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The Legend of Korra continued this week with a real weird episode titled “Remembrances”. Yes, it’s a clip show and, yes, it’s Nickelodeon’s fault. Did I enjoy it? I guess? I mean it was well made and, for what they were given, it didn’t turn out as bad as it could have.
But lets not start here, let me get into it later.
So in this episode, clips from the past are introduced by Mako explaining his background to Prince Wu, Korra airing her grievances about not being able to permanently save the world, and Varrick telling da mover story ripe with modern cinematic critique. And then it ends.
I understand the hardships that Bryan and Michael have to work through and I respect the hell out of them for choosing to do a clip show — something they did not want to do — instead of laying off some of their team members. I don’t lay any blame on them. This is Nickelodeon’s bag.
So why, Nickelodeon? Is it just that the show isn’t that popular and therefore not making money? It has to be something. You’ve kicked Korra in the head so many times lately, like pushing this season out a month after the last one, moving it to online only, and now slashing the budget. It’s like you’re trying to mitigate the possible damage this is causing. So is The Legend of Korra that much of a money pit?
Why not cancel? Is it in the contract? A gesture of good will to the creators? I don’t know. I don’t expect an answer, these are decisions straight from the money men. Which is a shame. If this show was fostered right, if it had a helping hand, I think it could easily be just as good as Avatar: The Last Airbender. Instead they put up as many obstacles as possible, forcing the creators to pump out sub-par stories. It’s the worst.
So, in my darkest nights, I hold out hope for some future. Maybe a different medium would handle it better. I almost guarantee that Nickelodeon has some iron clad contract that keeps the Airbender franchise rights with them for the next century or whatever, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it had the backing of, say, Netflix? No need for budget cuts, last minute changes, or overbearing executives. It’d be great.
At the very least, I’d love to see the creators move on to something else somewhere else. I think they have a great propensity for telling awesome stories and I don’t want them to stop. Their experiences with Nickelodeon have probably soured them to the studio, but there are other, better, options out there.
I think it’s an inherent part of this clip show format, but this episode was rife with instances of telling an audience something instead of showing. And not even new stuff, just stuff we should have already inferred from watching the old clips the first time.
In what basically amounted to “Mako’s Rocky Love Life”, he let us know exactly what was happening and what he was thinking in moments we had already seen before. I could understand how it’d be a little more interesting to someone who just started watching, but for the rest of us it was pretty mind numbing. Maybe the chibi heads saved it for a few people, but to me they came off as more inane, annoying interruptions than anything else.
Korra and Asami’s bit was even worse. I mean, Korra just sums up her entire experience as the Avatar over the entire course of the show. I know that’s kind of the point of the clip show, but it’s so boring. It didn’t really introduce anything new or exciting to the situations, it’s just “here’s what has happened”. Maybe chibis would have moved things along. Probably not.
The last little vignette involved Varrick pitching a mover. This one, all told, is probably the most engaging of the three. It involved redubbing old clips or slighting altering others, which was something new to the table. It was more than just narrating footage we’ve already seen explaining aspects we’ve already inferred. The only thing I can really fault it on is it’s weird stab at humor. The relationship among the season’s villains seemed super forced and fell flat.
Is this the first time that we’ve heard the word “kill” in the show? Not “destroy” or “end”? Maybe it was done once before, but it jumped out at me here. I like it, don’t get me wrong, it’s just a weird, arbitrary time to just start using it.
So they tried to force some things in this episode that I don’t think they should get away with. They say that after Amon was defeated reelections were held and non-benders had a voice in society. Which may be, but we’ve never seen anything like that. For the viewer almost nothing has changed after the first season. When Korra reunited the spirit and material realm, we started seeing spirits all over the place, but we haven’t seen any non-benders participating in the world in a significant way outside of the President.
Another forced progression is that Korra has now grown into a strong young woman who puts herself ahead of others. Again, we haven’t really seen too many instances of that. Is she the strong young woman who stormed out of Katara’s rehabilitation methods or the strong young woman who staked the fate of a city on a fight she had no reason to assume she’d win? It’s fantastic that they want to have these character arcs, it’s just that we need to see them happening instead of being told that they are.
Mako’s little rundown of the show’s romantic history just made me realize how weird and kind of convoluted it was. Their motivations were all over the place and they’re kissing everybody at the drop of a hat. True, they are — or were — teenagers so that explains a lot of it. Maybe I’ve just outgrown that kind of love triangle drama. Luckily we don’t usually get it all at once in a stiff clip show forced on us by executives.