.
Luckily for everyone in this series though, Mako has his head on straight. Seriously folks, if this episode didn’t make you love this guy, than you just hate him for no good reason.
We open the episode with him staring at a picture of him and Korra together. He clearly feels bad about breaking up with her, but he’s a man who will do anything to get the job done and I’m sure he doesn’t regret doing what he did.
I especially like that Mako sticks to his gun despite every other police officer being blind to what’s going on. Even Lin seems to have bought into all this; although it’s easy to understand why she’d want to trust her experienced detectives instead of the new kid. Of course since the detectives are obviously being payed/bribed to look the other way… I don’t know. Lin must have too much on her plate to see through all this. At least I hope so…
Anyway, it’s a good thing Mako doesn’t know how to quit, because at this point he’s actually risking his job (which he broke up with the Avatar to KEEP mind you) in order to pursue what he knows is a good lead. THIS is the Mako that I love to see. We got hints of him during Season 1, but this is him at his finest. Making shady deal with criminals to catch a bigger fish? You bet. Potentially losing his job? No biggie. Mako is the kind of guy that’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. He’s like Batman, in a way. He even likes to intimidate them into spilling info. It’s great to see.
It was also fun to see a glimpse of where the criminal element is in Republic City these days. Perhaps most interestingly, Korra did NOT restore everyone’s bending after Amon took it away. She clearly played favorites and only gave it back to those she thought deserved it. So much for restoring balance. It’s little glimpses like this that reinforce the idea that Korra isn’t a very good Avatar, at least not on a global scale. She’s got a lot to learn.
Even though it was all a diversion, it was nice that we got to meet 2 Toed Ping. He seems like a hilarious guy, even if he is a criminal. I also like that they actually showed you why he was called 2 Toed Ping. That’s one of those random little details that you, as an audience member, just assume you understand. “Oh sure, he’s only got 2 toes”, you say. So it was nice to see them throw a different little story in there. It kept things fresh and funny.
Of course things eventually fell apart and we got to have a niffty cool boat chase reminiscent of The Last Crusade. It was a fun little chase, although a little weak on the action. And in the end it didn’t even matter, as Asami’s warehouse (and apparently ENTIRE stock) had already been robbed.
This lead to what I’m sure will be one of the most loved/hated scenes this season, Asami kissing Mako. I loved the scene, although I have every hope that Mako ends up back with Korra. It was just really nice to see Asami still had feelings and emotions after everything that’s happened. She clearly still has feelings for Mako, although he’s clearly moved on to Korra. But these are the kind of character interactions this show has needed. It’s awkward, it builds tension… and it gives them depth at the same time.
With everything hanging in the air and Asami’s business in ruins, Mako really needed to put it all together; and boy did he. Although you could kind of see it coming, the slow reveal through the flashing of explosions in Mako’s eyes was a beautiful scene none the less.
The eventual reveal of Varrick’s master plan was equally great. All this “trouble” to acquire Future Industries and look like a good guy doing so. You really gotta hand it to Varrick, he’s one hell of a slippery snake. And the best part is, despite him being a comic relief character for so long, the reveal that he’s a bad guy isn’t out of left field. I mentioned last week that EVERY idea he’s given them has been morally corrupt, and that little fact has finally come full circle. Of COURSE Varrick is a bad guy; he’s always been one. His cover was just next to flawless. This was easily one of the best reveals in Avatar/Korra so far.
Which… brings us to one of the worst. I’m just gonna come out and say it, but really? Amnesia?! That’s your big play?!! If this memory thing last more than two episodes I’m gonna have a REAL problem with it. Use it to make a point, then move on from it. But the “I can’t remember who I am” trope is, frankly, old and tired. Especially for a main character.
Personally I’m just hoping my friend Jordan is right, and this is all some play by the spirits to teach Korra some humility. THAT is something I can get behind. Korra is losing touch with the world, everything is getting out of balance, and the spirits are finally just like “you’re done”. So they kill her in the most non-leathal way they can; by getting rid of her memory. After all, actually killing her would just shift the Avatar spirit onto some baby, which would do them no good in the near future. But if they can soft-reset Korra and get her back on track, well, that’s a much better game plan.
Regardless, I’m excited to see what happens next week. I’m sure it’ll be very Korra/spirit centric (which is good!) but I can’t help but hope we get back to Mako and Varrick ASAP. Mako is turning out to be one of the best things that’s happened to Korra, and I can’t wait to see where his story arc takes him next!