Originally posted on The Mary Sue.
I wasn’t the hugest fan of last week’s episode. Didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t up to the ol’ ATLAverse standard, either. Let’s see if the team can turn things around this time.
We start off with the “Previously on…” segment taking the form of an old-timey newsreel, which is a nice touch. From there, we see that Korra is me:
When she gets up it’s to train for professional sports, whereas when I get up I don’t even remember to do my 15 morning sit-ups, like, 95% of the time, so I feel like she has it a little worse than I do, but the spiritual connection is still there.
Mid-way through Korra’s training session with Bolin and Mako, we learn that in order to continue competing they have to pony up 30,000 yuans. Korra has never needed money for anything, and Bolin and Mako live in an attic, so they’re not exactly flush wish cash. We learn that Bolin and Mako are orphans after–surprise, surprise!–Mako’s an asshole to Korra over some offhand comment that she had no idea she shouldn’t make. Calm the fuck down, Batman.
Mako similarly bitchfaces Bolin’s suggestion that he teach his raccoon ferret Pabu magic tricks and go busking, which makes Bolin genuinely sad, because he was looking forward to that. Behold: The moment I fell in love:
Oh, and did I mention RACCOON FERRET?! Pabu is a much better Momo than Mako is a Zuko.
No force on earth will stop the Marius Pontmercy of Korra from showing his raccoon ferret to the world (not a euphemism for his junk), so he takes to the streets while Mako gets… well…. an actual job. I’m with him there. Something I learned about Mako this episode: He’s not so bad when he’s doing things, as opposed to saying things. I want a character-exclusive mute button.
A gangster named “Shady Shin” approaches Bolin and offers him a job as a mob enforcer for the Triple Threat Triad, which he accepts, because… how to put this politely… he’s not an un-dumb person.
When Bolin doesn’t come home, Mako goes to Tenzin’s island to see if he’s hanging out with Korra. Even Jinora knows that Korra has a crush on Mako, for all that she apparently gripes about him. Between that and Mako’s obvious bitterness at some imagined romantic attraction between Korra and Bolin, it’s pretty obvious that the writers are pushing the ship angle pretty hard. But I know how it all turns out, so that’s OK.
The two of them team up to look for Bolin, bonding a bit along the way. Tipped off by a friendly street urchin, they head to the HQ of the Triple Threat Triad, where they see Bolin–well and truly kidnapped–being driven away in a van by the Equalists (aka the anti-bending group). Two masked henchmen hold Mako and Korra off using a combination of tech and sweet moves (including Ty Lee’s chi-blocking Vulcan nerve pinch), which gives the Equalists enough time to escape.
With their sole lead gone cold, Korra and Mako head to the park on the off-chance that the Equalist protestor Korra met in the pilot might know where his buds would’ve taken Bolin. Seeing as it’s nighttime, he’s not there yet, so our heroes get a bit of backstory-providing chatting in: Mako’s parents were killed right in front of him when a firebender mugged them in the street. Afterwards, Mako and Bolin had no other choice but to do some work for the Triple Threat Triad, which is now Bolin knows them. Mako is broody about it.
The next morning, after a very fanficc-y “We accidentally cuddled!” moment, Korra interrogates the protestor and finds out that there’s some big “Revelation” planned for that night. Mako figures out where it’s being held (again: Not awful when he’s doing his own shit instead of criticizing other people doing their shit. He’s a smart, hard-working fella.), and off they go.
I really like this shot. I really like this episode as a whole, actually, but this shot in particular got to me. It’s very atomospheric and noir-y:
Posing as Equalists, Korra and Mako attend the rally, with Korra arguing that if they link arms and pretend to be a couple, they’ll attract less attention. I know I don’t like Mako, but Korra, that was pretty smooth. Get it.
Inside, the leader of the Equalists, Amon, is speechifying to a large crowd about how bending only brings suffering and war, and the spirits have chosen him to usher in a new age of peace and equality… by giving him the ability to remove someone’s bending for good.
DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
MORLA THE AGED ONE, WHAT DID YOU DO?!
After that little bombshell–plus seeing that Bolin’s one of the benders Amon plans to demonstrate his power on–Korra immediately goes into “FIGHT ME” mode. Mako suggests that instead she use her waterbending to create a diversion while he sneaks Bolin out, which is fine too, I guess. After a bit of difficulty, the plan works, though Korra & co. are pursued by a particularly tenacious Equalist soldier. In the end, Amon decides to let them go, telling his lieutenant that the Avatar will be the perfect person to tell the city about his scary new abilities. We end the episode with Korra updating Tenzin on the sitch.
A non-plot related note. I… kind of love the Equalists? Not in a “Hey, they have the right of it!” sort of way (though I do still think there could be something to their core complaints about benders taking advantage of non-benders). It’s more like how, when I first saw Azula in ATLA, I instantly decided she was my queen and I would love her until the end of my days. The two henchmen who fought Mako and Korra were badass as hell, and the one near the end of the episode had a backpack taser! A. BACKPACK. TASER.
They’re at a pretty big disadvantage in physical fights. But where the benders use what we, for all intents and purposes, would call supernatural abilities (though bending is very natural in the ATLAverse), the equalists use science. Science and kickpunching. They zoom around on motorcycles. And you’ve gotta like that style and their funky fresh dance moves: