Book 3 continued this week with the second half of the Zaofu arc, and a filler episode set in the Northern Air Temple. While these two episodes didn’t dazzle me as much as the previous five, they were still full of action, comedy, character development and touching moments. My recap and thoughts are after the jump!
Episode 3.06: Old Wounds
Lin, still wound up tightly from the stress of being around her sister, reluctantly submits to acupuncture. The treatment stirs up old memories that show us why she’s so angry with her sister. Suyin was a wild child who fell in with a bad crowd. Lin was a young cop, eager to please her mother, Toph, who was still the Chief of Police at the time. When Lin responded to a robbery call, she discovered her sister was the getaway driver. The ensuing fight between the two of them gave Lin the scarred cheek she has to this day. Toph reacted by covering up the incident, but felt so guilty about it that she retired a year later. Lin blamed Suyin for all of it.
The memories fresh in her mind, Lin confronts Suyin in an argument that leads to a full-out battle. They’re interrupted by Opal, who uses airbending to keep them apart while she talks them down. With all the aggression out of her system, Lin sleeps for a day and a half and awakens in a peaceful mood. The family bonds seem to be on their way to being repaired.
Suyin, meanwhile, has been teaching Korra to metalbend. Bolin, terrified that he might fail, is initially hesitant to try it, but after a talk with Opal, he gives in. In exchange, he tells Opal to ask her mother to allow her to train with Tenzin. After a similar discussion between Opal and Lin, Opal asks her mother, who agrees.
Our villainous tetrad, meanwhile, manages to leave Republic City and evade the pursuing police in an exciting car chase. After some meditation, Zaheer arrives at the conclusion that Korra is in Zaofu. How he knows this is unclear, at this point; does he have psychic abilities?
Episode 3.07: Original Airbenders
At the Northern Air Temple, Tenzin’s dry approach to teaching is boring the new recruits. Bumi suggests a more militaristic approach, but Tenzin becomes far too strict, alienating everyone — even Bumi and Jinora.
Jinora, looking to rebel a little, sneaks out a couple times with Kai to see the baby air bison in a nearby wild herd. The first time is uneventful (other than a brief encounter with a ticked-off mama bison), but the second time they venture out, they are captured by poachers.
Jinora uses her spirit connection to summon a small spirit, who takes a message to Bumju, Bumi’s spirit pet. Bumi organizes the airbenders in a raid of the camp. With everyone working together, the baby bison, Jinora and Kai are all freed and the poachers are captured.
Also of note this episode: Kya, Pema and the others arrive to bring new recruits and warn Tenzin about Zaheer.
Overall, these episodes were still strong, though I’d say they weren’t as strong as the initial five. The pacing was slow in a few places during the first episode, with too much time focusing on Lin receiving/asking for/feeling the effects of the acupuncture. As well, her mood shift felt too drastic to me, bordering on out-of-character. The second episode was clearly a “filler” episode, but an enjoyable one.
There were small details that added moments of whimsy to these episodes:
- The teacher’s pet named “Otaku” — this felt like a nod to those of us obsessed with the Avatar/Korra IP, and I’ll admit I laughed aloud. Guilty!
- The “Kale-nuts-co” smoothie of kale/walnut/coconut water — this was a friendly jab at Bryan Konietzko, one of the co-creators of the series, who is a vegan and, presumably, enjoys green smoothies. (Though, I must admit, I could go for a Kale-nuts-co about now. That sounds tasty.)
- There’s a great moment in the first episode where Varrick is testing a magnet suit, which creates a gigantic mess of various metal objects. He leaves Zhu Li to clean up, and we finally see the loyal gal drop her head in defeat. In that moment, I could almost hear the Kif Kroker-style sigh… Being Varrick’s assistant must be exhausting.
- Baby flying bison are adorable. (I had to work that in somewhere.)
I’m still curious about the villains’ motivations, but hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer for that; it sounds as if they’re hot on Korra’s trail. I’m also curious about where Asami is during all of this. I hope she’ll come back into the story soon, as I was enjoying her interactions with Korra.
The Korra team will be holding a panel at Comic-Con on Friday the 25th at 11:15 am, and the next two episodes will air later that evening during their usual timeslot. If you have a question for the Korra panel, co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino is accepting questions on his facebook wall, and it sounds like some of them will be answered during the panel.
Have any thoughts you’d like to discuss? Want to talk about what you’re liking and disliking so far this season? Feel free to comment below!