The politics in The Legend of Korra are getting down to brass tacks. It’s hard not to see Kuvira as a net positive. There is no reason whatsoever to support the royal dynasty. Heck, as far as I’m concerned, there was every reason to support its overthrow. An actual caste system, an apartheid of rings that is so culturally ingrained that even the mall in Republic City’s “Little Ba Sing Se” is segregated by class. A powerful secret police, kidnapping and press-gangs. Propaganda and cruel whim and extortion. I’m with Bolin on this one.
I think Kuvira should hold an election—why wouldn’t she, she’s beloved—and then just claim authority thus. President Raiko sets a precedent for it. Then there you go. We should be so lucky: I kind of want to see Bolin succeed at keeping her on the strait and narrow…even as tensions increase.
Kuvira’s rise seems almost…inevitable. Combine the technocrat philosophies of Suyin’s Zaofu, the rise of the military in the wake of an imploding state, longstanding dissatisfaction with the current regime with a power vacuum and what do you get? The thing is, as much as the movements were undermined by corrupt leadership and tactics beyond the pale, the Equalists and the Red Lotus had a point. Kuvira has a point. It’s hard not to like her as she pushes the useless Prince Wu out of his fancy hotel rooms (even if he has some sweet dance moves). As I’ve been saying, as light a hand with making her a villain would be appreciated; make her an antagonist, but not a proper “bad guy.”
Great Uniter could go either way; but “Earth Empire” has an ominous ring to it. This book is called Balance; the brother-against-brother theme they are building up, along with the failings of the monarchy, make me think Korra will ultimately come as a peacemaker, compromising between Kuvira’s need for legitimacy and the Republic’s need for autonomy; like I said, I’d hold an election, with a vote in Republic City whether to remain seceded or rejoin the Earth Empire. Kuvira would win, and independence would win, and the legitimacy of one would hinge on the legitimacy of the other. Also, I want to see lavabending, Bolin. If it comes down to brother-against-brother…I used to think Mako would have taken it, but with Bolin maturing, I’d give it to him now that they’re older.
Speaking of things we want to see more of, Jinora is back. Meelo, be quiet, let the master speak! Very exciting to see the three of them tasked with recovering Korra. That’s what I’ve been asking for, and I’m ready to see how these characters have developed in the last year. Also I’m wondering if this means they meet Toph; if anyone could overwhelm her Oscar the Grouch exterior, it would be the airbending kids. They might just be the balm for Korra’s spirit that she needs to find peace—balance—to boot.
Can I talk for a minute about kid’s commercials? I saw one for this LEGO Star Destroyer, all pro-Vader, where the whole thing unfolds on hinges and turns into a playset for your minifigs. That. Is. Awesome. I want that, of course I want that! Then there was a commercial for these Monster High Freaky Fusion dolls that are these gothed up half-zombie, half-unicorns and centaur-harpies. I grew up in the midst of the witch-hunts and Satanic Panics of the 80s, and seeing stuff like this available like it’s no big deal makes the weird kid inside me happy, at least in a crassly commercial way.
I know some people who are freaking out about how great Toph was but…frankly, I just don’t care yet. I think it is fine? She’s not intrusive in the story, but apart from “I’m the original Beifong!” I haven’t seen why she’s here now. Just to mentor Korra? My theory is that Korra has crossed into the Spirit World proper, and that “tune in, turn on, drop out” Toph is a g-g-g-ghost. It will end with Korra’s catharsis and then an inversion of the Monk Gyatso skeleton reveal, where you realize Toph was Bruce Willis the whole time.
So it looks like the appearance of Toxic T-1000 Avatar wasn’t just symbolic in Korra’s last hallucination (if that’s what you want to call it), as Toph can sense the quicksilver of the Red Lotus’ poison still insider of her body. “Oh-ho! A straight forward physical explanation? I did not see that coming!” I was ready to be surprised by it…but no, no, of course there is a psychological aspect. Korra is keeping the metallic poison inside herself. Münchausen by bending? Toph, frustrated, tells her that she’s going to need to metalbend the poison out of herself, since Korra can’t relax. After, of course, Toph slings mud at her and knocks her around the swamp a bit.
What’s with the vines this episode? We hear Toph talking about them like they were Game of Throne’s weirwood, almost a vast fiber-optics network. Then we see Varrick with one. That’s where I see the heel turn coming from. The mad scientists are going to cook up something crazy. Bending machines? Spirit guns? Using captured spirits as batteries? Maybe Raava and Vaatu are hiding in the vines. Whatever it is, it’s the game changer. It’s the Sozin’s Comet. That’s what I’m predicting.
More little details of whimsy that brought joy to my life in this episode: the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom, since Kyoshi is the best, the cuteness of the frog-squirrel, seeing Eska loom in to do her doom and gloom—always glad to see character continuity—and even the old Earth King’s stuffed bear. Aw, Bosco! Maybe it’s just a wax replica? Nah, you know how these tourist traps are. This show is smart from the tiniest detail to the biggest clue. I wonder if they’ll even turn Wu around; after all, Orphan Black managed to turn Donnie inside out! The last season convinced me that The Legend of Korra can do anything. So I’m all in. I’m along for the ride. Buckle up. Bring it on.