Legend of Korra: Peacekeepers
Legend of Korra
2 x 5: Peacekeepers
Full episodes available at Nick.com.
Episode Summary (from the Avatar Wiki): Korra attempts to gain support for the Southern Water Tribe from the United Forces, but her request is denied by President Raiko. As a result, she, Bolin, Varrick, and Asami attempt to take matters into their own hands.
My Thoughts: This episode started out with Lin Beifong. Woo hoo! And then … sigh.
First, let me throw something out there. Eska has been creepy-possessive about Bolin, claiming him as her possession, then going over-the-top abusive/vindictive when he gets away. Now let’s switch over to Korra barging into the station where Mako works to not only yell at him, but to blast his desk across the room. Not okay. Not even close. And I have a lot of respect for Mako’s response, both refusing to be drawn into that level of messed-up conflict, and also for drawing a line and breaking up with her.
I get that Korra is a mess right now. She’s had her whole world turned upside down. The truth about her father’s past, her uncle’s betrayal, the invasion of her home … that’s gonna mess anyone up. But she’s basically stuck on the one-size-fits-all idea that the solution to all your problems is to hit them really hard. And anyone who doesn’t go along with her is the enemy. It’s more Anakin Skywalker-level thinking, and Mako was right to call her on it. What is it with you and sides?
I don’t mind characters making mistakes. I mind when they continue to make the same mistakes over and over and seem unable to learn from them. And I get that we’re setting Korra up for various spiritual revelations, but I feel like that setup is too much, too clunky, and coming at the expense of her character.
Then there’s Varrick and Zhu Li. Zhu Li, whose only role in the story so far is to serve Varrick’s every whim, without speaking a single word. Once again, a character who could have been interesting and wonderful (like the different incarnations of Alfred on Batman, to pick one example), is relegated to a one-dimensional caricature.
Speaking of one-dimensional caricature, I actually liked Eska and Desna a little bit more in this episode. Which isn’t the same as liking them, but at least they were out there being their bad selves and taking on the Avatar.
Finally, we have our other storyline, in which Tenzin teaches Meelo to be a trainer, sucking the joy out of Meelo’s relationship with Poki the flying lemur. By the end of the episode, Meelo has turned the flying lemurs into a trained and disciplined flying force, and Tenzin says he’s created a monster. Sure, fine, Tenzin needs to find balance between discipline and joy. But Tenzin also needs to get involved in the larger story and catch up with his Avatar. Korra is so off-the-rails right now, and needs her Watcher.
Yeah, I was not pleased with this episode. Though Meelo’s line “Being alpha lemur is lonely” was wonderful…
Overall Rating: Tired of black-and-white, with-me-or-against-me thinking in the real world. Tired of it in the show. I liked Mako in this one, but beyond that, I’m firmly in the land of meh.
Predictions: Korra getting eaten by giant spirit is good. Hopefully this will force her to start confronting her spiritual shortcomings. I assume we’ll get lots of reaction shots to the news that the Avatar is dead. Tenzin and Mako will have guilt. This could be a rallying point to get Team Avatar back together (sans Avatar). Unalaq’s gonna be pissed, since he needed Korra alive for whatever he was up to with the northern spirit gate. Beyond that, I dunno. I just hope we get a bit more depth and complexity in future episodes.
October 6, 2013 @ 10:25 pm
Just finished watching the season so far and came to read your reviews first thing. I really like them — thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I particularly appreciate your discussion of the romantic relationships. In the first episode I’d thought Eska was just trying to be funny and would stop when Bolin called her out, but, no. :/
“I get that Korra is a mess right now. She’s had her whole world turned upside down.”
I didn’t get that. This series has so many action-y plot points per episode that I have trouble keeping track of all the emotional threads, particularly for the main characters, who have so much going on. To me Korra almost always seems to be lashing out without cause. That, combined with the lack of progression that you noted, is something that has been bugging me since season 1.
If the episodes were just a little slower and gave us more time to see and appreciate all the character’s motivations and their emotional state, I think it would be a stronger show. The bits at the air temple have been my favourite of this season; I was watching this with someone else and kept making comments like, “I don’t know why I just got excited, we’re back to the Korra storyline.” That’s… not making me happy about this series.
Jim C. Hines
October 7, 2013 @ 9:40 am
Yeah, the pacing seems weird so far. It feels like we’ve spent an awful lot of time doing setup and groundwork, a lot of which could probably have been done more quickly.
I’m hoping there’s more going on with Eska and her twin. I’m starting to wonder if their mother might be a spirit. I don’t know if that’s possible in this world, but it would explain their inhuman behavior, and could give Unalaq a more human motivation for trying so hard to reopen the spirit gates. If his lover is trapped there, or trapped here and needing to get back…
October 7, 2013 @ 3:42 pm
Every Saturday I wake up thinking the previous night’s Legend of Korra might be better than the last. Every Saturday night thus far I have gone to bed disappointed.
How is a series supposed to survive when the main character has degenerated into downright unlikeable? I’m glad I’m not the only one who keeps unpleasantly flashing to Anakin Skywalker the more we see of Korra.
I was pleased with Mako for breaking up with her. I hope in such a situation I would totally dump someone who acted that way. This is the definition of abusing power–marching into someone’s place of work in order to work out a personal matter loudly in front of others, smashing their things, and getting away with it because you’re more powerful than the other person. This exact scene almost happens in reverse in the movie Waitress (starring Keri Russell) where the husband comes barging in to abuse his pregnant wife in front of her coworkers and friends, and I flashed to that while watching this scene. At least Mako here is his own person and has never felt dependant or controlled by Korra, so he had the ability to break up with her then and there. Korra practically spends this entire episode trying to strong-arm people into doing things her way, and getting angrier and angrier when they don’t comply because she’s always gotten her way before simply by being rediculously powerful. How are we supposed to like an abusive main character, whether male or female? Where are they going with this? Is she ever going to learn that force isn’t the way to solve problems? Are they deliberately trying to make her the polar opposite of Aang, who had to be goaded into using force to solve anything and learned in the end he was right to look for a middle ground where the problem was solved without violence?
Ugh, I got so excited when Iroh suggested going to the Fire Lord for help. Finally, we get to see more people related to Zuko! But nope, that hope was dashed as well.
October 7, 2013 @ 11:11 pm
I’m hoping that it turns out that Korra’s anger issues are due to the fact that she – as well as her world – is out of balance. I hope that her learning to deal with the spirit world helps her deal with her emotions as well.
October 8, 2013 @ 2:45 am
“I don’t mind characters making mistakes. I mind when they continue to make the same mistakes over and over and seem unable to learn from them.” <—THIS. So much this. I think after the events of last season Korra wouldn't be so storm in and PUNCH ALL THE THINGS.
I'm a little sad about the twins. I feel like the more we see of them the less likely it is that they will somehow by spirit possessed or whatever as I originally thought. In which case, girl-twin's creepy behavior is becoming more and more problematic for me.
I did LOVE Bolin as an early matinee idol. That was amazing. This subplot pleases me.
It almost feels like they have too much plot this season? Tenzin and the air temple, raising his family, reconciling with his siblings, the water tribe conflicts, the spirits, Korra learning not to beat everything in sight. Korra and Mako. Bolin and ?. Just a LOT. Granted, A:TLA was a wonderfully complex show too. But with Korra I just have the feeling of too many balls up in the air and the writers not quite knowing how to juggle them right now. On the one hand, it seems almost too rushed, (a Civil War? Already?! We're only 3 episodes in!) but on the other hand it feels like they're stalling on the juicy stuff and vamping until they can get there. (The spirits! What's going on with the spirits?!)
I almost wish I wasn't watching this in real time. I was able to binge watch A:TLA and the first season of Korra, which probably helped the not-so-great parts to not stand out so much.
Why can't all TV shows follow the Netflix mode? Sigh.
Jim C. Hines
October 8, 2013 @ 9:51 am
That’s an interesting theory. I’m not sure, based on what I’ve seen, that I have a lot of confidence that the writers are doing something that subtle and complex, but that would redeem some of what’s come so far.
Jim C. Hines
October 8, 2013 @ 9:53 am
Agreed – it’s like they’re doing both too much and not enough, which is a neat trick.
And yeah, after five episodes, I’m losing hope that there’s going to be an interesting twist on the twins :-/