The Legend of Korra – Korra Alone Review
"Facing Demons and Old Friends"
The Legend of Korra
continued this week with its second episode, "Korra Alone". With the last episode acting mostly as set-up can this episode hook us in?
Beware the spoilers below!
The bulk of the episode takes place three years prior to the first episode, wherein Korra heads to the South Pole in order to be healed by Katara. When the healing process takes too long for Korra's liking, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Throughout the episode we see Korra haunted by the vision of her younger self, the one that was poisoned, the one that did battle with Zaheer. Whether this vision is real or not, it's too early to tell. What's important is: the vision is Korra.
You see it'd be pretty straightforward to have it be Zaheer. A manifestation of the kind of evil she fights. The questions would be: can she overcome her past to move on to her future? However, I think it's much better to have her fight herself. Korra is, and always has been, her biggest enemy. For most of the show, she'd have little lessons in being less stubborn or asking for help, but she'd more or less end up the same way.
Now, it's like the show's going "she's finally facing her own demons -- literally". Hopefully she'll grow from it. I mean, just from experience, 21 year old me was a bit more mature than 17 year old me, and I didn't have the extreme trauma or responsibility Korra has. Hopefully, finally, we'll be able to finish Korra's arc. It is the last season, after all.
All things considered, there's a chance Korra's Demon could have an actual explanation. It could be the disembodied Avatar state or something. After all, her spirit friend was able to dispatch it with its barks while in the form of a dog (what a weird sentence). Still, a part of me wants it to be all in her head. Something that she has to overcome. A mental block. Not only is it a much deeper personal obstacle, but it's pretty existential for a Nickelodeon show. And for a franchise that's known for having heavier, more complex writing, that's pretty crucial.
An Avatar Lost
The most interesting aspect of the season so far is the fact that the world has more-or-less gotten along without the Avatar. Of course, she'll probably be called into action eventually, but this is still a pretty interesting way to shake things up. Aang was the most important person in his world. Korra? Not so much.
It seems like she's going to have a Yoda-esque training sequence in the swamp (I'll get to it in a bit), but I'd still like a couple more episode where she was lost. This episode was really good at showing her struggling in the beginning, but that was only the start of her painful learning process. Her finding a(nother-- Katara
) mentor this early seems a tad abrupt.
I mean, she could have had some real cool learning experiences that she could have grown from. She could be forced into manual labor, or she might fall into a gang and have to break the law to survive. Again, it's a bit early to see how Korra's journey will go, but it seems that she made it to the mentor stage pretty quick.
Also, to be fair, I'm assuming her journey to find herself and what it means to be an Avatar in her time is the focal point of the series. It's entirely possible that that's not it. You'd think that the show called The Legend of Korra
would kind of guarantee that, but I'm sure we all know better.
Swamp Toph the Blind Hermit
I thought it was weird for them to reveal Korra's meeting with Toph in the trailer, but now I guess I can understand. It's only happens on episode two. Not really a third act twist. Plus, the fact that it happened so early leads me to believer Korra's training period will be a sizable chunk of the season.
Alright. I've got to say it. If Kuvira goes rogue and Korra is forced to leave Toph because of it, that'll be just like Star Wars
. Does no one else notice this? She goes to a swamp (Dagobah) and meets a wise, if eccentric, master hermit living in a cave (Yoda) who knows much about the hero already. That's a bit weird, right?
Anyway, I'm not really against
having Toph show up, but I do question it. Why her? This seems like Katara's wheelhouse. Is Korra too fiery for her? Does she need someone sassy like Toph? Katara seemed patient and wise, but we all know she can be super stubborn when she wants to and I think getting the reincarnated spirit of her dead husband
back in fighting shape would be high on her list of things to get stubborn about. Not only that, but I think the clash of personalities, Korra and Katara, would be really interesting. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the audience just really wanted to see Toph and learn what exactly became of her. So here we are.
One last thing: Toph's look kind of threw me. In everything we've seen of adult Toph, she was tall-ish and imposing, always wearing her metalbending armor. So you're telling me when she got old she shrunk like six inches and traded her Metal Clan -- the town she founded -- clothes for more Earth Kingdom-esque clothes that resemble how she looked in Avatar: The Last Airbender?
Some Other Thoughts
I think this episode was a bit darker than the most, but in its own specific way. Honestly, what other animated show right now would use their first 15 minutes or so to dramatize the anguish of physical therapy? It's one thing to have a scary masked man menacing your hero, but it's another for your hero to struggle with learning to walk again and battle a pretty solid case of PTSD. Take a look at that kids. Drink it in. That's life.
If Korra's Demon is real, how did she survive drowning in mercury? Was that even real? For that matter, how can no one else see her? Except for spirits I guess. Are the spirits even real? This is quite the puzzler.
Again, they gave Asami the most boring part! Mako is a rad detective fighting crime, Bolin is a part of Kuvira's elite nation-building team, and Asami... well, Asami secured a contract to restore Republic City's infrastructure. Yay infrastructure! Roads! Utility lines! Forms! Permits! Zoning codes! Fun!
But what did you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.
- Interesting Existential Korra
- Recovery drama
- Korra's Demon
- Abrupt Toph!
- Stiff animation