Share & Connect
Seventy years after Aang and his friends defeated Fire Lord Ozai, Korra (Janet Varney) is the newest Avatar and is training in Republic City to master airbending with Aang’s son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons). She is also friends with Mako (David Faustino), a Firebender, and his brother Bolin (P.J. Byrne), an Earthbender, and plays on their team, the Fire Ferrets, in a competition known as pro-bending.
In this game, teams compete to knock each other out of a ring using their bending. The Fire Ferrets have made to the final round and have to face the reigning champions, the Wolfbats, led by the arrogant Tahno (Rami Malek).
As Korra, Mako, and Bolin train for their upcoming match, they hear the sinister leader of the anti-bending movement, Amon (Steve Blum), interrupt the radio broadcast. He commands the city council to shut down the pro-bending championship tournament or he will make a move against them. Angry, Korra, Mako, and Bolin charge into the city council’s meeting and plead on the behalf of their tournament.
Tenzin, Tarrlok, and the other council members disagree and want to shut the tournament down to avoid adding fuel to the class war already going on in the city, but the Chief of Police, Lin Bei Fong (Mindy Sterling), comes in and offers her personal protection. The council agrees to her terms and Tenzin tries to talk her out of it, but she refuses to back down. It is here that Korra learns that Tenzin and Lin Bei Fong were once romantically involved, much to Tenzin’s chagrin.
Korra, Mako, and Bolin start the match against the Wolfbats only to discover one horrifying fact—the Wolfbats have paid off the referees and use several kinds of cheating moves without getting any fouls called on them. The Fire Ferrets struggle to defeat the Wolfbats, but all of their illegal moves overwhelm them and they lose the match.
Just after the tournament ends, Amon’s followers electrocute all the police officers, as well as Tenzin, Bei Fong, Korra, Mako, and Bolin, and enter the ring.
Amon takes away Tahno and the Wolfbats’ bending and delivers a speech saying that it is time for all non-benders to be treated as equals. Amon starts to leave but Korra and Bei Fong recover and give chase. Unfortunately, Amon slips away, leaving the pro-bending arena destroyed and many of the people worried that the Avatar cannot defeat him.
This episode’s strength is in its fight sequences. The pro-bending match is incredibly engrossing as we see Korra, Mako, and Bolin give it their all trying to defeat the Wolfbats’ dirty, and outright brutal, attacks. The stand out moments are Korra’s one-on-one tiebreaker match with Tahno, where she uses her agility to uppercut him right off the platform, and when Korra and Bei Fong fight Amon’s electricity-wielding henchmen.
‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ was inspired by Chinese, Inuit, and Japanese cultures and so is ‘The Legend of Korra’. The fighting styles that the characters use have influences from several different kinds of martial arts to make truly thrilling fight scenes that will leave you breathless and dying for more.
In addition, the gorgeous animation only enhances the experience. The highly stylized art creates stunning colors and an amazing fluidity to the characters’ movements as they fight. These scenes are definitely worth watching more than once and can be appreciated on several levels, from a technical standpoint and from an emotional standpoint as we feel the weight of Korra’s frustration at not being able to catch Amon.
The only drawback I noted in this episode is that Tahno turned out to be a one-trick pony. He is obnoxious, self-absorbed, and downright cowardly, and some of the fans were hoping to see more out of him than what they got.
Many speculated if he would begrudgingly respect the Avatar after their match, but after losing his bending to Amon, there is no telling if his character will disappear entirely or return to the series in upcoming episodes.
‘The Legend of Korra’ premieres Saturdays at 11am EST. Make sure to check it out.