Korra 1×08: When Extremes Meet

Y’all said you’d be interested in seeing me review The Legend of Korra from a newbie’s perspective. Who am I to refuse my readers?

Legend of Korra 1×08: When Extremes Meet
Full episode available at Nick.com

Episode Summary (from Wikipedia): “When Korra, Mako, Bolin and Asami begin patrolling the city independently, they discover the lengths to which Councilman Tarrlok will go to stop the Equalists, including arresting innocent non-benders. When they try to stand up to him, Tarrlok has all but Korra arrested. Later, when Korra decides to face him one-on-one, Tarrlok reveals his true colors, using the power of Bloodbending to overcome and confine her, and has her taken out of the city.”

My initial thoughts: Another good, well-paced episode. The writers aren’t being subtle, are they? Politicians using fear of extremists to gain power for themselves. Indefinite detention without due process. Riot police rounding up protesters en masse and hauling them off to jail. The politics in this show are starting to feel almost too realistic for my taste.

It would be nice to see the other councilors do more than just act like Tarrlok’s mindless puppets. I wonder if they’re being controlled, or if they’re just not important enough for speaking parts.

I like the “official” formation of Team Avatar, and the Avatarmobile is a nice touch. It was fun to see Korra’s team make Tarrlok and his task force look like incompetent fools, but you also see Korra’s inexperience with politics. Tarrlok is far more devious, and is fighting and scheming on levels Korra doesn’t understand. Learning airbending is important, but she also needs to start studying political intrigue, and quick, or she’s going to get destroyed.

It feels like things are coming to a head, and I’m looking forward to seeing it happen.

The romance: Ikki babbles to Asami about Korra liking Mako, which leads to several anime-style emotional explosions. (My son was rather confused by this.) Both Asami and Korra take the time-honored approach of pretending that didn’t just happen, but you see Asami watching Korra and Mako in the mirror of the Avatarmobile later on. As with so much else, they advance the story with just a few well-placed scenes and lines instead of dwelling on it. Props for that. But I mentioned before that the love triangle isn’t my favorite part of the show. Can’t we just have two strong female protagonists who aren’t in conflict over a boy?

Confused newbie says huh? Bloodbending, eh? That’s new. I had heard about this particular power online, but this is the first time I’ve seen it. As with so much else, I think it was presented just about perfectly. We see that it’s nasty, dangerous, and that theoretically you can only do it with a full moon … but Tarrlok has apparently learned some new tricks. All of this is accomplished quickly, with no drawn-out exposition. Well done!

What throws me off more are Korra’s flashbacks. I recognize Aang, but I’m not familiar with the other characters, and the flashbacks are so short that I’m left with a vague sense that something just happened, but no idea what. (Kind of like every Michael Bay action scene  ever.)

Thoughts from the seven-year-old: “I think the councilor was really as bad as Amon. I also think he shouldn’t have the right to make all those laws. He arrested innocent non-benders, and he even arrested three of Korra’s friends just so he could get to Korra. The councilor was doing exactly what Amon said was bad about the benders! I think there might be an episode where Korra figures out what avatar Aang was trying to say to her. My favorite part was when the boy [Meelo] was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it! … What are we doing?'”

Predictions: Beating Tarrlok in combat isn’t going to work; Korra needs to find a way to destroy him politically, first. Lin Bei Fong is gonna be pissed when she sees what Captain Saikhan has been doing with her police force. I have no idea who Amon really is, though I’m assuming he’ll be someone tied into the previous series. I’m guessing and hoping he won’t be someone directly taken from that series, though. Tarrlok’s reaction to being compared to Amon was interesting too, and makes me suspect we’ll see that Tarrlok’s motives aren’t limited to just being an amoral, power-mad turd. Finally, sooner or later, I expect to see an attack on Air Temple Island, and I look forward to seeing Tenzin’s kids and the air bison and everyone else kick serious butt.