Sunday, 24 June 2012

Avatar: Legend of Korra - Episode 12 recap and review


- Recap: While the rest of Team Avatar make their way through the mech and Equalist haunted streets to find their hidden airfield, Mako and Korra are hatching their plot to unveil Amon's secret past to the world. In the converted former probending arena, Amon is beginning his speech. He thanks the audience for coming, and repeats the story of how his family were killed by a firebender and how it had inspired him to equalise the world. Korra choses this time to yell that it's a lie though, and reveals herself to the crowd. The Lieutenant asks Amon if he should take her down, but Amon waves him away. He says that Korra must be getting desperate if she's reached the stage where she can only make up stories about him, and once she'd done yelling about his connection to Tarrlok, his bloodbending etc. he takes off his mask, where he appears to be horribly burnt. This make the audience turn against her, claiming that she's lying. Oops.

Korra and Mako, realising that their plan has gone wrong, decide to make a break for it, but Amon shows that he's gone an ace up his sleeve. Several in fact, as he's captured Tenzin and his family and was going to debend them all before the audience to mark the "historic occasion". Korra is shocked at this, as she was sure that they'd gotten away. Meanwhile, it appears that the rest of Team Avatar was captured... wait, when did that happen? Hiroshi approaches his daughter and tells her that he hopes that one day she'll come to her senses and that they'll be a family again. Her saying that her mother would be ashamed at him causes him to angrily shout that he's avenging her death, but the conversation is interupted by the arrival of an Equalist, who says that the planes are ready to commence the bombing run against the rest of the United Forces fleet. It seems that Hiroshi intercepted the message to Commander Bumi, which is what you get when you use sewer-based communications systems, I guess. Team Avatar sit around for a while feeling glum, before Naga and Pabu arrive to save them, because there are few doors that can survive a polarbeardog slamming into them.

Team Avatar freed, they rush off after the planes, Asami hijacking a mech (handily her dad designed the controls like one of his company's forklifts) while Iroh launches himself onto one of the escaping planes via firebending rocketpower. After a few misstarts he manages to get it going, and flies after the other aircraft. Meanwhile back in the arena, Korra decides to throw caution to the wind, as she and Mako rush over to rescue Tenzin and the other airbenders. While Mako distracts them, Korra works to free them finding out that Pema and Rohan have been put in jail, while Lin seem to have disappeared. Once freed, Tenzin joins Mako is keeping Amon distracted, and a wide blast of air aimed vaguely at the head Equalist causes him to get knocked off the stage, staggering him for once. Once off the stage, Korra tells Tenzin and his kids to go and rescue Pema and the baby, while she and Mako deal with Amon. They then go and hide, while Amon slowly approaches like the villain in a slasher movie.

Unfortunately, he waits until just the moment she relaxes before dragging her out from her hiding place with his bloodbending, and then leviating Mako too when he tries to stop him. Then, holding Mako down with his powers, he forces Korra into postion as he prepares her to take her bending. Which he does, smugly telling the unconscious Avatar that he did say that he would destroy her.

Meanwhile, Iroh is busy both learning how to fly a biplane, while at the same time taking down all of the aircraft sent to destroy the next fleet of ships. Which he does, and the way he does so is glorious! Back at the airfield, Bolin is wrecking up the place with his earthbending, trashing up the runways so that they won't be able to take off or land, while Asami uses her mech to smash up the remaining planes herself. She then gets into a mechfight with her dad, who looses it when she tells him that he doesn't feel love for her mother anymore because he's been feeling hatred for so long. The combined efforts of Asami and Bolin defeat him, while Asami is forced to shock him with electrobolas when he tries to make a run for it.

Back at the arena, Amon is gloating over the powerless Korra when the Lieutenant shows up, who reveals that he saw Amon bloodbending, meaning that everything that she said must be the truth. He takes off his Equalist mask and stamps on it, yelling that he'd dedicated his life to serving Amon, but he's now a traitor to his own cause. The Lieutenant then tries to attack Amon, who just lifts him in the air with his bending, seemingly crushes some important things inside of him before smashing him against a far wall. Amon then goes to debend Mako, but it seems that he's in just the right postion for the firebender to electrocute him, which shoots Amon across the room, giving Mako enough time to grab Korra and make a run for it. They don't get far though, as Amon makes him drop the Avatar, before slamming him into the floor, walls and ceiling. Amon compliments him for being the only person who'd be able to best him like that, and that it almost seems a waste to remove his bending... almost. Korra becomes lucid enough just in time to see Amon about to take Mako's bending, and desperately throws a punch at him... which happens to send a blast of airbending that throws him most of the way down the corridor. Yeah, it seems that by removing her ability to bend the other three elements, he accidentally unlocked her ability to airbend. Oops. Amon and the others seem shocked by this, the villain calling it impossible while Korra just looks stunned. She then begins enthusiastically blasting Amon repeatedly, before he manages to bloodbend her to stop while he's standing in front of a window. But Korra manages to gather up enough willpower to throw him out of a window into the bay just as he attempt to debend her for a second time. He lands in the water besides a crowd of his supporters who accuse the "bending tyrants" of killing their brave leader, but it's right at that moment, Amon reflexively waters his way out of the water as a way to avoid drowning, while the water he's in washed off the makeup he'd been using to fake his scar. Oops. This makes the crowd turn against him automatically, even that annoying protestor from the first episode, and he quickly makes his escape when Mako begins firebending at him.

Amon goes back to his brother, who he releases from his cell on Air Temple Island. He apologises to Tarrlok for removing his bending, and Tarrlok admits that they really didn't have any choice in how their lives went, due to how their father messed them up. He does wish that he'd left with him when they were boys though, which causes Amon to ask Tarrlok to come with him so that they can start a new life somewhere else. As it seems that Tarrlok is all Amon has left in the world. Aww. Later, they've managed to find Lin, and Team Avatar have gathered on Air Temple Island. Tenzin congratulates her for saving the city, but she's understandibly upset that Amon managed to get away. The mood abruptly changes when Commander Bumi's ship arrives, to the delight of his nieces and nephews but to the despair of Tenzin, who doesn't seem to be looking forward to entertaining his brother.

Later, Amon and Tarrlok are making their escape via speedboat. This one presumably isn't one of Sato's inventions. Amon seems almost oddly cheerful, saying that together there is nothing that the two of them can't do. Tarrlok doesn't look that happy about the situation though, and his eye drifts to one of the electrogloves that has been left on the boat. He then unscrews the fuelcap of the boat, and just as a happy tear trickles down Amon's face... he places the glove against the fuelport, killing the pair of them... A murder/suicide? ...Didn't see that one coming. Much less one so sad.
Some time later, at the Order of the White Lotus' compound in the South Pole, where Korra's parents, Team Avatar, Lin and Tenzin and his brood are all gathered around, apparently waiting for Katara to finish healing Korra's debending. Only it seems that there's nothing that she can do, much to the dismay of the gathered heroes. She can still airbend, but her connection to the other elements have been severed. Korra comes out of her room, takes one look at the gathered people before wordlessly just walking outside. Mako follows her, and she tells him to go back to Republic City, as she's not the Avatar anymore so he doesn't have to keep doing her favours. He then decides that THIS is the right time to admit that when Tarrlok took her he was losing his mind and that he loves her. Understandibly having this dumped on her all of a sudden along with everything else causes her to run off on Naga. Tenzin tells Mako that they have to be patient with her, as it will take time for her to accept what's happened to her. But from the looks of things she has accepted it, and isn't taking it well, as she's ridden to a far off cliff, and is now looking at the bottom of it from the top while crying... But just when she's crying in a fetal position, a man in airbending robes walks up to her, and she tells him to go away, thinking that it's Tenzin. Except, it turns out that it's Aang. Yes, it seems that the key to unlocking her spiritual side was to fall to the very depths of despair, or something. Anyways, Aang and Korra's other past lives together give her back her bending, as well as the ability to energybend, thus enabling her to restore the bending of others. Yay! Mako managed to catch up with her... somehow, just in time to see her show off all of her bending while in the Avatar State. She run up to him, and admits that she loves him too.

The season finishes off with Korra restoring Lin's bending, to the surprise of Tenzin and the pride of Katara. Lin tests off her ability by lifting a bunch of sacred rocks before thanking Korra, and then Tenzin gets the last word in the episode telling "Avatar Korra" that he's so proud of her. Aww.

- Review: A lot of people have criticised the last two episodes for there being too much information being dropped on the audience at once, and how it was just a bit too convenient that Korra had her bending restored at the end of the episode, as well as her getting the ability to restore other people's bending. I don't have a problem with it, though personally I think that the episodes would have been better as one hour long movie as opposed to two seperate episodes. But that's just my opinion.

On the whole though, I was very impressed with the result, it wasn't as rushed as I feared it would be considering some of the other episodes in the series. It managed to strike an excellent balance between humour, action, character developing moments and sad parts in an incredibly good way. Janet Varney, the voice of Korra, did a spectacular job with the last two episodes, as did Amon's Steve Blum. I mean, who would have thought that the kind of flat, arrogant character from the first episode or the villainous bastard from as close as episode ten would turn out the way that they did?

Really enjoyed, it and I'll eagerly looking forward to season two. Though I do admit that I'm not sure how it'd progress at this point, but considering season one did a good job of keeping me guessing, I don't think that I'll have to worry about the next one. My one possible dislike is the Mako/Korra romance, though it's more due to how poorly the breakup with Asami was handled, wouth admittedly with more grace than I'd expected on her part.

Up next, a Korra retrospective.

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