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No Kings, No Masters in The Legend of Korra‘s “Long Live the Queen”

Well, The Legend of Korra continues to be amazing. Like, old-school, top of its game, Avatar the Last Airbender good, that’s what I’m talking about. Zaheer…ah, I’ll sing his praises as this season’s villain enough later on in the post, no need to start now. Asami, sure, I’ve been asking for more Asami and now I’ve got it. Basically at this point I’m starting to get a little cocky—can I just ask for anything and get it? Stock in Cabbage Corporation? I never got that Koh the Face-Stealer cameo I was hoping for from the Book of Air with Amon or from the Book of Spirits’…well, spirits. Maybe I’ll be in luck next week; at this point, anything seems possible. I’m very excited about this show right now, and I really hope the “digital transition” is going well. If there was ever a time to proselytize a show to show the number-crunchers and bean-counters what’s what, it’s now.

Oh Zaheer, Zaheer, Zaheer. I continue to wonder what The Legend of Korra could have been like if Amon had played out differently. The two villains following Amon have both been reflections of him. With Unalaq, it’s the belief in power as an ends taken to a cosmic extreme, but that sort of hubris and comeuppance is a tale as old as time. Oh, but Zaheer, he’s the better of the two by far, he’s what I’ve been waiting for, he’s Stan Lee’s True Believer. He’s the zealot, he’s the one who fights for something. It’s why the White Lotus were able to overthrow Ba Sing Se, and it’s why the Red Lotus is able to, as well. What a great moment that was. Zaheer anonymously (no pun intended) on the radio and then Shaka when the walls fell? The Revolution will not be televised but it will broadcast; video killed the radio star, but the radio star just killed the Queen of the Earth Kingdom.

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

This airship crew…I’m not gonna lie, guys, I think these guys are great. Don’t leave, airship guys! Be Asami’s team of minions! Especially you, Captain who is basically Captain Gloval, or every dignified Miyazaki old guy who is capable of keeping his mustache under control. Watching Asami get to go all escape artist then mechanic then MacGyver… thanks for an Asami episode. Now, do like this, all the time.

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

I’m not that surprised, actually; Asami is sort of the Sokka of the group, and now that Korra can metalbend like Toph…well, you remember how much trouble Toph and Sokka (and Suki and bye spacesword!) got into with an airship. Or a few airships. Then a sandworm, no wait, sand…carp? Candygram? No, wait, that’s it, it really is a… LAND SHARK!

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

The sense of scale on the creature was great; we’ve seen all kinds of “big” on this show, including Astral Korra reaching up to touch the sky, but it’s the comparisons that really make the sizes make sense—that’s why the Elephant Koi and Unagi seem so big, that’s an earlier piece of really well done juxtaposition—so it was nice to see the tremor in the distance. Then the vastness compared to the zeppelin, and the leaps, making the chase all the more tense—we know the Land Shark is colossal, but we also know it isn’t so big that they’ll all just play Jonah in there. It’s going to eat them! (A similar detail; even old Zuko still seems to sulk; the slump in his body posture, just like angsty teen Zuko. Look at that dude. “Hello! Zuko here!”)

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

You know, there’s always this “kid’s show” Sword of Damocles thing hanging over the show—Avatar: the Last Airbender lampooned it with “The Ember Island Players” and “Jet”—but it can be easy to forget about it. Korra has flaunted that line. From “Amon a boat” to “ka-boom”—that one was a magical time things got real. Plus, bloodbending brothers. And there has long been pretty much a fan-logic consensus that an airbender could suck the air from someone; after all, something killed all those firebender skeletons around Gyatso’s corpse. (Sozin’s Comet powered firebenders, no less.)

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

Here we see it on display—and brilliantly animated—and all of Zaheer’s lines are “darkness” and “I took her down,” and I’m like, come on say it, and then the radio announcer used the phrase “abrupt and violent” and I was like, yep, there it is. That’s our confirmation. They’ve made the Queen truly unlikable this season; not just as a person, which is comically unlikable, but as a slaver and a poacher, a greedy tyrant extorting her people through force and terror. Zaheer is at his most (relatively speaking) reasonable now, which makes me think he’s about to do something that makes us really, really hate him.

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

Speaking of people he might do those things to, there is always Bolin and Mako. The bending brothers are in a real pickle, tossed in the clink by the Red Lotus as a bargaining chip between Zaheer and the Earth Queen. Bolin tries again to metalbend, and fails. I predict one of three outcomes. No wait, four outcomes. First, he can’t metalbend, and sometimes them’s the breaks. I was always too tall to be an astronaut, myself. Second, he has a “Sokka’s Master” episode where he gets a character portrait and learns. Third, it comes, but easily, not hard; he’s been doing it backwards, and it is a comedic anti-climax.

Avatar Legend of Korra Long Live the Queen

Fourth is that he can’t metalbend, but he does learn to lavabend, which I like because it involves the brother’s mixed heritage; hey, maybe they can both lavabend, coming at the same problem from two different directions? This episode we get the brothers doing their Orange is the New Black segment, but it ends with Zaheer coming to loom at them menacingly. I’m guessing things will be more interesting than just violence, especially seeing as how Bolin was bonding with them, but like Zaheer said; it’s time to make Korra come to him.

Mordicai Knode wants you to know that “The Beach” is his favorite Airbender episode. Tell him yours at Twitter or see other stuff he likes on Tumblr.


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