Legend of Korra: Civil Wars, Part I

Legend of Korra
2 x 3: Civil Wars, Part I

Full episodes available at Nick.com.

Episode Summary (from the Avatar Wiki): Korra tries to remain neutral as tensions flare between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes.

My Thoughts: I loved the familial theme in this episode. After seeing Tenzin take the brunt of his siblings’ teasing last week (to Katara’s obvious distress), it was good to see the sibling relationships developed more. In group dynamic terms, we’re getting into the storming phase of development. All three of them have pain the others don’t understand, and it will take time to get past that. But they’re all good people, and you see that in their interactions, even when they’re hurting each other.

I’m sad to hear about Aang’s shortcomings as a father. Though it’s not unrealistic. He was the Avatar as well as the last airbender until Tenzin was born. Being a father is hard enough without those two extra planet-sized responsibilities weighing you down. Yeah … completely realistic and well thought out by the writers, but sad to see the scars his kids are still dealing with.

You also had Korra working through her argument with her parents and coming together with them at the end, which was nice. I’m glad to see us moving past that split. I’m also glad she made up with them before Unalaq came to arrest them. Arresting her parents would have served as external motivation to push Korra back onto her parents’ side; I think it works better seeing that come from within.

And then you have Bolin who’s unable to cut off his messed-up relationship with Eska. I’m sorry, but this just isn’t working for me. In a show that’s demonstrated the ability to explore complicated, messy, genuine relationships, Bolin and Eska’s antics feel like a blend of television commercial cliche and possessive/nasty/controlling relationship dynamics played for laughs. I expect better than this.

I got so into the family dynamics that I paid less attention to the actual plot. Let’s see, Ikki has disappeared somewhere, the Southern Water Tribe is unhappy about the “war of northern aggression,” and quirky businessman dude wants a revolution to protect his rotting fish. Something about a spirit portal that they’ll use for a teleporter from the north to south pole. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan. Oh, and Korra captures some rebels using waterbending and some sweet rope-work that reminded me of metalbending.

Speaking of which, once again there’s a noticeable and unforgivable lack of Lin Beifong. We also lost Asami from this episode, despite her business partner getting a scene. What’s up with that?

Thoughts from the Eight-Year-Old: I liked it, except how at the end the leader of the northern tribe thought that Korra’s mom and dad were assassins. They weren’t the bad guys! I thought it was funny when Bumi wanted to hunt the shark-squid, even though there wasn’t really a shark-squid.

Overall Rating: I was very glad to see more humor and moments of lightness in this episode, much of which came from Tenzin and his siblings. This felt like a better episode than the first two, though I’d love to swap out Bolin and Eska for a few more hints at the larger plotline and conflicts. I’m more interested in learning about the spirits and what’s going on there.

Predictions: Unalaq has pretty much guaranteed the conflict between north and south is going to escalate, and he’s turned the Avatar against him. Well done, dude. We know Korra opened up the southern spirit gate, but she hasn’t really done anything to address the problem of the spirits being out of balance or angry, has she? So I imagine we’ll see a lot more spirit-based threats soon. And I’m guessing that one way or another, Korra’s going to have to go through that spirit gate. Possibly to rescue Ikki?