Hard to believe the first season of Legend of Korra is already halfway done, but with six episodes down and a mere six to go until the all-too-brief twelve installment first storyline concludes, well, that’s precisely the case.
I gushed over the pilot, and 110 more minutes of content later I’m happy to report that the new series looks to be, for the most part, a triumph.
The second episode introduced us to Mako and Bolin, both of whom are…well that’s the weird thing. I don’t really love either of them. Not yet. Mako is more aloof than filled with any sort of compelling inner turmoil, and Bolin is a goofball who lacks Sokka’s wit and nuance. Yet I don’t actually have any problems with either of them, and I’m perfectly fine that they’re the people Korra has spent most of her time with.
The world of probending has proved deeply compelling; there’s no question that the creators thought out the sport to the last detail, and as a result it’s both thrilling to watch and effortless to follow what’s going on thanks to the announcer, who I never get tired of listening to. He makes the recaps at the beginning of each episode a joy.
The equalists are fantastic. Amon is charismatic and compelling like few villains are. I get the feeling we’ll be comparing him to Bane once The Dark Knight Rises actually hits, especially after the attack on the probending final, which was just insanely compelling. I’ve heard theories on why he’s able to take bending away, but I’ll hold off on those for now. Don’t want to spoil anything if it turns out that they’re correct.
I love how justified the equalist cause is if you just look at things from a nonbender’s perspective. There are a huge number of jobs they’re unqualified for, they get bullied by bending gangs, and they can’t take part in the phenomenally cool sport that everyone loves (a sport that I’d wager was created as a way to integrate benders, what with each team needing all three types, but obviously excludes those who can’t bend at all). It’s so easy to imagine that most of the people who Korra attacked in that raid were just learning a little chi blocking as a way to try and defend themselves from potential bending threats. And for their trouble, the freaking Avatar bursts in and assaults them. I mean come on, not hard to sympathize with their point of view.
The relationship stuff is pretty terrible, at least when it’s all given to us at once in the painfully groan-inducing fifth episode, which was probably worse than any single installment of The Last Airbender. It was just the most obvious, painful to watch love triangle imaginable.
Luckily though, they quickly recovered with “And the Winner Is…,” which I’d say was the most skillfully done installment to date. The reveal that Tenzin and Lin had a thing totally redeemed her character, which up until this point was just the one note combative hardass. Watching her swoop in like Spider-Man to save the day was superb.
Going forward, there’s no question that the most enticing development is the full story behind those brief flashes of the adult Gaang and however it ties into current events. No doubt all of that will come to light whenever Korra explores her past, something every fan is eagerly anticipating.