Thu
May 24 2012 2:20pm

Vigilante Justice in The Legend of Korra: “The Aftermath”

Vigilante Justice in The Legend of Korra: “The Aftermath.”

Well ask and ye shall receive: I wanted more Asami from The Legend of Korra and in this week’s episode, “The Aftermath,” we got plenty. That’s not all we got; we got to see Tenzin throw down, we got another chance to see Lin Beifong just tear stuff up and we got to see Korra grow as a person. Oh, and mecha. We get to see crazy deep sea diver-esque mechs. I was starting to speculate that Asami might be the Krew’s Cordelia, a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer — no offense to Cordelia, who is also clearly awesome for her own reasons — but watching her burn rubber and kick butt I’m starting to think that she might be the group’s Han Solo. You know what that means…Tahno, it isn’t too late to get your act together and become the Cordelia!

Hiroshi Sato, Asami’s father, is revealed to be one of the Equalists, and not a “well, he has reasonable political opinions about bender privilege and non-bender oppression” kind, either. More of a “I’m from Buenos Aires Kirachu Island and I say kill ‘em all!” sort of guy. The Agni Kai gang killed his wife Asami’s mother and he wants bloody vengeance against all benders, now. Not only has he been (presumably) funding Amon and the Equalists — we’ve been wondering where the money has been coming from since at least “The Spirit of Competition” — but also inventing and constructing weapons for them. Most notably and manifestly he’s been building platinum exoskeletons, “Big Daddy”-like constructions with grappling hooks and crushing fists. Why platinum?  Because platinum is apparently so “pure” that even the metal benders can’t manipulate it.

We knew one of the Satos were going to be affiliated with the Equalists; it was too dramatically appropriate not to be true. I’m not entirely convinced that this episode exonerates Asami — the possibility of a double agent scenario is sort of plausible — but I am glad they didn’t play that card so soon. I’d prefer to see her step up and lead a faction in opposition to Amon, and it isn’t too late for her to do so. Well, to be quite honest with you, I’d like to see her go full on Miriya Parina, the ace mecha pilot from Robotech. I want to see Asami in a suit of power armor call it a “satomech, perhaps? bringing both her technical background, her self-defense skills and her knack for driving to a fever pitch. That’s just my personal hope for her.

Asami is a much more rounded out as a character now, thanks to this episode. Her playing in the pool with Mako and Bolin, her comments about asking for forgiveness being easier than asking for permission, her satomobile test driving, her choice to zap her father and then beat up some Equalists, all these things build up to add dimension to her. More than that; we get to see Korra compared to her, rather than contrasted, and they both come out the better for it.

Despite comments about prissiness and the gag with Korra powdering her nose, we start to see that Asami and Korra might have complimentary personalities, rather than conflicting ones. And how cute are those bathing suits — much more modest than the style during “The Beach” episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender — that they are wearing at their pool party?  That is another golden cosplay opportunity.

There are a number of call-backs and sight gags in this episode. Most notable of all of them is easily the reference to Cabbage Corp, featuring a statue of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Cabbage Merchant and the president of Cabbage Corp Lao Gan Lan being dragged away beneath it screaming “Not my Cabbage Corp!” Lao Gan Lan roughly means “Honorable Green Vegetable” in Chinese, as I understand it, making the joke function on multiple levels. And come on — who didn’t sing-shout “Secret Tunnel!” when Korra and the metalbenders got onto the diagonal elevator?  Heck, I’m singing it now!

I’m increasingly curious about Republic City — rather than fade into the background, each successive episode of The Legend of Korra seems to deepen the mystique of the setting. What is with the…scaly pigeon-apes in the street?  Lizard crows, I guess they are called?  Those are…unsettling critters. Besides the fauna of the city, we also get a good look at some new architecture. The gorgeous and shiny pro-bending stadium may have burned, but we get to ogle new stuff in its place, like the Sato mansion, the Future Industries warehouse and the outstanding Silk Road Bridge. I could look at Republic City all day long.

After “And the Winner Is…” I called Lin Beifong “Spider-Lin,” and I wasn’t alone in that. It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out, you know?  Having seen this episode, though, I’m going to have to add “WolverLine” to her list of epithets. Did you see her metal-bend claws out of her armor, jump on one of those Bioshock-looking mechs and start wailing on it?  How incredible was that?  It was, to repurpose some local sports terminology, “Lincredible.”  We’re just a couple episodes away from Korra throwing her in a ”Fastball Special,“ at this rate. We see incontrovertible earthbending from the metalbender cops, too; there were some theories that they have overspecialized and lost the ability to earthbend, but we see proof that isn’t the case. Beyond that is her final grimacing promise to bring vigilante justice to Amon and the Equalists. As her mother Toph would say: “Yes!  Let’s break some rules!” The awesome Beifong inheritance doesn’t stop there either — unsheathing her bare foot and using seismic senses like her mother?  So she’s Dare DeviLin, too?  So cool.


Mordicai Knode thinks that “The Agni Kai” is a pretty tough name for a post-colonial crime syndicate. And he’s still singing “Secret Tunnel.” Is it in your head now, too? You could try to give him another ear worm by tweeting him on Twitter and you can follow his ”Linsanity" on Tumblr if you want to be exposed to other infectious memes.

46 comments
Matt Wright
1. matty42
I was practically jumping up and down in excitement when I saw Lin remove her shoes. The way this series is deepening and expanding all the previous lore just gets better with each episode. Additionally, my wife did not understand why the Cabbage Corp. thing was so funny.
Mordicai Knode
2. mordicai
1. matty42

I hadn't watched the episode yet & I logged onto Twitter & saw my friend livetweeting it & shouting "TOPH TAUGHT LIN HOW TO SEISMIC SENSE!" & I was like "uh, awesome?" & then I saw the bit with her actually unsheathing her foot from the steel like a weapon & I was like "okay, uh, double awesome!" I rewatched this episode last night with friends & when it happened & the colour scheme changed dramatically as the waves went out, they all were like "WOAH WOAH WHAT!" So that is good. YES.

I assume your wife isn't an Avatar: the Last Airbender fan (yet)? Did she find that callback to be intrusive? I wonder-- I have been saying you don't need to have seen A:tLA to appreciate Korra but that it would deepen your enjoyment of it, & I wonder how true that is.
treebee72 _
3. treebee72
I love the female characters on this show sooooo much! And as a woman 'this close' to 40, having an older female character out in the middle of everything kicking ass & taking names is just so awesome!!!!!
Mordicai Knode
4. mordicai
3. treebee72

Yeah, as much as I like the "kids"-- & I like them a lot & I'm super glad they are young adults-- the older characters are the ones who are really blowing my mind. Tenzin & Lin are like, basically perfect. Man how great are both of them? & not perfect in like a Mary Sue way-- obviously both are flawed people who make mistakes, but they try to fix those flaws & mistakes. To greater or lesser success...
Lsana
5. Lsana
Just a question: how different is Lin's desire to go vigilante to get the equalists in revenge for her metalbenders from Hiroshi's desire to go vigilante to get revenge for his wife? I guess we can't really answer that until we see exactly where Lin goes after her resignation, but I can't help feeling that the parallels are...uncomfortable to say the least.

I'm really hoping to see more of Korra/Asami. I want to see them become friends. I'm also thinking that Asami might be a good teacher for Korra. After all, if Korra is going to be fighting people who can take away her bending, even temporarily, it might be a good idea for her to learn how to fight without it.
Mordicai Knode
6. mordicai
5. Lsana

I mean-- well, on one hand, Lin going rogue is largely to rescue her officers. She has a goal in mind, not just revenge...while Hiroshi wants to wreak vengeance on random benders for the crime of being benders. So I don't think it is a good
equivalency...but by the same token, I do think that the Equalists have a lot of good points. They are the butt of a great deal of injustice. I would find an ideological motivator far more compelling than a personal one. "I hate benders because a bender hurt me once" is fundamentally irrational; "I hate benders because they have perpetuated a hegemony with non-benders as second class citizens" is a much better one.

I too really want more Asami; I think the Asami & Korra angle is the fresh angle into the story right now. & no, Kasami shippers, that isn't what I mean; they both seem pretty straight. You're right though; Korra should be voraciously learning everything she can from everybody. Like when you watch Star Wars & see Jedi getting their lightsabers taken away-- seriously, none of you ever learned Gundark Style Kung-Fu or like, took Rodian boxing lessons?
Lsana
7. Zonglasdf
>Just a question: how different is Lin's desire to go vigilante to get the equalists in revenge for her metalbenders from Hiroshi's desire to go vigilante to get revenge for his wife?

I'm hoping the show postulates that they aren't that different and this isn't a conflict you can win by beating up a bunch of bad guys.
Lsana
8. realmcovet
You share the same personal hopes that I do for Asami, that's for sure Mordicai. & Lsana! That's a great point about Korra having to learn to fight without bending. I'd love to see Korra & Asami's friendship develop in that way.

I LOVED that scene when Lin busted out her mom's seismic senses move. I was like "OH HELL YEAH!" So much awesome.
Scott Silver
9. hihosilver28
This episode was made of win.

First, I love that they designed Asami to have the "typical evil anime" look just for the moment at the end of this episode where they could subvert it. Asami on Team Avatar! Speaking of which, I really hope that having everyone on Airbender Island really adds to the drama and team dynamics. Also, Korra going deeper in her training.

Lin's metalbending the sole of her boot to retract for earthsensing...seriously guys, this show! Lin's Fullmetal Alchemist blade...ok pretty much everything with Lin just rocks.

Tenzin going badass! Finally we get to see what a mature airbender can do with his skills. Surfing a freaking airwheel! Seriously one of the most awesome moments in an episode full of awesome moments. I also loved his "air cusion" to break Korra's fall.

Mako and Bolin faking out the guard was brilliant and hilarious. I just love the simple look that the two of them exchange. You could tell that they had done this type of thing before when they were living on the streets.

Bolin deserves his own paragraph here. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite Avatar characters. He never ceases to crack me up. From his using Pabu to talk to Korra, to his routine with the butler drying him and Pabu then immediately jumping back in the pool, to using an unconscious Tenzin to talk to Hiroshi Sato...delightful.

All in all, a wonderful episode and I can't wait for the next one. On that note, I hear that there might be a hiatus this week. Unfortunately I can't find a place that will confirm or deny that, just wanted to give everyone a heads up.
Mordicai Knode
10. mordicai
7. Zonglasdf

I don't even think you need to hope that, I'm pretty sure the text of the show supports that implicitly & is just shy of it being explicit. But also, I hope that there are sweet fights too, because the choreography is just awesome.
Mordicai Knode
11. mordicai
8. realmcovet

When you have someone like the Avatar, nigh omnipotent, inverting the power dynamic just makes sense. That is why we saw Aang learning from Sifu Katara & Sifu Toph; it allowed them to be in a position of power & kept Aang humble.
Mordicai Knode
12. mordicai
9. hihosilver28

The fact that Asami was so clearly "femme fatale" was why (& remains) the reason I thought she couldn't be evil. I mean-- there is a strong argument to be made against the demonization of women on the basis of looks. Heck, of anybody-- bad guys are usually ugly, unless they are women in which case they are sexy...& both of those options are offensive, patronizing & lazy. I don't think that Bryan & Mike are any of those things, so I knew they had to be going somewhere with Asami.

Yes. Yes to shoeless-Lin (that sounds fetishy, but you all know what I mean) & yes to Lin with a metal spur, yes, yes!

Tenzin was great! I want to see him really go all out; we saw him actually doing stuff, but he hasn't gotten his "Lin" moment, you know? She's obviously going to be more martial than he is, more "fighty," but I want to see Tenzin do something that makes us all go "DAAAAAAAAAANG!"

Mako & Bolin are a great pair; Bolin could be annoying without a straight man to bounce his lines off, & Mako would be annoying if he was as humorless as he appears to be. As a team though? Hilarious. Yeah, that Marx Brothers pratfall bit with the guard was golden.
M O
13. shydra
Just caught up with the last three episodes last night. I'm really very intrigued by the Lin/Tenzin thing. I know it began in the last episode, but I was wondering how far it could be taken. Two people with a very long history together, and a more complicated "breaking up" story than Pema let on (... or possibly, more complicated than she knows?). This whole theme is subtle but continuous in the background of "The Aftermath."

The whole reason for their breaking up is the fact they were "growing apart" -- and all of a sudden, they're very much forced together, and in a sort of "parental" context of their own over Korra, which continued through this episode. Every time we see Lin, she's with Tenzin, day and night, standing butt-to-butt. In some scenes you might expect them to be, oh I don't know, standing apart, investigating different things, but that's not the narrative we're given. Constant one-on-one proximity and conversation. Completing each other's thoughts, moving in unison, frequent meaningful silent glances exchanged.

When they're both standing together in the observation deck of the blimp, and Lin says, "Protecting Republic City is all I care about" and Tenzin turns his head away from her, and his gaze goes down... It need not be read in this context, it could be taken just as him thoughtfully accepting Lin's words, but then again....

Wonder what Pema thinks of these developments. Must be tough for a pregnant non-bender saddled with three rambunctious airbender kids to sit by the sidelines while her husband spends all his time with a former lover. I don't see Bryke as letting this one go as-is. Think she might get caught up in the Equalists at some point...?

Also, on a "subverting the trope" note -- I really appreciate that after Korra's "listening at the keyhole to a sinister phonecall" incident that Tenzin and Lin didn't appear to buy what was going on. I always hate when people so easily buy the spun plausible lie in that trope. Lin's slight shift in her stare, a quick glance shared between her and Tenzin, a neutral response from Tenzin to buy time; a familiar trope that tends to be about creating friction within a group used to actually forward the story! Huzzah!
S Cooper
14. SPC
If nothing else, Asami gets extra credit for taking out electric-stick-guy so efficiently! He's wiped the floor with everybody else at least once, so it was lovely watching him get just smacked down like that.

Oh, it's going to be fun seeing how Tenzin's kids react to all their new neighbors!

Yet another thing (of many) to give these shows credit for: they never fall into the trap of demonizing adults that so many cartoons do. The grownups, like the kids, are just people. Some good, some not, some trustworthy, some not. Some pure awesome. I am totally loving Tenzin and Lin too.
Mordicai Knode
15. mordicai
14. SPC

Yeah, after the first couple of episodes I said how glad I was that Bryke didn't make some kind of Snape situation out of the Korra & Tenzin dynamic. They are different, they had stress, they disagreed...& then they resolved it & become better people. Both of them. Because adults aren't mindless monsters! I get that making adults into stereotypes that never change is part of some kid lit-- evoking the world from a child's perspective-- but I'm glad Korra is more nuanced.

& I cannot wait for them all to live on Air Temple Island.
Ashe Armstrong
16. AsheSaoirse
I'm waiting on Tenzin to have a "Dumbledore moment." Like in Half-Blood Prince, where the big D uses that redonkulous fire spell. That, just...after episode 5's love triangle frustration and shiptasticness, I am STOKED about the show again. I was kind of hoping that Sato being the sympathizer was a fake-out, just because it seemed too easy but it makes sense. Though, it could've been Cabbage Man. All those cabbages, suffered, lost...always because of benders. "MY CABBAGES," he would cry out after some careless bender destroyed them. Truly, if anyone had a reason to strike out, it is Cabbage Man. But he's better than that! (Or, is it his son? I'm not sure...)

But for cereals, everything was so good and Lin with the foot and Pabu and the poofy hair and poor butler and DON'T DO IT, KORRA, THE POWDER IS A TRICK! and Asami whoopin butt...yes.
Lsana
17. phodyr
The only thing that bothers me about this episode is a reminder of the speedy advancement of technology from A:TLA to LOK. It's been 60 some years since the end of A:TLA and we have skyscrapers, zeppelins, cars, and mecha? Not klunky tech envisioned by turn of the century sci fi writers, but powerful things like Big Daddy. Crikey. Historical minded me thinks it's a lot to have happen. It makes me think that A:TLA was set on the advent of industrialization, which means it was the last hurrah of the pre-industrialized world, which makes me sad for some reason.
Ashe Armstrong
18. AsheSaoirse
@phodyr:
Well, remember though that the fire nation already had some pretty high tech stuff (remember the tanks that could climb mountains?) so it's more an extrapolation of that via the nations coming together to prosper instead of warring.
Mordicai Knode
19. mordicai
17. phodyr
&
18. AsheSaoirse

Right, we're dealing with a setting where zepplins & tanks were cutting edge technology...seventy years ago. Seventy years can be a long time; it is easy to forget just how long. I mean, what, the show seems to me to be roughly set in the...lets say 1920s? Though I will caveat it & say that any attempt to map history or technology onto real world examples is doomed to fail. That said, The Flatiron building-- one of New York City's first skyscrapers & home to Tor.com-- was finished in 1902. That means seventy years before that was...the 1830s. The jump between those time periods just gives you a sense of scale, of how far things can actually jump. It may seem crazy...but it is a real life kind of crazy.
Mordicai Knode
20. mordicai
16. AsheSaoirse

I don't mind it being Hiroshi; it had to be SOMEONE, otherwise there would be no impact, it would have no immediacy. If it wasn't a character we at least gave a slight dang about, who'd care at all?
George Brell
21. gbrell
Just wanted to give kudos for the Miriya reference.

Easily the best episode of the series so far.
Lsana
22. Kingtcoon
So I like Tenzin - he's got no hair on his head, so you know immediately that he's a good guy. But I thought, during his fight sequences - Remember how bloodbending and plantbending were strong? How bloodbending was kind of bad and also really useful? Do you think that it'll be Nickelodeon friendly enough to have Tenzin Airbending-choke people? Not recklessly and cruelly, but in the same way that Kitara bloodbent? I was kind of waiting for him to shut down Henry Ford's platinum mecha that way.

Also - have you noticed that the pacing is a movie's pacing? Usually TV would give you a low key episode to digest, but they're striking hot irons with this- breakneck pace on this one plot- it's interesting because it's a movie - maybe this is a change owed to the Blu-ray series-binge age.
Mordicai Knode
23. mordicai
21. gbrell

Miriya & Max till the day I DIE. The original shipping couple of my life.
Mordicai Knode
24. mordicai
22. Kingtcoon

I don't think choking, but the same way the metalbending is an advanced earthbending technique, & bloodbending is an advanced waterbending technique & lightning is an advanced firebending technique...I think Tenzin might develop an advanced airbending technique. Or if not Tenzin-- he is just the first of a new tribe, after all-- then some airbender in the next series. Or Jinora, darling wonderful nerdy Jinora-- she could rediscover something?

The movie pacing is an interesting way of putting it. I sometimes hear people complain about the pacing-- that it is too fast-- but for me, I don't think a romance could really be dragged out over three seasons. Especially not with adults. Seriously, just kiss 'em or tell 'em you like 'em, that is what you do! I think the pacing is much tighter, & I like it; I don't want a protracted series where nothing happens...I was never a Dragon Ball Z fan...
George Shirer
25. grshirer
*sigh*
I really want to like this series. I mean, I want to be as gaga over it as I was by its predecessor.
Alas, that isn't happening.
The flow of episodes continues to feel clunky to me, the characters don't feel fully fleshed out and now we have Lin Beifong refuting her entire stance on vigilante justice when that stance is no longer useful to her.
With each new episode, I grow more disappointed with this series.
David Goldfarb
26. David_Goldfarb
I found myself wondering whether platinum is much more common in the Avatar world (does it have a name?) than in ours, or whether the creators didn't realize just how rare it actually is. From what I've read, that movable wall alone would require nearly all the platinum that's ever been mined on this planet, let alone the mecha.
Lsana
27. Kingtycoon
Well - I didn't mean to bring dragonball Z into this! That's on you sir! You did that.

I mean only that - after an intense and very action-packed episode you'd maybe expect to see a lighter or more sedate episode- like the romantic storyline that preceded it ending with a nod toward the future excitement- just to modulate the audience's tension. Comic relief etc... Not that I need that! Or really want it - it's very cinematic, and I thought I'd mention it.

So you know what? I'm a little dissatisfied that the marriage patterns of the Air Nomads and the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom are all monogomous MF matches. You mentioned Tenzin and Lin and I'm thinking - shoot, how come he's got just the one wife? I tend to think this is an area where worldbuilding will fall to contemporary values - one of those points where a creator has to compromise- but it's interesting how marriage patterns throuhout the elemental nations are all the same.

The obvious next step for Airbending is flying. Aang sometimes flirted with flying - great leaps, single bounds, all that - but explaining this show to my kid from season 1 episode 2 I said- "Really, the airbender is the most dangerous and the firebender is probably the least." Cause when it comes down to it - everyone needs air. I guess it's Avatar physics and they never do snuff out fires by oxygen starvation - but I mean... We've all looked at the Gas-Destruction Sorcerer Base list - we know!
Mordicai Knode
28. mordicai
25. grshirer

I mean, there is always a tension between "in character" & "an evolving character" when it comes to shows like this. I don't think Lin is acting out of character; I think we're seeing that Lin's position is a moving target & that when extreme things happen to you-- like the team you trained & fought beside are assaulted & kidnapped-- your rational ideology may go out the window.
Mordicai Knode
29. mordicai
26. David_Goldfarb

Yeah; I wonder about the geological composition of the Four Nations too! I mean, like we were saying about the Equalists-- in most cartoons, the fact that the "bad guys" had airships & a base would just be part of the suspension of disbelief, but in The Legend of Korra the fact that Amon has blimps & lightning gloves means you can follow the money trail...as this episode proves. Same way that I think looking at fighting styles is informative-- there are rules & logic behind the show. That is a heck of a lot of platinum; maybe it will be addressed? Maybe alchemy is real?
Mordicai Knode
30. mordicai
27. Kingtycoon

I may have brought up Dragon Ball Z but you brought Rolemaster into it! I know you love the idea of suffocating airbenders, but I think you are also overlooking, you know, the fatal potential of burning somebody alive? Also, that thinking about bending in terms of murder is a mug's game-- if you want to kill someone, any bending is fair enough. Crushed with rocks, suffocated with ice, burned alive, defenestrated...all the elements are harsher than meat.

I was thinking flying too-- especially since Sky Bison can do it-- but I am curious what other ideas there could be. What other things are associated with air, even just from a thematic or alchemical point of view (the way fire & lightning or earth & metal are connected)?
Lsana
31. Kingtycoon
No exactly - I'm not all pro-murder - I'm just thinking about what happens when the Airbending gets weaponized. Maybe it just looks like telekenesis. I mean - I can imagine scenarios where the airbenders can mess with the weak and strong nuclear forces you know? Blow apart matter.

But I guess the power that could come up and have a nice life in Avatarworld and not step on anyone else's toes would be sound manipulation - I can see Tenzin doing Muad'dib type shouts. That'd be pretty cool actually - maybe some echolocation or silence auras - that kind of thing.
Lsana
33. phodyr
Kingtycoon: I agree about sound bending although I would have Air benders creating shock waves, sonic booms, super pressurized waves of air.
Mordicai Knode
34. mordicai
31. Kingtycoon
&
33. phodyr

I don't think we're going to deal with subatomic particles or monads...but at this point, I honestly can't promise that. Avatar answered a lot of cosmological questions; Korra is much more focused, which might keep it from meandering off into musing on hermetic elements, but you can never be sure.

The not stepping on toes is a right way of thinking about it-- I mean, one of the premises of The Legend of Korra is that she needs to explore her spiritual side, right? Bending is more than just elemental control; it is a matter of magic & enlightenment, on some level.

Airbending...well, first off, we have a very small corpus to really deal with, since our exposure to airbenders is either a) via the Avatar, a special case, b) via flashbacks or c) via Tenzin's reconstruction of the Air Tribe. That said, lets compare it to the others.

Fire: Dragons, the Sun, Lightning (& Sozin's Comet)
Water: Ocean & Moon, the Moon, Blood & Plantbending.
Earth: Badger Moles, ????, Metalbending
Air: Sky Bison, ????, ????
Lsana
35. AudreyG
27. Kingtycoon

If I remember correctly, there's a blink-or-you'll-miss-it line in season two where it's mentioned that the Earth King has multiple wives.
Tili S.
36. venndiagram
27. Kingtycoon

In fact, at least as far as we've seen in Republic City, there seem to be a lot more similarities than differences between the different nations' cultures. I'm still kind of waiting for tension to appear between what I've come to think of as ethnic groups (since it's not clear whether the differen nations still exist politically, but there clearly are distinctions among the citizens of Republic City). In particular: Bolin and Mako's parents' "mixed marriage" seems like a bit of relevant backstory that's just waiting to pop up and make itself heard. I don't think the cultural and political separations between the nations as of A:tLA can possibly have disappeared by this time. It seems as though they're just not being brought to the fore now that everyone is nominally united.
Mordicai Knode
37. mordicai
36. venndiagram

The tension between bender & non-bender seems to have drowned out the ethnic tensions in Republic City, but yeah! Mako & Bolin are a piece of post-colonial theory, embodied. Fire Nation colonists in the Earth Kingdom, the notions of identity & ownership...yeah, I know The Promise deals with some of this stuff, but I expect it will find its way in at some point. Lets not forget the Satos, who are Fire Nation, too.
Tili S.
38. venndiagram
37. mordicai

I also really wish we knew whether the Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom, and Southern and Northern Water Tribes still exist as political entities. Sometimes it seems as though Republic City is the capital of a politically united world, sometimes it seems like the nations still exist and Republic City is outside all of them. I have a pet theory that there are five representatives on the council because one of them is a Northern and the other a Southern Water Tribesmember, but I'm not sure if this is because they're two distinct but related ethnic groups (think Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews) or because those are two different countries. Or possibly I'm wrong and it's just a five-member council, not a council of national/ethnic representatives. Is it weird that I'm eagerly awaiting each episode for news about the world's political structure? :)
Lsana
39. sTicK SH33P
Has anyone else noticed that it's always a firebender who kills people. For example, Asami's mother, Mako and Bolin's parents, and Amon said his family was as well, I believe. Is it just impossible for any other type of bender to kill someone or what?
Mordicai Knode
40. mordicai
38. venndiagram

There IS a Northern & Southern representative on the council; how & why that came to be I'm not sure, but the South & North were pretty distinct originally, though we did see them intermingling (think GranGran & the waterbending master getting hitched). Who can say how it shook out? We do know that the Fire Nation has a Fire Lord-- or Fire Lady-- & that it is Zuko's daughter, so I assume there is autonomy in the Four Nations. I think Republic City is like a mix of Washington DC & the UN-- an autonomous but aspirational body.
Mordicai Knode
41. mordicai
39. sTicK SH33P

I don't think that it is a matter of "benders" per se & more a matter of the enduring legacy of a century of colonialism & imperialism. The Fire Nation geared its economy & foreign policy around the idea of expansionist warfare. Just because the Avatar defeated Ozai & Zuko put an end to those policies doesn't mean the repurcussions just disappear. You have Fire Nation people occupying land in the Earth Kingdom; land that the Earth Kingdom believes belongs to them & land that the Fire Nation citizens were born on, grew up on, live on. That leads to a lot of tension. & all the Fire Nation soldiers? Suddenly out of work? A soldier who isn't on the campaign trail is an easy convert to banditry. So what we are seeing is just the sad unfortunate truth that even the best intentions-- ending a war-- can be difficult to pull off, & leave scars.
Katie Pi
42. Darth_Katie
I could watch Tenzin and Lin kick ass all day long. LOVE IT!!
Mordicai Knode
43. mordicai
42. Darth_Katie

Seriously; I'm so enthusiastic about the old folks on this show? It is like having a whole bunch of Uncle Irohs. Or like if Uncle Iroh & Monk Gyatsu went on adventures. & also had a weird nebulous past, for the 'shippers.

(you're welcome, 'shippers...I just invented Iryatsu for you.)
Lsana
44. Chris F
Mordicai, I like your response to #39, as one reason the finale to the original show underwhelmed me a bit was that it seemed to tie things up too neatly, i.e., by replacing one ruler with another, all the nasty mindsets and scars caused by jingoistic expansion just go away. I like that there's potential to see that fallout explored in more depth here.
Mordicai Knode
45. mordicai
44. Chris F

I think it tied things up, but if you rewatch the finale, you'll see that Zuko & Aang do acknowledge that there is a long road to go. I mean, that is something I really appreciate-- the idea that just because this story ends, that doesn't mean nothing ever happens again! Zuko the Fire Lord as head of a struggling nation trying to pull back from imperialism & dealing with colonialism...yeah. If anything, I wish it spoke more to the American legacy of genocide, imperialism & slavery...but doing that without being heavy handed or sloppy is nigh impossible. I just, you know, want people to remember that the problems of the Fire Colonies isn't just a displaced political commentary, but also bears real actual manifest relations to Americans & America.
Lsana
46. Chris F
Separate issue: apparently Lin did not learn from Toph the skill of being a human lie detector. I can't recall whether that ability stemmed from Toph's earthbending, her blindness, or the unique combination of the two, though. Seems like it would have been a pretty relevant skill to teach, so I'm assuming it had to be unique to Toph.
Mordicai Knode
47. mordicai
46. Chris F

Or there is the chance that the Equalist have some way of by passing the "lie detector," like through training? Or maybe Hiroshi's mansion had wooden floors? I'm just spit-balling, because it is the sort of thing that a single tossed off line could address. My real guess is-- Toph was in contact with the ground & using it to supplement her loss of vision all the time, & Lin has to unsheath her feet to do it. Maybe Lin can't; maybe Lin can but it is an effort? I'm not sure. That is a good catch though; I wonder if they'll address it?

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