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The Legend of Korra aired a single episode this week, “The Terror Within”, and will air the rest online. Don’t fret, I’ll still be here to review them, despite the move.
Anyway, lets get down to business. Bending business.
In a pretty straightforward episode, Zaheer’s gang sneaks into the Metal clan and dukes it out with Korra’s Krew. Barely managing to fight back their attack, they soon find the attack may be more then it seems.
So I’ve pretty much assumed that the main conflict of the season was Zaheer’s gang gunning for the Avatar. Others have suggested that the main conflict of the show was Korra’s Krew seeking out the new airbenders. Which is a definite possibility and, from how the season has gone so far, probably the case.
But that’s such a weak story engine, even for a show. ‘Find the new airbenders’ isn’t really a lot of conflict to go on. Not that it couldn’t have been done. After all, Avatar: The Last Airbender had the central conflict of ‘Aang has to master all four elements’ which by itself isn’t too strong. However, it was mastering all four elements so that he could defeat a tyrant who had more or less taken over the world. Sure, there were obstacles along the way, but there was a constant feeling of building, of a looming destiny that hung over everything. This 12 year old boy had to travel the world so that he could save it.
What more is there to finding the Airbenders and, if they’re willing, sending them to Tenzin? What are the consequences if they fail. Nothing? It’s not entirely compelling. So much so, I didn’t even consider it being the main conflict, I just thought it was something to keep Korra busy until Zaheer catches up.
However, Zaheer hunting down the Avatar for mysterious reasons and the Avatar’s need to defend herself against exceptional masters of the four elements makes for much better conflict, and I was happy to see it finally come to fruition.
In the end though I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. It seems this is probably the first taste of the fight to come, a tease for the major confrontation later on, but after all that build up I was expecting a little more.
It’s like, they kidnap Korra, make it a few feet, and then they lose her. I just would’ve liked more of a, you know, fight. Something to really show off how powerful these guys are, how big an obstacle Korra is up against. The rest of this season has shown them to be super capable, even defeating an old, experienced Zuko, but a handful of metalbending policeman and some half-asleep teenagers are too much?
Maybe it was just me, but the animation seemed more fluid here. A lot of the time, conversations are held where everyone stands still and the occasional arm motion, but for this episode everyone was much more lively, much more… animated.
What’s more, the fights scenes are fantastic, somehow better than the ones in episodes previous. Again, it might just be me, but the action seemed more fluid and the martial arts more natural. Perhaps I was just happy seeing this plot line play out.