The Legend of Korra Newbie Recap: “Turning the Tides”
Isn't it Iroh-nic?
Guys. So much good stuff happened this episode. A lot of it courtesy of Lin Beifong, which isn’t exactly surprising. So let’s get right to it.
We start off on two bad notes: The “last time on Korra” sequence tries to tell me that the Equalists’ giant robots are called “Mecha-Tanks” instead of Jaegers, which is just unacceptable, and my term is better. Then, the episode proper starts with a concerned Mako watching Korra as she sleeps, as a sad Asami looks on. Urrrrgggghhh.
After a brief interlude of happy family time with the new Team Avatar—complete with Korra telling Tenzin about Amon taking Tarrlok’s powers and Tenzin concluding that Shit’s About to Get Real, so maybe not too happy—we delve back into love-triangle land, with Asami confronting Mako about his affection for Korra. Mako says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and honestly I’m not sure if he’s gaslighting her or if the writers forgot he realized he liked Korra or if he really is that confused about his emotions, or what. Asami helpfully tells him that I KNOW ABOUT YOU KISSING HER EVEN THOUGH WE WERE DATING AT THE TIME, ASSHOLE, and Mako deflects with an “Ehhhh, maaaaaybe we can talk about this when there’s not a crazy terrorist trying to kill us.”
Yes, please. No more. This whole plotline:
Things improve from there. Tenzin awkwardly asks Lin if she’s willing to stay with his family while he attends a council meeting. Awkwardly, of course, because the pair of them used to date, and he left her for Pema. Lin, earning her first gold star of the episode, doesn’t even register Tenzin’s assumption that they have some residual love triangle weirdness of their own and says “Duh, of course I’ll help. We’re bros.”
(Of course, it’s been established that Lin has felt some bitterness towards Tenzin about their past, if not necessarily towards Pema. So he was right to tread delicately. But I love that Tenzin was like “my ex-girlfriend and wife interacting, WILL THIS BE WEIRD?!” and they’re both like “LOL No. Shit to do. We’re fine.”)
(Note on the council, based on a comment in a previous recap [which I generally only baaaarely skim as opposed to reading, so you guys can go wild with spoilers]: Why isn’t there a non-bender on the council? There isn’t, right? In ATLA, all non-benders were subsumed into their respective nations, but in Republic City, where the distinction between nations has broken down, it seems like they constitute their own group that sure as shit has their own special interests. Amon is just trying to make up for a lack of justice in the democratic process, you guys!)
Tenzin is attacked on his way to the council meeting by Equalists posing as window washers, whom he takes out with a handy tornado. Tarrlok’s secretary from the previous episode rushes up and tells him that all the other council members have been kidnapped, leaving Tenzin in charge of Republic City.
Complicating Tenzin’s reign of peace and good sense, Equalist zeppelins show up and start dropping bombs everywhere. Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin rush off to their car, Asami and Mako sniping at each other all the while. Bolin earns #1 character o’ my heart status of this episode when he proves himself completely, 100% oblivious to all love triangle nonsense, even though he—as the person who told Asami about Korra and Mako’s kiss—is pretty clearly involved in it. He doesn’t know, and he doesn’t care. He’s just concerned about proper driving technique and Pabu.
Tenzin heads to police headquarters, where Chief Saikhan and his troops are trying to coordinate a defense of the city against Amon’s aerial attack. They get out a wire to the mysterious “General of the United Forces” right before the power goes out and the Equalists attack with some sort of gas. Tenzin, using airbending, gets Saikon and his core group of soldiers out safely, but they’re met outside with Equalist soldiers in Jaegers, who quickly use magnets to immobilize the metalbending cops.
Have I mentioned that I kind of love the Equalists? They kick ass at fighting. They have style. They like science. They utilize tasers disguised as insect extermination equipment, and their solution to “cops who wear metal armor” is BIG-ASS MAGNETS.
I mean, yeah, they’re terrorists, but Azula was one of my two favorite ATLA characters and she’s a homicidal psychopath, so I don’t feel too bad about liking them.
The Equalists kidnap Saikan and his forces, benders and non-benders alike, and they’re about to get Tenzin before Team Avatar rolls up, Asami sporting a quite impressive I HAVE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT face:
She drives the car into a Jaeger and then uses her taser glove and ninja skills to take out the guards, while Mako, Bolin, and Korra deal with the other mechas. Mako, for all that a good 80% of his screentime frustrates me, manages to redirect the lightning a Jaeger throws at him, which is pretty fucking impressive. Tenzin, after being rescued, rejoins the fight and uses air to take out a giant metal robot. He’s one of my faves, and it’s not just because there’s a special joy in hearing J.K. Simmons say “Yip yip.” (That, too.)
Watching the fight from one of the zeppelins, Hiroshi Sato tells Amon that it really busts his balls to see his daughter fighting with the benders. Hiroshi is voiced by Daniel Dae Kim from Lost? I wanted to mention that. It’s cool.
Meanwhile, other zeppelins—one of them containing Amon’s lieutenant, Moustache Guy—close in on Avatar Island. “OK, everyone, stay calm,” says Lin. “AAAAAAAAHHHHH,” says Pema. “GOD DAMMIT, PEMA, I SAID STAY CALM,” says Lin. “No, I’m actually going into labor right now,” says Pema.
Lin and her kids go inside, while Lin stays outside to handle Moustache Guy and his forces like she’s a cooler version of Clint Eastwood. Things are looking pretty bad for her—being struck by lightning will do that—until Tenzin’s kids swoop in to lend a hand. “Stay away from my dad’s ex-girlfriend!” Jinora yells, swooping in on a hang glider. Where’s her Lin Beifong shrine? You know she has one. I am all for that case of hero worship.
Lin and the kids take care of the Equalists, which Tenzin’s a little bit pissed about when he comes back.
Tenzin: “You let my kids fight terrorists?!”
Lin: “I don’t see what the big deal is. They kicked ass.”
Tenzin: “YoU lET My kIDS figHT TERRORISTS?!?!??!?!“
With more zeppelins on the way, Tenzin decides that he needs to get his family—which now includes infant son Rohan—to safety. Lin accompanies them on their flying bison as a personal guard, arguing that they’re the last airbenders in existence and there’s no way in hell she’s going to let Amon take away their bending. Before flying away, Tenzin tells Korra that she really needs to go into hiding until he can come back with reinforcements courtesy of the aforementioned General of the United Forces.
Korra reluctantly agrees, and she—along with Mako, Bolin, and Asami—ride away on Naga. “Moustache Guy!” I think, as Moustache Guy pops up out of nowhere. “Moustache Guy!” echoes Bolin.
My child. When are we going to get a Bolin episode? We got a few Sokkasodes. I demand one.
Then Naga bitchslaps Moustache Guy out of the air, and it’s amazing.
The four of them (plus Naga) get to a Republic City storm drain, where Mako gets all touchy feely with Korra.
Tenzin isn’t doing so well, as his flying bison is being chased by not one but two zeppelins, which are rapidly gaining on them. In order to save Tenzin’s family, Lin decides, fuck this shit, she’ll just head over to the zeppelins and rip them up herself. (I love the friendship forming between Lin and Pema, BTW. Because you can tell Lin’s actions here aren’t about Tenzin, whom she knows damn well can take care of himself. She wants to help Pema and the kids, and “they’re among the last airbenders in the world” is only part of why. SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS.)
Lin takes down one zeppelin and catapults to the other, but before she can deal with that one, too, she gets captured. The second zeppelin is taken away to rendezvous with Amon, who takes Lin’s bending away after she refuses to tell her where Korra is.
But what’s that? A little bit of episode remains? We see the aforementioned General of the United Forces, at the head of a veritable armada of ships and on his way to Republic City. He rocks an eyebrow game that rivals Mako’s. And is that…?
With a side of
And a little bit of
MVP screencap of the episode:
Check back next Thursday for my recap of the two-part season finale!
Rebecca has newbie recapped Avatar and Battlestar Galactica for The Mary Sue before. She photoshopped The Rock’s head on a dolphin once. You can find her at Film Journal International, Pajiba, or on Twitter.
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