I know. I’m late, I’m late for a very important date, blah blah blah.
And I am sorry about that (despite the “blah, blah, blah’s,” my commitment to Korra is weirdly intense for an I’m-supposed-to-act-like-an-adult-now year old), but my heart is also in a hundred billion broken little pieces over the outcome of the Stanley Cup Finals. That is all I can manage to say about that.
Anyway, you know the drill: I watch the latest Korra episode, and then I rant about it here. I just sort of type my feelings. I try to give a little context. I am largely unsuccessful. If you watch the episode, you’ll know what I’m talking about (this is the hope, anyway. But as Lady Mac says: “Was the hope drunk?” …In this case, that’s totally possible. The hope may also be tearstained and bereft but I said I wouldn’t talk about my Devils’ heartbreak anymore so I’m done now. For real)*.
Last time on Korra (“When Extremes Meet”):
The Fire Ferrets and their sugar mama—I mean, Asami move into the air temple island. Meelo is hysterical (also, crushing on Asami), Jinora is the best, and Ikki tells Asami that Korra likes Mako. Naturally, Korra has an aneurysm. Like you do. Beifong’s replacement gets installed officially—and is 110% Tarrlok’s puppet—like, not even trying to hide it. We finally talk about the visions Korra’s been having of grown-up Aang. Bo’s still the cutest best ever and declares them The New Team Avatar. Then Meelo literally farts on their hands-in thing. It’s great. Asami flips her hair and reveals the Wolfbat Mobile. She’s going to be their driver. So… they’re the JLRC (Justice League of Republic City). But not even bothering to cover their faces, and blatantly using an actual issue as grounds for a pissing contest with Tarrlok. Tarrlok then turns Republic City into a martial state with curfews for all non-benders. Jerkface. And now Asami is jealous/suspicious of Korra being near Mako. Tarrlok starts blatantly abusing/imprisoning non-benders. And then arrests the rest of Korra’s gang. Korra breaks into Tarrlok’s office and dukes it out with him. He tries to attack her (after she says that he’s just like Amon). Then we get some Matrix-level fighting (although it also has some intense Gaston-fights-the-Beast-in-the-rain overtones). It’s pretty great. TARLOCK BLOOD BENDS!!! I always knew I hated him. If he is Amon, it’ll be so boring. But we get some more interesting flashbacks from Aang’s time. Most of them involving a psychotic-looking Tarrlok (AND WE SEE OLDER SOKKA!!! I am much too excited about that). Anyhow, that was last week’s episode.
Onward! This Week’s Korra (“Out of The Past”):
(And we’re back to our usual style of undead-bloggery)
In Tarrlok’s Basement (no, seriously):
-He bloodbends Korra into a little metal box.
-Then drives down out of his alpine lair.
In the Air Temple:
-Meelo steps on Tenzin’s face to get to the phone
-Tenzin picks up the phone—OMFG FACE
At City Hall:
-Tarrlok gives Tenzin a big load of quadruped defecation about how Korra came to see him and how they were both attacked by Equalists and she was kidnapped.
-Am I the only one who sees the Gaston thing when his hair is disheveled?
-People seem to be buying it—although I’m going to need some explanation about the timelines on the flashbacks to totally buy that myself.
In Beifong’s Room:
-She hears the radio report of Tarrlok’s version of the story
-She gets up and has a Mulan moment outside of the armoire
-Beifong busts out Asami
-Bolin tries to pee: “COVER YOUR EARS! I CAN’T GO WITH YOU LISTENING!”
-Beifong busts the boys out of their cell. While Bo’s trying to pee.
-Asami and Mako kiss, despite Bo’s questionable pants-ed-ness
-BEIFONG METAL BENDS THE ZIPPER OF BO’S FLY! This just spawned a whole host of fanfics that nobody ever wanted to think about.
In Korra’s Cell:
-She finally decides that ramming her shoulder into the side of the cell is not going to work and instead meditates on Aang’s past. Good girl. We all knew she’d get there eventually.
In Aang Flashback:
-Aang’s voice is THROWING ME OFF. I mean, I know they had to have a different voice and whatnot (Aang went through puberty and whatnot), but I can’t quite wrap my head around it
-WHAT IS YOUR CHINSTRAP, SIR?!
-She calls him Twinkletoes! Even when he’s forty! YAY! (although, Toph was at least Aang’s age and she is So Not Forty in this flashback)
-YAKONE! They meet the guy they mentioned that one time in the first council meeting. Oh, and he’s the guy in the flashbacks who I thought was Tarrlok. …Well, I can guess how that’s going to end up.
-He’s like a Water Tribe mobster.
-“We know what you are”
-Well that was nice and ambiguous, Aang, but GO ON, TELL US, WHAT IS HE?! Is he Amon? Is my theory (well, one of about 100 theories) correct?
Back with Korra:
In Tenzin’s Office:
-He’s such a goody-goody: he’s stunned and worried to find Beifong and the gang standing before him (out of prison…. illegally). I like him so much anyway. HE’S GILES (but not trying to date the Computer Teacher/Neighborhood Gypsy/Sometimes Mrs. Summers)
-Mako wants to use Naga to track Korra
-Nice idea, Punk, except Naga’s missing too
-They figure out (using the Group Epiphany Method) that the Equalists are using tunnels under the city to travel stealthily
In The Street:
-Bo is sniffing things
-Beifong uses her magic feet to sense tunnels under the ground
-They find one. Duh.
-They enter a sewer tunnel.
In The Tunnel:
-Mako, grumpy as always, is leading, desperate to find his girlfriend—I mean, his friend. Who’s a girl. She happens to be a female friend. A friend who is female…. heh
-Yeah, Asami starts pumping Bo for intel about Mako and Korra (sittin’ in a tree…)
-Bo IS THE WORST LIAR THAT EVER LIVED
-He totally just spilled the beans that Mako and Korra kissed (WHILE Asami and Mako were dating). Oops. OOH, OOH, MAYBE ASAMI WILL FINALLY DO SOMETHING INTERESTING! Probably not.
-Bo’s like, nbd. Asami’s all angsty mcgee. I was wrong. She and Mako are PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. Because I hate them both.
-They have a very sophisticated secret tunnel and trolley system. Got to hand it to them—their engineers do good work.
-The Equalists are like the Storm Troopers. Utterly inefficient at everything henchman-adjacent. Also, they are taller than Luke.
-Beifong captures the Equalists, and uses her magic foot echolocation to find her trapped officers
-Oh no, all of their bending’s been taken. Poor babies. I would want the series to go into it, but … I feel like we’d just get a lot of dramatic Korra. And I can sort of do without that right now.
-Still no Avatar
-Because SHE’S NOT THERE! Because Tarrlok isn’t Amon! Yay!
-Alarms going off (now that they figured out that Tarrlok was behind it, duh), and they’re bending their way out of there!
Back with Korra/In Another Flashback:
-Okay, so Yakone’s been using bloodbending to make his henchies do stuff for him (as far as I remember, it didn’t work like Imperio, but fine)
-Hi Older Sokka! I missed you! Where’s Suki?
-We’re at trial—ha! SPARKY BOOM BOOM MAN REFERENCE!!! And Sokka condemns him and sentences him to life in prison. The world of Avatar doesn’t like to kill people, but…. Now Yakone’s bloodbending everyone around him. ALL OF THEM!
At City Hall:
-Tenzin and Co. confront Tarrlok
-Tarrlok is fronting real hard
-The secretary we briefly saw reveals that Tarrlok did take Korra AND that he’s a bloodbender
-Everybody freaks out
-Tarrlok bloodbends the crud out of the whole crowd and then… leaves. Anticlimactic, yo.
After The Avatar Team (Sans Avatar) Wakes Up:
-Bo’s dreams are reality
-“BOLIN, THAT REALLY HAPPENED.” That is the most I’ve ever liked you, Asami.
-Beifong wants to track Tarrlok. That’s how you know she used to be a police chief.
Back in Korra’s Head:
-Yakone is bloodbending everyone, knocks everyone unconscious, and then hi-tails it out of there
-Aang wakes up in the Avatar state. Remember that? Yeah, beware! It could be sea monster time!
-Aang chases after Yakone (who’s… not happy), they fight, Y tries to kill Aa with bloodbending, the Avatar state is having NONE OF THAT, and Aang takes Y’s bending away. Permanently.
-Thank you, writers, for bringing that back.
Back in Korra’s Cell:
-Korra realizes that Aang was trying to warn her about Tarrlok.
-Unfortunately, she has no useful insights about Amon’s identity, le sigh. Also… hindsight’s 20/20 and other sayings that mean, “you done messed up. Stupidly.”
-Tarrlok’s back, he’s Y’s son (but had to abandon his dad’s roots, wanted to be a Savior to the city).
-Oh geez. He wanted to rule Republic City. WHY? WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT IT? IT GOT BEER FLAVORED NIPPLES OR SOMETHING?!
-Korra, quick question: Why are you egging him on when you’re stuck in a metal box and have no previously disclosed talents for metal bending?
-OOH!!! WHAT’S THIS?!
-Amon’s going to Equalize Tarrlok!
-And Amon’s magically bloodbending resistant! (BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE BLOOD!!! BECAUSE HE’S A BIONICAL MAN AND HE RUNS ON OIL!!! Man, my theories get crazier everyday)
-Korra finally fights smart
-She snowboards down the mountainside, but is still a silly teenager, and gets herself knocked unconscious
-She’s getting buried by snow
-I am having flashbacks to that one time when I had to read Into Thin Air for summer reading
-Naga found her. Good girl.
In the City:
-Tenzin and Co. (minus Korra) are on the flying bison
-“THAT SOUNDS LIKE NAGA!!!’
-When they find her: “GIVE HER SOME SPACE!!!” Mako says, as he scoops her up into his arms. *Chuckle/snort combo* Moron.
-Asami’s giving the camera a sad Barbie look as Korra snuggles into Mako’s shoulder
-“You’re safe now.”
Writers: Terrible last line. Why?
You guys, I no longer know whether I love or hate this show (or love to hate-watch it, or hate loving it, or something like that). Honestly, every time I’m ready to convince myself that it’s mediocre, and that it’s just not as awesome as Avatar, and that I only like it out of nostalgic obligation to its predecessor, it goes and does something awesome and interesting that I didn’t expect. And then it does something really ham-handed and obvious right after.
Although, on the bright side: TARLOCK IS DEFINITELY NOT AMON!!! Yayyayyayayayayayyayayayayayayayay!!! I could burst into song right now! Because I was sincerely afraid that it would turn out that way—and that would have been horrifyingly, boringly too easy. I so prefer having multiple Big Bads (who are Big Bads for different reasons).
My big complaint with how Tarrlok turned out at this point was that… writer dudes, you have got to stop giving people Compulsions to World Domination as their motivation for acting evilly, because (I’m gonna be blunt here) it’s just not good enough writing. You did it with Fire Lord Ozai in such a way (and left him ambiguous enough as a character) that it didn’t feel like it had to be JUST that. But with Tarrlok? He just wanted to rule Republic City? Seriously? His plan to do it respectably was perfect? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! You could have just had him try to avenge his father (which is also super incredibly over-used, but with the no-more-bending and humiliation and whatnot, even if it is crazy crazy cliché, there’s still some reason to believe that it would actually be enough motivation), or I dunno, come up with something better. You’re the writers! Write! Write well, please! You did a great job with Avatar—so I know you can do it. Don’t fail me now, boys.
As of this moment, I’d still say that Avatar is the consistently better show (by a big lot)—but man, Korra’s got me hooked (sometimes whether I like it or not). They keep jerking me back and forth between being ready to call it quits and having utter faith that they’ll make good on all the potential I see—often multiple times per episode. So yeah… we’ve got some Wild Spectrum of Quality sightings, but… I can’t pretend I don’t care. And honestly, having something to care about is most of what I want out of my entertainment (if I can also have high-quality storytelling, then I’m just the luckiest girl around, but mostly I want something to cheer for, cry/gripe over, and theorize about). It’s frustrating, gorammit! But … I can’t help coming back with the hope that they prove me wrong.
So… I’ll see you next week. Get ready to get your rant on.
*Parenthetical—they’re my jam.