And The Winner Is...
- Recap: The episode opens up with the FIFFs practicing their bending for the upcoming Finals match against the Wolfbats. Amusingly the jazz radio station that they're listening too is sponsored by Cabbage Corp, a reference to the unfortunate cabbage merchant from the original show and a possible wave to Apple. Korra says that she's got a good feeling about the match tonight, despite their competitors having won the Championships three years in a row.
But the team spirit attitude that has continued over from the last episode is broken, when Amon appears once again over the radio.The villain says that the city has to stop treating bending athletes like heroes, and that if the ruling council of the city don't ban pro-bending and cancel the finals, then something horrible is going to happen. This understandibly worries our three main protagonists.
They rush to City Hall, and burst into their meeting. Tenzin tells her that she shouldn't be there as it's a closed meeting, but she argues that since she's the Avatar as well as a probender, she has a right to be heard. But it seems that for once Tenzin and Tarrlok are in agreement, and that they both want to shut down the arena for the forseeable future until the threat has been sorted out. Tarrlok says that he's going to close the arena because he's not going to put innocent people's lives at risk so that Korra and her friends can play "a game". This denouncing of his sport as frivelless offends Mako, who argues that pro-bending is important to the city as a whole, as it's the one place in the city where benders and nonbenders can go peacefully to watch a sport together. A sport where people beat each other up "for peace!" yells Bolin.
Tarrlok says that he appreciates their naive idealism, but the council has made their decision and that probending has been cancelled... but just before he can bang the official gavel, a wire snakes it's way across the room and chops the little hammer in half. It's Chief Lin Beifong! She says that, for once, she agrees with Korra. Lin goes on to say that she expected "This kind of cut and run behaviour from Tenzin", a phase that appears to hurt his feelings, but she asks the rest of the council to show a little more backbone in this situation. Lin says that she and her metalbending cops will provide extra security for the arena, a suggestion that appears to cause Tarrlok's interest to be piqued. He asks her if she's willing to take total responsiblity for the event, and when she agrees smugly talks about how they can't argue with her track record (Why do I get the feeling that he's setting her up for a fall here?), and says that he's changing his vote to keeping the arena open. The rest of the council, barr Tenzin, follow Tarrlok's lead, and they agree to let the arena stay open, to the trio's delight.
Tenzin angrily says that he needs to talk to Lin in private, where he tells her that he suspects that Tarrlok is playing her, and that he doesn't want her to get hurt. Lin stubbornly says that she knows what she's doing and the risks that go with it, but Tenzin says that he's going to come along too which annoys Lin as she feels like he's babysitting her. He corrects her, saying that he's going to be there for Korra, causing Lin to angrily say that he can do what he likes and stomps off past Korra as she attempts to thank Lin for her support.
The miffed Korra asks what her problem is, and whether Aang was responsible for making her hate the Avatar so much. Tenzin admits that Lin's issues aren't really with Korra, they're infact ones with him, which coupled with the comment from Pema last episode makes Korra twig that Lin was the woman that Tenzin was with when Pema made her move on him (knew it!). Korra says that she's suprised that Lin didn't throw Pema in jail, and Tenzin said that she tried, but really at the time Lin and him were moving apart as they had different goals... which is the point where he catches himself, and asks himself why he's telling her this. He stomps off as Korra starts to tease him about it some more.
- Review: This episode, man... I had a feeling that the last episode was intended to be a breather one prior to some big attack in this one, but I had no idea just how much was going to happen here. We had the conclusion to the Probending plot, we had character development for both Tenzin and Lin, we had humour, action, an actual legitimate terrorist attack in an animated kids show... In an already good series, this was easily the best one so far.
Not bad for an episode that appears to be at least partially framed as a sports version of the Phantom of the Opera in basic details...
The acting was great, the animation was great, the music was great... Virtually no misteps in the entire thing, save for six fingered Toph. The fact that the entire thing managed to feel much, much longer than it's twenty minutes or so running time is real testament to what's going on here.
The hints into Tenzin and Lin's relationship were interesting, as where the flashbacks to Aang and co. I am kind of bemused as to where the show can go from here though. Oh, and special props go out to Jeff Bennett as the Announcer, aka Shiro Shinobi, who managed to make something of a joke character into a suprisingly likable supporting role... sort of. He was definately treated better than someone in his basic role normally is in such a show.
Overall, great episode, eager to see where the next episode, aptly called 'the Aftermath' goes with this. Hopefully not something involving Tarrlok holding Lin responsible for the whole mess, though if so I guess it can't be said to come out of left field, and replacing them with his taskforce, with him in central command, in an attempt to grab more power. We'll have to see, I guess.
And as a last bonus, here's a gif of the rather unfortunate advert that happened while Korra was in the midst of falling to her death...
SPONGEBOB LAUGHS AT HER PAIN!!!