The Legend of Korra Newbie Recap: “Night of a Thousand Stars”

This post originally appeared on The Mary Sue.

Shockingly, this episode is not a late-night telethon about the dangers of cactus juice, but rather an episode where boring stuff happens in order to move the plot along before the finale because season two of Korra has kind of sucked. I miss Avatar.

Korra, Tenzin, Kya, Bumi, and the comafied body of Jinora head back to the air temple, where Tenzin has to tell Pema that their daughter’s soul has been trapped in the spirit world … whoops? RUN, J.K. SIMMONS, RUN. Korra apologizes, saying that she tried to save Jinora, but Unalaq tricked her. Yeah, no shit. That happens with him.

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Bolin is a complete and utter bubblehead when he visits Mako in prison, giving his brother just what one needs when one has been falsely accused of acts of terrorism: A signed poster for Bolin’s new movie, the last part of which is having its premiere that night at the stadium. Oh, you. Mako tells his brother that the stadium will likely be at risk of another attack, but Bolin brushes the warning off. His behavior in this scene is more hippie-dippie than normal; the way that he seems not to care at all that his brother’s in jail for a terrible crime is … a little weird, I guess? Even with the in-story explanation that the fame of being NUKTUK, HERO OF THE SOUTH, has gone to his head. Looks like this season isn’t just robbing IQ points from Lin.

At the premiere, we get a rehash of two of the things I didn’t like from my least favorite episode so far: Bolin to refusing to acknowledge that he and his bombshell costar Ginger aren’t a couple (but he’s so nice) and an extended detour to Nuktuk: Hero of the South, which is fun but ultimately feels like padding. But there’s some good stuff, too: Varrick telling the President and First Lady that the red carpet has been imported directly from the Fire Nation because “they make the best red stuff over there … FACT.” The President’s reaction to Varrick’s big speech not-so-subtly trying to guilt him into joining the war effort.

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And … this, I guess?

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It’s cute, but we’re six and a half minutes into the episode and nothing’s happened yet.

That changes when a group of waterbenders sneak into the stadium and take out the detectives Scully and Hitchcock (not their real names, sadly) before heading off to kidnap the President. Meanwhile, Bolin takes a breather and shares with Asami the lack of satisfaction his newfound fame has given him. Things may be shiny and happy and fun on the surface, but it’s all meaningless without Team Avatar.

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How meta of you, Bolin.

After Asami goes back into the stadium, Bolin sees the waterbenders’ boat and realizes something is going down. After freeing Scully and Hitchcock, he storms into the arena and fights the waterbenders right in front of the screen where his fictional counterpart is also in the process of saving the President. It’s pretty cool, and I love the fact that the announcer is narrating the fight from the stands. But Bolin’s sweet IRL Nuktuk action is somewhat marred by the fact that Lin apparently can’t put a damn security detail together to keep the President from being abducted, so a God damn actor has to do it. THIS ISN’T AMATEUR HOUR, LIN. YOU ARE THE CHIEF OF POLICE.

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Upon being defeated, the last waterbender admits the he was hired by Varrick. I think this guy and the “Honestly, I hate working here. They’re so weird” henchman from Iron Man 3 would get along really well.

Late to the Party Lin arrests Varrick and Zhu Li before proudly telling the President that Mako knew Varrick was responsible all along. (BUT YOU ARRESTED HIM … oh, fuck this plotline.) Everyone’s cheering for Bolin, which they should, and Ginger’s fawning all over him now that he’s a real-life hero. In a case of excellent timing, Korra shows up on a flying bison and tells the President that Unalaq wants to take over, not just the Southern Water Tribe, but the WOOOOORLLLLLDDD.

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The President still refuses to intervene, instead choosing to keep his troops in Republic City so they can mount an adequate defense after everything goes to hell. Korra asks where Mako is, and it’s awkward.

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Lin frees Mako, and he gets a promotion to detective and a big round of applause from the other cops in the bargain. Ugh, I don’t caaaaaare. Korra runs up to him and kisses him, because it turns out the amnesia caused by her dark spirit attack hasn’t completely gone away, and she can’t remember that they had an argument and broke up.

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Or bad writing. One of the two.

Mako, looking like a deer in headlights, doesn’t correct her, so now he’s accidentally gotten back together with his old girlfriend while his current girlfriend is still there, looking mighty pissed. Look, it’s the love triangle. You know my feelings, and they can be summed up thusly:

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Tenzin, thank Jesus, tells Korra that they don’t have any time for sorting out this tangle of teenage hormones, and they all go off to visit Varrick in prison. He’s relaxing in his Executive Jail Suite that he built for himself because he assumed he’d end up there eventually. God love ‘im. Undaunted by the punishment he’ll likely face for trying to have the president and his wife kidnapped—hey, he was just trying to help!—he cheerfully gives his battleship (named after his assistant, Zhu Li: “They’re both cold, heartless war machines.”) and all the Future Industries weapons on it to Team Avatar so they can fight Unalaq.

The battleship is STRIPED:

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While all this is going on, Tonraq has given up on getting reinforcements from Korra and has mounted an attack against Unalaq’s forces in the Southern Water Tribe. After an extended battle sequence that sees the two brothers facing off, Unalaq defeats Tonraq and promises him that Korra will be next. Wait. Do I care about Tonraq at all?

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Great. Well, that episode was fun.

MVP Screencap:

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