Sunday, 10 June 2012

Legend of Korra: Episode 9 Recap and Review

Out of the Past
- Recap: Well, here we are: the last episode before the three part season finale next week. Hopefully it'll measure up to our expectations. The narrator guy gives a brief recap of the last episode, where Korra's friends where arrested by Tarrlok, and when she tried to confront him about it, he revealed he was a bloodbender, and he kidnapped her. Now on with the story!

Title sequence!

The episode begins properly with Korra being bloodbent across the floor and into a metal box in some kind of basement. Apparently Tarrlok is about to physically hold people in the air with his power, which wasn't really shown in the previous series, though in the last episode he did throw her the length of the Republic City Council's chamber to knock her out. Once leased from his power inside the box, she yells about how he can't keep her there forever, and he just responds by not saying anything and just leaving her there. Alone. In the basement of an isolated house far, far up in the mountains. Yeah, I think he pretty much expects her to starve to death or something. 

Later, Tenzin is awoke by a phone call from City Hall, which apparently is someone telling him that the building was attacked during the night and Korra has gone missing. The councilman rushes to the scene of the crime, where he finds Tarrlok getting seen to by a waterbender healer while various bits of Equalist gear is scattered about the place. Tenzin asks what happened, and Tarrlok says that Korra came to City Hall last night to get her friends released from prison, but they were attacked by Equalists, who managed to overpower him and kidnap the young Avatar. Tarrlok tells Saikhan, the head of the police force to mobilise all of their men, as they MUST search the entire city for Korra!

A little after this, Lin hears news of the attack on the radio while she's still lying in bed, apparently still injured from the raid on the Sato's mansion. She springs immediately into action, putting on her uniform, though leaving her badge as she isn't on the force anymore, and busts Korra's friends out of jail. Lin explains the situation to them, and they all head off in search of the missing Avatar.

Meanwhile, the missing Avatar is trying to escape from her prison, and near passes out from exhaustion from all of the kicking and yelling she's been doing. She remembers Tenzin's advice to meditate on the odd visions that she'd been having of some kind of event from about forty years ago that happened to Aang, and gives it a try, possibly to see if it'll give her the chance to escape. And, wouldn't you know it, it actually works! We go back to a vision of forty year old Aang, complete with Abe Lincoln beard, and Toph. It turns out that today (in the vision) is the day of the arrest of a particularly dangerous criminal that Toph plans to convict, and Aang has invited himself along due to hearing from his victims that he's "not an ordinary criminal". Toph says that it's okay that he comes along, and calls him Twinkletoes again, to his chargrin. They go into a restaurant, where a waterbender gangster called Yakone (voiced by Clancy Brown, aka Long Feng from the previous series and Lex Luthor in the DCAU) is having lunch. They arrest him, though he's oddly smug for a man confronted by the Avatar and the World's Greatest Earthbender. He boasts about how they've tried arresting him before, but none of the charges have ever stuck and they won't this time, a statement that causes Aang to look worried. Korra comes out of the vision, surprised that she was able to get into it in the first place. She wonders what Aang was trying to tell her, and hopes that it might include a way out of the box in some way.

Back in Republic City, Lin and Team Korra arrive at Tenzin's office, who apparently has been making phone calls all day to try and find the Avatar, but to no avail. Lin says that she suspects that the Equalists may be below the city, in the maze of sewers and tunnels, which raises a bitter comment from Asami regarding how that's like her father's various secret basements. Bolin chips in that when he was kidnapped by the Equalists it sounded like he was being driven into a tunnel, which apparently was enough of a lead for Mako to lead them all off to where he thinks they can begin their search. Lin says that it's likely that where ever Amon is keeping Korra, that must be where her officers are as well, leading to Tenzin saying that they're going to bring them all home.

Using a combination of Bolin and Mako's memories and Lin's earthbending, they manage to find the Equalists' secret base, and begin searching it for Korra. Mako rapidly begins to get on Asami's nerves by snapping at her in his frustration to find Korra, which, combined with Ikki relieving that Korra likes Mako in the last episode... gives the impression that she's beginning to get a wee bit jealous. She confronts Bolin about it, who accidentally tells her that Mako and Korra kissed during the Tournament, which causes her to look visibly upset at the news. This is cut short by the group hearing two Equalist motorcyclists coming down the tunnel towards them, and once they hide they're able to sneak into the actual part of the base where the Equalists are keeping their stuff. After much sneaking about, Lin detects where her men are, but she's not able to detect Korra. And while Mako is yelling at a stunned guard to tell him where they're keeping Korra, Lin finds her men, but they're all been depowered already. Aw. Mako learns from the guard he's interrogating that they neither have Korra or attacked City Hall, and that Tarrlok was lying. The firebender asks why Tarrlok would lie, which causes Tenzin to realise that the councilman was lying because he had Korra this entire time! Suddenly an alarm sounds, and the heroes have to make a hasty escape to avoid being captured by the Lieutenant and some of Amon's mechs. Which they do, in a good action sequence.

Back in the mountains, Korra is back in another vision, this time of the actual trial of Yakone. The prosecutor points out the gangster has maintained a grip on Republic City's underworld for years, and now they have dozens of witnesses who claim that he's been doing it with a form of bending that has been illegal for decades: bloodbending. Yakone's lawyer argues that the testimonies were all false due to a) bloodbending being incredibly rare, and b) in previous cases the skill required the moon to be full to work properly as that's when a waterbender's power is at its peak, and that all of the witnesses claimed that Yakone was able to perform bloodbending at any other time EXCEPT a full moon. Shortly afterwards, the council of Republic City delivers its verdict, as given by Councilman Sokka (hee). Sokka claims that from his years of experience he has met many people who have been able to perform types of bending previously thought to be impossible, dropping references to Combustion Man and Toph's invention of metalbending as examples. It's based on this and the testimonies of the witnesses that they've decided to deliver a guilty verdict against Yakone, which will lead to him being sentenced to life imprisonment. Yakone responds to this by first bloodbending Sokka and the council, then Toph and then the rest of the courtroom (including Aang) using just his face! He laughs evilly, and Korra winces at Aang's memory.

Later, at City Hall, Tenzin, Lin and the others have gathered the rest of the Council and Saikhan to accuse Tarrlok of Korra's kidnapping, which the councilman emphatically denies. His denials are cut short though when his assistant, who was the one who delivered all the bribes to Korra way back when, shouts down from a safe distance that Tarrlok did infact kidnap Korra and that he didn't say anything until now because he was scared due to Tarrlok being a bloodbender. News of both these misdeeds shock the assembled people, who try to arrest the waterbender to get the location of Korra from him. Tarrlok responds to this by bloodbending them all unconscious and running off. They come too some time later, and they all head off to see if he leads them to Korra.

In the trial of Yakone, the bloodbender continues to laugh evilly while he forces Toph to unlock his handcuffs so he can bloodbend easier and escape. He then knocks her and everyone else except Aang (looking to be about twenty or more people) out, and lifts Aang into the air to monologue some. He claims that Republic City is his, and that he'll be back one day to reclaim it, before slamming Aang into the floor and running off to his awaiting carriage. He doesn't get far though, as Aang's Avatar State kicks in and he quickly chases the bloodbender down, making him crash his escape vehicle. This responds in Yakone attempting to use his bending to outright kill Aang, doing what appears to be breaking one of his legs and arms in the process, before trying to snap his neck. All this does though is active his survival mechanism again, which results in Aang depowering the guy, in a different way to how Amon's been doing it, I might add. Aang says with a kind of look of relief that "it's all over"....

... and then Korra comes out of the vision, realising that Aang was trying to warn her about Tarrlok this entire time. She hears someone moving around in the house above her, which turns out to be Tarrlok. He's shown up to complain about how Korra's ruined his life, leading Korra to say that that must mean that his bloodbending secret is out, and that she knows that he was able to bloodbend without a full moon because he's Yakone's son. With this revelation, Tarrlok begins to talk about what his plan was, that although his father had tried to rule the city from the "rotten underbelly upwards" he was planning to be the city's saviour, though she had to go and ruin everything. He says that his new plan is to move away and start a new life somewhere else, with Korra as his hostage. But just as Korra yells from her box that he'll ever get away with this, Tarrlok ascends the stairs to find Amon and a bunch of Chi-blockers there waiting for him. The terrorist says that it's time for Tarrlok to be Equalised, and Tarrlok mockingly calls him a fool and says that he's never faced bending like his, and bloodbends the Equalists to demonstrate this making them all collapse... except Amon. Who keeps advancing on him. This understandably scares the hell out of Tarrlok, who then focuses all of his power on Amon, who only responds by advancing only a little slower. The panicking bloodbender asks Amon what he is to do what he's doing, getting the only response that Amon is "the Solution". He debends Tarrlok, and tells his men that while he's dealing with the councilmen that they go and get Korra, but they should be care to expect the unexpected. He also tells them to electrify her box first so that she'd be easier to capture, demonstrating Amon's unusual savvy once again. His decision to say this loudly though just results in Korra having enough time to use her wristband as a insulator as she hangs from the bars on top of the box, allowing her to avoid getting shocked out again. She escapes quicky, but comes face to face with Amon stuffing Tarrlok into the back of his truck. She fires a bunch of icicles at him, but once she sees him dodge them she immediately turns and runs, resulting in her falling down a snowy mountainside. She's knocked out by a collision with a branch, and passes out in a snowdrift, but luckily the arrival of Naga (who'd apparently been tracking her since the last episode) saves her from freezing to death.

The polarbear-dog carries the Avatar back to the City, where she is soon found by Tenzin and Co. Tenzin and Lin ask her where Tarrlok is and how was she able to get away, but Mako elbows them aside, telling them to give her some space, and carries her over to Tenzin's airbison to carry her back to the Air Temple. This understandably causes Asami to look even more upset when he starts fussing over her and saying how worried he was.

 - Review: Dammit Mako, stop sending out so many mixed signals, you're messing up two people who already have enough on their plates without you accidentally playing mindgames with them! Ahem, wait, the actual review.

Aside from Mako's doucheiness there was actually a lot to like about this episode, be it the older yet still recognisable older members of the Gaang (Sokka managing to keep up his record of poor public speaking along with referencing his boomerang, and Toph in general were both a lot of fun), Lin taking command of the situation and saving her men to the further growth of just WHAT is Amon's deal is.

The revelation of Yakone and what he was up to was well handled, though it seems a bit weird that a gangster would literally try to take over a city, but he's voiced by Lex Luthor, who whatyagonnado? Does make me curious as to what other cases Toph and her guys would be involved in, even if it's unlikely that we'll ever see them. Interesting that Aang looks older than Toph in some shots, though that's probably due to his age catching up with him, what with his 100 years frozen in an iceberg apparently taking a significant chunk of his lifeforce to maintain.

The fact that Amon was able to resist bloodbending, something that even a fully realised Avatar like Aang had trouble with, is certainly curious, and possibly gives more evidence to how he was possibly not lying about how spirits gave him his powers. That or he's a robot or something. Probably the former more than the latter, really.

As a bonus, here's a promo of the one hour season final in a few weeks time,

And here's the fully Older Gaang flashback sequence,


  1. This is a nice show..I am a big fan of this show...
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  2. I really liked the oh-crap moment when Tarrlok finds Amon outside, and the additional oh-crap moment when Amon resists the bloodbending. I can't wait to see what the reveal is behind that!

    I'm really looking forward to the finale, and hoping against hope that they don't decide to cancel this. I haven't been this excited about a show since the first A:TLA.