Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Legend of Korra Episode 9: Out of the Past

I don’t know if I can love this show any more than I already do.  It just keeps building and building toward a bigger pay off, but revealing just enough details here and there to satisfy our instant gratification needs.  Below is a recap of what happened in Episode 9 Out of the Past and I’ll discuss my thoughts next.  


Tarrlock imprisons Korra in a metal cell leaving her in some shack far up in the mountains.  Tenzin gets a call that Korra has been taken by Equalists.  When he goes to City Hall to find out what happened, Tarrlock lies, saying Equalists attacked him and Korra and that he tried to protect Korra but he was unable to.  Lin hears the news and, still injured, suits up and busts Asami, Bolin and Mako out of jail.  While trapped, Korra meditates and finally connects with Aang’s memories.  That means we finally get to hear what a forty year old Aang sounds like!  And Toph still calls him Twinkle Toes!  Anyways, back to business.  We get the arrest and trial of Yakone, a gangster accused of using blood bending, which is illegal, obviously, to intimidate innocent citizens of Republic City.  Lin, along with New Team Avatar, minus one, go to recruit Tenzin to find Korra.  Lin believes that where Korra is, her officers will be there too.  They find a secret network of tunnels used by the Equalists and while inside Mako is unusually worried about Korra and Bolin tells Asami about the kiss between Mako and Korra.  While in the tunnels, Lin senses her officers but no Korra but when they rescue the officers it’s too late, their bending has been taken away.  Mako interrogates an Equalist and they find out they don’t have Korra and they didn’t attack City Hall.  Tenzin realizes Tarrlock was lying and that he has Korra but the Equalists are alerted to New Team Avatar’s presence and there’s a thrilling escape through the tunnels with Lin displaying some really incredible earth and metal bending.

Once they are safe we return to Korra meditating and we see Yakone’s trial, where Sokka is sitting in as a council member on the proceedings.  When Sokka announces Yakone is guilty and sentenced to life in prison, it doesn’t seem to disturb Yakone one bit because he begins to blood bend everyone in the room!  Back to New Team Avatar who confront Tarrlock, who then denies taking Korra, but Tarrlock’s assistant admits seeing Tarrlock take Korra and that Tarrlock is a blood bender.  As Lin and Tenzin attack, Tarrlock blood bends everyone in the room and escapes.  We then return to the flashback where Yakone escapes but Aang, using the Avatar State, is able to overcome Yakone’s blood bending control and after a chase through the streets stops Yakone and finally puts an end to him, by taking away his bending.

Korra realizes Aang was trying to warn her about Tarrlock, who she knows to be Yakone’s son.  That’s when Tarrlock returns and he is not all that happy with these turn of events.  He plans to leave, to start a new life somewhere else and wants to take Korra along as a hostage.  As he goes to make preparations, who should he run into but Amon and his backup singers!

Tarrlock tries blood bending on them but Amon is not affected by it!  Then he goes on to remove Tarrlock’s bending!  Amon orders his chi blocker backup singers to electrocute the metal box Korra is in to subdue her but she’s too clever for them and manages to avoid being electrocuted and once they open the box, she escapes.  Korra is eventually found by Naga who had tracked her down and carries her safely back to Republic City where New Team Avatar find her, bruised and exhausted.

Oh boy, another exciting episode that answered some questions, such as what those flashbacks Korra was experiencing were all about and whether Lin would find her officers.  It also brought up another question: how was Amon able to break free from Tarrlock’s blood bending?  And whether Amon and Tarrlock are related in any way or know each other on a personal level when they were young?  It may not really matter if they are related but perhaps they had been working together but Tarrlock saw his chance to make a break from Amon to further his own ambitions.

In the flashback, when Aang took away Yakone’s bending there was no light display like the one when he took Ozai’s bending away.  After seeing that, it could be said that Amon can truly take away bending since there was no light display when he has done it.  BUT, there is a difference in the placement of their hands.  Aang and Amon both place a thumb on their victim’s (not sure if this is really the right word when Aang does it, but I can’t think of anything else right now) forehead, but Amon places his other hand on the back of their head while Aang places his hand on their chest.  So I think the theory still stands that Amon is using a very good chi block.  Which I think is supported by this:

Sokka telling the story how he defeated Combustion Man (or Sparky Sparky Boom Man, whatever you prefer) by hitting him in the forehead with the boomerang (that always comes back!).  I was rereading a recap last week of a past A:TLA episode regarding the episode of Combustion Man that made me really believe that Amon is just blocking someone’s bending with a unique chi block, the way Combustion Man’s chi was blocked by the boomerang and in an earlier episode, a pebble.  Then we have Sokka here being very specific about the way he defeated Combustion Man.

Over on Republic City Dispatch, someone (don’t remember who) has the theory that Aang has done something to the Avatar State, which could explain why Korra hasn’t achieved it yet.  But I don’t believe this because why would Aang leave Korra defenseless?  Look how it helped him when he was young and in the flashback.  So why hasn’t she achieved the Avatar State yet?  Before Aang fully tapped into and controlled the Avatar State, it was always triggered because he was either angry, his life or the life of others he cared about were in danger.  He was also twelve and a very scared little boy with a huge burden on his shoulders.  Korra is seventeen and quite a formidable young woman who knows herself, is completely confident of her abilities and has been training to be an Avatar in an ideal situation, where Aang returned to a world at war for a hundred years and had a year to learn three other elements and had to defeat Fire Lord Ozai.  There have been moments when it would be useful for Korra to use the Avatar State but when I think about it, she seems to have more control over her emotions in times of stress and is able to get out of situations on her own or where she’s incredibly lucky, like her first encounter with Amon.  So, I think it’s there for her, but it’s just not the time for her to use it and she’s been doing fine on her own without it.  So far.

Some other thoughts, a friend and I were IMing and trying to come up with who Amon could be related to from the original series that would tie them together but also create an epic revelation about him.  We haven’t really come up with anyone yet and we’re leaning towards The Promise graphic novel series that might provide the answer, especially with its removing the Fire Nation colonies from the Earth Kingdom storyline.  And my friend has read Part 2 so she probably sees something more to it than I am right now.

Mako was a little annoying.  Dude, look, we get it, you care for Korra too but you were acting really weird about it in front of Asami, alienating her.  And if Asami turns against Korra and the rest of them because she’s jealous, I will not be happy.  Let’s not go there.

When proofreading the summary I wrote for the episode, I noticed how nicely Yakone’s attack and escape was followed up with Tarrlock’s; just a chip off the old block, isn’t he?

Memorable Moments:

Meelo crawling over a sleeping Tenzin to answer the phone

Lin suiting up

Does she work out?

Lin pulling up Bolin’s fly with metal bending

The moment when Korra bursts through the flames to make her escape

So, only one more episode left, then it’s the one hour finale on June 23rd!
http://www.nick.com/videos/clip/legend-of-korra-finale-extended-saturday-june-23rd-N14915-07.html (fortunately I’ve already trimmed my fingernails so there are none to chew)

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