Commentary

The Legend of Korra, Episode 7: The Aftermath

After the epicness of episode six, I honestly didn’t think the show could even come close for episode seven.


I had completely forgotten that Mako and Bolin lived above the pro-bending arena, so the start of this episode was unexpected for me. It was really sweet that Korra went ahead and prepared places for them on Air Temple Island. She gets major friend points for that.

Bolin was hilarious in this episode, especially with his enthusiasm over living at Asami’s house and his talking for Pabu bit. It’s refreshing to have a male character who is enthusiastic and emotional and totally okay with being a complete goof. I can’t help but compare him to Sokka—but where Sokka was the universe’s chew toy and unluckiest person ever, Bolin is the joke. And it’s absolutely endearing.

I’ve been worried about Korra and Asami, mostly because I didn’t want our only female teenagers to be at each other’s throats for the series. (Women are, in fact, capable of being friends without romantic rivalry. Just in case you were wondering.) Honestly, Korra’s attitude worried me most as Asami was pleasant and accommodating consistently. I cringed when Korra asked if they were going shopping or getting makeovers, not because they’re stereotypically girl things to do but because how dismissive/condescending she was about it. Major points to Korra for apologizing for her attitude and to Asami for not getting upset over it.

You know who else gets major points? Tenzin and Lin. When Korra came to them with her story about what she overheard, they didn’t dismiss her out of hand for being a kid or not having enough proof. They took her story seriously and supplied additional information/motivation that they knew of.

(Quick side note: We have yet another firebender responsible for murdering folks and providing main characters with angsty backstories. Come on, show. Why couldn’t Asami’s mom have been killed by an earthbender or a waterbender? It would have given Hiroshi his anti-bending sentiments and it wouldn’t make her history a repeat of Mako and Bolin’s and Amon’s. Firebenders shouldn’t still be the only people responsible for tragedy in this world.)

That said, I wish Korra still had additional proof so I could root for her more in her confrontations with Asami and Mako (who were entirely right to be angry at her and the new line of questioning based on what they knew).

Hiroshi was very smart in this episode, and I loved that he set up a trap for Korra, Lin, and Tenzin. He played them perfectly, and if his daughter hadn’t intervened, he very well could have won. I had forgotten that Toph was only able to bend metal because of the impurities (earth) that was in it, so it was a delightful surprise when that fact was brought up again. I would never have thought of that, and the platinum just serves as a reminder that Hiroshi is loaded. He had a giant wall and half a dozen mecha made from the stuff.

Of course, the one thing Hiroshi screwed up was thinking his daughter hated benders as much as he did. The scene between Hiroshi and Asami was heartbreaking and horribly in all the right ways. I was scared for a moment that she would join her father—but Asami is not, apparently, in need of a redemption arc.

It was a beautiful character moment for Asami to tell her father that she loves him right before she turned the glove on him. I can believe she loves her father and deeply, but she isn’t the kind of person to abandon her sense of right and wrong for her father’s approval. (Which puts her one up on Zuko.) Huzzah for her line about learning self-defense becoming helpful, too. I believe we’ve found our Badass Normal for the series.

I was happy to see Mako and Korra reconcile immediately afterwards and that Korra didn’t pull the “I told you so” card. What made me even happier for her—in a “aw, you’ve grown up!” way—was when she told Mako to go to Asami because Asami would need him after all that happened. That is what friends do, even if you’re wanting to be more than friends. As painful as it might be, you did the right thing, Korra.

Speaking of who else has done the right thing? Lin. Come on, tell me you aren’t also looking forward to a vigilante justice!Lin Beifong. I really hope she gets her people back, but I’m not putting too much stake in the safety/well-being of the redshirts.

  • I was really alarmed when Tarrlok gave the opening narration. Don’t get me wrong—it totally fits with the world vibe and was an excellent bit of recap, but it made me worry about the announcer! I hope he was okay after he got electrified by the Equalists.
  • Tahno was rather pathetic, and I felt bad for him. At least until I remembered how much of a cheating cheater he was.
  • I loved that 1) Cabbage Corp exists and 2) that it got framed for being having Equalist sympathies. So much laughter.
  • Lin was a treat to watch in this episode. We got to see her use Toph’s seismic sense ability, and I was absolutely delighted when that happened.
  • Mako and Bolin’s little take down routine was awesome. I wonder when they learned it (probably while under the streets) and what sorts of dubious things they used it for.
  • Even though we only got a few seconds of Tenzin fighting, it was awesome. I appreciated that he was the last bender to go down, too. We’ve already seen Korra and Lin be amazing—yay for Tenzin’s five seconds of martial powress!

So I think I’ve babbled enough about this episode. Was there anything I missed? What did you like best about the episode?

6 thoughts on “The Legend of Korra, Episode 7: The Aftermath

  1. My favorite part is absolutely the platinum! There is a large and (perhaps not completely surprising) vocal contingent bashing Bryke for the use of platinum in his mecha, but that is in fact COMPLETELY FREAKING AMAZING. Platinum is used in catalytic converts and spark plugs and is important for, you know, making your car actually go. So it makes complete sense that someone who makes cars would have a ton of platinum on hand – it wouldn’t even look strange for the company to be ordering pounds and pounds and pounds of it. It may be softer than steel, but metal is still metal, yo. It isn’t going to collapse under it’s own weight.

    Also I think that this makes that throw-away scene with Mako in the power plant make awesome, awesome foreshadowing. Coz it’s kinda like, why bother wasting the the time that scene takes up if it isn’t going to be useful somehow? But now it makes awesome sense, because platinum is highly conductive ~

    Science nerds ftw!

    1. Sometimes I’m very happy to not be hanging out in fandom–it can get too crazy, sometimes–but those are some cool facts about platinum and some excellent reasoning as to why Hiroshi would have it stockpiled away. Really, I’m just excited about there being mecha in this universe.

      And that would be some excellent foreshadowing with Mako, and I dearly hope it comes true. It’s about time someone turned electricity back on the Equalists. Our heroes need to put their heads together and start thinking up new tactics, because it’s pretty clear that their standard bender moves just aren’t working. The Equalists know how to counter them, and our heroes have to start mixing things up, or they’re going to continue to have their butts handed to them.

  2. I was so pleased to see Tenzin get a bit of fighting in, and loved his catch after Korra was knocked out. Lin Bei Fong was awesome – I love that a grey-haired woman is getting to be a serious kickass, and cheered loudly when she did Toph’s seismic listening bit – but seeing an adult airbender fighting for the first time was seriously cool. He seemed a LOT more intimidating than Aang generally did outside the Avatar state.

    What else? Asami driving HARD on the test track, and the test driver clearly doing his best to beat her too, boss’ daughter or no. It says that she expects people to treat her as a person, not a rich person, and that’s a nice character subtlety.

    I strongly suspect Tarrlok is in on it with Amon in some way. And I didn’t buy Sato’s “I was talking about making a market strike!” guff for a moment. But when I realized Sato’d created mecha, I was glorying in the paean to classic anime that they’ve put together.

    I think Amon is supposed to be a fairly sympathetic bad guy, but the whole “I’m taking away your bending, no matter who you are” bit is really gross to me. It’s kind of a “lopping off the tall flowers” approach that I think doesn’t lead to the betterment of humanity.

    What’s needed, and I agree it is, is much stronger legal control of benders and bending, treatment of bending for criminal purposes as being as bad as using a gun for criminal purposes, i.e., a sentence enhancement, or whatever. It doesn’t mean he gets to go around and unilaterally decide to end the human race’s ability to bend, given the enormous possibilities for endless good that could be achieved through routine use of bending, such as healing, cleaning pollution, creating renewable energy…imagine a crew of those metalbenders on a skyscraper build team, for instance, or maybe earthbenders on a dambuilder team. Firebending smiths, or scientists using their firebending as a sort of gas chromatograph.

    Airbenders controlling weather with waterbenders, or helping clean air pollution from factory stacks. Waterbenders helping to irrigate, or using the bloodbending techniques to help make plants more pest-resistant, or something, or also generating power through tidal effects.

    There are so, so many ways in which benders could make society so much better, it’s capricious and stupid, not to mention cruel, to just decide to eliminate it. And it’s ruining, for me, the effect of Amon as a plausible “alternative vision” rather than as a pure villain, because of the stupidity and the personal violation involved in this nonconsensual and permanently damaging act.

    What, for instance, is Tahno going to do for a living now? He’s never learnt to be anything but a pro bender, and not very well at that, given how they cheated to win. How is society better by taking his bending away?

    1. Your post made me very happy! Long responses always make me giddy. <3

      I was so excited to see Tenzin fight in this episode–I may have been chanting at the screen for him to do so–and you’re right that he seemed more dangerous in Aang. I think it’s because Aang tended to wait for people to strike at him first before he did his crazy dodging and deflecting whereas Tenzin went straight for where the enemy was. Tenzin’s airbending seemed a lot more offensive than defensive, if that makes any sense.

      I think you’ve outlined the happiest/most peaceful possible conclusion to the Amon storyline. I’ve seen people talk about giving everyone bending, but that seems like a cop out to me. There needs to be greater regulation and control of what benders do with their powers.

      Those are some great possibilities for helpful things benders could do besides just fighting with their powers! I hadn’t ever thought of most of those. Maybe since they’ve jumped the show into a more modern era we’ll be able to see these “scientific” approaches to these powers. We’ve seen Mako doing lightning generation in a factory, which was a nice touch–here’s hoping we get more of that in the show.

      Amon might have started off with legitimate complains, but he’s gone straight into crazy territory. I really do want the show to acknowledge the non-crazy parts of his platform, though. And soon, please! I actually felt a little sorry for Tahno, though that went away pretty quickly when I remembered how easily his cheating could have resulted in serious injury.

      1. Thanks! I’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking about the worldbuilding here, because for a time I was thinking of using a somewhat similar magic system for the long-in-the-coming novel I’ve got in my head and half-sketched out in outline (in the end, I went with a more alchemy-type version than the kung fu of bending), and I believe strongly in my own worldbuilding that I want the world to feel like it could happen, if the world had that magic system in place.

        Too often, we see mages and such being entirely outside the economy of countries they’re part of, and it just doesn’t make sense to me that every single person with powers would choose to risk their lives fighting for or against nation-states. Surely some would use their talents to support their families, or be great artists, or maybe just go about being a social worker or a bank clerk or whatever and not let their ability be part of their life in a major way.

        I loved Tenzin’s fight, and like you, was tense on the edge of my chair when waiting for him to get stuck in. It’s definitely his directness, and the sheer physical size and strength of his very earthbendery body, that contrast strongly with Aang’s more ethereal form, but they showed his fighting style as being the unusual directness you’d expect of such a physically powerful and confident airbender. I was disappointed he wasn’t able to last longer, since he seems to be a fairly thoughtful person, and I had expected his fight to last longer because he’d waited and studied before leaping into action. Very zen.

        And no strike needed on the “I love long comments!” bit, because I do, too, as you might guess, what with my usual wordage on a given comment.

        If I could just direct that energy into writing my book…:)

        1. That sounds like a lot of fun! I love world building, and integrating magic/special powers has always been one of the more entertaining aspects of it. I think the best use in ATLA of non-combat bending being part of daily life is probably in the Earth Kingdom. You have the mail chutes of Omashu and the train thingy in Ba Sing Se, plus lots of people using earthbending to create/control gates and walls.

          I do wish we had gotten to see Tenzin fight for longer since we had that beautiful fight scene with Lin in the previous episode. However, I’m willing to wait for another opportunity. He was in an enclosed space, surrounded by mecha, and trying to watch out for everyone (or at least Korra) at the same time.

          I always look forward to your comments. And you should write your book! Just take small steps and you’ll get there eventually.

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