Korra s2 ep3

Book Two : Spirits, Chapter Three : Civil Wars, part 1 (man, these titles get complicated).

In this episode, Korra’s uncle starts uniting the Northern and Southern Water Tribes by force, something which the Southern Water Tribe residents do not appreciate. So we’re on the verge of a civil war, and Korra as the Avatar is stuck in the middle. Korra believes her father is involved in starting a civil war, but in the end it is revealed to be false, and the two of them make up. Meanwhile, one of Tenzin’s children has disappeared, and while Tenzin and his siblings look for her we’re shown that Aang’s (accused) parental favouritism for Tenzin has caused tension between the siblings.

The plotline about Korra whining at her parents was apparently resolved. On one hand the resolution felt very insufficient in proportion to how annoying it was to follow her bitching for almost three episodes, since I never had any interest in the row to begin with. Korra may have some point in hoping others to trust her, but she blows it so much out of proportion that I just can’t side with her in any of the arguments. And now we also had Korra bitching at this whatshername mother character, why should I care about this scene anyway? The mother had been on screen for like less than a minute before this scene, you won’t suddenly get me to be interested in her feelings or her relationship to Korra like this. But on the other hand, however, hopefully at least this should now be over and I won’t have to sit through ten more episodes of Korra and her father’s trust issues.

korra1

I have no interest in the civil war either, because I don’t really care for any of the named characters (Korra, her father, her uncle, the twins, the whatshername mother, the crazy businessman guy) involved in it. But I’ll still rather have the civil war over the spirit business though, at least there’s some hope I can start liking these characters or their motives, and the show at least explores the motivations for both sides. But the spirits only get a big fat “meh”.

Korra’s cousins are starting to get boring, there’s only a limited amount of time for the “expressionless, monotone and creepy” thing can be interesting. Bolin is still the butt of every joke. Still no Asami. Mako’s “dumping a girl is like getting rid of a leech” came across really gross considering how much I like Asami.

But let’s not spend the whole review on whining, I liked everything involving Tenzin and his family, and for many different reasons. Firstly, Bumi’s “Vacation Tenzin” is still funny. Then, I have hopes for getting more information on the previous Team Avatar, which is one of the primary reasons I watch this series. The revelation that Aang favoured Tenzin over his other children (or at least acted in a way that made the siblings feel like this) was pretty bizarre. He was such a nice kid! But I like that he was not a perfect saint who saved the world and managed to be a perfect father as well, it makes a whole lot of sense that he was very busy with his Avatar duties.

vacationTenzin

Aside from my fangirling over the characters in the previous series, the relationship between Tenzin and his siblings brought up other themes that I’d love to be explored more. Such as, Tenzin being responsible for preserving the entire Airbending (Air Nomad?) culture. Even before the second season I thought that this is a lot of responsibility, and I like seeing it addressed. And Kya and Bumi make a fair point as well; they’re still Aang’s children even if they’re not Airbenders, they can also carry their father’s legacy. I really like how they’re dealing with the fact that everyone seems to put Tenzin on a pedestal for being an Airbender, leaving the other two children in the background.

And then there was the issue of non-bending. Ever since Sokka I’ve been interested in how the characters who weren’t lucky to be born with magical powers (or any inborn attribute you can’t acquire in other ways no matter how hard you practise, in any story) deal with the fact that everyone around them was. The more I think of it the less I like how the previous season dealt with non-benders. They were reduced to ignorant rioters lapping up to Amon, who was a fraud to begin with, and when Amon was removed, the issue just disappeared. And the ending made it even more offensive, to me it gave the message that Korra simply can’t be happy if she can’t bend despite being able to bend the rarest element out there and she absolutely must get her bending back or we wouldn’t have a happy ending. That was just so offensive considering we also had Asami who lost pretty much everything she had and never was a bender to begin with, but got no reward.

But, um, enough about the first season. I really hope we’ll see more about the non-bender Bumi. When I first saw the Avatar family tree that listed their bending as well I felt a bit sorry for him despite not knowing anything about the character, and so far I’ve really liked how we’re shown that he hasn’t let that keep him down and that he’s still a jolly guy and a very successful military officer. But I like even more that we’re seen the obvious that there are plenty of situations where a non-bender is at a disadvantage, and I hope that the fact his siblings are rubbing that in his face will lead to seeing more on the subject. This somewhat dysfunctional family is so much more interesting than Korra’s! (now that I think of it, we haven’t seen any more of Bumi and Kya than we’ve seen Korra’s father, yet I only complain about how I shouldn’t be expected to care about the new characters on Korra’s family. I can’t help it, Korra’s parent’s just feel like cardboard cutouts to fill a certain role in the story, these guys feel more like three-dimensional characters)

bumi

But that’s about it, thanks to Tenzin’s group I’ve become quite interested in seeing the next week’s episode (even if I have next to no interest in the main plot…)

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