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Nickelodeon’s hit show ‘The Legend of Korra’ (2012), the sequel series to ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (2005), returned from its two week break with the eighth episode, “When Extremes Meet,” on June 3, 2012.
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). Korra 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.
In previous episodes, the leader of the anti-bending movement, Amon (Steve Blum) destroyed the pro-bending arena, leaving Mako and Bolin homeless. Mako’s girlfriend and daughter of the inventor of Satomobiles, Asami Sato (Seychelle Gabriel), offered to let them stay at her mansion, but Korra, Tenzin, and Chief Lin Bei Fong (Mindy Sterling) discovered her father, Hiroshi Sato, was working for Amon. Thus, Asami rejected her father and they all have decided to stay with Korra on the air temple island.
Tenzin’s daughters and son, Ikki, Jinora, and Meelo, help the Fire Ferrets get acquainted with the island when they arrive, but unfortunately, this doesn’t go as well as Korra hoped. Ikki blurts out that Korra has a crush on Mako to Asami, and while Asami does not address this, there is now underlying tension between the two ladies.
Meanwhile, the slimy Councilman Tarrlok (Dee Bradley Baker) has appointed a new Chief of Police after Bei Fong resigned so she could work independently to rescue the officers Amon captured in their last battle. He then gets the city council to allow him to issue a curfew for all non-benders in an effort to stop the Equalists, or people who support Amon, much to Korra and Tenzin’s frustration.
Korra is also upset because she has still been unable to airbend, but Mako, Bolin, and Asami cheer her up by offering to help her patrol Republic City. While out, they catch a group of chi-blockers and Equalists and turn them in, much to Tarrlok’s annoyance. On another night, Korra and company find out Tarrlok has shut off the power to the homes of non-benders, causing them to protest in anger. She tries to intervene, but Tarrlok’s officers take her friends hostage. She and Tenzin go to the prison the next morning, but the Chief of Police refuses to release them.
Angered, Korra bursts into Tarrlok’s office that night and demands to have her friends freed. Tarrlok offers to free them if Korra returns to working with his taskforce, but she refuses. The two engage in a brutal, heated battle. When Korra gets the upperhand, Tarrlok reveals that he can bloodbend—or control the water in Korra’s body so that she can’t move. He kidnaps her and throws her in the back of a police car, driving her outside the city limits and thus raising the stakes.
This episode is definitely one of the best of the Korra season. The drama is gripping and sometimes downright terrifying, especially when Tarrlok bloodbends Korra’s body. The tension building between the good guys and the bad guys is well executed, and the stakes are very real. Everything feels like a natural progression towards the season finale, which is only several weeks away.
However, there was one drawback that I noted and it is similar to previous complaints I have had about the show. Since ‘Korra’ is shorter than ‘Avatar’, it has to take shortcuts with certain character arcs and dramatic moments. I did not like that Ikki just blurted out that Korra likes Mako for the sake of making Asami suspicious and jealous of the two friends.
I would have preferred her to find this out on her own because Asami is the least developed character in the series so far. She is beautiful, strong and kind, but that is still about all we know about her. She is a bit of a boring character and so seeing her catch on to the little smiles and mild flirting between Korra and Mako on her own would make her seem more perceptive, and therefore, more developed.
‘The Legend of Korra’ premieres Saturdays at 11a.m. EST. Be there.