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Korra returned to TV this week with two more episodes, “Old Wounds” and “Original Airbenders”. Are we finally seeing an upswing in quality or is it more of the same? Lets find out.
In “Old Wounds”, Lin goes to seek help from an acupuncturist for her stress related pains. In doing so she unlocks repressed memories, showing us the sordid past between she and her sister. This causes a fight and before you know it, the healing process beings.
In “Original Airbenders”, we take a break from Korra and her crew (Krew?) to follow Tenzin’s troubles trying to wrangle his family as well as restoring the Airbender nation. There’s also the part where Jinora and Kai get kidnapped by Air Bison Rustlers and the other Airbenders have to ban together to stop them.
And also the awesome villains were used in one good scene then mostly ignored.
The series got even more unfocused with these two episodes, again, filling in time before the confrontation. I find this odd, since despite how rocky they were, the previous two seasons didn’t really have this problem.
We deal — for the second episode mind you — with the Bei Fong family’s problems. Remember, Su’s family are new characters we don’t really have much of a reason to like outside of their relationship to a beloved character from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Which is doubly irritating for me because Lin was such a cool, capable character in the first season, but they’ve now reduced her to a squabbling sibling, and while they mend things I’m pretty sure Su is up to something. Which means we’ll have to deal with family drama all over again.
Not only that, but we took a break to follow a third, unimportant, storyline with Tenzin. What do I mean by unimportant? If we agree that the main point of this story is Korra having to escape Zaheer’s group (even if it doesn’t feel like it) then this storyline adds nothing. We just spend an episode on a side character dealing with other side characters. All the sweet sweet conflict I was promised in the beginning has almost entirely been defused by the characters literally being miles apart. Korra and friends should never feel too safe, or have days and days of down time. We’re seven — SEVEN — episodes in and they haven’t even faced the main villains yet. They should always be a looming threat, always around the corner, always one step behind.
The animation is still fantastic, the fight scenes engaging. The big fight of the two episodes being Lin and Su’s fight. Or at least, that’s the one that stuck with me.
Although, one thing about the fighting. It seems to imply that the people of the Avatar-verse, or maybe just the benders, are much sturdier than regular humans. Huge shafts of rock explode out of the ground with enough force to send Lin hurtling back into a metal wall. She gets back up and continues fighting. I know these days you can’t show blood or any real injury, but no scuffs? Not even holding her side? It takes me out of it a little bit. After all, she should be the most dead. That shaft of rock should have just splattered her torso all over Su’s tasteful back yard.
Here are some small things I had on the two episodes that I couldn’t fit in anywhere else:
That’s how Lin got her scars? Really? I get the whole “representation of her sister’s betrayal” or whatever, but it seemed a little anti-climatic. I mean, we know for a fact that Lin, even at her age outside of the flashbacks, has great reflexes. And it’s a metal line that she metalbends anyway. Even if she was caught off guard, young Lin could have instinctively metalbended it out of the way.
At one point Korra is talking with Tenzin on the radio and says “conflict resolution is what I do”. It’s hilarious, you see, because that’s 100% not what she has done for this entire series.
Can Jinora airbend as well as Tenzin? I feel like the other seasons have set him up to be pretty much the best airbender ever. Maybe that was youthful hubris? Also, at the end when shaving your head is proven to work, it’d be a cool way to show the characters arcing by having their heads shaved as well. Just a thought.